Preparation of Manuscripts
Ecology, Ecological Applications, Ecological Monographs
Spacing, margins and fonts
Equations, symbols and abbreviations
Underlining and italics
Organization and style
Abstract and key words
Body of the article
Literature cited (and other citations)
Digital appendices and supplements
Assembly of the manuscript
Identification of the object of study
Statistical analysis and data presentation
Consult recent issues for examples of journal style. For purposes of review, submitted manuscripts need not adhere to journal style in every detail; however, preparation of final revisions of manuscripts accepted for publication will be easier if ESA style is followed from the outset.
All papers must be in English.
Use American spellings (e.g., behavior, not behaviour). The CBE
Style Manual, Fifth Edition, is recommended for details of style.
margins and fonts
The entire manuscript must be double-spaced (text, quotations, figure legends, tables, literature cited, etc.) at three lines per inch (12 lines/ 10 cm). Leave a 1-inch (2.4-cm) margin on all sides of each page. Use a 12-point font (proportionally-spaced type) or 10 characters/inch (4 characters/cm) if the letter spacing is uniform. Do not hyphenate words at the right margin or justify the right margin. Put the author's name in the header for each page and number all pages, starting with the title page.
symbols and abbreviations
Define all symbols, abbreviations and acronyms the first time they are used. Equations to be set separately from the text will be broken into two or more lines if they exceed the width of one column; mark equations for appropriate breaks. Subscripts and superscripts should be clarified by marginal notes. Use leading zeroes with all number <1, including probability values (e.g., P< 0.001). Use boldface roman type to denote matrices and vectors
Underline or italicize scientific names and the symbols for all variables and constants except Greek letters. Symbols should be italic in the illustrations to match the text. Italics should rarely be used for emphasis.(If mathematical expressions are to be set with underbars, this must be indicated clearly on the manuscript, by means of a special note.)
Title. -- Titles should be concise, informative, tell what the paper is about and what it found. It should contain keywords necessary for digital search and retrieval methods. Avoid vague declarations (e.g., "effects of ..."); strive for information content (e.g., fungi kill tardigrades"). The maximum length is 120 characters. Do not include the authority for taxonomic names in the title or in the abstract. Titles may not include numerical series designations. The first letter of the first word in the title is capitalized. All other words, except for proper nouns, are lower case.
List of Authors. -- For each author, give the relevant address – usually the institutional affiliation of the author during the period when all or most of the research was done. Each author’s present address, if different from this, and the author's email address should appear as a footnote at the bottom of the title page.
Individuals listed as authors should have played a significant role in designing or carrying out the research, writing the manuscript, or providing extensive guidance on the execution of the project. Those whose role was limited to providing materials, financial support, or review should be recognized in the Acknowledgments section.
and key words
The abstract should explain to the general reader why the research was done and why the results should be viewed as important. It should provide a brief summary of the research, including the purpose, methods, results, and major conclusions. Do not include literature citations in the Abstract. Avoid long lists of common methods or discursive explanations of what you set out to accomplish,
The primary purpose of an abstract is to allow readers to determine quickly and easily the content and results of a paper. Abstracts should not exceed 200 words for Reports, Notes, and Communications, and 350 words for articles and for Data Papers.
Following the Abstract, list up to 12 key words. Words from the title of the article may be included in the key words. Each key word should be useful as an entry point for a literature search.
If appropriate, organize your article in sections labeled Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion. You may need to add a section for Conclusions. Brief articles usually do not require a label for the Introduction. If the nature of your research requires a different organization, specify the level of each section heading (1st-order head, 2nd-order head, etc.) in the margin.
A brief Introduction describing the paper's significance should be intelligible to the general reader of the journal. The Introduction should state the reason for doing the research, the nature of the questions or hypotheses under consideration, and essential background. The Introduction is not a place for a lengthy review of the topic!
The Methods section should provide sufficient information to allow someone to repeat your work. A clear description of your experimental design, sampling procedures, and statistical procedures is especially important. Do not describe commonplace statistical tests in Methods, but allude to them briefly in Results. If you list a product (e.g., animal food, analytical device), supply the name and location of the manufacturer. Give the model number for equipment specified. Supply complete citations, including author (or editor), title, year, publisher and version number, for computer software mentioned in your article.
