For Authors

Aims and Scope

Rapid publication of outstanding research.

Oncotarget publishes research papers in cancer research and oncology (primary focus). Due to the complexity of tumor development and integrity of the human organism, Oncotarget also publishes papers in the fields of endocrinology, pathology, age-related diseases, physiology, and immunology.

Oncotarget beyond oncology:

Sections with Advisory/Editorial boards on: Gerotarget (Aging), Pathology (all disciplines besides oncology), Chromosome, Immunology, Autophagy and Cell Diseases. Coming soon: Stem Cell and Neuroscience.

If your Research Paper is unrelated to oncology and cancer research, then select an appropriate Section upon submission (for example, Pathology or Chromosome).

If no exact section is available, please select “Others”.

For Editorials, select “Editorial” regardless of its subject.


I. Submitting an Article

Article submission is outlined on the submission page »


II. Editorial Policies

The general instructions below apply to all journals published by Impact Journals, LLC. Before you submit a manuscript for publication, please be sure to read and follow them. Submission of a manuscript to any of our journal implies that its author(s) understand and accept the policies of the journal and have complied with the Instructions for Authors.

Copyright and License Policies

Open-Access License
No Permission Required

Oncotarget applies the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (CC BY 3.0) to all works we publish (read the human-readable summary or the full license legal code). Under the CC BY, authors retain ownership of the copyright for their article, but authors allow anyone to download, reuse, reprint, modify, distribute, and/or copy articles in Oncotarget, so long as the original authors and source are cited.

No permission is required from the authors or the publishers.

In most cases, appropriate attribution can be provided by simply citing the original article. If the item you plan to reuse is not part of a published article (e.g., a featured issue image), then please indicate the originator of the work, and the volume, issue, and date of the journal in which the item appeared. For any reuse or redistribution of a work, you must also make clear the license terms under which the work was published. This broad license was developed to facilitate open access to, and free use of, original works of all types. Applying this standard license to your own work will ensure your right to make your work freely and openly available.

For queries about the license, please contact us at forms@oncotarget.com

Publication ethics and malpractice statement. The following guidelines are based on the recommendations of COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics). (https://publicationethics.org/resources/guidelines)

Who should be listed as an author is determined by the authors or by policies at their institutions, or both. As a general guideline, persons listed as authors should have contributed substantially to 1) the conception and design of the study, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; 2) drafting of the article or revising it for important content; and 3) final approval of the version to be published. The corresponding author is responsible for ensuring that all authors have agreed 1) to be authors and to be listed in the order specified by the submitting author; 2) to the manuscript's content; and 3) to its submission to the journal. If any changes to authorship are proposed after the manuscript is submitted (including the order of author listing), the corresponding author must provide the Publication Office with signed documentation from each author on the manuscript, including those being added, removed, or rearranged in byline order, affirming that the authors all agree to the changes. Please contact general@oncotarget.com or the production team working on your manuscript regarding any authorship changes. Oncotarget accepts no responsibility for deciding matters of authorship.

Group authorship

Oncotarget follows the recommendations on group authorship presented in the Council of Science Editors (CSE) White Paper on Promoting Integrity in Scientific Journal Publications. The submitting author must identify any group named as an author as well as the named individuals from that group who accept responsibility for the article.

If all individuals belonging to the group take responsibility, then the group itself is an author and all members must be named and sign copyright release forms. In this case the group name should appear in the byline, and the names of all members should appear in a note. However, if the group is the only author, then at least one author must be identified by name who will be responsible for manuscript communications, and who will respond to inquiries about the published article. This author's name and contact information should be presented as the Corresponding Author in a note on the title page.

If a subset of group members is taking responsibility for the article, then these individuals must be named and sign copyright release forms. In this case, the named members should appear in the byline along with the group name. Other members who are not authors may be listed in the Acknowledgments.

No prior or subsequent publication

When a manuscript is submitted for consideration, the authors should confirm in writing that neither the submitted manuscript nor any similar manuscript, in whole or in part, other than an abstract, is under consideration, in press, published, or reported elsewhere. This includes the posting of a manuscript or any similar manuscript, in whole or in part, on the study sponsors' or authors' institutional websites. The corresponding author is responsible for attesting to this on behalf of all authors via the online submission form.
No fraudulent data.


Plagiarism in any form will not be acceptable.

All articles should be original. If plagiarism is identified, we will follow COPE guidelines.

Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to any form of copying (text, images, data, idea) without a proper attribution.

Oncotarget uses CrossCheck (iThenticate) and Grammarly to screen submitted content for originality. We will do a follow-up investigation if the software raises any concerns.

If plagiarism is detected during the peer review process, the manuscript may be rejected. If plagiarism is detected after publication, we may issue a correction or retract the paper. We reserve the right to inform authors' institutions about plagiarism detected either before or after publication.

Text Mining

The Journal does not allow software/spiders to automatically crawl the journal content for the commercial purposes.

