SIGS Instructions to Authors

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Standards in Genomic Sciences (SIGS) was conceived to fill a growing need: to provide genome-centric reporting on the increasing volume of genomic and metagenomic data that is without a formal report in the scientific, technical or medical (STM) literature. The goal is for authors having expert knowledge about an organism or environment from which a sequenced genome or metagenome exists to collaborate with sequencing centers to provide concise and highly standardized reports summarizing results of sequencing, assembly and annotation. The genome and metagenome reports of SIGS are intended to serve as points of record that are enriched with interpretative commentary, validated by peer review and verified by a standards-focused editorial team.

Scope of content and types of articles

SIGS provides static, archival views of data and metadata for genomes and metagenomes from all types of organisms. In addition to short genome and metagenome reports, authors may consider making contributions in the form of:

  • white papers (a document that makes a case or serves to establish the scope and nature of an emerging problem and possible solutions)
  • meeting reports
  • opinion articles and
  • standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Authors are encouraged to contact the editorial office in advance of any proposed submission.

Genome and metagenome reports

The current focus of the journal is on short genome reports from Bacteria and Archaea. Checklists are presented to authors during the online manuscript submission process. A key focus of SIGS is to tightly integrate and link authored content with the minimum information about a genome sequence (MIGS) specification, and a MIGS-based data record for a genome is to be incorporated with each report. Authors may start constructing their short genome reports with a downloadable short genome report document template.

Standard operating procedures

Standard operating procedures (SOPs) should follow a general format of title, overview and procedures used, and should categorize the type(s) of processes involved. SOPs should also describe the title, authors, institutions, origins, revision versions, dates and any underlying dependencies. SIGS encourages submission of details such as command-line arguments or other run-time parameters, and operational thresholds. The sequential procedure of computational and manual operations for data capture and calculation should describe the: 1) assumptions involved; 2) steps for reproducibility; 3) points at which the quality of the process and its output may be evaluated. For more information on the goals of SIGS with SOPs, please consult the following resources: 

  1. Guidelines for authors of SOPs
  2. Guidelines for reviewers of SOPs
  3. SOP document template
  4. Angiuoli SV, Gussman A, Klimke W, Cochrane G, Field D, Garrity G, Kodira CD, Kyrpides N, Madupu R, Markowitz V, et al. Toward an online repository of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for (meta)genomic annotation. OMICS 2008;12(2):137-41. (Pubmed, DOI)

Other notes on specific topics

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)


1) How should tables and figures be submitted to SIGS?

Figures should be submitted as supplemental files in pdf, png, tiff, bmp or jpeg format. Figures may be in black and white, or color. Authors should indicate whether the figure is to span both columns (quarter, half or full page) in the formatted report, or a single column. Resolution should be, at minimum 600 dpi and figures scaled to approximate size of a printed page. To enhance readability of the manuscript by reviewers, authors may also place their figures in the manuscript. For information concerning submission of tables, please read Table Formatting.

2) What are the limits for each manuscript (number of pages, etc) and other general guidelines for submission?

Manuscript submissions should be single-spaced with the main text in 12-pt Times New Roman font. As our goal is concise reporting, manuscripts should be 20 pages or less unless there is prior agreement for a longer submission.


Publication of Standards in Genomic Sciences has been transferred to a new publisher, BioMed Central on behalf of the Genomic Standards Consortium. All submissions to the journal should now be made directly through the BMC website for the journal at:


We would like to gratefully acknowledge the support of many members of the Genomic Standards Consortium, the broader genomic science community, and those who have indicated their willingness to serve as editors, reviewers and contributors.

SIGS was founded with grants from the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at Michigan State University, the Michigan State University Foundation, and the US Department of Energy Biological and Environmental Research DE-FG02-08ER64707. The journal became self-supporting on October 1, 2011.

Standards in Genomic Sciences is indexed in: