These must report preliminary research findings that are highly original, of immediate interest and are likely to have a high impact on the lab-on-a-chip community. Communications are given priority treatment, are fast-tracked through the publication process and appear prominently at the front of the journal in a dedicated Communications section.
The key aim of Communications is to present innovative chemical concepts with important implications. Authors should provide at the time of submission a short paragraph explaining why their work justifies urgent publication as a Communication. There is a strict three-page limit. Ideally, a Full paper in Lab on a Chip should follow each Communication.
These must represent a significant development in the particular field, and are judged according to originality, quality of scientific content and contribution to existing knowledge. Although there is no page limit for Full papers, appropriateness of length to content of new science will be taken into consideration, and Lab on a Chip recommends a maximum of five figures and five tables.
Technical innovations are the technical equivalent of Communication articles, but rather than dealing with innovative scientific subjects, they deal with innovative technologies. Please note that this is not a new name for Technical notes but a new article type, therefore they will need to meet the following criteria.
- Describe new and innovative technologies of immediate value to the lab on a chip, micro/nanofluidics or miniaturisation communities
- Offer novel technical insight/s to new and/or existing problems (Technical innovations not meeting these criteria will be returned to authors without review; incremental technical developments or simple improvements to instrumentation will not be considered.)
Technical innovations should be no longer than three-four journal pages and should clearly detail the innovative technology described and its potential value and benefit to the community.
These must be a critical evaluation of the existing state of knowledge on a particular facet of lab on a chip science; however, original work may be included. Simple literature surveys will not be accepted for publication. Potential review writers should contact the editorial office for a review proposal form before embarking on the writing of your review.
These are smaller, more focused versions of the critical and tutorial reviews on a well-defined, specific topic area covering approximately the last 24 months. Given topics should review work no more than 24 months old. Articles should cover only the most interesting/significant developments in that specific subject area. The article should be highly critical and selective in referencing published work.
One or two paragraphs of speculation about possible future developments may also be appropriate in the conclusion section. Frontier reviews should be brief, four journal pages are recommended (ca. 10 double spaced, typed A4 pages) and should contain no more than two or three tables and a minimal number of figures. Frontier reviews may also cover techniques/technologies that are too new for a full review or may address a subset of technologies available for a given area of research.
Methods articles may:
- apply innovative technologies
- involve innovative new use of an existing technology
- be more practical and thus warrant publication because of the potential for widespread application or use.
The focus of these articles should be on the procedure that solves a problem or produces a new result or capability and the validation of that procedure. Methods need to contain sufficient detail for easy replication, therefore authors are allowed up to four journal pages for these articles, should they be accepted.
These articles seek to disseminate useful and relevant methods and experimentation to assist educators within this sector, develop and improve the tools they already have for training and teaching students in lab-on-chip technologies. They are also intended to generate discussion with respect to wider education issues for the benefit of the community.
Articles should ideally be aimed at graduate and undergraduate teaching labs and share information about resourcing equipment, experimental design, student approaches to resourcing issues and experimentation and lessons learned. Authors should finish with a summary of the value of their approach, the benefits and problems as well as future issues that may be foreseen with respect to training the next generation of lab on a chip scientists.
These articles are intended to provide future directions for research in areas where significant problems/issues or questions need to be resolved for the benefit of the community and to advance the science.
These articles should focus on the major issues faced by the whole area of lab on a chip or specific subcategories within the area, such as single cell analysis. Authors are required to identify the issue/challenge stating why it is such a grand challenge and discuss the issues and need for resolution based on a critical evaluation of the relevant and specific literature. Authors should summarise through proposition of appropriate full or partial resolutions to the challenge and outlining both future directions for research and where collaborations with other scientific communities (for example, biologists) may help to speed resolution to the challenge.
Grand challenges may also focus entirely on the challenge alone and indicate with appropriate citation what the challenge is and why it needs resolution. In such cases the article may be no more than a single journal page if the author wishes (and to increase impact) although there is no limit to Grand challenge articles.