Conflict of interest

Oncotarget policy requires that authors and reviewers reveal to the Editors-in-Chief, Deputy Editors, Senior Editors, or Scientific Editors any relationships that they believe could be construed as resulting in an actual, potential, or perceived conflict of interest with regard to the manuscript submitted for review. All new and revised submissions must include such a statement.

Conflict of interest exists when an author (or the authors institution), reviewer, or editor has financial or personal relationships that inappropriately influence (bias) his or her actions. The potential for conflict of interest can exist whether or not an individual believes that the relationship affects his or her scientific judgment. Financial relationships (such as employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, paid expert testimony) as well as personal relationships and academic competition must be declared. The authors declare conflicts of interests and sources of financial support as acknowledgment.

The authors are responsible for providing a detailed conflict of interest statement on the title page of their submission, even if there are no conflicts to disclose. To ensure that the editors and reviewers assigned have ready access, manuscripts will not enter the peer review process unless this statement is included. If the manuscript moves to the revision stage, each of the authors will be contacted and asked to complete an individual, electronic conflict-of-interest form. If a potential conflict of interest is disclosed, notification concerning the relationship will be published along with the article.


All reviewers and editors are required to adhere to ethical guidelines that mandate strict confidentiality concerning all aspects of the manuscripts and their content. Manuscripts submitted for consideration for publication are privileged communications, and the status of the manuscript and details regarding it are available only to Oncotarget editorial staff, authors, and the editors and peer reviewers involved.

Submission of a manuscript implies acceptance by all authors of the strict policy of Oncotarget that under no circumstances will the identities of the editors, or information leading to the identities of the editors, be revealed.

Embargo policy

Upon request from a reporter, Oncotarget makes the full text of these articles available in advance of publication with the understanding that the embargo policy will be upheld. Embargo dates and times are established by Oncotarget. Because Oncotarget publishes accepted manuscripts online usually within days of acceptance, it is important to contact us at general@oncotarget.com to coordinate publicity efforts as soon as possible, preferably during the revision of the manuscript. The online article is considered the article of record.

Advanced release of material is intended for reporters only but may be shared with third parties such as coworkers at the author's institution or organization or experts in the field for the purposes of obtaining expert opinion and commentary. The reporter is responsible for communicating and obtaining an understanding from the third party that the embargo will be honored and the advance material will not be further distributed without permission from Oncotarget. Reporters should credit Oncotarget as the source of the information in any reports.

Authors are free to talk with the press starting on the day of acceptance. We also allow authors to discuss their work in press with other scientific journals for purposes of coverage in review material. If your press office wishes to issue a press release, they should contact us at general@oncotarget.com

Human and Animal Rights Ethical Statement

All research involving human participants must have been approved by the authors' institutional review board or equivalent committee(s) and that board must be named by the authors in the manuscript. For research involving human participants, informed consent must have been obtained (or the reason for lack of consent explained, e.g. the data were analyzed anonymously) and all clinical investigation must have been conducted according to the principles expressed in the Declaration of Helsinki. Authors should submit a statement from their ethics committee or institutional review board indicating the approval of the research.

All animal work must have been conducted according to relevant national and international guidelines. In accordance with the recommendations of the Weatherall report, "The use of non-human primates in research," we specifically require authors to include details of animal welfare and steps taken to ameliorate suffering in all work involving non-human primates. At the beginning of the Methods section of your manuscript (with the subheading Ethics Statement) enter: Investigation has been conducted in accordance with the ethical standards and according to the Declaration of Helsinki and according to national and international guidelines and has been approved by the authors' institutional review board.

Informed consent

Patients have a right to privacy that should not be infringed without informed consent. Identifying information should not be published unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives written informed consent for publication. A patient who is identifiable must be shown the manuscript to be published. Identifying details should be omitted if they are not essential. If identifying details are altered, editors should be informed. When informed consent has been obtained it should be indicated in the published article as: Informed consent has been obtained.

Peer Review Policy

The editors ensure that accepted manuscripts have undergone peer-review. The Assistant editors select the experts in the field as the reviewers. After receiving on an average 3-6 reviews (at least two), Senior Editors and/or the Editor-in-Chief make decisions whether the paper must be outright rejected or sent to the authors for revision. After revision the Editors send a revised article with a detailed response to the reviewers (rebuttal) for their additional comments. If the reviewers consider a further revision, then the article is sent to the authors for the second round of revision. No more than 3 rounds of revision are allowed, and then the Editors must make a final decision. The Editors will not accept papers which reveal defamation, copyright infringement, falsification, fabrication or plagiarism.

The contents of manuscripts are considered as privileged. All Editors and reviewers are required to maintain strict confidentiality concerning all manuscripts. Details regarding a paper's status are known only to the Editor-in-Chief, the Editorial Board (if applicable) and Editorial staff. Identities of reviewers, or any information that could reveal their identities, will not be revealed to the authors in order to maintain anonymity during the review process.

During the submission process, you should suggest 5 potential reviewers. You may exclude up to 5 potential reviewers.


