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ASSAY and Drug Development Technologies

Editor-in-Chief: Jim Inglese, PhD

ISSN: 1540-658X • 10 Issues Annually • Online ISSN: 1557-8127

Current Volume: 12

Latest Impact Factor* is 2.075

*2013 Journal Citation Reports® published by Thomson Reuters, 2014

For Authors

  • Manuscript Submissions
  • NIH/HHMI Wellcome Trust Policies
  • Self-Archiving Policy
  • Open Access Policy
  • Manuscript Submissions


    ASSAY and Drug Development Technologies focuses on early-stage screening techniques and tools that optimize the identification of novel leads and targets for new drug development, running the spectrum from nanotechnology through cellular imaging. Case studies are presented, and technology applications are extensive. Articles published in ASSAY emphasize methodologies and technologies to accelerate drug discovery.

    Included topics are: State-of-the-art research, methods, materials, and protocols in assay design and target development; High throughput screening; High throughput chemistry; Lab automation; Data analysis and information management; Microplate standards; Screen design and advanced technology; Protein structure and function; Compound library generation; Bioinformatics and data mining; Validation strategies; Biosensors; Detection technologies; Miniaturization and nanotechnology; Protein–protein interaction as novel drug targets; Novel screening methods with high information content; Metabolically engineered cells and organisms; Imaging technologies for live cells, tissues, and small animals; and Virtual screening.

    Manuscripts submitted to this Journal must not be under consideration elsewhere.

    All manuscripts must be submitted online using the following URL:

    Authors must include a letter of transmittal that includes the paper’s title, corresponding author’s name, address, institutional affiliation(s), a telephone and fax number, (including the country and city code if outside the U.S.), and e-mail address. The cover letter should indicate that the work has not previously been published, is not under consideration for publication elsewhere, that all authors have read and agree with the contents of the submission, and that all authors have contributed substantially to the work.

    English Grammar and Style Refinement: The Editors’ goal is for ASSAY and Drug Development Technologies to provide a global forum that promotes discourse among drug discovery researchers worldwide. Thus submission of articles by authors from non-English speaking countries is strongly encouraged. Authors whose native language is not English are advised to use an editing service to refine the manuscript before submission to ASSAY. Peer reviewers will then be able to evaluate the scientific content and organization of a paper without becoming distracted by grammatical details. Our aim is to avoid the obscuring of excellent science by a difficult to read manuscript.

    Expert editors at Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. are available to refine your manuscript for word usage, grammar, sentence construction, and formatting prior to submission for peer review. Please note that use of this editing service does not guarantee acceptance by the Journal. After editing the paper will go through the usual full peer review process. Even if the paper is not accepted by the journal, it will have been substantially improved and may then be submitted for publication in another Journal. For further information and costs, please e-mail Georgia Prince at the publisher’s office: EditingServices@liebertpub.com. Please be sure to include the name of the journal and whether or not the paper has been officially submitted to the journal. Alternatively, authors may select from one of the numerous scientific editing services that may be found through a web-based search.


    Submissions of manuscripts must be double-spaced with margins of 1 inch on each side, and ample space on top and bottom. Please do not include artwork within the text document. Figures and tables should be supplied in separate files, be labeled clearly, and should be in TIFF or EPS formats. Please see the Tables and Illustrations section for further details on art submission.


    Please upload individual files of all manuscript material – do NOT upload a single PDF file containing all text, figure, and table files of your paper. Once all individual files are uploaded on to Manuscript Central, the system will automatically create a single PDF proof for you and for the peer-review process.

    Please follow this sequence of sections:

                   Number each page of text consecutively. Number all figures and tables.

                   Title page must contain: (1) the complete title of the paper; (2) the full names (including first names), full mailing addresses, full contact information (telephone, fax, and e-mail address), and affiliations of each author; (3) a brief running title; (4) the corresponding author’s complete contact information including full mailing and e-mail addresses.

                   Title: Please do not use “Novel” or “New” in the article title.

                   Abstract: 250 words or less, without the use of subheadings. References are not permitted in the abstract.

                   Abbreviations: Please include a list of all abbreviations used in the article. All acronyms and their definitions should be spelled out in a separate list on a separate page immediately after the title page.

                   Introduction: Summarize the background of the technology and its significance and novelty. Results should NOT be included in the introduction.

