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Methods and Applications in Fluorescence

About the journal


Methods and Applications in Fluorescence is the forum for original research articles, review articles and technical notes in the area of fluorescence spectroscopy, imaging, fluorescent probes, labels and materials. The journal was founded in 2012 by David Birch (Strathclyde; UK), Yves Mely (Strasbourg; France) and Otto Wolfbeis (Regensburg; Germany). Its focus is on both methods and (advanced) applications. The following topics are representative of its coverage.

  • Spectroscopy: luminescence spectroscopy of biomolecules, of natural and synthetic fluorophores, fluorescence lifetime and polarization, resonance energy transfer (FRET), correlation spectroscopy, quenching, upconversion, plasmonic interactions, multiphoton excitation, single-molecule spectroscopy, laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy, advanced components and instrumentation, nanometry, etc.
  • Imaging: fluorescence microscopy, multi-photon microscopy, quantitative fluorescence microscopy (such as FLIM, FCS, FRAP, TIRF), single-molecule microscopy, super resolution microscopy (such as STED, PALM, STORM, GSD, SIM), 3D imaging; single plane illumination microscopy, in vivo fluorescence imaging; advanced devices and systems for imaging, etc.
  • Labels, probes and sensors: protein and DNA labels, intercalators, labels for neurotransmitters and hormones, probes for ions, luminescent chelates and metal— organic probes, bioconjugation, lanthanide fluorescence, fluorescent proteins; membrane and lipid probes, (molecular) chemical sensors and biosensors, enzyme probes, (bio)assays (diagnostic, sequencing, signalling, screening), etc.
  • Materials: nanomaterials including all kinds of dots, luminescent nanoparticles, nanotubes, clusters, luminescent polymers, lanthanide luminescence, etc.
  • The journal will not consider articles outlining routine uses of fluorescence, (for example, in detection), purely descriptive work, or synthesis without a demonstration of its use.

Why should you publish in Methods and Applications in Fluorescence?

  • Uniquely broad scope and audience:  bridging cutting-edge multidisciplinary research across all areas of fluorescence and the transition of those findings into new and innovative outcomes.
  • High standards: MAF has a selective editorial policy to ensure publication of only the highest quality research in terms of significance, originality and scientific rigour. All articles are rigorously peer reviewed by IOP Publishing’s global network of expert referees, supported by our Editorial Board.
  • Fast publication: We are committed to providing you with a fast, professional service to ensure rapid first decision, acceptance and publication. Once accepted, your article will be accessible to readers within 24 hours (with a citable DOI).
  • No publication fees: For articles published on a subscription basis.
  • Open access: Open access options are available on this title.
  • Pre-print friendly: You are welcome to share a preprint of your work on community pre-print platforms.
  • Free colour and multimedia: You can take advantage of MAF’s online medium by including features that may not be possible in a print journal. This can include colour, movies, simulations and other supplementary features at no extra cost. You can also have a video abstract.
  • Society owned: IOP Publishing is a leading society publisher in the physical sciences. Any profits generated are invested in the Institute of Physics, helping to support science research, education and outreach around the world.

Article types

Methods and Applications in Fluorescence welcomes submissions of the following article types:

  • Papers: reports of original research work; not normally more than 8500 words (10 journal pages).
  • Technical notes: short articles, not normally more than 2500 words (three journal pages), including descriptions of apparatus or techniques developed for a specific purpose, important experimental or theoretical points and novel technical solutions to commonly encountered problems. An important criterion for acceptance of these articles is usefulness. Authors may wish to consider the inclusion of supplementary technical data to increase the usefulness of these articles.
  • Review articles: these are intended to summarize accepted practice and report on recent progress in selected areas. The article may deal with a subject that is still developing so an exhaustive review is not feasible. Articles are meant to be timely rather than fully comprehensive, but should nevertheless include a general survey of the field and an introduction containing sufficient basic information to make the article interesting and informative for non-specialists. It should be between 12 000–18 000 words in length (including figures).
  • Tutorial articles: these provide background knowledge for an audience unfamiliar with the subject. They are aimed at junior researchers (PhD level) or more experienced researchers moving into a new field, and should give an introduction to the topic and be more didactic than a review article. Clarity is the main concern, therefore concrete examples, charts, diagrams, graphs and other figures are encouraged. Authors may want to consider including a video abstract to demonstrate practical aspects, and all but the most basic concepts should be explained.
    In order to ensure your article fulfils these criteria you should ask a graduate student or a researcher from another department to read it and provide suggestions for improvement before submission. Articles should focus on a topic of broad interest or wide usefulness. Tutorial articles should be no longer than 15 pages (12 000 words). The article title should also contain the word ‘Tutorial’.
  • New proposals for reviews and tutorials: authors who are considering writing a review article should submit a brief synopsis of their article consisting of a title, abstract and list of headings and sub headings to the Editorial office:

