Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry

Cover image for Vol. 30 Issue 16

Impact Factor: 2.226

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2015: 17/43 (Spectroscopy); 33/75 (Chemistry Analytical); 43/77 (BIOCHEMICAL RESEARCH METHODS)

Online ISSN: 1097-0231

Author Guidelines

For additional tools visit Author Resources - an enhanced suite of online tools for Wiley Online Library journal authors, featuring Article Tracking, E-mail Publication Alerts and Customized Research Tools.

Author Guidelines


Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometryis a journal whose aim is the rapid publication of original research in all areas mass spectrometry. It also covers many of the associated scientific disciplines. There is no formal limit on paper length ("rapid" is not synonymous with "brief"), but papers should be of a length that is appropriate for the importance and complexity of the results being reported. Typically, original research papers are 6-10 journal pages long and do not contain more than 6-8 display items (figures, schemes + tables). Articles that exceed these numbers often contain background or general information that is not required for a mass spectrometry audience, and may be returned to the authors for shortening prior to review.

Contributions may be theoretical or practical in nature. They may deal with methods, techniques and applications, or with the interpretation of results. The journal also offers Letters, Protocols and Perspectives (see below).

In general, submissions that use conventional MS methods to catalogue or screen for components of extracts including Traditional Chinese Medicines are discouraged, except when the authors can clearly demonstrate that their contribution represents a significant extension of the capabilities or applications of mass spectrometry or new understanding of ion chemistry and related disciplines. In addition, articles reporting Stable Isotope analyses may only be published if they express novelty or significant developments in methodology.

Description of compounds under study. The molecular structures of chemical compounds (e.g. small molecules and pharmaceuticals) used to carry out the studies have to be fully disclosed in the paper and/or its supporting information or should be readily available without infringements or restriction.

Related work under consideration for publication.Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry is dedicated to publishing original contributions that are not being considered for publication in another journal or have not been published before. It is the responsibility of the corresponding author to inform the Editor of any related work currently under review and to cite the relevant contribution in the manuscript at the time of submission. The authors must also indicate if the work described in the manuscript has been the subject of prior presentation including, but not limited to, published conference proceedings or other public dissemination media. If the related work is accepted, submitted, or in preparation, the authors must provide a copy of the manuscript as “Supporting Information for Review Only”. The authors will be able to update the status of the related work at a later time during the revision process or at the galley proof stage

Hypothesized ion fragmentation mechanisms and fragment ion structures.

Papers that are mainly devoted to fragmentation mechanisms, structural elucidation techniques and any other study involving hypothesized ion structures, must provide a level of experimental and possibly computational evidence that justifies the amount of speculative discussion. See Rapid Commun. Mass Spec. 2010; 24: 3499-3500.

Protein identification by mass spectrometry.

Papers that describe identifications of proteins based on mass spectrometric data must ensure that these meet the criteria described by G.K. Taylor and D.R. Goodlett in Rapid Commun. Mass Spec. 2005; 19: 3420.

Return to Top

Manuscript Submission

Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry operates an online submission and peer review system that allows authors to submit articles online and track their progress via a web interface. Please read the remainder of these instructions to authors and then click http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/RCM to navigate to the Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry online submission site. IMPORTANT: Please check whether you already have an account in the system before trying to create a new one. If you have reviewed or authored for the journal in the past year it is likely that you will have had an account created.

All papers must be submitted via the online system.

File types. Preferred formats for the text and tables of your manuscript are .doc, .docx, .rtf, .ppt, .xls. Figures may be provided in .tiff or .eps format. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry no longer accepts LaTeX files and cannot accept .pdfs as source files. Main document and Image files must be supplied in one of the preferred document formats.


Upload your manuscript files. At this stage, further source files do not need to be uploaded.


Editable source files must be uploaded at this stage. Tables must be on separate pages after the reference list, and not be incorporated into the main text. Figures should be uploaded as separate figure files.

