For Authors

Authors provide scientific content and are what make a journal exist in the first place. Together with our partner Oxford University Press (OUP) and thanks to the hard work of our editors, there are a series of initiatives which we do to make sure that authors have a smooth experience during the submission process, they get recognized for their contributions as well as that articles published in FEMS journals receive the attention they deserve.

Most importantly, as not-for-profit organisation we use income from our FEMS journals to fund grants, awards, events, and projects. Therefore, by publishing your research with our journals you invest in science and support the global microbiology community.

Listed below is a series of initiatives that FEMS and OUP do to support authors. These are related to promotion & recognition, submission, and peer review of articles. Full journal policies and Instruction to Authors for all journals can be seen on the FEMS journals Portal.

Promotion and recognition of FEMS articles

Upon submission of articles

Related to peer review


FEMS Webinars

Our hugely successful FEMS Webinar series was developed to offer scientists the opportunity to discuss recent results published in FEMS journals while being unable to travel at conferences during the COVID-19 outbreak. Topics of FEMS Webinars are often related to Thematic Issues in FEMS journals.

The first FEMS Webinar on the Sponge Microbiome was organized in collaboration with the journal FEMS Microbiology Ecology:

Check on the FEMS Webinar page for regular updates. Recording of FEMS Webinars are posted on our YouTube channel.

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Presentation of articles in the #FEMSmicroBlog

The #FEMSmicroBlog promotes articles by presenting results in a brief text without scientific jargon, so that everyone with an interest in the topic can immediately realize their relevance.

Additionally, the #FEMSmicroBlog aims at giving our authors and the community a voice. For example, during the COVID-19 outbreak we started a section dedicated to how researchers adapted to home confinement.

We have 7 different sections in the #FEMSmicroBlog:

  • #FascinatingMicrobes, in which bloggers explain the science behind a paper and highlights the significance and broader context of a recent finding
  • #TheCulturePlate, in which we give a voice to our network through personal accounts, views, opinions, and interviews
  • #MicrobiologyEvents, in which we present events and meetings relevant to our network
  • #MicrobiologyIsEverywhere,  in which we highlight the global relevance of microbiology and give a voice to our global network
  • #HistoryOfMicrobiology, in which we present exciting stories and lesser-known facts about the history of this fascinating subject.
  • #MeetTheIndustry – highlights industry companies involved in microbiology
  • #MicrobiologyInArt – shares examples of microbiology in art
Illustrations for the #FEMSmicroBlog by Eliza Wolfson

Browse some blog entries:

Do you want to be a guest contributor?
The #FEMSmicroBlog welcomes external bloggers, writers and SciComm enthusiasts. Get in touch if you want to share your idea for a blog entry with us!

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Social media promotion by and for microbiologists

The Journal Social Media Editors (JSMEs) are a team of active microbiology researchers working to keep our community up to date about the latest articles and collections from the FEMS journals though the FEMS social media accounts. Each JSME is assigned to one of our journals, and they keep up-to-date with the papers in the latest journal issue.

Their role is to select the papers of most interest to our community and create social media posts on Facebook and Twitter to inform our followers about new research. The JSME team also organize around awareness days, online events, and we help them to develop and share their own science communication work. Learn more about JSMEs and other projects on the Volunteers Page.

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Journal awards for best article or best presentation

Article Awards

The FEMS journals and Oxford University Press recognise the best articles submitted to our journals, with each journal awarding a prize of €1,000 anually. The award also includes special marketing devoted to the winning articles to promote the author(s) research. All authors are automatically considered for the award upon submission of their papers. Browse all the winners of FEMS Article Awards (2017-present) here.

Poster & Oral Presentation Prizes

The FEMS journals award Poster & Oral Presentation Prizes to the best presenters at a range of microbiology events. Browse all winners of Poster & Oral Presentation Prizes (2017-present) including interviews here.

