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Mission & scope

The human organism is an integrated network, where multi-component organ systems, each with its own regulatory mechanism, continuously interact to coordinate their function. Physiological interactions occur at multiple levels and spatio-temporal scales to produce distinct physiologic states, e.g. wake and sleep, consciousness and unconsciousness. Disrupting organ communications can lead to dysfunction of individual systems or collapse of the entire organism, as observed under clinical conditions such as sepsis, coma and multiple organ failure. Yet, despite its importance to basic physiologic functions, the nature of interactions between diverse organ systems and sub-systems, and their collective role in maintaining health is not known. Basic Physiology and clinical medicine widely employ a reductionist approach and traditionally consider health and disease through the prism of the structural organization and dynamics of individual organ systems Further, there are no adequate analytic tools and theoretical framework to probe these interactions.

Despite the vast progress and achievements in systems biology and integrative physiology in the last decades, we do not know the basic principles and mechanisms through which diverse physiological systems and organs dynamically interact and integrate their functions to generate a variety of physiologic states at the organism level.

Frontiers in Network Physiology aims to address this fundamental question. In addition to defining health and disease through structural, dynamical and regulatory changes in individual physiological systems, the new conceptual framework of Network Physiology focuses on the coordination and network interactions among diverse organ systems and sub-systems as a hallmark of physiologic state and function.

Novel concepts and approaches derived from recent advances in network theory, coupled dynamical systems, statistical and computational physics, signal processing and biological engineering show promise to provide new insights into the complexity of physiological structure and function in health and disease, bridging sub-cellular level signaling with inter-cellular interactions and communications among integrated organ systems and sub-systems. These advances form first building blocks in the methodological formalism and theoretical framework necessary to address the problems and challenges in the field of Network Physiology.

This new field integrates empirical and theoretical approaches across disciplines with the aim to understand in different contexts, from extensive data analysis and modeling to the clinical practice, how diverse physiological systems and sub-systems dynamically interact to produce health and disease. Researchers involved in the field have broad range of backgrounds from physics and applied mathematics to neuroscience, physiology and medicine, covering a range of physiological systems from the cellular to the organ level. 

The field involves also the development of novel biomedical device platforms for synchronized high-frequency recordings from multiple physiological systems in ICU/hospital and ambulatory environment, and a new kind of Big Data, the Human Physiolome, containing large-scale signals from multiple systems and an associated Atlas of hundreds of network maps representing physiological systems interactions during different states and clinical conditions. New machine learning and AI algorithms have to be developed to classify states, functions and conditions based on network physiology maps from populations of subjects. 

There are multiple sub-areas and directions in the field of Network Physiology:

• theory of networks of dynamical systems
• brain and neuronal dynamics
• tissues and cell assemblies
• pair-wise and network interactions of organ systems and sub-systems
• physiological interactions in coma and traumatic brain injury
• concussion
• cardiac arrest
• neurodegenerative disorders
• sleep disorders
• neonatal care
• advanced methods from non-linear dynamics to synchronization phenomena.

The new journal will address a diverse community across a broad range of disciplines and fields from basic physiology and clinical medicine to neuroscience, biomedical engineering , AI and applied math.

For more detail on the journal's mission see the Field Grand Challenge from Field Chief Editor Professor Plamen Ch. Ivanov The New Field of Network Physiology: Building the Human Physiolome

Frontiers in Network Physiology is member of the Committee on Publication Ethics.


  • Short name

    Front. Netw. Physiol.

  • Abbreviation


  • Electronic ISSN


  • Indexed in

    Google Scholar, DOAJ, CrossRef, CLOCKSS, OpenAIRE

Journal sections

Frontiers in Network Physiology is composed of the following Specialty sections:

The specialty sections of Frontiers in Network Physiology welcome submission of the following article types: Brief Research Report, Case Report, Clinical Trial, Correction, Data Report, Editorial, General Commentary, Hypothesis & Theory, Methods, Mini Review, Opinion, Original Research, Perspective, Review, Systematic Review, Technology and Code.

When submitting a manuscript to Frontiers in Network Physiology, authors must submit the material directly to one of the specialty sections. Manuscripts are peer-reviewed by the Associate and Review Editors of the respective specialty section.

Open access statement

Open access logo

Frontiers' philosophy is that all research is for the benefit of humankind. Research is the product of an investment by society and therefore its fruits should be returned to all people without borders or discrimination, serving society universally and in a transparent fashion.

That is why Frontiers provides online free and open access to all of its research publications. For more information on open access click here.

Open access funder and institutional mandates

Frontiers is fully compliant with open access mandates, by publishing its articles under the Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC-BY). Funder mandates such as those by the Wellcome Trust (UK), National Institutes of Health (USA) and the Australian Research Council (Australia) are fully compatible with publishing in Frontiers. Authors retain copyright of their work and can deposit their publication in any repository. The work can be freely shared and adapted provided that appropriate credit is given and any changes specified.


Each Frontiers article strives for the highest quality, thanks to genuinely collaborative interactions between authors, editors and reviewers, who include many of the world's best scientists and scholars. Frontiers is well aware of the potential impact of published research both on future research and on society and, hence, does not support superficial review, light review or no-review publishing models. Research must be certified by peers before entering a stream of knowledge that may eventually reach the public - and shape society. Therefore, Frontiers only applies the most rigorous and unbiased reviews, established in the high standards of the Frontiers Review System. Furthermore, only the top certified research, evaluated objectively through quantitative online article level metrics, is disseminated to increasingly wider communities as it gradually climbs the tiers of the Frontiers Tiering System from specialized expert readership towards public understanding.