Return to Top

Supporting Web Materials

Supporting Information can be a useful way for an author to include important but ancillary information with the online version of an article. Examples of Supporting Information include additional tables, data sets, figures, movie files, audio clips, 3D structures, and other related nonessential multimedia files. Supporting Information should be cited within the article text, and a descriptive legend should be included. It is published as supplied by the author, and a proof is not made available prior to publication; for these reasons, authors should provide any Supporting Information in the desired final format.

For further information on recommended file types and requirements for submission, please visit: http://authorservices.wiley.com/bauthor/suppinfo.asp

Return to Top

Online Open

OnlineOpen is available to authors of primary research articles who wish to make their article available to non-subscribers on publication, or whose funding agency requires grantees to archive the final version of their article. With OnlineOpen, the author, the author's funding agency, or the author's institution pays a fee to ensure that the article is made available to non-subscribers upon publication via Wiley Online Library, as well as deposited in the funding agency's preferred archive. For the full list of terms and conditions, see http://wileyonlinelibrary.com/onlineopen#OnlineOpen_Terms.

Any authors wishing to send their paper OnlineOpen will be required to complete the payment form available from our website at: https://authorservices.wiley.com/bauthor/onlineopen_order.asp

Prior to acceptance there is no requirement to inform an Editorial Office that you intend to publish your paper OnlineOpen if you do not wish to. All OnlineOpen articles are treated in the same way as any other article. They go through the journal's standard peer-review process and will be accepted or rejected based on their own merit.

Return to Top

Accepted Articles

'Accepted Articles' have been accepted for publication and undergone full peer review but have not been through the copyediting, typesetting, pagination and proofreading process. Accepted Articles are published online a few days after final acceptance, appear in PDF format only (without the accompanying full-text HTML) and are given a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), which allows them to be cited and tracked. The DOI remains unique to a given article in perpetuity. More information about DOIs can be found online at http://www.doi.org/faq.html. Given that Accepted Articles are not considered to be final, please note that changes will be made to an article after Accepted Article online publication, which may lead to differences between this version and the Version of Record..

The Accepted Articles service has been designed to ensure the earliest possible circulation of research papers after acceptance.

Accepted articles will be indexed by PubMed; Therefore the submitting author must carefully check the names and affiliations of all authors provided in the cover page of the manuscript, as it will not be possible to alter these once a paper is made available online in Accepted Article format. Subsequently the final copyedited and proofed articles will appear either as Early View articles in a matter of weeks or in an issue on Wiley Online Library; the link to the article in PubMed will automatically be updated.

Return to Top

Copyright and Permissions

If your paper is accepted, the author identified as the formal corresponding author for the paper will receive an email prompting them to login into Author Services; where via the Wiley Author Licensing Service (WALS) they will be able to complete the license agreement on behalf of all authors on the paper.

For authors signing the copyright transfer agreement

If the OnlineOpen option is not selected the corresponding author will be presented with the copyright transfer agreement (CTA) to sign. The terms and conditions of the CTA can be previewed in the samples associated with the Copyright FAQs below:

CTA Terms and Conditions http://exchanges.wiley.com/authors/faqs---copyright-_301.html

For authors choosing OnlineOpen

If the OnlineOpen option is selected the corresponding author will have a choice of the following Creative Commons License Open Access Agreements (OAA):

Creative Commons Attribution License OAA

Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License OAA

Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial -NoDerivs License OAA

To preview the terms and conditions of these open access agreements please visit the Copyright FAQs hosted on Wiley Author Services http://exchanges.wiley.com/authors/faqs---copyright-_301.html and visit http://www.wileyopenaccess.com/details/content/12f25db4c87/Copyright--License.html.

If you select the OnlineOpen option and your research is funded by certain funders [e.g. The Wellcome Trust and members of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) or the Austrian Science Fund (FWF)] you will be given the opportunity to publish your article under a CC-BY license supporting you in complying with Wellcome Trust and Research Councils UK requirements. For more information on this policy and the Journal’s compliant self-archiving policy please visit: http://www.wiley.com/go/funderstatement.

