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Aims and Scope

Visual Neuroscience is an online-only international journal devoted to the publication of experimental and theoretical research on biological mechanisms of vision. A major goal of publication is to bring together in one journal a broad range of studies that reflect the diversity and originality of all aspects of neuroscience research relating to the visual system.

Contributions may address molecular, cellular or systems level processes in either vertebrate or invertebrate species. The journal publishes work based on a wide range of technical approaches, including molecular genetics, anatomy, physiology, psychophysics and imaging, and utilizing comparative, developmental, theoretical or computational approaches to understand the biology of vision and visuo-motor control. The journal also publishes research seeking to understand disorders of the visual system and strategies for restoring vision. Studies based exclusively on clinical, psychophysiological or behavioral data are welcomed, provided that they address questions concerning neural mechanisms of vision or provide insight into visual dysfunction.

Article Types

Research Article

These articles describe original research. They include the experimental methods employed, a description of the experimental results and an interpretation of the results and how they impact the field. The format of this article includes an abstract, an introduction, materials and methods, a discussion, references, and figures and tables.

Brief Communication

This is a shortened version of the research article, typically devoted to specific parts of a scientific problem.

Book Review

These articles are critical assessments of the content, value and importance of recently published scientific books that impact the visual neurosciences.

Review Article

These articles assess the literature in a particular area of visual neuroscience. Important contributions to the field are described and discussed. Major advances and significant gaps in our knowledge are described. Debates and controversies within the field, as well as future directions should be addressed.


These are commentaries authored by prominent researchers in the field. Perspectives may highlight the significance, influence and wider implications of work in their field.


Hypotheses should be innovative and challenging. They should be original and significantly advance the field. Hypotheses should be well-expressed, rational and scientifically solid. Although original results need not be included, the hypothesis must be supported by scientific concepts accepted by the field. A typical format includes a summary statement, introduction, hypothesis, relevant arguments, and conclusions.

Manuscript Preparation and Style

Concisely written papers are more likely to receive favorable review than those judged to be excessively long, however there is no explicit page limit. Manuscripts submitted as Brief Communications should normally occupy no more than 4 printed pages, figures included (approximately 13 manuscript pages).

Manuscripts must be in English, typed double-spaced, and submitted as .doc or .docx files. Allow margins of about 1" (20 mm), using a 5-space paragraph indent. Do not hyphenate words at the end of lines and do not justify right margins. Numbers should be spelled out when they occur at the beginning of a sentence; use Arabic numerals elsewhere. Abbreviations should be used sparingly and nonstandard abbreviations should be defined at their first occurrence.

Metric system (SI) units should be used. Manuscripts that do not conform to the style of Visual Neuroscience may be returned to the corresponding author without review. Authors of accepted manuscripts will be required to follow the instructions to authors.

Manuscript Elements and Order

Unless there are obvious and compelling reasons for variation (e.g. Review Articles, Brief Communications), manuscripts should be organized as follows:

Title page. The title should be concise, informative, and free of abbreviations, chemical formulae, technical jargon, and esoteric terms. This page should include (a) the full title of the article, (b) names and affiliations of all authors, (c) the name, mailing address, telephone and fax numbers, and E-mail address for editorial correspondence, (d) the address for correspondence and/or reprint requests if different from the foregoing address, (e) a short title of 50 characters or less, and (f) a list of the number of manuscript pages, number of tables, and number of figures.

Abstract and keywords page. The second page of the manuscript should include (a) the article's full title, (b) an abstract of no more than 300 words, and (c) up to 5 keywords associated with the content and major thrust of the article. The abstract should give a succinct account of the objective, methods, results, and significance of the research.

Introduction. This section begins on page 3 and should clearly state the objective of the research in the context of previous work bearing directly on the subject.

Materials and methods. This section should be brief but provide sufficient information to permit others to replicate the study. Pertinent details of species, apparatus and equipment, procedures and experimental design should be described.

Data from images. Methods of data acquisition, image processing, and figure preparation should be specified when images serve as the basis for quantitative data. This refers to optical, confocal, and CCD images as well as to images of gels, immunoblots, histological sections, etc. All experiments involving human subjects must be con ducted in accordance with principles embodied in the Declaration of Helsinki (Code of Ethics of the World Medical Association). Experiments involving animal subjects must conform to the principles regarding the care and use of animals adopted by the American Physiological Society and the Society for Neuroscience. The editor may refuse papers that provide insufficient evidence of adherence to these principles.