                   Materials and Methods: ASSAY is method-oriented. Sources of specific materials, including reagents, software, and instrumentation, should be specified, marked with ™ or ® if they are trademarked or registered. These marks need only be cited at the product’s first mention in the abstract, and then once again in text. Use only acronyms in text. When using specific brand names of drugs or devices, please include the manufacturer’s name and location (including city and state) in parentheses.


                   Discussion: The results and discussion sections of short articles may be combined for more effective presentation.


                   AUTHOR DISCLOSURE STATEMENT: All authors are expected to disclose any institutional or commercial affiliations that might pose a conflict of interest regarding the publication of a manuscript. Institutional affiliations, as indicated on the title page, should include all corporate affiliations and any funding sources that support the work. Other types of affiliation, including consultantships, honoraria, stock ownership, equity interests, arrangements regarding patents, or other vested interests should be disclosed in the Acknowledgments section.



    Use Arabic numerals to number tables. Do not repeat information that is given in the text, and do not make a table for data that can be given in the text in one or two sentences. Provide titles for all tables. Define all acronyms in table footnotes. All other types of table footnotes should be designated using superscript letters, not symbols.

    A legend should be supplied for each figure, and all legends numbered consecutively and provided (double spaced) on a separate page at the end of the main text file. All symbol definitions should be in the figure legend, not as a key within the figure. If possible, please use Arial font for figure text. One-column graphs should not exceed 3¼ inches. If a graph must be larger so small data is clearly visible, the graph should not exceed 6½ inches. Anything larger will need to be reduced and data could become illegible. The point size of axis labeling or text within figures should not exceed 12 points.

    Figures should be numbered in the order cited in the text. Images should not show the name of a manufacturer or reveal patients’ name(s). Please keep in mind that the figures will be reduced, so please do not submit large figures/graphs that contain small type, as the text within the figure will not be readable after reduction.

    Color publication of figures is encouraged, but the cost for color printing must be subsidized by the author(s). Color costs apply to all manuscripts, including those invited, unless the contributor has made prior arrangements with the Publisher. Please consider these costs when preparing your manuscript for submission. For further details, contact the Publisher.

    Please follow these instructions carefully when preparing figure files for uploading:

    Do NOT include any illustrations as part of your text file.

    Line illustrations must be submitted at 600 DPI.

    Halftones and color photos should be submitted at a minimum of 300 DPI.

    Power Point files cannot be uploaded on to Manuscript Central.

    Save art as either TIFF or EPS files. JPEG files are for screen representation-quality only and will print very poorly during the printing process. To ensure proper print quality, please submit only TIFF or EPS files.

    Color art must be saved as CYMK, not RGB. (NB: If RGB files are submitted, the files will be converted to CYMK and some color variation will occur.)

    When naming your figure files, please label them with the author’s last name, followed by a period (.), and then list the figure number. Ex: Smith.Fig1.tif. Label figures and tables inside the files in addition to naming the file with the figure or table number. (ie: When figures or table files are opened, the figure or table number should appear inside the file.)

    Protocol Table. Authors should include a Protocol Table having the general format as shown below to supplement the Methods section.   This format will allow the optimized HTS or other assay protocols with specific comments for each step to be presented in a straightforward manner, and allow ADT to establish a consistent protocol format.


    Figure layout.  Figures should be on a white background, and must avoid excessive boxing, unnecessary color, a title on the figure itself, spurious decorative effects (such as three-dimensional ‘skyscraper’ histograms). Do not use a gray or dark background for histograms, and if possible prepare them in a professional graphing program such as Prism, Origin, etc. that matches the presentation format of, for example, dose-response plots.

    Concentration response plots. Concentration or dose-response curves should be plotted using a logarithmic x-axis scale for effector (e.g., compound or ligand) concentration and a linear y-axis scale for the effect being measured (e.g., readout from plate reader, percent activity relative to control). In the case of replicate determinations, each point should represent the mean, and error bars should be used to show the SD or SEM. Points may be joined by a line or superimposed on a curve fit obtained by non-linear regression. The figure legend should report the number of replicates, the error calculation used (e.g., SD or SEM), and the type of curve fit. 

    This journal’s conventional concentration response curve nomenclature is “Log [cpd], M”. Plots may contain symbol legend within the plot itself, however this information must be also contained within the figure legend (see example below). In general, please differentiate multiple curves on a plot by the type of data point symbol.  Avoid use of color if possible.

    Examples below show acceptable figure layouts for the figure legend below. 

