Manuscript Formatting Requirements and Preparation Tips
1. Manuscript length
The target length of Research Articles is approximately 10 printed pages (generally about 6000 words of body text). There are additional types of manuscripts that can be submitted with different page/word targets (see Author guidelines).
2. Title page
Title: The title should be concise and informative, i.e. summarizing either the subject or the most important findings of the study rather than merely the hypothesis addressed. It should have around 100 characters (ca. 15 words), and 150 characters at most (including spaces). Avoid 'A', 'An', 'The', 'On', etc. at the beginning.
Provide a running page head with 3 to 6 words; e.g. 'Detection of shrimp WSSV'.
Authors and addresses: If a manuscript has several authors from different institutions:
- use superscript numerals for identification;
- provide the address of each author's institution, identifying any present address(es) if applicable. Include zip or postal code but not street address or box number;
- use an asterisk (*) to refer to a footnote that identifies the single corresponding author and provide her/his e-mail.
Key words: Supply 3 to 8 key words, listed in order of importance.
Please use continuously numbered pages and lines, 12 point font, and double spacing. Manuscripts that do not use correct English grammar, spelling and punctuation will be returned to authors without review; if you are not a native English speaker, you should have the text edited by someone who is, before submitting your manuscript. You may also wish to consult a 'How to' book such as Day & Gastel (2011; How to write and publish a scientific paper, 7th edn. Greenwood Press, Santa Barbara, CA).
Verbosity: Please eliminate verbiage; example:
Verbose – 'The speed was chosen because past studies by Miller (1995) and Smith (1998) have shown this to be slightly greater than the maximum sustained swimming speed.'
Not verbose – 'The speed is slightly greater than the maximum sustained swimming speed (Miller 1995, Smith 1998).'
Verbose – 'It has been shown that boat noise affects whale behaviour (Smith 1994).' (and similar phrases such as 'it has been reported/found that', 'it is possible/suspected that', 'results show that')
Not verbose – 'Boat noise influences whale behaviour (Smith 1994).'
Genus and species names must be in italics; write the genus name in full at first mention in each section (Abstract, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion) and abbreviate whenever mentioned again in the same section. When referring to a species, do not use the genus name alone, unless you have previously defined it that way; be precise when using 'sp.' (singular) and 'spp.' (plural).
At first mention in a section – 'The filter feeding of blue mussels Mytilus edulis was examined'.
After first mention in a section – 'Filter feeding rates of M. edulis increased with increasing temperature.'
Sequence data: Full sequence information is required when molecular methods are used. The sequences of novel primers must be given. Novel nucleotide or protein sequences must be deposited in the GenBank, EMBL or DDBJ databases and an accession number obtained.
Ocean acidification data reporting: When presenting methods and results reporting ocean acidification the 'Guide to best practices for ocean acidification research and data reporting' must be followed. Specifics for reporting ocean acidification data in scientific journals are outlined in Annex 1 of the 2015 addendum.
Equations and units: Use standard SI units. Relations or concentrations (e.g. mg per l) must be given as 'mg l–1' (not mg/l). Variables are usually italicised (except for Greek letters). Italicisation should be consistent in normal, superscript and subscripted text. Example of proper spacing: 'p < 0.05, r2 = 0.879' (not 'p<0.05, r2=0.879'); but: 'we studied organisms of size <0.5 µm'
Figures and tables
Please consult Guidelines to Authors on Figure Preparation.
Figures, tables, and their captions should be self-explanatory; e.g. abbreviations and acronyms must be defined here. For table footnotes, use superscripted lower case letters; asterisks can be used to indicate statistical significance (must be defined in the legend).
4. Acknowledgement section
Declare all sources of funding of the study. In addition, you may wish to acknowledge any assistance you received from anyone not listed as author. Include this section before your Literature Cited.
5. Literature cited
All literature used in the text must be listed, and all listed literature must appear in the text, using Harvard (Name-Year) referencing style.
Format required for citing literature (examples):
Periodicals: Use standard abbreviations according to 'BIOSIS Serial Sources' or use the style for your selected journal in a reference managing software. A list of over 30000 journal names and BIOSIS abbreviations can be found here. In addition, Endnote users may download styles for IR journals in this zip file for import into reference managing software.
- Dempster T, Holmer M (2009) Introductory editorial. Aquacult Environ Interact 1:1–5
Books: Write the title of the book in lower case, and give the publisher and place of publication. In the case of book series, give the series editor as well. Example:
- Hanski I (2005) The shrinking world: ecological consequences of habitat loss. In: Kinne O (ed) Excellence in ecology, Book 14. International Ecology Institute, Oldendorf/Luhe
Papers from books, conference reports, symposium proceedings, etc.: Give the title of the chapter, the editor(s) and title of the volume, the publisher and place of the publisher (not the location where the conference was held), and the pages of the chapter. The date cited must be the year of publication (not the year in which the conference was held). Example:
- West TL, Amrose WG (1992) Abiotic and biotic effects on population dynamics of oligohaline benthic invertebrates. In: Colombo G, Ferrari I, Ceccherelli VU, Rossi R (eds) Marine eutrophication and population dynamics. Proc 25th Eur Mar Biol Symp. Olsen & Olsen, Fredensburg, p 189–194
Dissertations: Write the title in lower case, the type of thesis / dissertation (e.g. MS / MSc / PhD), and give the university and its location. Example:
- Eve TM (2001) Chemistry and chemical ecology of Indo-Pacific gorgonians. PhD dissertation, University of California, San Diego, CA
Websites: Permanent databases such as FishBase, GenBank, or climatological sources may be included in the Literature Cited list; the access date must be given. URLs for printed publications also available online may be included with their citations. Example:
- Froese F, Pauly D (2009) FishBase. www.fishbase.org (accessed 13 Jan 2013)
Other website references should only be cited in the body text.
6. Final checklist
Please cross-check your manuscript using this list. Consult recent IR publications as a general guide for formatting:
- Include page numbers and continuous line numbers
- Ensure that abbreviations are defined at first mention in the abstract, main manuscript Included text and figure/table legends, and that the legends are informative
- Use periods instead of commas as decimal signs
- Correctly present your statistical results (e.g. include two sets of degrees of freedom for ANOVA results and significance/p-values of regressions)
- Cite all of the references in the text and vice versa
- Correctly label your figure axes with a title and a unit where applicable
- Create legible figures: i.e. large enough font size (at least 10 pt) with sufficient resolution for pdf viewing
- Prepare the manuscript (text, figures and tables) as a single file