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Research elements

Some elements of the research cycle deserve more attention than they usually get in original research articles published in traditional journals. When you complete your research, what happens to your data and your work on the methods or protocols, software, hardware or other research output? You can publish this specific element of your research in the form of a research elements article.

Research elements articles are brief, peer-reviewed articles that complement full research papers and are an easy way to receive proper credit and recognition for the work you have done. Research elements are research outputs that have come about as a result of following the research cycle – this includes things like data, methods and protocols, software, hardware and more.

Research elements articles:

  • Are easy to prepare and submit

  • Are subject to a peer review process

  • Are indexed

  • Receive a DOI

  • Are fully citable

  • Make your work more sharable, discoverable, comprehensible, reusable and reproducible

  • Can contain or link to associated raw data

Research Elements - Data

Research Elements journals

You can publish research elements articles in one of our dedicated Research Elements Journals:

Research elements articles can be published in any subject area, either in one of a number of journals which support the new article formats within the scope of a specific discipline, or in one of our multidisciplinary Research Elements journals. Information about submitting a research elements article can be found in the guide for authors on participating journal homepages

Why publish a research elements article?

  • They make it possible to share essential details of research without spending time writing up a full traditional paper.

  • It is quick and easy - 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

  • Researchers can get credit for these important parts of their research

  • 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 provide an easy channel for researchers to publish their datasets and receive proper credit and recognition for the work they have done. This is particularly true for replication data, negative datasets or data from intermediate experiments, which often go unpublished. Data article enable researchers to easily share a brief, thorough description of their data, and contain or link to relevant raw data in a repository, helping others discover, understand and reuse the data and reproduce results.

Methods and protocols

Methods and protocols articles provide details of the methods and/or protocols developed and materials used during a research cycle. They recognize the time researchers spend customizing methods and creating original laboratory resources. Not every method is novel enough to warrant a full research article, however, the customizations researchers make to methods, and the new materials they use, can be useful for others, saving them valuable time in developing their own approaches.


Software articles focus on research software, either that of dedicated  Research Software Engineers (RSEs) or researchers who have had to develop their own case specific software for use in their research. Software articles or Original Software Publications may describe significant software and/or code, including relevant post publication version updates and/or capture metadata needed to help others apply the software in their own research. They also may describe the impact the software has had on scientific research.


Hardware articles describe the design, build and/or customization of scientific hardware that has been used in research from complicated machinery to 3D printed tools. They make it possible for others to reproduce the hardware for use in their own research.

Lab resources

Lab Resource articles are short, structured articles detailing the establishment and characterization of new pluripotent stem cell lines, generated by SCNT and reprogramming or the establishment of genetically modified stem cell sub-lines. In both cases they are fully citable with their own DOI.

Other article types


In a video article, authors can 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. By using video articles, researchers can ensure video data from research gets the credit it deserves; share some or all elements of research findings in a visual way; and make the core message of the article easy to access. Video articles are easy to submit and subject to a quick and transparent peer review process.

Evolving Articles

Evolving Articles enable authors to update their initial article when more data becomes available. 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. With the ability to update the initial article, research can remain as relevant as possible.


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

Visual Case Discussions

Visual Case Discussions are image-based case discussions representing the entire core curriculum and subspecialties of clinical emergency medicine. Each image-based case includes a question and answer set.