    Figure 1. Dose-response of active and inactive analogs of two compound series. The inhibition of esterase activity was determined for two representative compounds from the benzthiazol and quinazoline series. The IC50 of the active benzthiazol cpd 123 () was 420 ± 18 nM and the inactive stereo isomer, cpd 124 (  ), had no effect at the highest tested concentration of 6 uM.  The IC50 of the active quinazoline cpd 225 ()  was 677± 30 nM, and the inactive ester, cpd 226 ( ∇ ),  had no effect at the highest tested concentration of 6 uM. The data presented are means +/- SEM of triplicate wells (n=3). 

    Bar graphs. Please standardize all figures using a professional graphing software package (e.g. Prism Graphpad). Please do not use Excel for graphing if possible. For bar graphs, use the following patterns, solid, open, and hashed with three or less different conditions (see below); for an additional fourth bar reverse hash lines. Use the finest line settings (e.g. ½ point) when option is available.  Avoid use of color in bar graphs.

    C O R R E C T    L I N E    T H I C K N E S S



    I N C O R R E C T    L I N E    T H I C K N E S S



    Error bars and definition. All Figures displaying error bars (e.g., bar graphs, dose-response curves) must include in the figure legend a sentence describing how the error was determined, for example "The data presented are means +/- SEM of triplicate wells (n=3)", or "Error bars represent standard error of n=4 values", etc.

    Error measurements must also accompany all reported dissociation/association constants, kinetic parameters (e.g. Km, Vmax) and IC50, e.g. IC50 = 8 ±1 uM.   

    Z' factor. All reported Z-factors must include within the paper specifically what ‘signal’ and ‘background’ or ‘inhibited’ conditions were used to obtain the data used to calculate this value. In addition, and importantly, how many wells were used to calculate the Z'? For a 96-well plate ideally half the wells (n=48) would be used as ‘background’ or ‘inhibited’ and the other half (n=48) as the ‘stimulated’ or ‘max signal’. A typical experiment in the standard 96-well format should be shown. Example is below.  



    Chemical Structures.Structures should be produced with the use of a drawing program such as ChemDraw. Authors using the current versions of ChemDraw will find the necessary parameters incorporated into this program (“ACS Document 1996”).

    Cover Submissions. Outstanding color artwork is encouraged for possible use on the cover. The ADT cover is composed of three elements: (1) a background that fills the cover space, (2) a foreground image, and (3) the chemical structure that occupies the top right corner of the cover. Please provide a few sentences describing the assay or technology and a single sentence for each element, see example below for guidance. DO NOT REPEAT ENTIRE FIGURE LEGEND FROM ARTICLE. Authors are encouraged to submit choices of images and/or figures that would make for an interesting cover. Once the editors select the cover art, our graphic artist creates the cover.  See the Cover Art Gallery for examples of previous covers.

     ASSAY and Drug Development Technologies E
    xample Caption:  LacZ expression in transgenic animals is typically assessed in vitro in tissue slices using X-gal, which is cleaved by the LacZ gene product to yield an insoluble blue cleavage product. Zhang and colleagues have developed a method for in vivo assessment LacZ expression in transgenic animals using DDAOG, which is cleaved by the LacZ gene product to yield a cleavage product with far-red fluorescence. The fluorescent product is detected using an in vivo optical imaging system. Foreground: schematic of in vivo optical imaging system (illustrator: Daniela Bednarova). Background: GPR56KO/LacZ mouse kidney medulla stained with X-gal.Upper right chemical structure: DDAOG (7-hydroxy-9H-(1,3-dichloro-9,9-dimethylacridin-2-one)-b-D-galactopyranoside).

    Animal and Human Tissue Guidelines

    Please include within Materials and Methods your institute's compliance statements for animal experimentation and handling of human tissue. Examples:

    Use of Animals. Animal experimentation complied with local and national requirements, including the UK Coordinating Committee on Cancer Research guidelines for the welfare of animals in experimental neoplasia.37

    37. Workman P, Twentyman P, Balkwill F, Balmain A, Chaplin D, Double J, Embleton J, Newell D, Ramond R, Stables J, Stephens T: United Kingdom Co-ordinating Committee on Cancer Research (UKCCCR) guidelines for the welfare of animals in experimental neoplasia [second edition]. Br J Cancer 1998;77:1–10.

    Handling of human tissue. Handling of human DRG tissue was carried out according to legal provisions and rules of the medical faculty of the Innsbruck Medical University.


