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Frontiers introduced a lot of new and revolutionary concepts to publishing and research networking. Below is a list of Frontiers jargon you may find useful.


Board of Editors

Every Frontiers Journal or Section is run by a Board of Editors to which only world-class experts may be appointed. Boards of Editors are extended to ensure that all niches are appropriately covered. They are organized as follows: each Field Journal is chaired by the Field Chief Editor. Field Journals are composed of Specialty Journals and/or Specialty Sections each run by its own full editorial board, which is headed by a Specialty Chief Editor and composed of Associate and Review Editors. The tasks for each editorial role are well-defined, so that the assignments are evenly distributed and the review process is as efficient as possible.



Frontiers is building up a community system that aims at serving the needs of all research-related communities, ranging from scholars to the public and various types of organizations. The services covered span from event organization to job offers, and purchase of research material, with many more to be introduced soon.


Frontiers is a platform for truly cross-disciplinary collaborations, which is best realized by one of Frontiers’ key features: cross-listing. Since a Specialty can be home to articles stemming from more than one field, when submitting a tier 1 manuscript authors are required to choose the most appropriate field among those that cover the Specialty they are submitting to. This way, if the article rises to the next tier, it will score to the field selected by the author. The purpose of cross-listing is to provide a non-imposing structure that is naturally shaped by authors and helps research knowledge to merge more fluently than ever before.



The Frontiers taxonomy divides academic research into domains constituting the highest level (tier 3) of the taxonomy: Science, Medicine and Technology. Within each domain a number of fields are covered, e.g. Science contains Neuroscience, Cell Science, Physiology, etc. Each field is sub-divided into a number of specialties. Those specialties can be associated with multiple fields, allowing cross-listing of research articles and other content. All domains are represented in the user-friendly navigation bar of the Frontiers IT platform, which is designed to encourage and maximize interdisciplinary exchanges to a point never experienced before in the academic world.



Frontiers’ e-books are bundled collections of Frontiers Research Topics, Frontiers Themes or Focused Reviews, available for download for a service fee.


Browsable e-magazines of past issues of the Field Journal Frontiers in Neuroscience are available for download for a service fee.

Equal Opportunity Publishing

Frontiers is a 4th generation publishing model, i.e., beyond restricted access, beyond open access and beyond universal access publishing models. Our equal opportunity publishing model is a blend of these widely accepted concepts and innovations, including open access, innovative reviews, democratic post-publication evaluation, tiered journals, community and service orientation, interdisciplinarity, free knowledge dissemination, research networking, and participative architecture.



Each Frontiers domain is composed of a number of fields, which constitute the middle level (tier 2) of the Frontiers taxonomy. Fields roughly represent large research communities such as, for instance, neuroscience (science domain), psychiatry (medicine domain), or bioengineering and biotechnology (technology domain). Each field is univocally assigned to only one domain; however specialties may be assigned to multiple fields and allow cross-listing.

Field Journal

Field Journals are headed by a Field Chief Editor and composed of a number of Specialty Journals and/or Specialty Sections. Only Field Journals publish the prestigious tier 2 article types, i.e., Focused Reviews and Frontiers Commentaries. These articles represent the best research in a field as judged by numerous experts in the academic community. Besides, Field Journals also publish tier 1 articles submitted to their Specialty Sections.

Frontiers Commentary

Similar to Focused Reviews, a Frontiers Commentary is a prestigious, tier 2, invitation-only commentary that emphasizes an outstanding discovery which was previously published as a Frontiers Original Research Article and was selected by the Frontiers Evaluation System.

Frontiers Media SA

Frontiers Media operates the open-access publishing on an author-pay business model, but has a commercial mandate to develop multiple revenue streams that can be used to support open-access publishing, as well as a technology mandate to ensure that scientists benefit from cutting edge IT technologies.

Focused Review

A Focused Review is a prestigious, tier 2, invitation-only article that highlights an outstanding discovery which was previously published as a Frontiers Original Research Article and was selected by the Frontiers Evaluation System.