Advertising Policy

The Journal does not do any type of advertisement on its website.



Materials, data, and protocols should be made available upon request and within a reasonable amount of time, with terms to be agreed upon by the party making the request and the authors. Restrictions on availability must be disclosed in the cover letter at the time of manuscript submission. Investigators must exercise great care to ensure that data and resources involving human subjects and materials derived from human subjects do not identify original donors or subjects either directly or through identifiers such as codes linked to the donors or subjects. These requirements are subject to amendment, as the need for disclosure is likely to change with evolving technologies. The publisher will contact the authors' institution(s) in cases where authors do not follow policy.


Unique materials, such as cells, plasmids, antibodies, or animal models, and protocols that were used in the research reported and which are not available from commercial suppliers must be made available either through the authors' laboratories or organizations or through an appropriate collection or repository. If they are not submitted to a repository, the materials should be made available as long as they are currently used in the researchers' laboratories and available to the researchers themselves. Materials that are difficult to obtain or cannot be easily propagated or synthesized are exempt from this requirement. Authors are not required to share materials when requests are for intended commercial use. The requesting party will be responsible for any reasonable associated cost.


The publication of articles including new genes, proteins, genomics, SNPs, proteomics, or crystallographic structures is contingent upon deposition in a publicly accessible database, when available. Any corresponding accession numbers must be provided in the manuscript prior to acceptance for publication. Above-mentioned data for which a publicly available database does not exist must be made available for a period of 3 years, and requests for data are limited to those contained in the article. Also, authors may be required to make primary data available to editors or reviewers upon request. These reporting requirements extend to the sequences of oligonucleotides used in antisense strategies and RNA, the chemical structures of drugs and synthetic compounds that have not been previously published (see below), and the details of the synthesis or methods of production of the molecules and materials used in the experiments (if not commercially available). For previously reported structures and sequences, accurate references must be provided in the manuscript.

Chemical structures and synthesis

The exact chemical structures (and not simply the chemical names) of any unpublished synthetic, low-molecular-weight chemical compounds used as part of the described research (including clinical studies in humans) must be disclosed. For novel structures previously unreported, experimental details of the synthetic methodology should be included in the main body of the paper or in the Supplementary Data. Any references or patents cited that provide the synthesis of compounds should specifically identify the exact molecules that are studied in the paper; general references to patents are not sufficient.

Depositing data in public databases

Oncotarget requires that authors submitting manuscripts containing functional genomics data should follow standards of the Functional Genomics Data Society (FGED). These guidelines include a checklist of information that should accompany each new microarray submission. Authors will also be required to deposit the data with either of 2 public repositories — GEO or ArrayExpress — and to publish the accession numbers in the article.

Large data sets of peripheral significance to the main thesis of the investigation will not be published in the print journals but may be posted as a data supplement to the online version of the article. Supplementary Data must be submitted for review with the manuscript.

Authors of manuscripts with new nucleotide or amino acid sequences must deposit the sequence information with GenBank. Authors outside of the United States may elect to deposit sequence information in the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) database or the DNA Databank of Japan.

Authors must submit the relevant accession numbers for deposited sequences with the manuscript and these will be published with the article. Whether a sequence is the one the author has deposited or if the author is simply referring to it in the text, the accession number or ID code should always be included in the text so that we can create a link to the appropriate database.

    GenBank accession no. B11596

Accession Numbers

All appropriate datasets, images, and information should be deposited in public resources. Please provide the relevant accession numbers (and version numbers, if appropriate). Accession numbers should be provided in parentheses after the entity on first use. Suggested databases include, but are not limited to:

In addition, as much as possible, please provide accession numbers or identifiers for all entities such as genes, proteins, mutants, diseases, etc., for which there is an entry in a public database, for example:

Providing accession numbers allows linking to and from established databases and integrates your article with a broader collection of scientific information.

Clinical trial registry

In accordance with the guidelines published by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), Oncotarget requires, as a condition of consideration for publication, that all clinical trials be registered in one of 6 ICMJE-approved public trial registries. (https://eudract.ema.europa.eu/. Trials must be registered at or before the onset of patient enrollment. In addition to accepting registration in any of the above 6 registries, and following the recommendation of ICMJE, Oncotarget accepts registration of clinical trials in any of the primary registers that participate in the World Health Organization (WHO) International Clinical Trial Registry Platform (ICTRP). Whether the trial is the subject of the paper or the author refers to other trials in the text, the registration number should always be included so that we can create a link to the trial's record in the appropriate database.

Registration only in a partner registry is insufficient. Oncotarget uses the WHO definition of clinical trials for all trials that began enrollment on or after January 1, 2009. This definition states that a clinical trial is "any research study that prospectively assigns human participants or groups of humans to one or more health-related interventions to evaluate the effects on health outcomes." For more information, see ICMJE Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals.