    Authors preparing manuscripts containing comparisons of assay technologies are advised that the following points will be considered during peer-review: 

    • A Z-factor analysis along with the formula used to calculate the Z-factor must be included, especially if formats are fundamentally different, e.g., a ratiometric vs. a single readout assay. The authors should describe the plate format, number of wells, and plates used to obtain this statistic.

    • Discrepancies in the ability to reproduce an activity of published controls must be carefully explained. Particular attention should be paid to experimental parameters and reagent properties that differ from those previously reported (e.g., enzyme specific activity, protein or compound purity).

    • Product comparisons may be supported by reference to data from peer-reviewed publications. In the absence of prior peer reviewed publication, data to support (or critique) a specific product should be presented in the paper so that it will be subjected to peer review upon submission to Assay and Drug Development Technologies. Selective use of literature to support an advantage over an existing technology is inappropriate, as is selective omission of literature references to create the appearance of a competitive advantage. In general, existing literature relevant to the reported assay technology should be cited comprehensively, and negative and positive aspects should be discussed in a scientific and unbiased manner.

    • Vendor manuals available online may be referenced when a method is based on a commercial kit or performed ‘‘according to the manufacturer’s instructions.’’ Reviewers, however, may require details to be included in the manuscript. Data in manuals, application notes, and posters that have not been subjected to peer review may not be used to compare one product with another or to support a central argument in a paper.

    • The use of promotional or marketing-like statements is not permitted. Examples of marketing terminology:  "XYZ Biosciences has recently launched the first commercially available version...."   "For higher throughput a plate based version, Speedy Workstation, is available. With this device screening of large compound libraries will be possible without loss of data quality." In addition please remove all terms of novelty from the title and text (e.g., novel, innovative, unique).  


    All references must be cited in the text using a superscript Arabic number. Arrange the reference list in numeric order as cited in the text.   When there are more than six authors, list the first three followed by “et al.”  Abbreviate journal names according to Serial Sources for the BIOSIS Data Base (BioSciences Information Service, 1992). References should be presented in the following style: Journal citation: Ferrer M, Hamilton A, Inglese J: A PDZ domain-based detection system for enzyme assays. Analyt Biochem 2001;301:207–216. Book citation: Kahn M: High Throughput Screening for Novel Anti-Inflammatories. Birkhauser, Basel, Switzerland, 2000. Chapter in edited book: Banks M: Automation and Technology for HTS in Drug Development. In: Approaches to High Throughput Toxicity Screening (Atterwill CK, Purcell W, Goldfarb P, eds.), pp. 9–30. Taylor & Francis, London, United Kingdom, 1999. Web sites: Name of web page. Web address. (Last accessed on [date]). Example: DOE Human Genome Program Research. Available at: www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/research/research/shtml . Last accessed August 31, 2005.

    When data from an unpublished source are given, supply the researcher’s name and institution, and the year in which the research was conducted.  If the work is in press, give the journal in which it is to be published.

    This journal is included in EndNote. You may download the EndNote style file herePlease note, however, that the Publisher of this journal does not provide technical support for EndNote. For assistance with the program, contact EndNote directly (http://www.endnote.com/).


    The author must obtain written permission from the publisher of the journal or book concerned for the reproduction of figures, tables, etc., from copyrighted materials.

    The publication from which the figure or table is reprinted must be listed as a complete reference in the reference list.

    An appropriate credit line should be included in the figure legend or table footnote, and full publication information should be included in the reference list.


    Manuscripts should be submitted with the understanding that they have neither been published, nor are under consideration for publication elsewhere, except in the form of an abstract. Prior abstract publications should be described in the form of a footnote to the title. Authors with papers under consideration elsewhere having significant overlap to those submitted to ASSAY and Drug Development Technologies should provide copies of such manuscripts to the editor. The editors maintain the option to reverse an acceptance decision should an apparent issue with publishing policies or scientific content arise. Published manuscripts become the sole property of the Journal and will be copyrighted by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. By submitting a manuscript to the Journal, the author(s) agree(s) to each of the above conditions. In addition, the author(s) explicitly assign(s) any copyrighted ownership he/she (they) may have in such manuscript to the Journal.

    It is critical to ensure the accuracy of ALL authors’ email addresses when uploading submissions to Manuscript Central to ensure the proper delivery of all email communications.


