Frontiers Research Topics

Spotlighting your research field and maximizing your impact
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Shine a light on your research for a chance to win $100,000

To recognize the most active, collaborative and engaging Research Topic across the entire Frontiers community, we have established the Frontiers Spotlight Conference Award.

The award of US$100,000 will enable the winning community to organize a scientific conference around the Topic to further deepen collaborations and stimulate even more community engagement. The winners of the Frontiers Spotlight Conference Award will be chosen by the scientific community based on analytics compiled from our suite of Impact Metrics and will recognize both collaboration at an international scale as well as excellence of contributions.

Learn more about criteria and eligibility on our blog or find out more about Research Topics on this page.

A Frontiers Research Topic is a unique concept where leading researchers manage the publication of a collection of peer-reviewed articles around their own area of research. Frontiers showcases your research area, stimulates discussion, catalyzes collaboration and maximizes the impact of the articles published in your topic.

Frontiers has developed a dedicated web platform to help researchers organize Research Topics. Over 6’300 researchers have already launched Research Topics, 70’000 authors have contributed, and Research Topic articles have received more than 69 million views and 18 million downloads.

Frontiers Research Topics take open-access publishing further – by disseminating your articles through Loop, our research network, by benefitting from the Frontiers award-winning Collaborative Peer Review process, and by providing feedback through sophisticated impact metrics.

Unique features
  • A community-organized open-access article collection around a specialized research topic.

  • A dedicated web environment for articles, editors and authors all in one place, including a discussion forum around the theme and its articles.

  • Freely downloadable e-books of the entire article collection.

  • Powerful impact metrics on the Research Topic and all articles, including views, downloads, social media buzz, geographic and demographic information.

  • Full integration into Loop, our research network, specifically designed to maximize readership and impact for articles and their authors.

  • Online academic profiles for editors and authors showcasing their publications and achievements.

Organize a Research Topic

Frontiers offers researchers access to a specially designed web platform where you and your colleagues can host a Research Topic to take the lead in your own area of research.

Why organize a Research Topic?

By hosting and editing a Frontiers Research Topic you will:

  • Unite your community to promote your field of research.
  • Lead the discussion as the Editor of your Research Topic.
  • Create a comprehensive and lasting open-access resource.
  • Keep your Research Topic up to date with new developments in the future.
  • Take charge by using Frontiers unique web platform to organize your Research Topic and track its global impact.
  • Manage and edit submissions to your Research Topic using Frontiers award-winning publishing technology – including our Collaborative Peer Review Forum.
  • Receive support from Frontiers editorial staff in Switzerland

You will become the managing Editor of a collection of articles around your topic. It is like developing your very own mini-journal devoted entirely to your area of research. We will help you take the lead in showcasing your research area, help you develop an on-line discussion around your topic, maximize the readership of your work and allow you to track its impact in real-time. We also publish an e- book on your Research Topic.

How do I host a Frontiers Research Topic?

Frontiers Research Topics are hosted by senior researchers with a track record of leadership within the suggested topic, and with some previous editorial experience, as Topic Editors are directly involved in the handling of the peer review of manuscripts.

However, we also strongly encourage early-stage career researchers to get involved by teaming up with their more established colleagues – we have seen that this dynamic results in some of the most successful Research Topics.

How is my Research Topic selected?

Research Topics first need to be proposed to and approved by the Editor-in-Chief of the journal and specialty section. Our team will assist you in submitting a proposal to the appropriate Editor-in-Chief; once approved, we will also assist you in all subsequent steps of the project.

How do I write a successful Research Topic proposal?

Research Topic proposals must provide the names of the suggested Topic Editors, who all need to register with Frontiers and provide their CV. We greatly encourage potential editors to form a team to share the tasks. You also need to provide a concise and compelling title, as well as a description in 500 words or less about the scope of your Research Topic. This scope should be broad, with a range of open questions, theories, methods, areas of impact and historical aspects. You should also specify a suitable timeline – in our experience, giving contributors six to eight months for the submission is adequate. Finally, proposals include a list of the candidate contributors that you plan to contact to cover the full range of open questions or subject areas related to your Research Topic. For your convenience, we provide an excel template. We recommend that topic editors aim for at least 10-15 manuscripts to provide comprehensive coverage within the subject area.

How do I submit a Research Topic proposal?

You can submit your proposal through the Frontiers platform. Contact us for support in preparing or submitting your proposal at any time.

What support will I receive when hosting a Research Topic?

Our Swiss-based editorial team will assist you in all steps of your Research Topic project. Through our platform you can send calls for participation, monitor responses, evaluate abstract submissions, send reminders, and manage the review process for all submitted manuscripts.

Research Topics can be sponsored through foundations, institutions or corporations. Our Media Kit is available for download for you and potential sponsors. For any questions contact us at


Contribute to a Research Topic

Why contribute to a Research Topic?

As a contributing author to a Frontiers Research Topic you will:

  • Be part of a spotlighted group of experts in your research field.
  • Increase the impact of your research by linking to a focused collection used as an online resource by your colleagues internationally.
  • Increase the impact of your research by amplifying it through our dedicated research network, Loop.
  • Experience fast, transparent and collaborative peer review of your manuscript on Frontiers award-winning publishing platform.
  • Retain copyright of your article and allow your readers unrestricted access to your article and e-book.
  • Benefit from discounted publication fees when participating in a Research Topic.

