In the last ten years, the field of proteomics has expanded at a rapid rate. A range of exciting new technology has been developed and enthusiastically applied to an enormous variety of biological questions. However, the degree of stringency required in proteomic data generation and analysis appears to have been underestimated. As a result, there are likely to be numerous published findings that are of questionable quality, requiring further confirmation and/or validation. This manuscript outlines a number of key issues in proteomic research, including those associated with experimental design, differential display and biomarker discovery, protein identification and analytical incompleteness. In an effort to set a standard that reflects current thinking on the necessary and desirable characteristics of publishable manuscripts in the field, a minimal set of guidelines for proteomics research is then described. These guidelines will serve as a set of criteria which editors of PROTEOMICS will use for assessment of future submissions to the Journal.