    The corresponding author is responsible for communicating with coauthors to make sure they have completed the online copyright form. Authors not permitted to release copyright must still return the form acknowledging the statement of the reason for not releasing the copyright.


    It is the submitting author’s  responsibility to ensure the accuracy and inclusion of all contributing authors’ names and affiliations upon submission. Once a paper is accepted for publication, changes in authorship while the paper is in production – including page proofs – are NOT permitted. Changes in authorship after publication are strictly prohibited.

    page proofs

    It is the Journal’s policy that a manuscript has only ONE corresponding author listed on a paper.  This designation should be determined at the time of submission.  Additions to corresponding authors are not permitted after acceptance, in page proofs, or after publication.

    Page proofs will be sent to the (one) corresponding author as designated when the manuscript was uploaded to Manuscript Central.  It is the corresponding author’s responsibility to share the page proofs with co-authors and to coordinate all authors’ corrections into one proof.  The Publisher will not accept corrections from multiple authors.


    Reprints may be ordered by following the special instructions that will accompany page proofs, and should be ordered at the time the corresponding author returns the corrected page proofs to the Publisher. Reprints ordered after an issue is printed will be charged at a substantially higher rate.


    ASSAY is owned and published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers, 140 Huguenot Street, New Rochelle, NY10801. Telephone: 914-740-2100; Fax: 914-740-2101; E-mail: info@liebertpub.com; Website: www.liebertpub.com 

  • NIH/HHMI Wellcome Trust Policies

    NIH Public Access Policy: In order to assist our authors who have NIH funding to comply with this policy, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. publishers will deposit the final accepted paper (after copy-editing and proofreading) to PubMed Central (PMC) on behalf of the authors. Authors need not take any action. The manuscript's public access posting on PMC will occur 12 months after final publication. This service is provided free of charge. Please note that authors may not deposit manuscripts directly to PMC or other sites without permission from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

  • Self-Archiving Policy

    Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. is a "blue" publisher (as defined by Sherpa), as we allow self-archiving of post-print (ie final draft post-refereeing) or publisher's version/PDF.

    In assigning Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. copyright, the author retains the right to deposit such a 'post-print' on their own website, or on their institution's intranet, or within the Institutional Repository of their institution or company of employment, on the following condition, and with the following acknowledgement:

    This is a copy of an article published in the [JOURNAL TITLE] © [year of publication] [copyright Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.]; [JOURNAL TITLE] is available online at: http://online.liebertpub.com.

    Authors may also deposit this version on his/her funder's or funder's designated repository at the funder's request or as a result of a legal obligation, provided it is not made publicly available until 12 months after official publication.

  • Open Access Policy

    Choose Liebert Open Access Option!

    Ensure maximum visibility, discoverability, and impact for your article with our Liebert Open Access (OA) Option.

    Your investment guarantees:

    • Immediate, unrestricted global access in 170 countries
    • Maximum visibility for increased readers, citations, and downloads
    • Targeted email announcement highlighting your article to thousands of thought-leaders in your field
    • Rapid, rigorous peer-review and editorial attention
    • Fast Track online-ahead-of-print publication
    • Immediate upload to PubMed Central and other internationally recognized repositories*
    • Recognition on online Table of Contents with exclusive OA icon
    • Compliance with OA funding mandates with no embargo period
    • Savings on future OA article publication
    • Complimentary membership in AuthorCite®, the author services platform exclusively licensed by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. that delivers the tools you need to maximize your professional impact.

    These valuable benefits are included with a one-time article processing charge (APC). APC charge varies based on journal, membership, and subsequent submissions.

    Contact openaccess@liebertpub.com for questions on article Open Access options. 

     *Please note that PubMedCentral, not the Publisher, has sole control over when the paper is made live on PMC.


    Is your Institution a member of the Liebert Author Advocacy Program?

    The Liebert Author Advocacy Program (LAAP) provides valuable membership benefits for OA publication to institutional and funding organizations, and supports global funding mandates.  Authors who are affiliated with LAAP member institutions receive all the valuable benefits of Liebert OA article publication, and more.

    For details, and to recommend institutional membership visit: www.authoradvocacy.com or contact laap@liebertpub.com 




The views, opinions, findings, conclusions and recommendations set forth in any Journal article are solely those of the authors of those articles and do not necessarily reflect the views, policy or position of the Journal, its Publisher, its editorial staff or any affiliated Societies and should not be attributed to any of them.

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