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Types of contributions


Ecology is publishing more concise papers than has been the tradition for this journal. Concise publications yield increased interest, allow a greater number of papers and topics to appear in the journal, and provide greater content per page printed. The number and average length of Articles published in Ecology is decreasing, and the number of Reports is increasing. Many publications conceived in the past as Articles will hence forth be cast as Reports, with an average length of 5-6 printed pages (one printed page equals roughly 3.5 manuscript pages, inclusive of tables and figures). Our goal is to publish Reports within one year of submission. Articles and Concepts and Synthesis papers will continue to be published in Ecology, but these will be shorter than the average Article of the past. Authors will designate portions of their manuscript as digital supplements to appear in the Ecological Archives and be directly linked to the publication in the on-line version of the journal.

Length limits with respect to manuscripts refer to all pages, including cover page, text, literature cited, tables and figures. Each figure will count as one page. Generally 3.5 pages of the double-spaced manuscript correspond to one printed page.

Final decisions on article types are at the discretion of the Managing Editor. (i) Papers submitted/accepted as Reports, or Notes, but which require more than 8.0 printed pages in the final version, will be published as Articles. (ii) Papers submitted/accepted as Ecology Articles, but which occupy fewer than 6.0 pages when typeset will be published as Notes. (iii) Articles, Concepts, and Perspectives papers longer than 15.0 printed pages will be published in Ecological Monographs.

Reports. Reports are expected to disclose new and exciting work in a concise format. These papers should present results that substantially advance a field or overturn existing ideas. Accordingly, these papers will be given a prominent place near the start of the issue. We expect that these will be the first papers readers turn to and that most readers will study at least the abstracts of all of them. To assure that the contents are timely, and to encourage submission of fast-breaking material, all submissions to the Reports section will be given a special fast-track for processing and publication. Our target is a rapid editorial decision and publication within five months of acceptance.

As added incentives for authors to cast their submissions in the concise Reports format:

By making the Reports more accessible and visually appealing, we hope to increase our readership and cement Ecology’s reputation as the place where authors publish the most important and exciting research findings in our science.


In order to assure rapid publication, papers must conform to a strict page limit and format. Submissions may contain up to 20 manuscript pages (double-spaced, 12-point font, including everything from Title Page through the last figure). The abstract can have a maximum of 200 words.

Statistical Reports. The primary goal of Statistical Reports is to increase the awareness and use of modern statistical techniques in the analysis of ecological data. Thus, Statistical Reports should be concise papers that illustrate how well-established, unfamiliar, or new statistical techniques can be applied to timely and interesting ecological questions. Statistical Reports should extend the boundaries of statistical methods and techniques normally used by ecologists, and should be presented in a way that promotes the continued evolution of good statistical practice by ecologists. To encourage the broadest use by ecologists of methods and techniques published in Statistical Reports, all data and statistical code referred to in a Statistical Report must be archived in Ecological Archives. Same length limits as for Reports.

Notes (same length limits as Reports).  Notes are short papers that present significant new observations and methodological advances. Notes may contain results that are not sufficiently elaborated or developed as to justify an Article, but which are still of considerable potential significance.

Articles. While a Report is a concise scientific statement on a single simple topic, an Article tells a more complicated story with distinct components. The greater length of Articles relative to Reports must be justified by their greater complexity. We are asking authors to submit shorter, better-organized pieces that make use of Ecological Archives for digital publication of appendices and supplements.The target length for Articles is 20-30 manuscript pages (double-spaced, 12-point font, including everything from Title Page through the last figure). Longer Articles (those between 30 and 50 manuscript pages) should be accompanied by a detailed justification for the length in the cover letter at the time of submission. The abstract can have a maximum of 350 words. Manuscripts longer than 50 pages may be considered for Ecological Monographs, at the editor's discretion.

Concepts & Synthesis. The Concepts and Synthesis section publishes papers that conceptually advance the field of ecology, including reviews that lead to a more synthetic overview of a subfield. These papers are expected to go well beyond works being reviewed and include discussion of new directions, new syntheses, and resolutions of old questions.Small groups of papers will also be considered. Same length limits as for Articles. Longer papers of this type should be submitted to Ecological Monographs.

Special Features & Forums. Special Features & Forums. Special Features are intended to address various aspects of a theme that is likely to be of broad interest to ecologists. Ideally, a feature should teach a large audience about an unfamiliar topic or an area in which there has been considerable recent progress, or it should cause the audience to re-examine an issue that is not as settled as most have presumed. Proposals for Special Features should be addressed to the Editor-in-Chief. Special instructions are available for Special Features.

A Forum can take a number of forms but always includes a series of commentaries solicited from a number of experts. These commentaries represent personal responses to a paper (or papers) considered to be of very broad interest and significance within the field of applied ecology. Special instructions are available for Forums.

Comments and Replies (up to 5 journal pages). A Comment points out errors of fact or interpretation in an article that previously appeared in a published issue (not merely a preprint) of Ecology, Ecological Monographs, or in an important article or book that is the basis for numerous articles being published in ESA journals. Submissions must contain no 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.

Data Papers (abstract up to 350 words). Data Papers should emphasize the collection, organization, synthesis, and thorough documentation of data sets of ecological value. Only the abstract appears in Ecology; the data and metadata are available through Ecological Archives. By providing a peer-review process for such Data Papers, ESA hopes to provide a high-profile outlet for data compilations and recognition for ecologists who create them. Special instructions for Data Papers explain how to prepare data and metadata.

Perspectives. This section, prominently featured at the beginning of the issue, is intended to contain papers that provide synthetic overview, critical commentary, or historical perspective, primarily by eminent ecologists. The MacArthur Award lectures will be published in this section. Often these will be invited papers, but proposals for submitting a Perspectives paper will be considered. Such proposals should be sent to the Editor-in-Chief. Note that coauthored papers are not appropriate for this section.

Book Reviews (up to 2 journal pages).Book Reviews are short, scholarly evaluations of recently published books and monographs of interest to ecologists. Normally, book reviews are solicited by the Book Review Editor; please do not submit offers to review a specific book. If you wish to become a reviewer, please contact the Book Review Editor.

rev. 2/10/16



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