Instructions for Supplements



Files to submit

Each supplement submission must include the files to be used, such as R code, raw data files, source code, etc., as well as a metadata page describing the contents of the file or files. The metadata page should be in MS Word or another editable text format. Please use the template provided here: template

What are supplements?

Supplements contain files that are not well-suited for print publication, generally because they are only useful in digital format. Supplements can include, but are not limited to, original and derived data sets, source code for simulation models, and software for unusual statistical analyses. If your methods, models, or analyses make use of novel code or software, it is ESA's policy that these be included along with the main article at the pre-review stage.

Authors are encouraged to submit supplements so as to facilitate new analyses of their data, as well as validation of analyses already conducted. Authors do not need to know HTML to submit supplements - the data editors will be responsible for making the submitted files web-accessible for online viewing/download after a manuscript has been accepted for publication. It may be helpful to look at a few published examples:

Note: supplements are not the same as appendices. One way to think of the distinction between supplements and appendices is that supplements generally are meant to be used, while appendices generally are meant to be read. If you are unsure if your material should be classified as an appendix or a supplement, see the instructions for appendices. Any further questions may be directed to Jane Bain, the Associate Data Editor <jlb40@cornell.edu>.


Creating your supplements

There is no length limit for supplements and no charge for file size, as long as files stay under 10MB (uncompressed).

If your paper is still in the pre-review or review process:

Data files should be uploaded along with other manuscript files through the online system, EcoTrack. No preparation is necessary at this stage.

If your paper has been accepted for publication by Ecology, Ecosphere, Ecological Applications, or Ecological Monographs:

All supplements must be prepared in accordance with our guidelines prior to submission. If you have any appendices, these require preparation as well - see our instructions for appendices for more information.


Formatting and preparation guidelines

A template version of the supplement format is available for for your use.

1. Create a title for each supplement

The title should be clearly displayed at the beginning of each supplement. Titles should be short and concise, approximately one sentence each but also descriptive of the contents. These titles will appear after the literature cited of your main manuscript, as can be seen after the appendix titles in the example below.

Each supplement is designated a number based on order of appearance. Supplements will be referenced by these numbers (e.g. "as seen in Supplement 2") in the main article.

2. Describe the data files

The following information should be placed into a .DOC/.DOCX (preferred) or HTML file.

For each file, provide a complete description, including information on what the rows and columns comprise, details on specific codes incorporated into the files (i.e., "blank values are denoted as -9999"), variable names, uses, instructions, explanation of design or formatting, and any other necessary or relevant information.

Our primary goal is to ensure that your files will be accessible and legible to every user, on every platform, for the forseeable future - as such, we avoid posting files in a proprietary format. The most commonly submitted proprietary format submitted are Excel (.xls) files - we do not accept Excel files for posting to Ecological Archives. Excel spreadsheets should be converted to a plain text format, such as comma-separated values (.csv) or tab-delimited ASCII text (.txt). Software should be submitted both as source code and compiled (executable) code. Submitting compiled code without accompanying source code is not acceptable.

It is generally a good idea to test the usability of the files by passing them by an unfamiliar user first.

3. List of authors and affiliations

Because supplements are frequently accessed and used by individuals that did not read or do not have access to the main article, a complete list of the authors and their affiliations should be included within each supplement. If the corresponding author will not be able to answer questions from users concerning the files, it is advisable to provide emails for the authors responsible for creating or analyzing the files.

4. Cite references and avoid links

If literature is referenced, include a literature cited section at the end of each supplement, exclusive to that supplement and adhering to ESA style. Including links to other web pages for additional components or material is discouraged, since availability cannot be guaranteed; many links will break after just a few years. If links are absolutely unavoidable, please consider using WebCite or another long-term archive for links.


Uploading the supplements

Correctly prepared archives will be processed more quickly! For each supplement, ensure that:

  • Each supplement has a concise but detailed title
  • Detailed descriptions are provided for each file
  • A full list of authors and affiliations is included
  • If literature is referenced, a literature cited section is included
  • All files are in an acceptable format

All material for appendices and supplements are submitted together. If you have any appendices, first make sure your appendices adhere to the formatting and preparation guidelines.

Compress & submit

Place all your files into a folder, and then compress the folder into a .zip or .rar archive. If your operating system doesn't have built-in functionality for compressing files into an archive, programs such as 7-Zip or WinRAR are capable of doing this. Once created, your .zip or .rar archive should be uploaded to EcoTrack. PLEASE NOTE: in EcoTrack you will need to delete the previous version, then use "Add File" to provide the .zip or .rar file. You must choose "ZIP File" as the "File Type" and then choose "Supp Material-Zip" for "File format" to upload Ecological Archives files successfully.

If you are unable to upload your files to EcoTrack , please email your archives via attachment to the Associate Data Editor, Jane Bain <jlb40@cornell.edu>. If your files are too large to send via email, FTP is available as an option.

After uploading

Be advised that the data editors may request (via email) additional revisions, files, or other information upon review of your archives. Archives are not made available earlier for preprints and will be posted concurrently with the posting of the journal's online issue. If you have revisions or corrections to submit for your archives, please contact the Associate Data Editor, Jane Bain <jlb40@cornell.edu>.