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Research Topic Guidelines

What are Frontiers Research Topics?

Research Topics aim at creating an online dialogue on a focused research area, with manuscripts encompassing recent advancements from various groups, the latest methods, opinions, and more. It is an opportunity for you to highlight your research focus, intensify collaborations and drive the next research in your field.

As an example of a similar project on the “Structural biology for virus research”, here is the related Research Topic homepage and an e-book containing all contributions. This short video gives you a better overview on the potential of Frontiers Research Topics.

At Frontiers it is the Topic Editor, not the journal, who decides the scope of a topic. Much like an online conference, potential contributors then submit proposals for manuscripts rather than being invited. These manuscripts are subject to peer review. We require at least 10 contributions to comprehensively cover the selected field. Submissions can be any article type (e.g. original research, methods, hypothesis & theory, opinions, etc). A complete list can be found here.

All Frontiers publications are free to access (under a Creative Commons license). Like for other high-quality open access journals, this means that accepted manuscripts of certain article types are subject to a publishing fee. In the interest of helping researchers run their topics, the fees for Research Topic articles are considerably reduced. For a detailed list of our publishing fees, please see here.

Our IT platform makes launching and managing a Research Topic a straightforward process and you will have the full support of the Frontiers editorial office through every step.


Watch this short video for an overview of hosting a Frontiers Research Topic.

For your online proposal, everything you need is listed below:

  1. Topic Editors: You can host a Research Topic on your own but many of our most successful Topics were co-hosted by several researchers. Early-career scientists can co-host with a senior researcher to draw more attention.
  2. Title: A compelling and concise title.
  3. Description: Set up the scope of your Research Topic with a maximum of 500 words. Strive for encyclopedic coverage, considering a range of questions, theories, methods, areas of impact, historical, etc.
  4. Deadlines: 6-8 months is often the best time frame. Consider 2 months for abstract submissions and 4-6 for manuscript submissions.
  5. List of candidate contributors: Compile a list of researchers that you are planning to contact and to cover as many nuances of your Research Topic as you can think of. Ideally a Topic should receive at least 10-15 manuscripts. Please fill in this excel template.

If you would like suggest a topic, please click here. The proposal is subject to approval by the Specialty Chief Editor.

If you do not have a Frontiers account yet, you can quickly register here (for free, of course!). Co-editors will also need to register to serve as Topic Editors. Please note it’s very important for the Chief Editors to read the “About” and “Professional Expertise” tabs in your Frontiers profile. This will help in their decision-making


If you have already received a message asking you to contribute, you can do so easily. Simply submit your manuscript through the standard Frontiers manuscript submission, but be sure to tick the box that your submission is part of a Research Topic. Select the Research Topic you would like to contribute to and proceed through the next steps of the manuscript submission process.

If you have not been offered to contribute, your spontaneous submission is still highly encouraged! You should first submit an abstract (maximum one page) to the Topic Editor. You may do this through the very Research Topic homepage by clicking the button “Submit abstract.”

Following approval by the Topic Editor, you are welcome to submit the full manuscript. For a full listing of ongoing Research Topics, please see the journal links below. For author guidelines and manuscript instructions, click here.

If you have any questions, please contact us at: researchtopics@frontiersin.org

About Frontiers Research Topics


Frontiers Research Topics

With their unique mixes of varied contributions from Original Research to Review Articles, Research Topics unify the most influential researchers, the latest key findings and historical advances in a hot research area! Find out more on how to host your own Frontiers Research Topic or contribute to one as an author.

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