Research elements

Publish data, software, materials and methods in brief, citable articles.

View the list of supporting journals

Some elements of the research cycle deserve more attention than they usually get in traditional journals.

Think data, software, materials and methods – what happens to these when a research project is finished?

Research Elements articles

Research Elements articles:

  • Are complementary to original research articles
  • Are easy to prepare and submit
  • Are peer-reviewed and will be indexed
  • Enable other researchers to cite and re-use information
  • Make new types of information discoverable
  • Have a quick and transparent editorial process

Research Elements | Publish more of your research process

Research Elements can be applicable to multiple research areas; a number of multidisciplinary journals welcome submissions from a large number of subject areas. Sometimes these elements belong within a single field, so a number of journals support the new article formats within the scope of a specific discipline.

Research Elements make it possible to share the essential details of research without spending time writing up a full traditional paper. All authors need to do is provide contextual information on the relevant data set, method, software code or other element to the participating journal of their choice. More information about submitting a Research Elements article can be found in the Guide for Authors on participating journal homepages

Now researchers can get credit for these important parts of their research. Research Elements are new peer-reviewed article formats that focus on single elements of the research cycle: data, software, and materials and methods. Readers can easily find and cite new types of information to apply to their research and reproduce results, keeping the whole research cycle alive.


Data articles focus on research data collected throughout the research cycle. They enable researchers to easily share a brief, thorough description of their data, helping others discover and reuse the data and reproduce results. For a number of journals, researchers can co-submit their data article to Data in Brief together with the original research article.

Data in Brief

Chemical Data Collections


software article

Software articles describe significant software and/or code in full, including relevant post-publication version updates and/or provide an impact overview that describes the application of the software to research and the published outputs. Software articles capture all metadata needed to help others apply the software in their own research.


Software Impacts

materials methods

Materials and methods articles provide details of the methods and protocols developed and materials used during a research cycle. They recognize the time researchers spend customizing methods and creating original laboratory resources. For a number of journals, researchers can co-submit their method article to MethodsX together with the original research article.



Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces

International Journal of Surgery Protocols

Stem Cell Research

materials methods

video article

In a video article, authors have the ability to present their scientific findings through visual media. The video(s) provide the viewer with some, or all, of the elements supporting the research findings in a visual rather than written way

Fungal Genetics and Biology

The Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology


Evolving Articles


Epidemics invites submissions to its new section of evolving articles. Very often a primary research article that analyses epidemiological data of an unfolding epidemic outbreak using epidemic modeling is submitted and published quickly. But as the outbreak progresses, the reported findings need to be updated and the primary article gets outdated

Other Research Elements

micro articles

Results in Physics has introduced Microarticles. Microarticles allow researchers to publish interesting data that have not grown into a full piece of research. Or to share a follow-up research result to a previously published paper. Or a description of a failed experiment, which provides a great new insight.

The Visual Journal of Emergency Medicine publishes Visual Case Discussions. These are image-based case discussions representing the entire core curriculum and subspecialties of clinical emergency medicine. Each image-based case will include a question and answer set.