Results generally should be stated concisely and without interpretation, though in complex studies modest interpretation of individual parts can provide context helpful for understanding subsequent parts. The Discussion should explain the significance of the results. Distinguish factual results from speculation and interpretation. Avoid excessive review.
cited (and other citations)
Avoid excessive citations; cite only essential sources. Before submitting the manuscript, check each citation in the text against the Literature Cited to see that they match exactly. Delete citations if they are not actually cited in the article. The list should conform in sequencing and punctuation to that in recent issues of the journal. All journal titles should be spelled out completely. Provide the publisher’s name and location when you cite conference proceedings or other books.
The Literature Cited section of a paper may refer only to permanently archived material. If a reasonably diligent scholar 20 years in the future could not be assured of finding a particular source, it would not be acceptable as literature cited. Because Internet sources typically have a short half-life, they may not be included in Literature Cited sections unless there is reasonable evidence of permanency (e.g., Ecological Archives). As a general rule, any publication that has an ISSN or ISBN is acceptable, but should be referenced by name (the URL may be added, but is not essential).
Do not list abstracts or unpublished material in the Literature Cited. These materials may be listed in the text as personal observations (by an author of the present paper), personal communications (information from others), public communications (information in published abstracts, or information publicly distributed over the Internet but not permanently archived), unpublished manuscript, or unpublished data. The author(s) is expected to verify for all "personal communications" that the authority cited agrees to the use of his or her name. For public communications, the reference should include date printed or accessed, and title of the source, and basic access information such as URL.
Tables should supplement, not duplicate, the text. They should be numbered in the order of their citation in the text. Start each table on a separate page. Provide a short descriptive title at the top of each table; rather than simply repeating the labels on columns and rows of the table, the title should reveal the point of grouping certain data in the table. Statistical and other details should be provided as footnotes rather than appearing in the title. Never repeat the same material in figures and tables; when either is equally clear, a figure is preferable. Do not include any class of information in tables that is not discussed in the text of the manuscript.
At the submission and review stages, embedded image files are acceptable for tables. Final versions of accepted manuscripts must have “true” tables in an editable format, created by using the “Insert Table” function, rather than using tabs or spaces. For example, in Microsoft Word you should select “Table, “Insert”, “Table”, then specify the number of rows and columns and fill in the individual cells.
Number figures in the order in which they are discussed in the text. Group the figure legends in numerical order on one or more pages, separate from the figures. The figure title (i.e., Figure 1) should be given as the first two words of the legend.
Electronic file formats:
All figure files should be in eps, pdf, tiff, or jpeg format, or embedded in Word or PowerPoint. See below for sizing. Low resolution figure files will not be suitable for publication. Thus, we may require new versions of figures for the final version of an accepted manuscript.
There should only be one figure on each page. The resolution should be 600 dpi (dots per inch). If you make tiff files, please use the "LZW compression" option when saving the files. That will significantly reduce the file size, without adversely affecting the image quality.
Type guidelines for figures:
Most figures will be reduced to single-column width in the journal (76 mm, 3 inches, or 18 picas) and should be completely legible at that size. After reduction, all lettering should be no smaller than a 6-point font size.
· Sans serif fonts such as Helvetica or Arial are preferred.
· Nomenclature, abbreviations, symbols, and units used in a figure should match those used in the text and tables.
· Use italics only as used in the text (e.g., variables, species names). All Greek letters should be set upright (roman, not italic).
· Avoid boldface lettering.
Lines and fills:
Axis lines, tick marks, error bars, etc. should be thick enough to survive reduction to final print size (at least 1 point wide, following reduction). Anything smaller is likely to fade out. Tick marks also need to be long enough to show up when reduced. Fills should be sufficiently different so they can be distinguished upon reduction.
The cost of printing color figures will be billed to the author (currently $360 per figure). You will be asked to confirm that you are willing to pay the costs of reproducing the figure in color.
appendices and supplements
Appendices and supplemental material for articles published in ESA's print journals (Ecology, Ecological Monographs, Ecological Applications) are published in digital form in Ecological Archives. Unless otherwise requested and approved by the Subject-matter Editor and the Managing Editor, appendices will be published exclusively in digital form. Never state “available from the author upon request;” all such material should be submitted for inclusion in Ecological Archives.
