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Instructions for Authors


Preparing and Submitting the Manuscript for Review:

Requirements for submission

Original submission. Provide information describing the extent to which data or text in the manuscript have been used in other works that are published, in press, submitted, or soon to be submitted elsewhere. [More info]

Resubmission policy. If the manuscript (or a previous version of the manuscript) has been previously submitted to the same or another ESA journal, provide the previous manuscript number; explain how the current version differs from the previously submitted version and why it should be considered now for this journal. There are no guarantees it will be reviewed by the newly targeted journal.

ESA Code of Ethics. Authors must adhere to the ESA Code of Ethics. [More info]

Data Policy. The editors and publisher expect authors to make the data underlying published articles available.[More info]

Include computer code. Authors must disclose software and statistical procedures used in the manuscript. 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.

English. Authors whose native language is not English are encouraged to enlist the aid of a native English-speaking colleague to go over the manuscript for correct usage and clarity prior to submission.  You may also search the ESA Author Help Directory to find a volunteer.  No guarantees are associated with the use of this volunteer database.

Agreement to pay publication fee. Authors must agree to pay the publication fee. Publication fees will only be incurred for manuscripts accepted for publication. All accepted papers are subject to the same fees.[More info]

Editor suggestions. During submission in EcoTrack, we strongly encourage you to select two or three potential Subject-matter Editors from the list of Ecosphere editors, and to provide the names of four to six potential reviewers for your manuscript. You will be able to search our database for these names. If you suggest any names that are not already in our database, please supply an e-mail address. Editors and reviewers can not have published with any of the authors in the past three years.

Formatting your manuscript:

Minimum formatting requirements

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 Ecosphere style is followed from the outset. Manuscripts not adhering to the following minimum requirements will not qualify for review.

* The entire manuscript must be double-spaced (text, literature cited, tables, figure captions) at three lines per inch (12 lines/10 cm) with a 12-point font, Times New Roman. Choose the "double-spacing" option for line spacing. Leave a 1 inch (2.4-cm) margin on all sides of each page. Do not justify the right margin.

* Assemble the parts of the manuscript in this order: title page, abstract, key words, text, acknowledgments, literature cited, tables, figures, appendices. Please include the figure legend below each figure.

* Number all pages (including tables and figures), starting with the title page.

* All pages of text should have line numbers as well.

Allowable file formats:

  • Manuscript files in .doc, .tex, or .pdf format
  • Tables in .doc, .tex, or .pdf format (tables must be included in the manuscript file)
  • Figures/Images in .doc, .jpg, .tif, .gif, .eps, .ps, or .ppt format (figures may be included in the manuscript file)

Submitting your manuscript

Log-in to Ecosphere's EcoTrack to submit your manuscript.

Log-in to ScholarOne to submit new manuscripts, or resubmissions of manuscripts originally submitted on EcoTrack.

If you don’t know your password, determine whether you are already in the ESA database by clicking on “Unknown Password” to enter your name. Click "Mail it" and verify that your correct e-mail address shows up and your login name and password will be e-mailed to you within minutes. If the e-mail address shown is not current, please notify [email protected] and you will be provided with login information.

If you get a message that there is more than one entry for your name in the database, you can put in your e-mail address. If you are not in the database, you will then be offered the option to register as a new author. Please do not register as a new author if you are already in the database. Do not share your login information with others (such as co-authors) as this could violate your confidentiality.

Specify manuscript type

Articles typically follow the format of a traditional research paper (Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusions). Although there are no page limits, concise writing is expected. All parts of a manuscript, including appendices, are to be included as part of the manuscript file. Supplementary material in Ecosphere may consist of raw data sets or computer software and are linked from the article to the material in Ecological Archives.

Concepts and Theory papers conceptually advance the field of ecology. These papers are expected to go well beyond works being reviewed to include discussion of new theories and conceptual frameworks that lead to new research directions and resolutions of old questions. These papers may be primarily conceptual, supported by published data, and without the presentation of new data.

Synthesis and Integration papers are intended to provide a synthesis of a field or subfield AND an integration of those findings. These papers can begin by reviewing a topic but then the papers must go beyond the review to provide a new synthesis and blending of those ideas and data in new ways.

Innovative Viewpoints are thought-provoking articles that advocate important future directions, new ideas, or emerging frameworks. Viewpoints can also revisit historic ideas with a modern twist. Novel, cutting-edge linkages between ecology and other disciplines that have the potential to transform science or impact policy are encouraged. Papers submitted as Innovative Viewpoints should be defended with citations or data sufficient to warrant publication. Authors interested in submitting Innovative Viewpoints should first e-mail a one-paragraph proposal (<300 words) to the Editor-in-Chief. All submissions will be peer-reviewed and subject to the same publication cost as other manuscript types.

Comments and Replies A Comment points out errors of fact or interpretation in an article that previously appeared in a published issue of an ESA journal, although we will consider Comments on papers published in other journals. Submissions should not contain more than 16 manuscript pages. Be sure to refer to the special procedures which have been established for preparation and review of comments and responses to comments. No abstract is necessary.