Image Manipulation

Make sure that immunoblots and other images have no duplications, falsifications, fabrications, incorrect manipulations. Permitted manipulations must be mentioned in the legends or text

Electrophoretic gels and blots

Authors are asked to include positive and negative controls, as well as molecular size markers, on each gel and blot and to provide a citation for previously characterized antibodies. For antibodies that are less well characterized in the system under study, we require a detailed characterization that demonstrates not only the specificity of the antibody but also the range of reactivity of the reagent in the assay, which will be published as Supplementary Data. Vertically sliced gels should be clearly separated, with no juxtaposed lanes, or a line can be included delineating the boundary between the lanes.

The display of cropped gels and blots in the main manuscript is encouraged if it improves the clarity and conciseness of the presentation. In such cases, the cropping must be mentioned in the figure legend. These uncropped images should be labeled as in the main text. The manuscript's figure legends should include the information noted below:

  • Cropped gels in the manuscript must retain important bands.
  • Cropped blots in the body of the manuscript should retain at least 6 bandwidths above and below the band.
  • High-contrast gels and blots are discouraged, as overexposure may mask additional bands. Authors should strive for exposures with gray backgrounds. High-contrast immunoblots should be surrounded by a black line to indicate the borders of the blot.
  • All image acquisition tools and image processing software must be described.

Image acquisition and analysis

It is the author's responsibility to exercise discretion during data acquisition, where misrepresentation must be avoided. Acquisition of images for comparative purposes must be standardized. Specimen areas should be selected that objectively represent the critical features being presented. Figures/Images should be in TIFF format, but JPEG, or PNG can be accepted. Authors should retain their unprocessed images and metadata files, as editors may request them to aid in manuscript evaluation. If unprocessed data are unavailable, manuscript evaluation may be delayed until the issue is resolved. Files that have been adjusted in any way should be saved separately from the originals, in the same formats.

We encourage authors to use colors that can be distinguished by color-blind readers. Please submit your figures in RGB or grayscale—do not convert your files to CMYK. This will optimize their appearance online. If possible, embed the ICC profile. All figures must be over 600 dpi as per the requirement of PubMed Central. Only unprocessed original files should be used for analysis. If data are presented that include mathematical representations of pixel intensities and locations, the original unprocessed files must be provided for review.

Image composites

The grouping of images from different originals must be made explicit, both by the arrangement of the figure (i.e., adding dividing lines) and in the text of the figure legend. This arrangement also applies to multiple fields taken from the same image (such as individual lanes combined from a single electrophoresis gel) and separate images acquired with different conditions. If dividing lines are not included, they will be added by our production department, and this addition may result in publication delays.

Figures presenting merged color images from fluorescence originals must include the original single-channel images used to make the merged file. Original images captured as color files are acceptable, but grayscale images are preferred and should be laid out in sequence as part of the figure.

Multiple images may be combined into a single photomontage when the area of interest cannot be captured in a single image. In such a case, all images that make up the montage must be captured using a standardized method. Each smaller image must overlap its neighboring image by one quarter of the shared field in each direction. The outer boundary of the combined image must be clearly delineated with a line. Any post-processing must be done to the total combined montage.


Images made available to referees should be at least 600 dpi at the size in which they will be published. Adjustments should be applied to the entire image. Threshold manipulation, expansion or contraction of signal ranges and the altering of high signals should be avoided. "Pseudo-coloring" and nonlinear adjustment (e.g., "gamma changes") are only allowed if unavoidable and must be disclosed, as noted above. The following items should be included with the final revised version of the manuscript for publication:

  • Magnification scale bar for each image
  • In the Methods section — type of equipment (microscopes/objective lenses, cameras, detectors) used; acquisition software; and description of specialized techniques requiring large amounts of processing, such as confocal, deconvolution, 3D reconstructions, or surface and volume rendering

Image manipulation

Publication in Oncotarget is contingent on the minimal use of image adjustment, and the final image must remain representative. Adjustments of brightness, contrast, or color balance are acceptable only if they are applied to the whole image and as long as they do not obscure or eliminate any information present in the original, including backgrounds. Nonlinear manipulation, such as "gamma," should only be used to adjust the overall presentation of the image to assure that details are visible in the printed form. Alteration to specific features within the image is generally not acceptable. Subforms of an image should not be enhanced, obscured, moved or removed in relation to the larger image.

Nonlinear algorithms to enhance overall presentation, such as background subtraction, shading correction, sharpening, despeckling, and flattening, may be acceptable, but disclosure of adjustment must be included in the legend and the specific techniques must be described. Descriptions must include the original, unprocessed files for comparison.

Reporting on cell line use

Oncotarget strongly encourages the authentication of cell lines used in the research reported in its journals. If cell lines were used in the research, a statement addressing the following points must be included in the Materials and Methods section of the manuscript:

  1. From where and when the cells were obtained
  2. Whether the cell lines have been tested and authenticated
  3. The method by which the cells were tested
  4. How and when the cells were last tested

If cells were obtained directly from a cell bank that performs cell line characterizations and passaged in the user's laboratory for fewer than 6 months after receipt or resuscitation, reauthentication is not required. In these cases, the author should include the method of characterization used by the cell bank.

