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Author guidelines

Last updated: 08 March 2019

Acceptable manuscript types


Article type Description Suggested length*
    These are not limits. Longer manuscripts can be accepted if justified by the content (editors and reviewers will judge this)
Research Article Describing novel research 4000 – 12000 words
Review State-of-the-art evaluation of important current research areas Up to 20000 words
Note Brief report on novel findings not warranting a full Research Article but significant enough for publication Up to 3000 words (incl. up to 25 references)
Comment / Reply Comment Critical, fair assessment of an article published in the same journal; and a reply to the Comment; see this editorial for details Up to 2000 words
Opinion Piece** Important, personal views on hot topics Up to 3000 words
*Total number of words in the manuscript (including title, authors, affiliations, keywords, body text, acknowledgements, legends, tables, and literature cited)
**Previously called 'As I See It'
Theme Sections/Specials integrate expert analyses, highlighting an important research area or problem (e.g. a collection of high-quality papers stemming from a research symposium). Please approach us with your ideas for a Theme Section via email to the appropriate Managing Editor.


Submitting your manuscript


A submitted manuscript must:
  • not be simultaneously submitted to any other publication outlet
  • be original, i.e. not previously published whole or in part as a peer-reviewed publication (including in different languages). Inter-Research may check submissions using anti-plagiarism software.
  • list all (and only) those authors deserving authorship (see IR's authorship policy)
  • have been approved by all immediately involved, e.g. authors and institutional authorities
  • meet ethics guidelines (i.e. institutional, national and international guidelines concerning the use of animals in research, sampling of endangered species, and ethics in publication). All conflicts of interest must be declared.


If the manuscript was previously submitted to a publication outlet, this must be disclosed and a rationale for its current submission provided. It is the expectation that such submissions incorporate any previous recommendations and address any reviewer concerns prior to submission to any Inter-Research (IR) journal. Submissions of manuscripts that have been archived as preprint (defined as the manuscript version initially submitted to a publication outlet for review, i.e. not yet peer-reviewed) in an online depository are allowed (see for details) but such deposits must be disclosed in the cover letter upon submission. Take note of any restrictions in the license agreement of the preprint archive that may affect or limit your desired IR publication model (e.g. by depositing a manuscript in a preprint archive you may be required to publish it with Open Access). Permission to re-use any previously published material must have been obtained by the authors from the copyright holders. Submitting a manuscript implies agreement to IR terms of publication related to Open Access, copyright and manuscript processing. Please submit your manuscript using the online manuscript submission system (click on the appropriate journal):




In the unlikely event that you have problems, please email the submission to the editorial office of the journal (click on the appropriate journal):




The submission must contain 2 separate files:
  • a cover letter (see 'Cover Letter' for details)
  • the manuscript, which must:
    • be correctly formatted to match journal style (see 'Manuscript' for details)
    • be in one file (it includes all text, with tables, figures and their captions at the end)
    • use line numbers throughout (restart numbering on each page; do not use ‘continuous’ line numbering)
    • be smaller than 5 MB (for accepted manuscripts, higher-resolution figures can be provided later)
Appendices: supporting material not longer than 2 printed pages may be published at the end of the main article. Figures, tables and equations should be numbered A1, A2, A3, etc. Longer materials or those not suitable for printing may be published as electronic supplements (see below).

Electronic supplements: material unsuitable for inclusion within the article (overlong tables, mathematical derivations, video clips, computer code, etc.) may be published on the Inter-Research website as an electronic supplement (linked to the article and abstract page). This material will not be copyedited, typeset, or checked for accuracy; responsibility for its content and presentation rests with the author(s). Figures, tables and equations should be numbered S1, S2, S3, etc.; if references are used, the supplement must contain its own complete Literature Cited section.


After you submit: Peer-review


Manuscripts are pre-screened to ensure that the submission fits the scope of the journal and that language and formatting requirements are met. Manuscripts sent for review will usually be critically evaluated by 3 reviewers. The Contributing Editor decides on acceptance, revision, or rejection.


If your manuscript is accepted: Next Steps


You will be contacted with a request for appropriate file types if needed (send them to Acceptance). You will receive an Acceptance Form that includes a copyright agreement and reader access options (subscriber-only or Open Access) for your article. Our open access fees can be found here. Titles of accepted manuscripts are added within a few days to 'Forthcoming publications' on the journal's web site, together with a prepress abstract and a DOI, making them citable. Proofs are sent a few weeks later. You can order offprints and, if desired, revise your access options when returning the proof. Final articles, fully paginated and citable, are published 1–3 weeks after corrected proofs have been returned by the corresponding author. The corresponding author will be sent a watermarked pdf of their article.