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Special and Thematic Issues

Articles are collected into Issues to ensure that the ‘right’ audience get to read them. These are organised into Thematic Issues of FEMS Titles, Virtual Thematic Issues with articles from different FEMS Journals or collected in light of special occasions, as well as Joint Special Issues with FEMS Member Societies or members of the Publication Network.

Browse Thematic Issues of FEMS journals below:

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Open Access

At the start of January 2024, four of our journals (FEMS Microbiology Ecology, FEMS Microbiology Reviews, Pathogens and Disease and FEMS Yeast Research) have become fully Open Access (OA). This means all manuscripts accepted for publication in these journals will be published Open Access. These articles will therefore be subject to an Article Processing Charge (APC) of £2500, similar to our other two fully Open Access journals microLife (£2500) and FEMS Microbes (£1700). Authors (or their funders or institutions) need to pay this APC unless the corresponding author belongs to an organization with an agreement with our publisher Oxford University Press (OUP). You can find out if your institution is participating here.

We do not want authors to avoid submitting their work because of financial barriers, and so have put in place several waiver and discount policies:

  • Members of FEMS member societies receive a 20% discount.
  • Recent authors who have published a paper in FEMS Microbiology Ecology, FEMS Microbiology Reviews, Pathogens and Disease and FEMS Yeast Research in 2022 or 2023 also receive a 20% discount.
  • Authors from countries included in the OUP Developing Countries Initiative will have the APC waived automatically.

Corresponding authors will be able to claim those discounts and waivers through the submission process. If none of those apply to you and the APC is still a barrier to your submission, we would encourage you to apply for a waiver request. Waiver requests should be directed to, and will be assessed entirely independently of the peer review process.

We are excited to make the move to Open Access, because we believe making high quality science freely available to anyone to read anywhere in the world supports the advancement of our discipline. More information is available in our FAQs.

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FEMS Microbiology Letters: free-to-publish subscription journal

Despite believing that going OA is the right thing to do, we also know that not all authors can access funding for APCs. While we wait for funding models to catch up, FEMS is keeping FEMS Microbiology Letters, a broad scope microbiology journal, as a free-to-publish subscription journal, to ensure that everyone in our community can publish their sound science in a not for profit FEMS journal, regardless of their ability to access funds for APCs.

FEMS Microbiology Letters will continue to offer open access as an option to authors if they choose to publish OA, as it does now.

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Read and Publish agreements

Our publisher Oxford University Press has a growing number of Read and Publish agreements with institutions and consortia which provide funding for open access publishing. This means authors from participating institutions can publish open access, and the institution may pay the charge. Find out if your institution is participating.

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Developing Countries Initiative

Authors from developing countries are offered a full waiver on the open access charge when publishing in fully open access journals. This applies to countries and regions in the ‘Free access’ and ‘Reduced access’ lists in the Developing Countries initiative. Click here to view the lists of eligible countries and regions.

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Membership discount

The FEMS journals have a discounted rate for Open Access fees for all authors who are a member of a FEMS affiliated Society or the European Academy of Microbiology. You can get the discount by simply indicating your membership in the cover letter accompanying the submission. The discount is valid for all FEMS journals. The discounted prices are given here.

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Recent authors discount

Authors who have published a paper in FEMS Microbiology Ecology, FEMS Microbiology Reviews, Pathogens and Disease and FEMS Yeast Research in 2022 or 2023 receive a 20% discount on the APC in these journals.

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Scooping protection

The Open Access journals FEMS Microbes and microLife have a scooping protection policy in place as a service for authors and to support reproducibility of science in general. Manuscript that are considered for publication in these FEMS journals will not be rejected if after submission another research group publishes the main findings (or part thereof) in a journal article or by posting in a preprint server.

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Format-free submissions

Formatting a manuscript can be time consuming and we are therefore minimizing the style requirements for submissions. Several of our journals no longer have strict word counts, and manuscripts can now be submitted to FEMS Microbes, FEMS Microbiology Ecology, FEMS Yeast Research, Pathogens and Disease and microLife without being formatted into the specific journal style.