Return to Top

English Editing

Papers must be in English. Oxford English Dictionary or American spelling is acceptable, provided usage is consistent within the manuscript. In the past RCM has sought to assist authors whose first language is not English by editing the text prior to sending the paper for review, and repeating the process for the revised version if accepted for publication. However, the growth in the number of manuscripts submitted to RCM has meant that this feature is no longer sustainable. In future, manuscripts that are written in English that is ambiguous or incomprehensible, in the opinion of the Editor, will be returned to the authors with a request to resubmit once the language issues have been improved. This policy does not imply that all papers must be written in "perfect" English, whatever that may mean. Rather, the criterion will require that the intended meaning of the authors must be clearly understandable, i.e., not obscured by language problems, by referees who have agreed to review the paper.

Authors for whom English is a second language may choose to have their manuscript professionally edited before submission to improve the English. A list of independent suppliers of editing services can be found at http://authorservices.wiley.com/bauthor/english_language.asp. Japanese authors can also find a list of local English improvement services at http://www.wiley.co.jp/journals/editcontribute.html. All services are paid for and arranged by the author, and use of one of these services does not guarantee acceptance or preference for publication.

Return to Top

Article Formats Published in RCM

Research articles have no formal limits on length. Please see “How to write a paper for RCM” (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/RCM.6314/pdf) for guidance on composing research articles together with the following formats published by the journal.

Letters to the editor. A letter to the editor provides a point of view, a critique, or a re-analysis of an article previously published in RCM that highlights novel aspects of this earlier research. A Letter typically contains no more than about 2000 words, sometimes accompanied by 1-2 figures or tables in support of the discussion.

Perspectives. A Perspective is a lightly referenced scholarly opinion piece about current or future directions in a field. A Perspective can serve to assess the science directly concerned with a particular topic or report on relevant issues that may arise from the discipline (for example, policy, effects on society, regulatory issues and controversies). Perspectives that address interdisciplinary research areas or experimental results with significance to a broader audience are of particular interest to the Editors. The Perspective should be accompanied by an abstract and generally contain less than 50 references. Perspectives will be subject to screening for appropriateness and accuracy but will not undergo the traditional peer review model.

Protocols describe in detail innovative experimental procedures for mass spectrometry. These may comprise of procedures for novel sample preparation methods, chemical labelling techniques for enhanced detection by mass spectrometry, clever or more efficient data acquisition routines, intelligent software tools for data extraction or mining, etc. Protocols follow the regular article format and there are no restrictions on page length.

Return to Top

Presentation of papers

Manuscript style. Use a standard font of the 12-point type: Times, Helvetica, or Courier is preferred. It is not necessary to double-line space your manuscript.

Tables must be on separate pages after the reference list, and not be incorporated into the main text. Figures should be uploaded as separate figure files.

  • During the submission process you must enter
    1) the full title
    2) the short title of up to 70 characters
    3) names and affiliations of all authors and
    4) the full address, including email, telephone and fax of the author who is to check the proofs.

  • Include the name(s) of any sponsor(s) of the research contained in the paper, along with grant number(s).
  • Enter an abstract of up to 500 words for all articles (other than Letters to the Editor which requires no abstract). Please see the guidance below on acceptable abstract writing for RCM
  • Keywords. Authors should prepare no more than 5 keywords for their manuscript.

Return to Top

Writing Abstracts

RCM now publishes abstracts in a compound form please see below instructions regarding their composition:

Anatomy of the compound abstract

RATIONALE This introduction must convey the significance of the research and consist of 2–3 sentences (approximately 50 words) describing the importance of the study to a broad, non-expert audience. Authors may consider the following questions in the composition of their rationale: What is the problem? Why is the research important?What significance does it have to the immediate scientific community or to society as a whole?