Cover Letter Requirements and Tips


The Cover Letter should:


  • State what article type is intended (Research Article, Review, Note, Comment, Reply Comment, Opinion Piece)
  • State why the submission is appropriate for the scope of the journal, including why the manuscript will be of interest to the journal’s readership
  • Provide a succinct (≤200 word) summary of the research question and the primary findings (the Cover Letter should be kept to 1 page if possible)
  • Emphasize timeliness and novel aspects of the work (this is particularly important for Notes)
  • State that all individuals listed as authors have: (1) agreed to be listed; (2) approve the submitted version of the manuscript. In one sentence, please (3) succinctly state how each author contributed to the research reported
  • State that the manuscript is not submitted elsewhere and is original
  • Include information on any publication outlets to which the manuscript was previously submitted
  • State the names of 6 potential reviewers, if possible. These persons should not have been associated with the study or be close collaborators of yours. State the names of any opposed Contributing Editors or potential reviewers and the reasons for opposing them

Manuscript Formatting Requirements and Preparation Tips


1. Manuscript length and structure


The target lengths for the different manuscript types (Research Article, Note, Review, Comment, Reply Comment and Opinion Piece) are listed in 'Author guidelines'.


Manuscripts should be structured as follows:
  • Title page (title, author list, author affiliations, corresponding author email, running page head, abstract, key words)
  • Main text (see below)
  • Acknowledgements
  • Literature cited
  • Tables (with legends)
  • Figures (with legends)
  • Appendices (length: up to 2 printed pages; longer materials should be submitted as online supplementary materials in a separate file)


Main text:
  • Research Articles and Notes should follow the IMRAD format (Introduction, Materials & Methods, Results, Discussion and an optional Conclusions section). Note that separate Results and Discussion sections are strongly preferred, but exceptions are possible if the manuscript’s content warrants a combined Results & Discussion section.
  • Reviews, Comments, Reply Comments and Opinion Pieces may deviate from the IMRAD format as necessary.


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. Avoid questions in the title.


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.


Abstract: Limit length to 250 words. Provide concise information on your work, its significance and its principal results. Avoid literature cites, series of data, or meaningless clauses such as 'the results are discussed'.


Key words: Supply 3 to 8 key words, listed in order of importance.


3. Text


Please number all pages and restart line numbering on each page (important: do not use ‘continuous’ line numbering), 12 point font, double spacing and numbered sections. 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).


Section headings: Main sections (IMRAD) should be numbered '1. INTRODUCTION’, ‘2. MATERIALS & METHODS’, etc. Subsections should be numbered as e.g. '2.1. Study site', ‘2.2. Sample collection’, etc. Avoid going beyond third-level subsections (e.g. 3.1.1.).


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.


Conservation Evidence: If your study is testing for an intervention, please check the existing evidence for your intervention at State whether or not relevant evidence is available there, and if so, briefly summarise it in your Introduction. Otherwise, search for individual studies testing the action, and summarise any relevant evidence. If Conservation Evidence does not yet cover the topic and no individual studies exist, please state this; you may briefly reference other relevant literature, but this is not essential.


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.


Abbreviations: Define abbreviations and acronyms in the Abstract and at first mention in the main text, and thereafter use only the abbreviation / acronym.


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 'Figures' for details.


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. References

All references cited in the text must be listed in the Literature Cited section, and all listed literature must appear in the text, using Harvard (Name-Year) referencing style. Citing references as 'in press' implies that the article has been accepted for publication; if pagination information is not available yet, the DOI should be included in the citation in the Literature Cited section. Unpublished results and submitted articles should be cited as: author's name unpub. data (e.g. N. Smith unpubl. data) in the text only.

a. Within the text

2 authors: use ‘&' between last names
3 or more authors: use the first author’s last name followed by ‘et al.’ (not italicized and not separated by a comma)

If the same first author published multiple papers in the same year and the within-text citations would look identical, distinguish these citations with a lower case letter (a, b, c, etc.) after the year.

Multiple citations within a single bracket: separate cites with a comma (not a semi-colon). Sort multiple cites chronologically from oldest to newest and if several cites are from the same year, sort them alphabetically.

(Smith & Miller 1965, Ahmed 1968, Miller et al. 2000a)
(Burns 2000, Miller et al. 2000a,b, Quinn 2000, Barni in press)

b. Literature Cited section


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. (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 line numbers (restart on each page)
  • 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

Guidelines to Authors on Figure Preparation

1. Figure preparation

Figures are a very important part of an article. Consequently, they should be designed with great care and presented in the best possible quality. While we do not require high-resolution figures during review, a high image resolution is important for your accepted article.