Frontiers operates under the standard the gold open-access publishing model and as such charges article publishing fees when an article is accepted for publication. Participation in a Research Topic qualifies all authors for a 15% discount on article publishing fees. Frontiers also has a dedicated sales team that works with Guest Associate Editors to identify industrial or private sponsors potentially interested in participating to offset some or all of these charges. Article types whose primary purpose is dialogue or debate within the scientific community (Editorials, General Commentaries, etc.) are free of charge. A detailed list of publishing fees is available here.

How do I submit a manuscript?

Similar to submitting to a conference, your participation in a Research Topic begins by sending an abstract outlining your contribution to the Topic Editors for their consideration. This can be done directly through the Research Topic homepage. Once approved by the Topic Editors, you have until the posted deadline to submit your manuscript. Those who receive a call for participation directly from the Topic Editors may immediately submit their manuscript.

Who can submit an article?

The Topic editors usually select the initial group of contributing authors, but anyone who feels they have an appropriate contribution can submit to an open Research Topic. Frontiers leverages the Loop network to make Research Topics known to as many experts in the field as possible.

What kind of articles can I submit?

Submissions can be any of the article types accepted by the Frontiers journal of interest (e.g., original research, methods, hypothesis & theory, opinions, etc.). Please submit your manuscript through the standard Frontiers submission system, making sure to tick the box that signals you are participating in a Research Topic. This will take you to a list of open Research Topics for that journal and specialty section, from which you should select the Topic you are interested in. The subsequent steps of the process are identical to that for the regular manuscript submission. If you have not yet experienced the Frontiers publication platform, please read the Author Guidelines before submitting. All manuscripts are peer-reviewed and, if accepted, published without delay. Once online on the Research Topic homepage, you will follow the detailed impact metrics of your article day by day.

Will my article be open access?

Frontiers is a fully open-access publisher and uses the Creative Commons license that is most widely approved by research funding bodies, allowing authors to retain copyright of their articles.

What are the publication fees?

Frontiers operates under the standard the gold open-access publishing model. This means that authors pay a publication fee so that anybody in the world can read and download your article for free. Participation in a Research Topic qualifies all authors for discounts on article publication fees.

What are e-books?

All contributions of comprehensive Research Topics are bound together into an e-book, which is disseminated freely through the Research Topic homepage. The convenience of this format results in even greater impact for your article.

How is the impact of my profile and article maximized?

Frontiers is on a mission to maximize readership and impact – not only for all its published articles, but also for its authors and editors. For this reason the Frontiers Research Topics are integrated into Loop, our dedicated research network. Loop highlights authors and editors with online profiles and direct links to the content and team of their Research Topics. Published articles are disseminated through the Loop platform to researchers in their field, driving profile views, article downloads and, ultimately, citations. Making this happen for you will require only a few minutes to complete your Loop profile.


Similar to participating in a conference, you can contribute to a Research Topic by submitting an abstract proposing a manuscript to the Topic Editors for consideration. You can submit your abstract through the Research Topic homepage by clicking on the button “Submit abstract”. Once your contribution is approved by the Topic Editors, you can submit your manuscript at any time before the submission deadline. If you have received a call for participation from the Topic Editors you can immediately submit your manuscript.

Submissions can be any article type accepted by the journal you would like to submit to (e.g., original research, methods, hypothesis & theory, opinions, etc.). Please submit your manuscript through the standard process for Frontiers manuscript submission, and tick the box that your submission is part of a Research Topic. This will take you to a menu of open Research Topics for the journal and specialty section you have chosen and from which you should select the Topic you are interested in. The subsequent steps of the manuscript submission process are identical to that for regular manuscript submission. Please read the Author Guidelines before submitting. All manuscripts are peer-reviewed and if accepted, published without delay.

Frontiers is a Gold open-access publisher and uses a Creative Commons license approved by research funders, which allows you to retain copyright of your article. Participation in a Research Topic qualifies all authors for significant discounts on publication fees. Comprehensive Research Topics are made available as free e-books, contributing to a wider dissemination and larger impact of your article.


Browse for open Topics and e-books of past Topics by selecting one of the Research Topic journal pages below.

Research Topic Sponsorships

Each Frontiers Research Topic is a collection of articles published around a theme of cutting edge research. With over 2,500 topics posted to date, Frontiers Research Topics unite the world’s experts around one topic to stimulate dialogue and collaboration, and to accelerate science. They can be sponsored through foundations, institutions or corporations.

Benefits of sponsoring include:

  • Enhanced reach - To date, over 6,300 researchers have launched Research Topics and over 70,000 authors have contributed to them.

  • Global Readership – Frontiers Research Topic pages have received over 69,000,000 views and the articles have received over 18,000,000 views and downloads.

  • Increased visibility and exposure – Increase traffic to your website and content

  • Prestige and quality – Associate your brand with innovation and cutting edge research by association with key opinion leaders in the field while contributing to the advancement of science.

For more information, click here or email us at


Contact our dedicated Research Topic team with your questions and comments.
We look forward to hearing from you.