The editorial office love working on Biology Letters, and we share some of the reasons as to why you should too!

Sumatran Orangutan

Biology Letters was launched in 2005 to address the needs of researchers whose work fitted the short-form article-type that we are renowned for. Over the last 20 years multiple similar journals have been launched to provide scientists with more options on where to submit. With so many choices available, why is Biology Letters a great one?   

Letters by name, letters by nature – a short format for high impact research

Our name “Biology Letters” reflects from the outset our raison d’etre – we are a home for novel and concise biological research. A study does not always need to be 15,000 words to be published in a prestige journal or to be considered as high impact. The research articles we publish are around 2,500 words and have time and again resonated with the scientific community through citations, downloads and Altmetrics (which measures impact on an article level). Some examples are: 

Discovery of facultative parthenogenesis in a new world crocodile”, published last year, with an Altmetric score of more than 3000, demonstrating its impact and reach. 

Human fine body hair enhances ectoparasite detection”, published in 2011, which has the highest Biology Letters Altmetric score of more than 5000 so far.

Herring gulls respond to human gaze direction”, published in 2019, which has Biology Letters’ third highest Altmetric score of more than 2200 so far.

All our articles are sent to our Press Office for dissemination to a global network of journalists, so you can be confident that your paper has a great chance of being widely seen.

Researchers who have an idea that can be conveyed concisely do well with our format. And if a tad more space is needed, we have increased our word count to 3500 words for research and opinion pieces as of the 1 January 2024. 

Give your research the best start

Up-and-coming early career researchers can encounter many pressures as they become established in their field. Time, money, resources… these can all be issues that are difficult to navigate. A journal can’t solve every challenge but our short-format can allow authors the ability to write-up high-quality studies quickly and get a swift decision. A portfolio of work and experience can therefore build up in a short space of time! Additionally, getting used to the publishing process can be daunting, at least at the beginning. Our concise format can get you into good writing habits as you begin publishing more work in different journals. 

In recent years we have listened to what early career researchers may need from us and what may be most beneficial to them. With this in mind, we launched our first Best Paper Competition aimed at precisely this audience. The pilot was so successful that we are launching this again in January 2024. Please check our website for more updates as they come in for your chance to enter.

As our 2023 winner, Joe Wynn, notes; “It’s always funny seeing how other people see you – and how their valuations of your work differ from your own – and it’s very rare that the papers I think are good that other people appreciate. To that end, I would always encourage people to be optimistic and positive when it comes to their research (including with regards to competitions!)”

Publishing and guiding

Our role as science publishers doesn’t begin and end with publishing articles. We provide guidance to scientists when it comes to understanding the publishing process and beyond. The internal team provide in-person workshops, webinars, helpful blog posts and more.  Those who attend gain insight into what the different terms and processes we bandy around mean. If you are interested in us providing outreach wherever you are, please contact our Author Engagement Officer Sophie Ferguson.

A journal like Biology Letters is a good place to begin your publishing career. We have worked with many researchers for many years – there is no question you can ask that would surprise us. Why not submit your next study to us and see for yourself!


Image credits:

An adult female Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii) at the Perth Zoo in Australia. Credit: Erica Cartmill.



  • Surayya Johar

    Surayya Johar