For purposes of Ecological Archives, appendices are defined as directly viewable (or executable in the case of sound or video clips) with a standard web browser and should be fully understandable by referring to the legend and the original paper. The ability to publish digital appendices allows authors to make available substantial amounts of supporting material in formats such as tables, graphs, and photographs as separate, citable entities. Whereas appendices are generally formatted to be readily viewed or experienced with a web browser, supplements will more typically resemble raw data with appropriate metadata. In the case of supplements, only the metadata will be consistently formatted to optimize viewing with a web browser; the supplements per se will be formatted to maximize ease of further use or analysis. Supplements could include, but are not limited to, original and derived datasets, source code for simulation models, and details of and software for unusual statistical analyses. Authors are encouraged to submit supplements that allow validation of analyses already conducted, as well as new analyses of their original data. Separate detailed instructions are available on preparation of materials for Ecological Archives.
of the manuscript
Assemble the parts of the manuscript in this order: title page, abstract, key words, text, acknowledgments, literature cited, tables, figure legends, figures. Appendices for Ecological Archives should be in a separate file. Number all pages (including appendices, tables, and figures) consecutively.
Do not submit unsolicited suggestions for cover photos. Cover photos are solicited when an issue is put together, and you will be contacted if your manuscript can be considered as a candidate for the cover.
of the objects of study
Early in the manuscript, identify the type(s) of organism or ecosystem you studied; e.g., "Cornus florida L. (flowering dogwood), a small deciduous tree". Avoid descriptive terms that may be familiar only to specialists. Provide the scientific names of all organisms. Common names may be used when convenient after stating the scientific names.
Genus names must be spelled out the first time they are used, but may be abbreviated to a single letter thereafter if no confusion will result. If the article contains several different scientific names, it is a good idea to spell out the generic name the first time it appears in each major section. Species names must always be spelled out in text; space limitations in tables or figures may require use of a "code," such as the first letter of the genus and species name; these letters should be in italics, like the original scientific name.
Check carefully the spelling of all scientific nomenclature. Copy editors cannot be expected to do this.
Because usage of scientific names may vary between investigators and can be ambiguous when out of context, conformance to a comprehensive nomenclatural standard is highly desirable. Suggestions for nomenclature standards are available for commonly studied groups.
analyses and data presentation
Authors are free to interpret statistical analyses as they see fit. The author, however, needs to provide the reader with information sufficient for an independent assessment of the analysis. Thus, the assumptions and the model underlying any statistical analysis must be clearly stated, and the presentation of results must be sufficiently detailed. Sampling designs, experimental designs, data-collection protocols, precision of measurements, sampling units, and sample sizes must be succinctly described. Reported statistics usually include the sample size and some measure of their precision (standard error [SE] or specified confidence interval [CI]) except where this would interfere with graphical clarity. The specific statistical procedure must always be stated. Unusual statistical procedures need to be explained in sufficient detail, including references if appropriate, for the reader to reconstruct the analysis. If a software product was used, complete citation should be given, including version number. When reporting results, actual P values are preferred. For more information consult the guidelines on "Statistical analysis and data presentation" prepared by the Statistical Ecology Section of ESA.
Any novel computer code used for models, simulations, or statistical analyses reported in the manuscript must be described. Such code must be part of the submission and will become a permanently archived Supplement to an accepted manuscript. Computer code should be sufficiently documented so that reviewers and readers can reconstruct simulations, models or analyses as reported in the submission and ultimate publication. Executable code is not sufficient; source code must be provided. Sufficient metadata should accompany the code so that others can readily use the files and interpret output. Such metadata can usually be provided in a short text file.
Consult Standard Practice for Use of the International System of Units (ASTM Standard E-380-93) for guidance on unit conversions, style and usage. An abbreviated version may be downloaded from the ASTM website. When preparing text and figures, note in particular that SI requires the use of the terms mass or force rather than weight. When one unit appears in a denominator, use the solidus (e.g., g/m2 ); for two or more units in a denominator, use negative exponents (e.g., g.m-2.d-1 ). Use a capital L as the symbol for liter.