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IOP Science

Physical Biology

About Physical Biology


Physical Biology™ publishes articles in the broad interdisciplinary field bridging biology with the physical sciences and engineering. This journal focuses on research in which quantitative approaches – experimental, theoretical and modeling – lead to new insights into biological systems at all scales of space and time, and all levels of organizational complexity.

Physical Biology accepts contributions from a wide range of biological sub-fields, including topics such as:

  • molecular biophysics, including single molecule studies, protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions
  • subcellular structures, organelle dynamics, membranes, protein assemblies, chromosome structure
  • intracellular processes, e.g. cytoskeleton dynamics, cellular transport, cell division
  • systems biology, e.g. signaling, gene regulation and metabolic networks
  • cells and their microenvironment, e.g. cell mechanics and motility, chemotaxis, extracellular matrix, biofilms
  • cell-material interactions, e.g. biointerfaces, electrical stimulation and sensing, endocytosis
  • cell-cell interactions, cell aggregates, organoids, tissues and organs
  • developmental dynamics, including pattern formation and morphogenesis
  • physical and evolutionary aspects of disease, e.g. cancer progression, amyloid formation
  • neuronal systems, including information processing by networks, memory and learning
  • population dynamics, ecology, and evolution
  • collective action and emergence of collective phenomena.

In addition, the journal considers papers that focus on new tools that will facilitate investigations in the aforementioned topics. These include (but are not limited to) innovation in physical techniques such as:

  • advanced microscopy (including advanced optical microscopy) and spectroscopy
  • synthetic biology, e.g. reprogramming genetic and metabolic systems

as well as new theoretical methods including (but not limited to):

  • bioinformatics and/or information theoretic tools
  • network-based analysis of biological systems
  • theory of active non-equilibrium media
  • multiscale modeling and simulation approaches.

Why should you publish in Physical Biology?

  • High standards: impartial, constructive and rigorous peer review.
  • 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 and will include a citable DOI.
  • Full compliance with NIH Public Access Policy: we upload NIH-funded papers to PubMed Central on behalf of authors.
  • Open access: open access option—for more details see the open access policy page.
  • Transfer opportunities: as well as accepting direct submissions, the journal also offers you a quick and easy solution to transfer your manuscript from another IOP Publishing journal if it does not fit that journal’s scope or significance criteria. Articles are transferred along with peer review reports to save time and avoid duplication of work for reviewers.
  • Society owned: IOP Publishing is a leading society publisher of advanced physics research. Any profits generated by IOP Publishing are invested in the Institute of Physics, helping to support research, education and outreach around the world.

Article types

Physical Biology welcomes submissions of the following article types:

  • Research Papers: Comprehensive, fully documented reports of original research. Not normally more than 10,000 words.
  • Notes: Brief articles which would not normally merit publication as a full paper but still make a useful and novel addition to the literature. Not normally more than 4000 words.
  • Reviews: Critical evaluations of the existing state of knowledge on a particular topic or research area.
  • Letters: Outstanding concise articles (~4000 words), reporting important, new and timely developments. These articles should be deserving of priority review.
  • Perspectives: Personal view on a particular research topic or discipline.
  • Tutorials: Background knowledge for an audience unfamiliar with the subject.

Special requirements

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. If the article is subsequently accepted for publication, this information should be included in an acknowledgments section. Authors should also note that the journal fully endorses the principles embodied in the Declaration of Helsinki. All investigations involving humans must be conducted in accordance with these principles and in accordance with local statutory requirements. Articles relying on clinical trials should quote the trial registration number at the end of the abstract. We also encourage the registration of such studies in a public trials registry prior to publication of the results in the journal. All investigations involving animal experimentation must be conducted in conformity with the ‘Guiding Principles for Research Involving Animals and Human Beings’ as adopted by The American Physiological Society.

Peer review

The following summary describes the peer review process for Physical Biology, using the ANSI/NISO Standard Terminology for Peer Review:

  • Identity transparency: single-anonymous, double-anonymous (author choice)
  • Reviewer interacts with: Editor
  • Review information published: review reports (author and reviewer opt in), author/editor communication, reviewer identities (reviewer opt in)

Our Publishing Support website provides more information on our reviewing process as well as checklists in both English and Chinese language to help authors prepare their manuscripts for submission.

If an article is not accepted for publication, we may offer the author the opportunity to transfer their submission to other suitable journals we publish.

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.

IOP Publishing follows Guidelines on Inclusive Language and Images in Scholarly Communication to ensure that journal articles use bias-free and culturally sensitive communication. We ask authors to please follow these guidelines in their manuscript submissions.

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


Physical Biology 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

Physical Biology has adopted IOP Publishing’s research data 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

Physical Biology 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

Publication on a subscription-access basis is free of charge.

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* £2295 €2635 $3165
Reduced article publication charge* for Group B countries** £500 €575 $675
Reduced article publication charge for Group A countries** £0 €0 $0

*excluding VAT where applicable

**eligibility criteria can be found here

APCs only apply to articles accepted for publication; there are no submission charges.

There are no other charges for publishing in Physical Biology.

Transformative Agreements

Physical Biology is included in our transformative agreements which allow authors from some institutions to publish open access without paying an APC.

Find out if you’re covered by an agreement

If you are covered by an agreement, use our author guide to help you submit your paper.

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 for further details.


Abstracting and indexing services

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

  • ISI (SciSearch®, Science Citation Index®, Materials Science Citation Index®, Journal Citation Reports/Science Edition, ISI Alerting Services)
  • Meta
  • PubMed/MEDLINE
  • Scopus
  • Inspec
  • BIOSIS Previews®/Biological Abstracts®
  • Current Awareness in Biological Sciences
  • EMBase
  • EMBiology
  • NASA Astrophysics Data System

Journal metrics

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