Results. The results should be presented clearly and concisely, using figures and tables to summarize or illustrate the important findings. Quantitative observations are often more effectively displayed in graphs than in tables.

Discussion. The discussion should summarize the major findings and explain their significance in terms of the objectives of the study and relationship to previous work. This section should present compact, clearly developed arguments rather than wide ranging speculation or uncritical collation of earlier reports.

Acknowledgments. Use a separate page to recognize the contributions of individuals and supporting institutions.

References. Visual Neuroscience uses the author–date reference style of the Journal of Physiology. This reference style can be downloaded using various citation/reference manager formats such as EndNoteRefWorks, as well as CiteThisForMe.

In the text, references should be cited as follows:

as shown by Herrick (1948)
Gordon et al., 1973)
(Buhl & Peichl, 1986; Gordon et al., 1987)

The alphabetical list of references begins a new page, and must be typed double-spaced. Each in-text citation must have a corresponding reference and vice versa. List works by different authors who are cited within the same parentheses in chronological order, beginning with the earlier work. Journal titles should not be abbreviated. Only published articles and articles in press should appear in this list. Responsibility for the accuracy of references cited lies with the authors. Brief examples:

Journal article BUHL, E.H. & PEICHL, L. (1986). Morphology of rabbit retinal ganglion cells projecting to the medial terminal nucleus of the accessory optic system. Journal of Comparative Neurology 253, 163-174. Book HERRICK, C.J. (1948). The Brain of the Tiger Salamander. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Chapter in an edited book BONDS, A.B. & DEBRUYN, E.J. (1986). Inhibition and spatial selectivity in the visual cortex: The cooperative neuronal network revisited. In Models of Visual Cortex, ed. Rose, D. & Dobson, V.G., pp. 292-300. Chichester, England: John Wiley & Sons.

For more than one work by the same author(s) published in the same year, use (Jones, 1986a,b) in text and likewise in the reference section.

Tables. Tables should be numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals and each should be typed double-spaced on a separate page. All tables are to be submitted as separate files. A short explanatory title and column headings should make the table intelligible without reference to the text. All tables must be cited and their approximate positions indicated in the text.

Figures and legends. The number of figures should be the minimum necessary to make the essential points of the paper. Figures should be composed to occupy a single column (8.3 cm) or two columns (17 cm). Diagrams and illustrations must have a professional appearance and be prepared to permit reduction. To assure legibility, letters, numbers, and symbols on figures should have a minimum height of 1 mm when reduced. Photomicrographs must include a calibration bar; if symbols are used on micrographs, they must contrast sufficiently with the background to be clearly visible when printed.

Each figure must be cited and its approximate position clearly indicated within the text. Figures must be numbered consecutively and be accompanied by a descriptive caption typed double-spaced on a separate page from the figure. The captions, collected at the end of the manuscript, should concisely describe the figure and identify any symbols and/or calibration bars.

Each figure must be submitted electronically as a separate file. Electronic versions of figures should be submitted as TIFF or EPS files at 100% of a suitable final size. Color images for print should be 300 dpi and prepared in RGB mode; halftone and grayscale figures should be 300 dpi; line artwork should be 1200 dpi. (Please note that each manuscript can have up to 200 MB of uploaded files, and that the LZW compression option in Adobe Illustrator is acceptable as well.)

Funding Statement

Authors must include a Funding Statement in their manuscript. Within this statement please provide details of the sources of financial support for all authors, including grant numbers, for example: “Funding Statement: This work was supported by the Medical Research Council (grant number XXXXXXX)”. Grants held by different authors should be identified as belonging to individual authors by the authors’ initials, for example: “Funding Statement: This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust (AB, grant numbers XXXX, YYYY), (CD, grant number ZZZZ); the Natural Environment Research Council (EF, grant number FFFF); and the National Institutes of Health (AB, grant number GGGG), (EF, grant number HHHH).”

Where no specific funding has been provided for research, you should include the following statement:

“Funding Statement: This research received no specific grant from any funding agency, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.”

Copyediting and Electronic PDF Proofs

The publisher reserves the right to copyedit manuscripts to conform to the style of Visual Neuroscience. The corresponding author will receive pdf proofs for final proofreading. No rewriting of the final accepted manuscript is permitted at the proof stage.