Gene and Protein Nomenclature

The authors are required to include the approved nomenclature at the first mention of any gene or protein described in their manuscript.

In addition to the use of common names, authors are required to include the approved nomenclature at the first mention of any gene or protein described in their manuscript. All gene names, whether approved or common, must follow the correct format guidelines: Approved human gene symbols can be obtained from the HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee website. Approved mouse nomenclature can be obtained from Mouse Genome Informatics. If no approved gene name exists, the authors must obtain an approved gene name from the appropriate committee or other resource through one of the links shown below:

Protein names are the same as the gene symbol but are not italicized, with all letters in uppercase.

Inclusion of the approved nomenclature will minimize confusion and make it possible for the journal to provide links to the genome databases for the online version of the article.

Strain Information

In experiments involving animal models, details concerning sex, age, weight, strain, substrain, and source must be delineated. The genetic crosses that were used to generate the experimental and control population must also be described. Strain information may be included in the Materials and Methods section. In descriptions of genetically engineered animals, the source and strain of the embryonic stem (ES) cell should be included, along with details on whether the animals have been maintained on the original background (isogenic with the ES cell genetic background), maintained on a mixed strain background, or made congenic onto another strain. In addition, the genotype of all experimental and control groups must be specified.

Authors should refer to the guidelines of the the International Society for Transgenic Technologies.


All submissions must be made electronically through the online submission system (http://oncotarget.msubmit.net/cgi-bin/main.plex). Before you submit a manuscript, be sure to read all the Oncotarget Instructions for Authors/Editorial and Publishing Policies.

You will find complete details on how to submit a manuscript when you log on to online submission system to create an author account.

Submission of files

Please carefully read the Instructions for Authors in the submission system.

When submitting manuscripts, authors are strongly encouraged to upload original source files into the system. Uploading original source files will greatly facilitate publication of an accepted manuscript. Submit all files via submission system, no emails. The following are acceptable file formats:

  • Manuscript files: Word, WordPerfect (doc or docx). No other format.
  • Graphics files: TIFF (preferable), JPG, or PNG format.

Once you have successfully submitted your manuscript online, you will receive acknowledgment via email.

In submission system, please provide names, Institutions, real emails of ALL co- authors.

Special submissions:

1. Papers that were previously reviewed in a journal with a higher impact factor (e.g. Nature, Science, PNAS etc) may be submitted with previous peer-reviews (please revise and then format accordingly to Oncotarget style). Submit all files on line as separate files. Previous peer-reviews will accelerate our decision. These papers will still be peer-reviewed in Oncotarget.

2. In exceptional cases members of the Editorial Boards may submit extraordinary papers after self-organized peer-review process (PNAS-like system), albeit it may be informal in some cases. Such papers will be additionally reviewed in Oncotarget, in some cases verbally (e.g. telephone) or via email, to accelerate the decision. In some cases they will be additionally post-reviewed by the authors of Editorials. This system helps to accelerate decision on extraordinary papers.

Submitting revisions

If you have been asked to revise your manuscript and you are ready to resubmit it, log on to the submission system and, on your author home page, click the "Revise Manuscript" link of the manuscript you wish to resubmit. You will be asked to review the information you originally submitted to confirm its accuracy. If any of the original files have been revised, replace them. Include only the final version of each file in your revision submission.

In your rebuttal letter, please be sure to provide a point-by-point reply to the reviewers' comments as well as a listing of all the changes made, including any changes to authorship, noting the page numbers on which the individual changes appear. When you have successfully resubmitted your manuscript, you will receive acknowledgment via email. The revised version of your manuscript may undergo another review if the original submission required extensive changes or if the authors' responses to the criticisms entail rebuttal rather than revision. A decision as to whether or not the manuscript will be sent back out for review is made at the discretion of the Editors.


Oncotarget follows the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors’ uniform requirements for manuscripts. Please click here for the full text http://www.icmje.org/icmje-recommendations.pdf

Manuscripts should be written in clear, grammatical English, typed double-spaced, and all pages must be numbered. Manuscripts that are not in Oncotarget style or that are not in good idiomatic English may be returned to the author without review. Laboratory jargon as well as terminology and abbreviations not consistent with internationally accepted guidelines should be avoided.

Manuscripts should be arranged in the following order: title page, text and references, tables, legends for all tables and figures, figures. See below for full explanation of what is to be included in these sections. When submitting manuscripts that include Supplementary Data, please be sure to upload supplemental files separately, in the appropriate area of the submission form . Please do not append supplemental files to the main manuscript file. Numbered and lettered sections in the text should be avoided. Each table and illustration must be cited in order in the text. Simple chemical formulas or mathematical equations should be presented in a form that allows their reproduction in single horizontal lines of type; more complicated mathematical formulas or chemical structures difficult to set in type should be provided for reproduction in the form of line drawings, glossy photographs, or digital files.