Special requirements

Our policy on conflicts of interest

Authors of all articles are required upon submission to disclose any potential conflict of interest (e.g. employment, consulting fees, industrial research contracts, stock ownership, equity interests, patent-licensing arrangements, honoraria, etc) in their covering letter. This information should also be included in an acknowledgements section in the manuscript. (If there are no conflicting interests, please include the following sentence: ‘The authors have declared that no conflicting interests exist.’)


Our policy for articles involving animal or human subjects

For articles where the research described involves the use of live animal subjects, authors should include a statement in their manuscript to confirm that all experiments were performed in compliance with the relevant laws and institutional guidelines, and also state the institutional committee(s) that have approved the experiments. All investigations involving animal experimentation must be conducted in accordance with the Guiding Principles for Research Involving Animals and Human Beings as adopted by The American Physiological Society, and with local statutory requirements.

For articles where human subjects have been involved, all investigations involving humans must be conducted in accordance with the principles embodied in the Declaration of Helsinki and in accordance with local statutory requirements. Articles relying on clinical trials should quote the trial registration number at the end of the abstract. IOP also encourages the registration of such studies in a public trials registry prior to publication of the results in the journal. A statement to this effect should be included in the manuscript.


Our policy on informed consent

Patients have a right to privacy that should not be infringed without informed consent. Identifying information, including patients’ names, initials, or hospital numbers, should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, and pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives written informed consent for publication. Informed consent for this purpose requires that a patient who is identifiable be shown the manuscript to be published. Authors should identify individuals who provide writing assistance and disclose the funding source for this assistance.

Identifying details should be omitted if they are not essential. Complete anonymity is difficult to achieve, however, and informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt. For example, masking the eye region in photographs of patients is inadequate protection of anonymity. If identifying characteristics are altered to protect anonymity, such as in genetic pedigrees, authors should provide assurance that alterations do not distort scientific meaning and should also make the journal Editor aware of this.

When informed consent has been obtained it should be indicated in the published article.


Please note, papers should include the following sections:

  • Title: a descriptive title which accurately, clearly and concisely reflects the emphasis and content of the paper. Words like ‘novel’ should not be used as it is self-evident that work that was not novel is not suitable for publication. Author list: this should only include as co-authors all those who have made substantial contributions to the work described in the article. The use of first names, initials and surnames (e.g. John R Smith) is preferred over the use of initials only with surnames (e.g. J R Smith) to avoid difficulties with indexing and helps with the unique identification of an author. Deceased persons who meet the criteria for inclusion as co-authors can also be included, with a footnote indicating the date of death. The author list should not include professional or official titles or academic degrees. At least one author must be marked as the author to whom reader correspondence regarding the published manuscript should be addressed.
  • Institution address: the author affiliation(s) listed should be the institution(s) where the work was conducted. If the present address of an author differs from that at which the work was done, that address should be given in a footnote.
  • Abstract: all papers must include an abstract which should include all the keywords which would help a reader locate your article from an abstracts database. It should also state clearly what you have achieved and what is described in your paper.
  • Introduction: papers must have introduction which covers the background and motivation for the work, including all relevant references. It should include a brief summary of the state of the art and demonstrate to the reader why your work makes a significant advance on current practice.
  • Questions should be answered such as: what has been done before in this field? What is the motivation for the work? How does your work enhance the state of current knowledge? For this you may have to give a brief outline to the reader on what the state of current knowledge is: to whom is it relevant? Why should people be interested in your work? Why should they read your paper?
  • Abbreviations and acronyms should be expanded, and symbols and letters used in equations must be specified unless they are completely unambiguous.
  • Experimental / methods section: this should contain a description of what you have done, any instrumentation and methods developed. Sufficient details should be included so that another researcher in the field can reproduce the work for themselves. If you are using a procedure or instrumentation which has already been published, please include a reference to that paper and do not include the full description in the current paper. The methods section should not read like a doctoral thesis, some details are obvious to other researchers, others are not.
  • Results: these should be clearly and logically presented with appropriate figures. Authors may wish to consider the inclusion of video or animation to enhance their article.
  • Discussion: a place to elucidate and discuss the results obtained. This is also an opportunity to compare your work with that of other authors, and to demonstrate why your work is an improvement on that already published.
  • Conclusion: this should sum up the main results of the paper in a clear and concise way. The conclusion should summarize the significant advances made and point out the implications for future research.
  • Figures, tables and diagrams: figures should be clear and legible with descriptive captions. They should be chosen carefully to avoid duplication. Using well drawn diagrams and clear figures along with well-written captions makes it easy for readers to understand your work. Figure captions should be written so that figures are understandable without constant reference to the text.
  • Reference list: this should give enough detail so that the reader will be able to locate a copy without too much difficulty. References should appear in numerical order in the order in which they appear in the text. We ask that the article title is included for all references.