Special Features are intended to address various aspects of a theme that are likely to be of broad interest to ecologists. Ideally, a feature should inform a large audience about an unfamiliar topic or an area in which there has been considerable recent progress or it can reexamine an issue in new ways. An advantage to an online journal is that papers in a Special Feature do not need to be published in the same issue. The papers will be linked using on-line keywords. A typical Special Feature will consist of 4-10 papers preceded by a short Introduction. A synthesis paper may be used to summarize key findings across papers and identify new research directions. Proposals for Special Features should be addressed to the Editor-in-Chief prior to the submission of manuscripts. 

Author profiles. Authors are responsible for modifying their profile to keep the editors and staff informed of changes in their contact information. The corresponding author will be notified of receipt of the manuscript. Before submitting a manuscript, please be sure your profile information is current. (Click "modify profile" from your homepage.) Please notify your co-authors to update theirs as well. Do not put in a co-author's email address (or that of another colleague) as your secondary email address. It is all right to put in an assistant's email address as your secondary email, so long as that person is not going to ever co-author a manuscript, review a manuscript, or serve as an editor.

The submission process

You can save and exit at any time during the process, and come back later to where you left off. The manuscript submission process is broken into a series of four parts that gather detailed information about your manuscript, allow you to upload the pertinent files, and ask you to validate your manuscript submission. There are two parts for manuscript information including Files and Manuscript Information. Each part has several tabs. The parts and tabs can be completed in any order. If you begin at Files and continue through the process clicking the "Next" button, the website will prompt you to complete each step in the submission process.

  1. Files: The first tab asks for the actual file locations on your computer (via an open file dialog). After finding all of your files, press the "Upload Files" button. Once the files are uploaded, you will list what type of file each is. Once you have chosen the file type, you can give each file a special title or description that will be listed on the manuscript page. Please do not choose an excessively long title. Next you can select a file order. The file order will be used to determine the sequence of the files in the merged pdf. A merged pdf of your submission will be created so that the Subject-matter Editors and Reviewers can download all of your manuscript files as one pdf. It is necessary to check off the box at the bottom that says "Please check here to verify that you have completed the ordering and selection process."
  2. Manuscript Information: A series of tabs will ask for information such as title, abstract, author contact information, key words, detailed information, and reviewer suggestions. Each question or field accompanied by an asterisk is required.
    • Searching the database for co-authors and suggested reviewers. We already have an extensive database of many potential authors. Before entering your contributing authors' information, try first to use “Find Person” to see if your contributing author is already in the system. Just type in the complete last name and click "Find Person". If the right name comes up, click on it and close the name window. The person's information will copy into the form. Do the same thing for suggested reviewers.
    • Only the person's name, institution, and city will be visible on the form. Other fields will be redacted to prevent unauthorized users from taking advantage of the database. Do not attempt to update or correct any of the information. Continue with your manuscript submission, but please notify the contributing author to come into the system to modify and update his or her profile; or notify the staff. Do not add a new record for someone in the database, even if the record is out of date.
  3. Validate: When you arrive at the “Validate” screen, the system may ask you to answer those questions from the Files and Manuscript Information parts that are incomplete. Once you have modified them appropriately, press the "Return to Validation" button. Pressing the "Next" button will move you through each tab again. Once all of your manuscript information has been completed, the system will show you a list of pdf conversions of your manuscript files. If the pdfs are not yet ready, you can wait and return later to this screen. The files with a red arrow next to them will need to be opened and viewed. Once you have viewed the file and approve of it, check off the “approve” box. If the files are not satisfactory, you have the opportunity to replace the files individually. After approving your files, the next step is to validate the manuscript information. Clicking "Next" at the bottom will approve this information.
    • During conversion to pdf, the EcoTrack system will provide a parsed citation file. The system conducts a search for each citation in the CrossRef and PubMed databases. A link to search Google Scholar will also appear for each citation. You do not need to view or approve this file. It may be used by the editors and reviewers during the peer review process. If your paper is selected for publication, you will be required to resolve any discrepancies between references in the text and citations in the list of literature cited.
  4. Submit: Clicking the "Approve Submission" link will allow you to complete the submission process and send the manuscript to the Publications Office for a quality control check. DO NOT APPROVE YOUR SUBMISSION UNTIL YOU ARE ENTIRELY SATISFIED THAT IT IS COMPLETE. If there is a problem with manuscript conversion or any other issue, please contact the Publications Office ([email protected]) and do not approve the submission. Approve the submission only after the issue is resolved.
  5. Once the conversion is completed and you have approved the pdf, ESA staff will conduct a quality control check. For manuscripts that do not meet the minimum requirements outlined above, ESA staff will contact the author via e-mail. For manuscripts that do meet the minimum requirements, authors will receive an acknowledgment.

Checking the manuscript status After you approve your manuscript, you are finished with the submission process. You can access the status of your manuscript at any time by:

  1. Logging into EcoTrack with your password.
  2. Clicking on Live Manuscripts and then Check Status.
  3. If you scroll down below your manuscript summary, you can see the significant events since your manuscript submission.

Manuscript correspondence. You are encouraged to use the "Send Manuscript Correspondence" feature for all correspondence to editors and staff regarding your manuscript. Please do not use it for sending copies of the files you have uploaded to the editors or staff. This option is located in "Manuscript Tasks" below the manuscript summary table.

Getting help. If you need additional help, you can click on the help signs Question Mark Image spread throughout the system. A help dialog will pop up with context-sensitive help. Please contact the staff at <[email protected]> if you need additional assistance.

rev. 1/3/15



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