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Research Topic Guidelines


A Frontiers Research Topic is an online collection of articles that addresses a specific theme of research. The Frontiers platform provides a range of technology that fosters online dialogue around the theme, creating a community similar to a conference or workshop; it also provides optimal open-access distribution of the content from a dedicated web environment. Articles can be of any type, including those intended to foster debate and communication (commentaries, editorials, perspectives, etc.). With its focus on a cutting-edge field of research, built on technology that binds communities, the Frontiers Research Topic provides you and your network a high-impact vehicle for the dissemination of your research.

This short video gives you a better overview of Frontiers Research Topics. There are hundreds already published or in progress; one example to consult would be “Structural biology for virus research,” with its related Research Topic homepage and an e-book containing all contributions.



Frontiers Research Topics are open to researchers at all stages of their career, but the role of Guest Associate Editor (GAE) is intended for more senior scientists with some previous editorial experience. This is because the GAE, supported by a Journal Manager based in our Lausanne office, is directly involved in handling the peer review of submitted papers.

If you are a younger scientist and not quite ready to take the editorial lead of a Research Topic, we offer you a strong incentive to participate. If you manage to bring a more senior scientist on board as Guest Associate Editor, and if our Editor in Chief approves the topic, then Frontiers will waive the article-processing fee for one article that you submit to the Research Topic.

There is a short video available that provides an overview of hosting a Frontiers Research Topic.


Much like an online conference, potential contributors are first asked to submit a proposal for a manuscript. Once approved, these abstracts are then made available through the project page, which sets a dynamic that attracts other potential authors to submit their proposals. At Frontiers, all manuscripts are peer-reviewed as soon as they are received. Frontiers has built its reputation on the quality of its peer review, with a process that has been re- engineered to take the principles of open-access publishing into account. Frontiers peer review is rigorous, collaborative and transparent.

As a benchmark, we encourage Guest Associate Editors to publish ten contributions, which typically provides adequate comprehensive coverage of a given field. Submissions can be any article type (e.g. original research, methods, hypothesis & theory, opinions, etc.). A complete list can be found here.

Frontiers is a fully open-access publisher, using a standard Creative Commons license to define the rights for re-use, and covers its costs by invoicing an article-processing fee (APC) to authors. Participation in a Research Topic qualifies all authors for significant discounts (25%); and we have a sales team that can work with the Guest Associate Editors to identify industrial or private sponsors potentially interested in participating to offset some or all of these charges. There is no APC for those article types whose primary purpose is dialogue or debate within the scientific community (Editorials, General Commentaries, etc.). A detailed list of our publishing fees is available.

Research Topics can be sponsored through foundations, institutions or corporations. Our Media Kit is available for download for you and potential sponsors. For any questions contact us at sponsorships@frontiersin.org.

The launch and management of a Research Topic has been made intuitive and straightforward by our publishing platform; and you will have the full support of the Frontiers editorial office through every step.


For your online proposal, we would ask you to provide us with the following information:

  1. Topic Editors: We greatly encourage all those interested to consider finding co-hosts, which provides a group dynamic to the process. When appropriate, the Frontiers Research Topic can be the first editorial experience for some early-career researchers who have the opportunity to collaborate with senior colleagues.
  2. Title: A compelling and concise title.
  3. Description: The scope of your Research Topic should be described in 500 words or less. This scope should be broad, with a range of open questions, theories, methods, areas of impact and historical aspects.
  4. Deadlines: In our experience, 6-8 months is often the best time frame. Consider 2 months for abstract submission and 4-6 for manuscript submission.
  5. List of candidate contributors: We invite you to compile a list of researchers that you plan to contact in the aim to cover the full range of issues related to your Research Topic. Ideally, a Topic should receive at least 10-15 manuscripts. For your convenience, we provide an excel template.

You may suggest a topic here. The proposal is subject to approval by the Specialty Chief Editor.

If you do not yet have an account in the Frontiers Research Network, you should first quickly register here (for free, of course!). Co-editors will also need to register to serve as Topic Editors. Please note that in the approval process, it is very likely that the Frontiers Chief Editor will consult your profile, so please take the time required to adequately enter information in the "About" and "Professional Expertise" tabs in your Frontiers profile.


Please submit your manuscript through the standard process for Frontiers manuscript submission, but be sure to tick the box that your submission is part of a Research Topic. This will take you to a menu of open Research Topics, from which you should select your own. The subsequent steps of the manuscript submission process are identical to that for regular paper submissions.

If you have not been invited to contribute, we welcome your contribution. Please remember to first submit an abstract (maximum one page) to the Guest Associate Editor, which is done through the Research Topic homepage by clicking the button “Submit abstract.” Once your contribution is approved by the Topic Editor, you can submit your manuscript at any time. For your convenience, we provide below a full listing of ongoing Research Topics, as well as a link to author guidelines and manuscript instructions here.

We look forward to hearing from you. Please address all questions to: researchtopics@frontiersin.org

Frontiers Research Topics journal pages

Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences
Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
Frontiers in Built Environment
Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
Frontiers in Chemistry
Frontiers in Digital Humanities
Frontiers in Earth Science
Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Frontiers in Endocrinology
Frontiers in Energy Research
Frontiers in Environmental Science
Frontiers in Genetics
Frontiers in ICT
Frontiers in Immunology
Frontiers in Marine Science
Frontiers in Materials
Frontiers in Mechanical Engineering
Frontiers in Medicine
Frontiers in Microbiology
Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences
Frontiers in Neurology
Frontiers in Neuroscience
Frontiers in Nutrition
Frontiers in Oncology
Frontiers in Pediatrics
Frontiers in Pharmacology
Frontiers in Physics
Frontiers in Physiology
Frontiers in Plant Science
Frontiers in Psychiatry
Frontiers in Psychology
Frontiers in Public Health
Frontiers in Robotics and AI
Frontiers in Surgery

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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