Frontiers has a number of procedures in place to support and ensure the quality of the research articles that are published:

  • 2023

    • Editorial Board Quality

      • Only leading experts and established members of the research community are appointed to the Frontiers Editorial Boards. Chief Editors, Associate Editors and Review Editors are all listed with their names and affiliations on the Journal pages and are encouraged to publicly list their publication credentials.

    • Associate Editor Assignment Quality

      • Associate Editors oversee the peer-review and take the final acceptance decision on manuscripts. Editorial decision power is distributed in Frontiers, because we believe that many experts within a community should be able to shape the direction of science for the benefit of society.

      • Submitting authors can choose a preferred Associate Editor to handle their manuscript, because they can judge well who would be an appropriate expert in editing their manuscript. There is no guarantee for this preference of choice, Associate Editors can decline invitations any time, and the handling Associate Editor can also be over-ridden by the Chief Editor before she/he is invited to edit the article or at any other stage.

      • Associate Editors are mandated to only accept to edit a manuscript if they have no conflicts of interest (as stated here and in their review invitation and assignment emails).

      • Should it become clear that the Associate Editor has a conflict of interest or is unable to perform the peer-review timely and adequately, a new Associate Editor can be assigned to the manuscript by the Chief Editor, who has full control to intervene in the peer-review process at any time.

      • The Associate Editor initially checks that the article meets basic quality standards and has no obvious objective errors.

    • Reviewer Assignment Quality

      • The Associate Editor can then personally choose and invite the most appropriate reviewers to handle the peer-review of the manuscript, including Review Editors from the board or external reviewers.

      • The Associate Editor is aided in this by the Frontiers Collaborative Review Forum software and interface, which suggests the most relevant Review Editors based on a match between their expertise and the topic of the manuscript. Associate Editors can however choose any reviewer they deem adequate.

      • After a certain time frame and if no reviewers have in the meantime been assigned to the manuscript, the Frontiers platform and algorithmic safety-net steps in and invites the most appropriate Review Editors based on constantly updated and improved algorithms that match reviewer expertise with the submitted manuscript.

      • Review Editors and reviewers are mandated to only accept to review a manuscript if they have no conflicts of interest (as stated here and in their review invitation and assignment emails).

      • Frontiers algorithms are constantly fine-tuned to better match Review Editors with manuscripts, and additional checks are being coded into the platform, for example regarding conflicts of interest.

      • Should it become clear that a particular reviewer has a conflict of interest or is unable to perform the peer-review timely and adequately, he or she shall be replaced with an alternative reviewer by the Associate Editor or the Chief Editor, who will be alerted and has full control to intervene into the peer-review at any time.

    • Independent Review Stage Quality

      • In the Independent Review Stage the assigned reviewers perform an in-depth review of the article independently of each other to safeguard complete freedom of opinion.

      • The reviewers are aided by an online standardized review questionnaire – adopted to article types – with the goal to facilitate rigorous evaluation according to objective criteria and the Frontiers Review Guidelines.

    • Interactive Review Stage Quality

      • The Associate Editor assesses the reviews and activates the “Interactive Review” – informing the authors of the extent of revisions that are required to address the reviewers’ comments, and starting the Interactive Discussion Forum where authors and also the reviewers get full access to all review reports.

      • Manuscript and review quality at this stage are enhanced by allowing authors and reviewers to discuss directly with each other in real-time until they reach consensus and a final version of the manuscript is endorsed by the reviewers.

      • Reviewer identity is protected at this stage to safeguard complete freedom of opinion.

      • Reviewers can recommend rejection at this stage if their requests to correct objective errors are not being met by the authors or if they deem the article overall of insufficient quality.

      • Should a dispute arise, authors or reviewers can trigger an arbitration and will alert the Associate Editor, who can assign more reviewers and/or bring the dispute to the attention of the Chief Editor. The Associate Editor can also weigh in on the discussion and is asked to mediate the process to ensure a constructive revision stage.

    • Decision Stage Quality

      • The decision to accept an article needs to be unanimous amongst all reviewers and the handling Associate Editor.

      • The names of the Associate Editor and reviewers are disclosed on published articles to encourage in depth and rigorous reviews, acknowledge work well done on the article and to bring transparency and accountability into peer-review.

      • Associate Editors can recommend the rejection of an article to the Chief Editor, who needs to check that the authors’ rights have been upheld during the peer-review process, and who can then ultimately reject the article if it is of insufficient quality, has objective errors or if the authors were unreasonably unwilling to address the points raised during the review.

      • Chief Editors can at any stage of the peer-review step in to comment on the review process, change assigned editors, assign themselves as a reviewer and even as the handling editor for the manuscript, and therefore have full authority and all the mechanisms to act independently in their online editorial office to ensure quality.

    • Safeguards against Financial Conflicts of Interest

      • Only leading researchers acting as Associate Editors, who are not part of Frontiers staff, can make acceptance decisions based on reviews performed by external experts acting as Review Editors or reviewers. None have a financial incentive to accept articles, i.e. they are not paid for their role to act as Associate or Review Editors, and any award scheme is not linked to acceptances of manuscripts.

      • Chief Editors receive an honorarium if their specialty section or field reaches certain submission levels. However, this honorarium is based on the total number of submitted articles during a calendar year, and not the number of accepted articles. Therefore they also have no financial incentive to accept manuscripts.

    • Post-Publication Stage Quality

      • The Frontiers platform enables post-publication commenting and discussions on papers and hence the possibility to critically evaluate articles even after the peer-review process.

      • Frontiers has a community retraction protocol in place to retract papers where serious concerns have been raised and validated by the community that warrant retraction, including ethical concerns, honest errors or scientific misconduct.