Publishing in the Sister Journals

More information about publishing in the Sister Journals is available in Dr. Terry R.J. Lappin's editorial "A Tale of Two Sisters".

From the Editors

Publication in prestigious journals such as STEM CELLS and STEM CELLS Translational Medicine relies most heavily on the quality of data and the relevance of the subject. STEM CELLS focuses on novel and mechanistic basic stem cell biology findings. STEM CELLS Translational Medicine is dedicated to significantly advancing the clinical utilization of stem cell molecular and cellular biology by bridging stem cell research and clinical trials to improve patient outcomes.

This brief review offers advice for submission and successful publication in STEM CELLS and STEM CELLS Translational Medicine. The key stages include:

  • preliminary activities
  • journal selection
  • pre-submission inquiries
  • manuscript preparation
  • cover letters
  • review/revision/re-submission

Preliminary Activities

Early preparation can help streamline the development of a manuscript. Before a study begins, authors should become familiar with the literature in their field to identify gaps in the knowledge. Authors also should be aware of good publication practices and a journal’s publication requirements. A journal’s instructions to authors offers important guidance regarding its scope, aims, key audience and metrics for acceptance and rejection. Editors value a well thought-out study design. In fact, poor study designs are commonly cited as a reason for a manuscript’s rejection. For clinical studies, be sure to follow all regulatory requirements including ethical board and IRB permissions, documentation of informed consent and trial registration prior to patient entry. Review papers published in current issues of STEM CELLS and STEM CELLS Translational Medicine for good examples.

Manuscript authorship and content are also key considerations. Authorship indicates a researcher’s significant contribution to the study’s concept and design, data generation and analysis. Authors also are responsible for a manuscript’s drafting or revising and approval of the final version to be published. Deciding on a study’s authorship in advance will prepare the team to begin writing the manuscript when the results are ready. The content of the manuscript should not have been previously published, other than summaries in trial databases or meeting abstracts. In addition, a publication plan is a useful tool to articulate objectives, identify the target audience and manage the dissemination of information, such as the timing of conferences.

Journal Selection

Authors often can determine whether their research findings fit the wide range of topics available for publication in STEM CELLS and STEM CELLS Translational Medicine by reviewing the journals’ mission statements.

Manuscripts most often published in STEM CELLS include novel and mechanistic data with a relevant story that moves the field forward sufficiently. STEM CELLS Translational Medicine publications generally include compelling cell implantation technologies with novel tissue/organ repair and regeneration protocols, including a novel research platform with proof-of-concept studies in degenerative disease models. In either journal, manuscripts with only preliminary data needing further development or descriptive data with no functional endpoint are often returned to authors.

Pre-Submission Inquiries

A pre-submission inquiry facilitates receipt of timely and useful feedback on the fit of a manuscript for a particular journal and builds good rapport with editors. STEM CELLS and STEM CELLS Translational Medicine accept pre-submission inquiries sent to and, respectively. Journal editors like pre-submissions as it allows them to pre-screen submissions. A pre-submission inquiry typically includes a detailed description of the primary concepts and discoveries addressed in the manuscript and discusses recent reviews on the same topic in related publications. It should also list specific clinical trials, if pertinent, to be discussed in the manuscript and disclose any potential conflict of interests for all authors.

Cover Letters

The cover letter is the first description of the study that the editor will read and provides an opportunity to relate the significance and relevance of the study to the journal’s audience. Reference any prior communications, including pre-submissions or previous reviews.

Manuscript Preparation

The journals provide instructions for formats, length and figures. Include a clear statement of the purpose, account of how the study was conducted and overview of the results. Aim for transparency when writing the manuscript by including all necessary information in its proper context. All contributing authors, including outside help, must be disclosed; “ghost” writers are not allowed. Finally, review the materials for internal consistency of data and results in the text and figures as well as errors in grammar, punctuation and language.

Concise Review Guidelines

Concise Reviews should present a balanced analysis of a topic using primary recent research as evidence. Each Concise Review should follow the following guidelines:

  • The manuscript should be structured in an organized manner.
  • Headings and subheadings should be used as is appropriate.
  • The Introduction should be a concise introduction to the problem, or information that is the subject of the review.
  • The body of the review should be a logical presentation of data from the literature that flows in a manner to give continuity to the manuscript.
  • The data should be presented and analyzed as information that supports or refutes a particular direction in the field under review.
  • The manuscript should include a Summary/Conclusion statement which defines the state of the field and addresses concerns and/or future directions.

Concise Review articles are generally 3,000 to 4,000 words with 3 or 4 display items and up to approximately 80 references. We encourage authors to provide short, informative titles and high quality illustrations to increase the visibility, readership and probability of future citation.

Authors are encouraged to browse reviews previously published in STEM CELLS.

Non-native English speakers may want to consider either having their reviews edited professionally or have a native English-speaking and writing colleague evaluate the manuscript for proper grammar and clarity. Suggested editorial services may be found in our Information for Contributors.

Review, Revision and Re-Submission

Each journal has its own unique approach for reviewing submissions. STEM CELLS and STEM CELLS Translational Medicine’s process includes internal editorial reviewers and external peer reviewers. Reviewers assess the merit of manuscripts and provide constructive feedback for improvement. The journals may grant provisional acceptance to a qualified manuscript, requiring minor or major revisions before final acceptance, although it is still possible for the manuscript to be rejected at any step along the way. When conflicting opinions arise, the editor will make the final decision regarding acceptance.

Even if not successful in publication, we thank you for sending your manuscript to STEM CELLS and STEM CELLS Translational Medicine for consideration and hope that the review process helps to improve your manuscript for a future submission. STEM CELLS and STEM CELLS Translational Medicine take great pride in publishing important and highly regarded issues in their respective fields, with many high quality studies submitted on a daily basis.

For detailed Information for Authors please visit the journal sites:

Press Releases

Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Combo Could Yield Much-needed Models to Study Vascular Disease

Study Shows Stem Cell Infusion Helps Treat Severe Cases of Aplastic Anemia

Cord Blood Association Names STEM CELLS Translational Medicine Its Official Journal


Article Scans

Video Highlights

Video abstract from Dr. Cooke, et al. on his recently published STEM CELLS paper entitled, "Retinoic Acid Inducible Gene 1 Protein (RIG1)-like Receptor Pathway is Required for Efficient Nuclear Reprogramming." Read the paper here.

Video abstract from Drs. Cox, Hetz, Liao, Aertker, Ewing-Cobbs, Juranek, Savitz, Jackson, Romanowska-Pawliczek, Triolo, Dash, Pedroza, Lee, Worth, Aisiku, Choi, Holcomb, and Kitagawa on their recently published STEM CELLS paper entitled, "Treatment of Severe Adult Traumatic Brain Injury Using Bone Marrow Mononuclear Cells." Read the paper here.

Video Library