2. Figure size
When planning figures, take into account the page size of our journals:

  • Type area = 169 x 225 mm, column width = 81 mm, gutter width: 7 mm
  • Though the final size of your image will be determined by one of our typesetters, you can pre-estimate it:
    • single panel figure (with less text) → 81 mm width
    • single panel figure (with more text or insets) → 105 mm width
    • two panel figure (horizontally aligned) → 169 mm width
    • two panel figure (vertically aligned) → 81 mm width
    • multiple panel figure → 169 mm width


3. Characteristics
If several figures are of similar style, characteristics such as font type, font size and line thickness should be kept consistent. Texts should not overlap and should be clearly visible/readable.


Font family: Inter-Research fonts for images are Helvetica and Times New Roman. A sans serif font such as Helvetica/Arial is preferred.


Font size: Around 8–9 pt at final figure size. A guideline size is that upper-case letters should be about 2–4 mm high.


Colour: Good quality colour images are welcome. Inter-Research subsidises colour printing costs; no charge is made to authors, provided that the use of colour is appropriate.

Coloured figures should be submitted in the CMYK colour spectrum. RGB (Red, Green, Blue) is used for all digital media (e.g. images on websites, photos) by „mixing light“ on a display. CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key/Black), on the other hand, is used as the primary method for colour printing (e.g. magazines, books) by mixing colour pigments on paper. Therefore, in order to print our PDFs with the best possible quality it is crucial to properly convert images to CMYK before sending them to the printer. That means RGB images – which have a greater spectrum – will be „squeezed“ into the CMYK spectrum and therefore can result in a loss of colours; especially intense neon colours are affected. For figures submitted using the RGB spectrum we strive to keep all colours as consistent as possible.



4. Figure file requirements
Please submit only figures generated from the source program. Please note that the .jpg/.jpeg file format suffers from quality loss upon opening and saving and, therefore, should be avoided where possible.


File type: Vectorised file formats (EPS, SVG) are preferred over rasterised file formats (TIFF). See table below for output options.


Resolution: Rasterised images should have a resolution of at least 300 dpi at final (print) size and must be free of jpeg compression. Simply increasing the resolution (e.g. interpolating via Adobe Photoshop) of an existing low-resolution figure-file is not sufficient, as no new information is created.



5. Suitable file formats
Please refer to the list below for different file format options for a range of commonly used graphic programs. For further questions please contact (IR Techinfo).


Program File format
Microsoft Excel PDF (if possible), XLS(X)
Adobe Illustrator EPS, PDF, SVG, EMF, SWP, MWF, AI
Adobe Photoshop TIFF (LZW compression with layers), PSD
Matlab EPS, PDF, TIFF (-dtiff')
SigmaPlot EPS, PDF, TIFF (LZW compression)
Canoco AI
R (use RStudio) EPS, PDF, SVG, TIFF
Microsoft PowerPoint PDF (if possible), PPT, PPTX
OceanData View EPS, TIFF
GIMP TIFF (LZW compression), SVG (if available)
Inkscape EPS, PDF, SVG, EMF
ArcGIS EPS, PDF, SVG, EMF, TIFF (LZW compression)
DeltaGraph EPS, PDF, PSD
KaleidaGraph TIFF (with high resolution option), EPS
MagicPlot Pro PDF, EPS, SVG, EMF
GraphPad Prism TIFF (LZW compression), EPS
Stata PDF, EPS
Mathematica EPS, PDF, SVG, EMF
Origin, Origin Pro EPS, PDF, TIFF, EMF
gnuplot EPS, PDF, SVG


6. Permissions
It is the responsibility of an author to ensure that the necessary reproduction rights for third party material used within a manuscript have been secured prior to submission. Copyright permissions must be obtained and, if necessary, paid for by the author. Copyright of third party material must be acknowledged according to the copyright holder's requirements. Note that the responsibility to keep the permanent record of the reproduction license falls on the person requesting the permission, not on the copyright holder issuing it. Authors must be able to provide proof of the license to Inter-Research if requested.


7. How to send files
Upload figure files during the submission process, embedded at the end of the main text file. Higher quality figures may be required later for production, if the manuscript is accepted. Low quality scans, files in rare formats, and pictures from the Internet (e.g. .jpg) are unsuitable. Larger files for production may be uploaded to the Inter-Research ftp site at The site can be freely accessed, but please inform IR Techinfo before uploading anything.