Title page

Title. Write a brief, informative title. Abbreviations should not be used in titles. It is important for literature retrieval to include in the title the key words that identify the nature of the subject matter, including, if applicable, the species on which the work is done.

Authors and affiliations. Authors are urged to include their full names, complete with first and middle names or initials.Academic degrees should not be included. Always include mailing address, phone and fax number, and email address of the corresponding author. The names and locations of institutions and the laboratories or names and locations of companies should be given for all authors. If several institutions are listed on a manuscript, it should be clearly indicated with which department and institution each author is affiliated by using superscript numbers that correspond to each author's affiliation.

Running title. Not necessary.

Keywords. Provide 5 keywords identifying the subject of your article.

Other notes about the manuscript as a whole, including the total number of figures and tables.


The abstract should be concise, yet outline the content of the manuscript (see the specifications for each type of article for abstract length). Because these abstracts are used by secondary services (e.g., Medline, Chemical Abstracts, Web of Science, Scopus), they should recapitulate in abbreviated form the purpose of the study and the experimental technique, results, and data interpretations. Data such as the number of test subjects and controls, strains of animals or viruses, drug dosages and routes of administration, tumor yields and latent periods, length of observation period, and magnitude of activity should be included. Vague, general statements such as "The significance of the results is discussed," or "Some physical properties were studied," should be avoided. All important terms relevant to the content of the manuscript should be incorporated into the abstract to assist indexers and searchers. Abbreviations should be kept to an absolute minimum; however, if they are needed, they must be explained at first mention within the abstract so the abstract can be understood as an independent unit from the text. Do not cite references in the abstract.


It is not necessary to cite all of the background literature in the Introduction. Brief reference to the most pertinent articles generally suffices to acquaint the reader with the findings of others in the field and with the problem or question that the investigation addresses.


Include a concise summary of the data presented in tables and illustrations. Excessive elaboration of data already given in tables and illustrations should be avoided. With the exception of Cancer Discovery, the Results and Discussion sections should be combined if, by so doing, space is saved or the logical sequence of the material is improved.


The data should be interpreted concisely without repeating material already presented in the Results section. Speculation is permissible, but it must be well founded, and discussion of the wider implications of the findings is encouraged.

Materials and Methods

Explanation of the experimental methods should be brief but adequate for repetition by qualified investigators. Procedures that have been described in previous publications should not be described in detail but merely cited with appropriate references. Only new and significant modifications of previously published procedures need complete exposition. The sources of special chemicals or preparations used should be provided. Any commercial products that are mentioned should include the name of the manufacturer, and ideally, catalog numbers.

Oncotarget endorses the principles embodied in the Declaration of Helsinki and expect that all investigations involving humans will have been performed in accordance with these principles. In particular, manuscripts reporting human experimentation must include a statement that the human investigations were performed after approval by an institutional review board and in accordance with an assurance filed with and approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where appropriate. Also, manuscripts reporting biomedical research involving human subjects must include a statement that informed consent was obtained from each subject or subject's guardian.

Oncotarget supports of the most humane treatment of animals in the conduct of scientific studies, and it is expected that investigators will adhere to widely accepted national standards such as the following:

  1. The U.S. Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, available from the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, RKLI, Suite 360, MSC 7982, 6705 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892–7982.
  2. The United Kingdom Coordinating Committee on Cancer Prevention Research's Guidelines for the Welfare of Animals in Experimental Neoplasia (published online 25 May 2010).

Only the results (particularly the photographic presentation of experimental data) in which proper attention has been given to ethical considerations toward animals will be published, and Oncotarget reserves the right to reject manuscripts that do not follow accepted standards.


Provide definitions for any abbreviated terms in the text.

Author Contributions

Enter contributions of individual authors to the final article. This section should accurately describe each author’s contributions, and all authors should have reviewed and agreed to this information before submission.


Include in this section the names of others contributing to the work who are not identified as authors. The Corresponding Author should obtain written permission to refer to those mentioned in the Acknowledgments section.

Conflicts of Interest

Disclose any potential conflicts of interest.


Provide information about financial support, including the source and number of grants, for each author.


The list of references should be numbered consecutively according to the first time mentioned within the article. The reference list should be limited to only those citations essential to the presentation. Before submission of the manuscript, authors should verify the accuracy of all references and check that all references have been cited in the text.

Cite only the number assigned to the reference. Use [ ] not ( ). For example: "according to Vogelstein [1]".
 References should include only the articles that are published or in press. Unpublished data, submitted manuscripts, abstracts, and personal communications should be cited within the text only. Personal communication should be documented by a letter of permission.

Authors are strongly encouraged to use an automated reference manager such as Thomson Reuters Endnote, Zotero, or Mendeley. Follow the links to download output styles for Oncotarget.

Please use the following style for references in all types of papers except Editorial and News.