Manuscripts can be submitted in any common file type that can be easily opened and read by others. A single PDF or Word file is acceptable.  After initial review, authors may be asked to resolve some journal style attention points.

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Transparent peer review in FEMS Microbes

In an effort toward open science and more transparency in the peer-review process, FEMS Microbes offer the option of a Transparent Peer Review. Authors have the possibility to publish the peer-review reports and their answers as supplementary material, and reviewers can disclose their name on the article. Both choices are optional and independent from each other.

Reviewers need to be aware that the decision to publish reviews lies with the author: by agreeing to review for FEMS Microbes, reviewers consent to the publication of their review either with or, if preferred, without disclosure of their name. Editors need to be aware that their decision letters will get published after acceptance when authors choose to publish the peer-review reports.

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Additionally, FEMS Microbes recognises the work done by ‘co-reviewers’ during the peer-review process. For invited reviewers, this means that they are formally allowed to seek help from a ‘co-reviewer,’ for example an excellent Ph.D. student or Postdoc of the invited reviewer. Both invited reviewer and ‘co-reviewer’ will be asked to be co-signatories of the jointly produced peer review report.

For more information, see Instruction to Authors for FEMS Microbes.

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General and Academy Submission routes for microLife

As Academy journal, microLife offers Fellows of the European Academy of Microbiology (EAM) the possibility to submit their work through the Academy Submission route for one manuscript a year.

Fellows of the EAM opting for the Academy Submission of a manuscript seek two independent reviews by experts in the field, send them the Reviewer Form and revise manuscript accordingly. Final approval by each reviewer is needed before submitting the revised manuscript to Editors-in-Chief of microLife through the online submission portal.

A submission workflow for microLife is given below. In both routes solid, independent peer review is guaranteed, with rules to avoid conflict of interest of reviewers, obligation to sign the Reviewer Form, and sharing all versions of a revised manuscript. The end decision on a manuscript submitted to microLife lies with the Editors-in-Chief, who have the option to invite additional external reviewers.

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For more information, see Instruction to Authors for microLife.

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Double-anonymised peer review in FEMS Microbiology Letters

In an effort to improve diversity, inclusion, and equity of publishing in FEMS Microbiology Letters, as well as to reduce unconscious biases, the journal introduced from December 2021 a double-anonymised peer review workflow. Identity of authors will be concealed throughout the peer review process.

This will allow reviewers to focus on the scientific content of papers, maintaining the high standards the FEMS journals are known for. Authors will need to ensure that any identifying information is removed from the main manuscript files.

More information is available on the FEMS Microbiology Letters website.

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Priority papers in Pathogens and Disease

Researchers with a manuscript that requires fast publication (e.g. reports on outbreaks, new treatments for an ongoing health emergency, findings significantly different from previously published high impact research) can choose to submit a Priority paper in Pathogens and Disease (limited to 3000 words and 3 figures).

The editorial board will quickly forward the manuscript to reviewers or reject it within 48 hours of submission and we guarantee a decision within 21 days. Before submission, it is advisable to make an enquiry to the editorial office ( to ascertain whether a paper would be suitable as a Priority paper.

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Consultative Peer Review in Pathogens and Disease

The aim of “Consultative Peer Review” is to provide clear and unequivocal feedback to authors to ensure a smooth revision process. The editor will solicit the opinion of at least two expert reviewers and will carefully summarize the key points of the reviewers’ comments before relaying the feedback to the authors.

See below an explanation video of Editor-in-Chief of Pathogens and Disease Willa Huston for Peer Review Week 2019:

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FEMS Journals and Open Access

Embracing an Open Future

All but one of the FEMS journals are now fully open access (OA), with one journal, FEMS Microbiology Letters remaining a subscription journal with free-to-publish and OA options. Open access is key to supporting the FEMS mission of disseminating high quality research as widely as possible: when high quality, peer reviewed sound science is open access, anyone, anywhere in the world with an internet connection, can read it.

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