Peer review

Methods and Applications in Fluorescence operates a double-anonymous peer review process, in which authors remain anonymous to the reviewers throughout the review process. Authors are responsible for anonymizing their manuscript before submitting their paper. A checklist (Chinese language version) is available to help authors with this process.

Our Publishing Support website provides more information on our reviewing process.

If an article is not accepted for publication in Methods and Applications in Fluorescence, we may offer the author the opportunity to transfer their submission to other suitable journals we publish. This process is explained in more detail on our Publishing Support website.

Inclusivity and diversity

IOP Publishing recognises that there are inequalities within the scientific publishing and research ecosystems. We are committed to a progressive approach to inclusivity and diversity, and are working hard to eliminate discrimination to foster an equitable and welcoming publishing environment for all.

More information about our work on inclusivity is available on our Open Physics hub.


Methods and Applications in Fluorescence maintains the highest standards of publication and research ethics and is a member of the Committee for Publication Ethics (COPE). Authors are expected to comply with IOP Publishing’s Ethical Policy.

Research data

Methods and Applications in Fluorescence has adopted IOP Publishing’s data availability policy. Please check that your article complies with the policy before submission.

Please note that this policy requires authors to include a data availability statement in their article.

For any questions about the policy please contact the journal.

Many research funders now require authors to make all data related to their research available in an online repository. Please refer to the policy for further information about research data, data repositories and data citation.

Open access

Methods and Applications in Fluorescence is a hybrid open access journal. Authors have the option to pay an article publication charge (APC) to publish their article on a gold open access basis under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence. Articles published on a gold open access basis are freely available to everyone to read and reuse immediately upon publication, provided the terms of the licence are followed and clear attribution to the author is given.

Alternatively authors who do not select the gold open access option can choose a green open access route to publication.

For more information on IOP Publishing’s open access policies please see our Open access page. For our author rights policies please see our Author rights page.

Publication charges

Authors have the option to pay the following article publication charge (APC) to publish their article on an open access basis under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence.

Article publication charge* £2125 €2440 $2930

*excluding VAT where applicable

APCs only apply to articles accepted for publication; there are no submission charges. Subscription publication is free of charge.

There are no other charges for publishing in Methods and Applications in Fluorescence.

Transformative Agreements

Methods and Applications in Fluorescence is included in our transformative agreements which allow authors from some institutions to publish open access without paying an APC.

See if you’re covered by an agreement, and find out how to submit if you’re eligible.

Countries where we have transformative agreements include:
Austria, Canada, Croatia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Germany, Poland, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland.

Paying for open access

Various discounts, waivers and funding arrangements are available to support our authors. Visit our Paying for open access page to find out whether you qualify.


Abstracting and indexing services

We work with our authors to help make their work as easy to discover as possible. Methods and Applications in Fluorescence is currently included in the following abstracting and discovery services:

  • ISI (Science Citation Index®, SciSearch®, ISI Alerting Services, Current Contents®/Physical, Chemical and Earth Sciences)
  • PubMed/MEDLINE
  • Scopus
  • British Library Services
  • Google Scholar
  • Current Contents®/Physical Chemical and Earth Sciences
  • OCLC Worldcat
  • Summon by Serial Solutions
  • EBSCO Discovery Service
  • Chemical Abstract Service
  • ProQuest Advanced Technologies & Aerospace Collection
  • ProQuest SciTech Journals Collection
  • ProQuest Technology Journals
  • Proquest Illustrata
  • AGI Georef
  • NASA Astrophysics Data System
  • Meta

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