RSC Publishing



Soft Matter

1.0 Scope and Standards 

Soft Matter publishes reviews and important original research in the form of communications and articles covering the fundamental science of soft matter and complex fluids. We aim to provide a forum for the communication of generic science underpinning the properties and applications of soft matter. Papers that describe applications and properties of soft matter set in context to the relevant science are also welcomed, but emphasis should be on the science rather than on the applications and properties themselves. Techniques for the characterisation and study of these materials are included in the scope but are not a focus in themselves. 

Main research areas include: 

  • Bulk soft matter assemblies including polymers; colloids; gels; vesicles; emulsions; films; surfactants; micelles; suspensions; liquid crystals 
  • Soft nanotechnology and self-assembly including nanostructured polymeric matter; nanocomposites; molecular self-organisation, imprinting and recognition; supramolecular systems; encapsulation; self-assembled films and monolayers 
  • Biological aspects of soft matter including biomacromolecules and biopolymers; membranes; cells; soft tissues; biocomposites; biomimetic matter
  • Surfaces, interfaces, and interactions including thin films; Langmuir monolayers; wetting/dewetting; soft interfaces and their interfacial properties; dynamics; rheology and hydrodynamics; pattern formation and replication 
  • Theory, modelling, and simulation including soft matter dynamics in- and out-of-equilibrium; theoretical and computational models of the statistical thermodynamics of self-assembly in soft matter and biophysics     


2.0 Article types 

2.1 Communications 
Communications in Soft Matter contain novel scientific work of such importance and interest that rapid publication is required. Communications are concise and should not exceed four journal pages in length; they may be accompanied by Electronic Supplementary Information. Communications start with a brief unreferenced abstract and do not contain any section headings. A short justification statement must be included with the submission outlining why the work merits rapid publication. 

2.2 Full Papers 
Full Papers in Soft Matter present original high quality primary research that has not been previously published. Articles start with a brief unreferenced abstract and contain an introduction, results and discussion, experimental, and notes and references sections. 

2.3 Reviews
Reviews in Soft Matter are critical reviews of a topical and significant area of research. They are typically up to 6000 words in length (although they may be shorter) and include a short biography of up to 6 authors. No unpublished results should be presented in a Review. 

2.4 Tutorial Reviews
Tutorial reviews provide an essential introduction to a particular area of soft matter. The article should have particular appeal to younger researchers and established researchers seeking new fields to explore. Tutorial reviews should be typically up to 6000 words in length and include a short biography of up to 6 authors. No unpublished results should be presented in a Tutorial Review. 

2.5 Highlights
Highlights single out important new developments and explain the significance of the work to the broad, interdisciplinary Soft Matter audience. They may point out further urgent follow-up work and challenges that are still faced, and may be speculative in nature. No new work should be presented; these papers are intended to put existing work into perspective. Highlights are typically no longer than 2,000 words and include a short biography of up to 6 authors. 

2.6 Emerging Areas
Emerging Areas in Soft Matter are short, personal accounts of a potentially important and growing new field of research. They are typically up to 3,000 words in length and include a short biography of up to 6 authors. Reviews, Highlights and Emerging Areas are normally published by invitation of the Soft Matter Editorial Office. However, suggestions from authors are welcome and enquiries regarding the submission of these articles should be directed to the Editor. 

2.7 Opinions 
Opinions in Soft Matter are typically 2,000 words in length and provide a personal, often speculative, viewpoint or hypothesis on a topic of current interest to the scientific community. They may concern recent publications in Soft Matter or discuss any current hot topic from the authors point of view; provided that they are not defamatory to the work of others they can be controversial and stimulate counter-opinion. They can include a short biography of the author. Opinions on set topics may be invited by the Editorial Office but unsolicited pieces in response to papers already published are encouraged to promote scientific discussion.

2.8 Comments and Replies
Comments are a medium for the discussion and exchange of scientific opinions normally concerning material published in Soft Matter. Submitted Comments will normally be forwarded to the authors of the work being discussed, and these authors will be given the opportunity to submit a Reply for publication together with the Comment. For publication of a Comment or Reply, they must be judged to be scientifically significant and of interest to the Soft Matter readership. Comments should not be a personal attack on an individual or group of individuals and will undergo the usual peer-review process. Comments will not normally exceed a length of one printed journal page. Publication will take place only when all parties have had an opportunity to respond appropriately.