Papers (except Editorials):

Please use the following style for references in all types of papers except editorials:

  1. Article in a periodical (strictly, no variation is allowed): Schmidt-Kittler O, Zhu J, Yang J, Liu G, Hendricks W, Lengauer C, Gabelli SB, Kinzler KW, Vogelstein B, Huso DL, Zhou S. PI3Kα inhibitors that inhibit metastasis. Oncotarget. 2010; 1: 339-348. Note: "et al." should only be used after 13 authors.
  2. Article in a book and book chapters: any style is acceptable
  3. Article in press: Articles in press may be listed among the references provided a journal name and tentative year of publication can be verified.


Please use a special reference format: 1 author, et al. No article titles.

1. Patel AS, et al. Oncotarget. 2011; 2: 752-760.


Data acquired after acceptance of the manuscript, by the authors themselves or by others, cannot be added to the text. Such addenda are subject to approval by the Editor-in-Chief and could result in delay of publication. Addenda should be kept extremely brief.


Tabular material should not duplicate data already presented in detail in the text, nor should tables be only lists. A table should compare values. If you are putting data in a table, summarize the data in the text and provide a citation for it. Unnecessary columns of data that can easily be derived from other data in the table should not be included. Large groups of individual values should be avoided; instead, these should be averaged and an appropriate designation of the dispersion, such as standard deviation or standard error, should be included. Tables should not be included as part of a figure. Legends should be short and to the point and should generally not include references. Authors are discouraged from submitting tables that have been previously published, even with permission.

Authors are obligated to indicate the significance of their observations by appropriate statistical analysis.

Every table must have a descriptive title and enough explanatory information so the reader can understand the data without reference to the text. Each column must carry an appropriate heading and, if measurements are given, the units should be given with the column heading. Number tables using Arabic numerals; table footnotes should be indicated with lower-case alphabetical letters: a, b, c, etc. Include a note after the footnotes in which all abbreviations used in the table that have not been used in the text are explained. Complex or large tables should be uploaded as Supplementary Data.


Types of figures include line drawings, graphs, and halftone illustrations, such as photographs, photomicrographs, or electrophoretic patterns. Figures should be used when salient points need illustration for better comprehension by the reader. Figures must be cited and numbered in the order in which they appear in the text. Figures should be original. Authors are discouraged from submitting figures that have been previously published, even with permission. If use of a previously published figure is necessary, the author must apply for written permission from the copyright holder and supply confirmation of the permission grant before publication.

Please note that figures should be submitted in their final format. If you do not intend for your figure(s) to appear in color in the journal should your manuscript be accepted for publication, please ensure that you submit a black and white version. This makes it possible for the editors and reviewers to make an informed evaluation of your work.

All figures must have legends that briefly describe the data shown; details given in the text of the manuscript should not be repeated. Legends should be short and to the point and should generally not include references. Please note that all figure legends should be listed together in one section (Figure Legends) directly preceding the appearance of the figures in the manuscript. Ensure that both legends and figures are numbered and match up appropriately. Stains and original magnifications should be listed where applicable. Each legend should adequately identify all parts, symbols, abbreviations, mathematical expressions, abscissas, ordinates, units, and reference points on the figure. Abbreviations explained in the text of the article need not be redefined in the figure legend.

When graphs are reduced to the size of a single column (7.9375 cm / 3.125 in), the text in the graph must be no smaller than 6 point type and no larger than 12 point type, and all symbols must be discernible. Avoid use of very thin, broken, or dotted lines.

Figure symbols should be defined in the legend. Only those common symbols for which the printer has type should be used. Lines connecting the symbols should not extend beyond the data points. In the published form, the minimum thickness of lines (rules) used to present drawn art is 0.5 point. If a drawn image will be reduced in size for publication, the lines used to draw the original art must be thick enough to be reduced and still meet the minimum requirement. Lines thinner than 0.5 point thickness may be completely lost if an image is reduced in size.

Graphs should be ruled off close to the area occupied by the curve, and abscissas and ordinates should be clearly marked with appropriate units. Explanations of the coordinates should not extend beyond the respective lines. Do not box-in graphs with top and right-hand frame lines unless these are essential for reference. Titles printed outside the confines of the drawing waste space; all of this information should be included in the legend. Also, to conserve space those curves that may appropriately appear together should be included in a single graph.

Halftones that must appear together for comparison should be grouped under one figure number with each section given sequential letters (A, B, C) in the upper left-hand corner on the face of the illustration. Composite figures may be mounted on a plate, with the sections abutted together and tooling (thin lines) placed between the parts of the figure. For optimal reproduction, the contrast among photographs on a plate should be consistent. The overall dimensions of photographs on a plate should not exceed 18.41 cm x 22.86 cm / 7.25 in x 9 in.

Symbols, arrows, or letters used in photomicrographs should contrast with the background so as to be clearly visible. Internal scale markers should be included on the photographs themselves or the original magnification should be given in the legend because it may be necessary to reduce the figures.

Supplementary data

General guidelines

Supplementary data should provide additional substantive material, but the article must stand on its own merits and be complete and self-explanatory without them. Additional text, including results or discussions related to the article, is not acceptable; these should be included in the article itself.