Independent Review

The Independent Review is the first of the two phases composing Frontiers full reviews. In this phase, Review Editors individually review a manuscript according to a standardized review template provided by Frontiers and submit their Independent Review Reports, after which the Associate Editor activates the Interactive Review.

Interactive Review

The Interactive Review is the second of the two phases composing Frontiers full reviews. It is activated by the Associate Editor once all Review Editors submitted their Independent Review Reports. For short reviews, the Interactive Review is immediately activated. In this phase, authors and Review Editors can interact with each other through real-time comments in the discussion forum.


Journal Series

The Frontiers Journal Series is an interdisciplinary tiered set of open-access online journals, covering an increasing number of domains, fields and specialties. At present, Frontiers journals can be either specialty journals (publishing tier 1 articles) or field journals (publishing tier 1 articles in so-called “specialty sections” and the prestigious tier 2 articles in the field section).



The Frontiers platform is the heart of the whole Frontiers system. It employs the latest Internet technologies in terms of analytics, interactivity, integration and functionalities in general. Browsing through the immense content of the Frontiers pages has never been so easy: pass the cursor over the domain bar to navigate across fields and specialties, and select the Journal or Community tab to switch between the content of the journal series and the community pages. The platform is continuously evolving to bring users the latest features in article management and community features, such as event management, job postings and much more.


Research Networking

Thanks to the participative architecture of the Frontiers platform, users are provided with professional networking and advanced collaboration tools. The variety of integrated services and interdisciplinary fields covered by the platform is continuously growing, and constitutes a one-of-a-kind demonstration of research networking.

Research Topics

Research Topics are one of Frontiers’ most powerful tools to foster cross-disciplinary communication, and they have become a popular trademark of the Frontiers Journal Series. Research Topics are a collection of at least ten articles of any tier 1 article type, centered on a hot topic in a particular research area, making them a very effective method for gathering the key knowledge around a topic and bringing focus to it.



Specialties compose the lowest level (tier 1) of the Frontiers taxonomy. They are independent from fields and free to float across the various Frontiers fields that are relevant to them, because they reflect the interdisciplinary, cross-listed nature of academic research: more and more often, research covers interdisciplinary topics and crosses the border of an academic field, sometimes even of a domain. In this sense, Frontiers fields can be regarded as umbrellas that house specialties. Specialties are unique, with one journal or section homepage and one board of editors, and composed of experts from either of the fields relevant to them. Any time a new Field Journal is launched, it may contribute new aspects to an already existing Specialty Journal or Section. Existing specialties cannot be duplicated in any new field; therefore, experts from the new field are integrated into the editorial board of this specialty as Associate and Review Editors and, if necessary, a further Specialty Chief Editor is appointed (which might be the case if the Specialty extends to another domain). This creates an integrative and synergistic publishing structure by fostering interdisciplinary contributions and exposing specialties present in different fields to a much wider audience.

Specialty Journal

Specialty Journals are highly successful tier 1 specialties that have reached a sustainable number of articles per month. Only when this threshold is reached, articles are published under the specialty name, e.g., Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Specialty Section

While a specialty matures, it is fostered as a Specialty Section, which becomes a Specialty Journal of its own, once a sustainable number of articles is published per month. Specialty Sections operate exactly like Specialty Journals – with their own homepage and full board of editors – the only difference being that the related articles are cited with the name of the Field Journal, e.g., Frontiers in Pharmacology.



Themes are dedicated to a hot topic of public interest. Contributions to themes span from research highlights, to industry overviews and funding opportunities. At present, they are distinctive of the Field Journal Frontiers in Neuroscience (the first Field Journal, which was launched in 2007).


The Frontiers Journal Series is a tiered series of journals, in which all accepted articles are initially published in the first tier. Following the Frontiers Evaluation System, the most outstanding articles can progressively climb up the Frontiers Tiering System while addressing an increasingly wider audience. The tiering levels are based on the Frontiers taxonomy, so that tier 1 publishes articles addressing Specialty audiences, tier 2 publishes articles addressing Field audiences, tier 3 publishes articles addressing Domain audiences and tier 4 is the ultimate distillation of the most relevant and excellent research written for public understanding.

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