METHODS A succinct description of the specialized processes, techniques and mass spectrometry instrumentation used in the study (maximum of 75 words). For example, the ionization technique and the type of mass spectrometer used will be of particular importance to other mass spectrometrists.

RESULTS Up to 75 words describing the outcome of the study. This should include the most importantexperimental findings. For example, for a classical analytical assay figures of merit and validation data should be summarized. A structural elucidation study may list important new compounds, proposed dissociation mechanisms and associated data such as accurate mass measurements and measurement uncertainties. For proteomics and metabolomics it is important to give the number of significant features, ion suppression effects, newly discovered biomarker molecules, etc

CONCLUSIONS One or two sentences (approximately 50 words) to explain the significance of the results and the conclusions drawn. The conclusions may also answer a question that was outlined in the Rationale section, and/or provide implications of the described research or examples for further applications. These conclusions should be understandable by a broad non-specialist specific audience.


RATIONALE: Melamine has been implicated in the death of numerous pets. In early 2007, melamine was fed to hogs intended for human consumption and contaminated meat products were sold to the public. In order to assist assessment of the potential health risk, it was essential to quickly develop an analytical method for detecting melamine, which is described in this study

METHODS: Melamine was extracted from porcine muscle tissue and extracts cleaned up by solid-phase extraction. Separation was achieved via liquid chromatography, and mass spectrometry analysis was conducted by electro-spray ionization triple-quadrupole mass spectrometry in the multiple reaction monitoring mode using a stable isotope- labeled internal standard.

RESULTS: A five point calibration curve ranging from 50 to 2000 ng/mL of melamine in solvent was used to establish instrument response. The method was validated by analysis of seven replicate porcine muscle tissue samples fortified with 10 ng/g of melamine. The mean recovery for the seven replicates was 83% with 6.5% relative standard deviation and the calculated method detection limit was 1.7 ng/g.

CONCLUSIONS: A quantitative method was rapidly developed for the detection of melamine in edible hog tissue. Data generated provided crucial information to the USDA and FDA in conducting a safety and risk assessment of melamine. This interim assessment indicated that melamine residues in edible tissues of animals inadvertently exposed to melamine are unlikely to pose a human health risk.

Reference Style

Authors must ensure that they format their references in the following style:

References should be cited in the text by numbers in square parentheses (superscript) after the punctuation. They should then be listed at the end of the paper in the order in which they appear in the text in the following format:

[1] P. J. Weaver, A. M.-F. Laures, J.-C. Wolff. Investigation of the advanced functionalities of a hybrid quadrupole orthogonal acceleration time-of-flight mass spectrometer. Rapid. Commun. Mass Spectrom. 2007, 21, 2451.

Examples for Books

[2] K. Schmidt-Rohr, H. W. Spiess. Multidimensional Solid-State NMR and Polymers. Academic Press, London, 1994.

[3] V. Sklenar, in NMR Applications in Biopolymers, (Eds: J. W. Finley, S. J. Schmidt, A. S. Serianni). Plenum, New York, 1990, pp. 63-70.

Journal titles should be italicized and abbreviated in accordance with the “Chemical Abstracts Service Source Index” (CASSI; no commas appear in the journal names).

Link to EndNote


Return to Top

Citing EarlyView Articles

To include the DOI in a citation to an article, simply append it to the reference as in the following example:

[1] P.J. Weaver, A.M.-F. Laures, J.-C. Wolff. Investigation of the advanced functionalities of a hybrid quadrupole orthogonal acceleration time-of-flight mass spectrometer. Rapid. Commun. Mass Spectrom. 2007, DOI: 10.1002/RCM.21464.

To link to an article from the author’s homepage, take the DOI (digital object identifier) and append it to "http://dx.doi.org/" as per following example:

DOI 10.1002/RCM.20941, becomes http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/RCM.20941.