Supplementary data should fall within the conceptual scope of the main paper but not extend beyond it. Preliminary data that simply extend the scope of the study and unnecessary control data should not be included.

Supplementary data are not essential to understanding the conclusions of the paper but are additional or complementary and directly relevant to the article content.

Supplementary material should not repeat material that is already included in the main article.

Data that have been previously published are not acceptable.

Supplementary material may also be that which cannot be included in the main version of the paper due to space constraints (e.g., limits placed on the number of figures and tables allowed in an article) or format restrictions.

Within the above guidelines, supplementary files may include the following:

  • Figures (TIFF (preferable), JPG, or PNG format)
  • More detailed materials and methods than can be included in the body of the article, but the main text should contain sufficient methodology for an experienced investigator to replicate the experiments
  • Tables (editable Word or Excel format)
  • Electronic multimedia files (e.g., animations, videos, audios)
  • Database information
  • Three-dimensional structures/images, sequence alignments, and data sets that are very large, such as those obtained with microarray hybridization experiments


Use the approved terms and abbreviations for chemical substances recommended by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). Designations for mouse strains should conform to the Rules and Guidelines for Genetic Nomenclature in Mice, from the International Committee on Standardized Genetic Nomenclature for Mice.

Generic names of drugs are preferred with the brand name included at first mention only to identify new compounds that may not be recognized by their generic name. If a non-U.S. proprietary name is used, the name of the comparable U.S. product should be given. When there is no generic name for a drug, authors should give the chemical name or formula or a description of the active ingredients. Authors should refer to the formally adopted generic names listed in the current edition of USAN and the USP Dictionary of Drug Names.

Abbreviations are in general a hindrance to readers in fields other than that of the author(s), to abstractors, and to scientists whose primary language is not English. Authors should limit their use. Standard Abbreviations are defined as those that may be used without explanation (e.g., DNA). Single words should not be abbreviated—for example, melanoma, folate, vincristine, nor should abbreviations be used for individual types of cancer or other diseases that consist of 2 words, such as prostate cancer or breast cancer. Abbreviations should not be used in titles.



News and editorials are invited. Editorials are brief discussions of recently published papers usually in other leading journals by the authors of the original papers. There is the strict word limit – 800 words and no more than 7 references. No more than 3 co-authors, including corresponding author, are allowed.

Note: Special title and reference format:

  • Title must be short, no descriptive title, 3-7 words (for example, “RB in DNA repair”)
  • Special reference format: 1 author et al, (no titles.) year. v. p.

There is no page limit, no reference limit. Any number of pages and references. Up to 14 figures.

Please check the submission site about the order of the sections.

The list of references should be numbered consecutively according to the first time mentioned within the article. Cite only the number assigned to the reference: Use [ ] not ( ). References should include only the articles that are published or in press.


Authors may suggest a Review on a broad topic of general interest. Should be well referenced, with a minimal number of references above 90. Reviews should include 1-6 figures, diagrams or cartoons.


Comprehensive coverage of the topic. Any number of figures. Color figures are especially welcome. Should be well referenced, with a minimal number of references above 500. There is no upper limit on the number of references.


To provide open access, Oncotarget uses a business model in which expenses — including those of thorough peer review process, journal production, legal costs, protection of the journal, promotion of publications, dissemination of publications, news, visibility, media and social media, checking for plagiarism and data manipulation, maintaining integrity of the journal, ethical policies, online hosting and archiving and much more — are recovered by charging a journal-specific publication fee to the authors or research sponsors for each article they publish.

Updated on 01/20/2017: A publication fee of $3,400 (USD) applies to Research Papers (in any specialty), Reviews, and Case Reports. A reduced fee of $1900 (USD) applies to Research Perspectives. There are no additional charges based on color, length, figures, or other elements.

Discretionary Discounts may be available on a case-by-case basis, see below for further information.

For papers submitted before February 5, 2017, the publication fee is $2,850 (USD).

In comparison: Nature Communications fees $5,200, Cell Reports fees $5,000

There is no fee for Editorials, invited Research Perspectives, and News.

We also offer publication fee discounts for papers whose corresponding authors are based in HINARI countries (the world's lowest income countries as defined by the World Bank).

Discretionary discounts will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and may be granted in cases of financial need. All applications for discretionary discounts should be made prior to, or at the point of manuscript submission; requests made after acceptance or during the review process will not be considered. Authors supported by the Libraries’ Fund for Open Access Journals will receive a partial discount.

To request a discount please contact us at payment@oncotarget.com. Please do not include requests for financial support in cover letters.

Refund policy

Due to the significant cost of peer review administration, manuscript production, and indexing, publication fee cannot be refunded after the manuscript is first published in Advance Online Publications. Please note that no refund or credit will be issued for any of the following:

  • - Manuscript retraction
  • - Manuscript removal
  • - Editorial decisions
  • - Changes introduced by the authors
  • - Circumstances beyond our direct control

To request a refund or credit, please contact us at payment@oncotarget.com.