Return to Top

Illustrations and ChemDraw Rules

Upload each figure as a separate file in either .tiff or .eps format, with the figure number and the top of the figure indicated. Compound figures e.g. 1a, b, c should be uploaded as one figure. Tints are not acceptable. Lettering must be of a reasonable size that would still be clearly legible upon reduction, and consistent within each figure and set of figures. Where a key to symbols is required, please include this in the artwork itself, not in the figure legend. All illustrations must be supplied at the correct resolution:

  • Black and white and colour photos - 300 dpi
  • Graphs, drawings, etc - 800 dpi preferred; 600 dpi minimum
  • Combinations of photos and drawings (black and white and colour) - 500 dpi

Tables should be part of the the main document and should be placed after the references. If the table is created in excel the file should be uploaded separately.
Chemical structures should be prepared in ChemDraw either 80mm (one column) or 175mm (two column) widths. However, the one-column format should be used whenever possible as this allows greater flexibility in the layout of the manuscript. Use the following settings:

 Drawing settings    Text settings
 chain angle  120°  font  Ariel
 bond spacing  18% of length  size  12 pt
 fixed length  17 pt    
 bond width 2 pt Preferences   
 line width  0.75 pt  units  points
 margin width  2 pt  tolerances  5 pixels
 hash spacing  2.6 pt    
 bold width  2.6 pt    

Authors using different structural drawing programs should choose settings consistent with those above. Compound numbers should be bold, but not atom labels or captions.

Return to Top

Colour policy

Where colour illustrations are supplied they may be reproduced online in colour at no cost to the author, if they are required to be printed in colour the cost will be charged to the author.

Return to Top

Use of abbreviations

Papers should generally adhere to the IUPAC Guidelines for mass spectrometry and authors are strongly encouraged to consult Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom. 2014; 28: 1853-1854 for more details on proper terms and abbreviations for RCM publications. In addition to these guidelines, other common mistakes include the wrong use of hyphens. For example, a single analytical technique, or a type of instrument, is abbreviated without hyphens. Thus, TOFMS, FTICRMS.

Furthermore, the IUPAP unit u is used for the relative molecular mass of an ion or molecule of uniquely specified isotopic composition, e.g., 12C6 1H3 35Cl2 37Cl1 16O1, relative to the standard 12C = 12 u. The u is not a unit of mass-to-charge ratio. The mass of a neutral fragment lost in a fragmentation reaction can be given in u or Da.

Capital letters are used for Litre (L), Torr, Bar. Figures, Schemes and Tables should be referred to using a capital letter. Thus, Figure 1, Table 2 (not, e.g., fig.1). Parts of a Figure should be indicated by (a), (b), etc., both on the Figure itself and in the caption.

Ionic and other species should be enclosed in square brackets and the charge given as a superscript. Thus, [M]2+, [M–H], [C3H6O]+. The presence of an odd electron may be indicated when necessary as in M•.

Further Information

Note to NIH Grantees. Pursuant to NIH mandate, Wiley Blackwell will post the accepted version of contributions authored by NIH grant-holders to PubMedCentral upon acceptance. This accepted version will be made publicly available 12 months after publication. For further information, see www.wiley.com/go/nihmandate.

For accepted manuscripts the publisher will supply proofs to the submitting author prior to publication. This stage is to be used only to correct errors that may have been introduced during the production process. Prompt return of the corrected proofs, preferably within two days of receipt, will minimise the risk of the paper being held over to a later issue.

Free access to the final PDF offprint or your article will be available via Author Services only. Please therefore sign up for Author Services if you would like to access your article PDF offprint and enjoy the many other benefits the service offers. There is no page charge to authors.

To purchase reprints in smaller quantities, please visit http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/aboutus/ppv-articleselect.html. Restrictions apply to the use of reprints – if you have a specific query, please contact permissionsuk@wiley.com. Corresponding authors are invited to inform their co-authors of the reprint options available

Manuscript accepted for publication? If so, check out our suite of tools and services for authors and sign up for:
• Article Tracking
• E-mail Publication Alerts
• Personalization Tools