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Crop Science Author Instructions

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Manuscript Submission

Article Requirements

Publication Fees

General editorial links:

ASA-CSSA-SSSA Editorial Policies

ASA-CSSA-SSSA Style Manual

Policy for Appeal of Manuscript Review









Crop Science is the normal channel for publication of papers in plant genetics; breeding; cytology; metabolism; physiology; ecology; turfgrass; weed science; crop quality, production, and utilization; genomics, molecular genetics and biotechnology; and plant genetic resources.

Articles reporting experimentation or research in field crops or reviews or interpretation of such research will be accepted for review as papers. For research involving controlled environments, see https://www.crops.org/files/publications/ces-guide.pdf for guidelines. Letters to the editor are welcomed and are published subject to review and approval of the editor. When letters concern previous articles, the authors will be invited to reply; letter and reply are published together. Forage breeding manuscripts should be submitted to Division C-1 rather than C-6.


Manuscript Submission

All manuscripts should be submitted through the online submission tool (http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/crop). Detailed instructions can be found at this site, along with instructions related to logging on to the Crop Science Manuscript Central system. Submissions to Crop Science must not be previously published in or simultaneously submitted to any other scientific or technical journal. For the policy regarding publishing in nontechnical outlets, see the Publications Handbook and Style Manual.

Creating the manuscript file. Submit the main text document in a common word processing file. LaTeX or other typeset formats are not accepted. Manuscript Central will convert your original files into PDF format; please check this PDF “proof” before submitting. Check any Greek characters and figures carefully. If you have a character conversion, fix your word processing file by embedding fonts (in Word, go to Tools/Options/“Save” tab, and check “Embed Truetype Fonts”). If there is an error in the PDF you cannot fix, mention it in the cover letter so the editors and eventually Headquarters will be aware of the problem.

Peer review and revisions. All manuscripts submitted undergo single blind peer review. Papers are assigned to a technical editor, who will assign an associate editor to solicit at least two reviews. After evaluating the completed reviews, the associate editor will recommend a decision to the technical editor. Authors will be prompted to provide a list of potential reviewers. These reviewers must not have a conflict of interest involving the authors or paper, and the editorial board has the right to not use any reviewers suggested by authors. See the Editors and Reviewers information page and the Policy for Appeal of Manuscript Review for additional information on review policy. All revisions to the manuscript during the review process will be made by the author only, and revisions will be given the same manuscript number, with an R number on the end (e.g., CROP-2006-04-0017-ORA.R1). Each revision has the opportunity for another round of review—the manuscript status “awaiting reviewer selection” is automatic and does not indicate a resubmission. Authors have four weeks to review and return their manuscript following reviewer and associate editor comments. Manuscripts may be released if revisions are not received, and the paper will have to be submitted as a new manuscript. The average time from submission to final decision (including revisions) is about 60 days.

Language Editing

Particularly if English is not your first language, before submitting your manuscript you may wish to have it edited for language. This is not a mandatory step, but may help to ensure that the academic content of your paper is fully understood by journal editors and reviewers. Language editing does not guarantee that your manuscript will be accepted for publication. If you would like information about one such service please contact the editorial office. Authors are liable for all costs associated with such services. A list of paid resources can be found at https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/language-help.

Article Requirements

Full papers must be either reports of original research, critical reviews, or interpretive articles. The journal also publishes book reviews and letters to the editor. Papers related to crop science software are accepted as original research or letters to the editor (see guidelines). Authors should follow the ASA-CSSA-SSSA style when formatting manuscripts for submission.

Manuscript Types

Original Research (one to multiple pages) present novel findings that advance current knowledge on a specific research topic.

Review and Interpretation and Scientific Perspectives present interpretation of data that has largely been previously published. Review and Interpretation papers are longer, more comprehensive papers, and Scientific Perspectives are generally shorter and present a broader, more personal perspective on a single specific topic.

Opinion and Policy papers are topical papers on issues related to crop science.

Letters to the Editor are published subject to review and approval of the Editor, and provide a forum to discuss specific topics. Letters should be 300 words or less in length. 


Please submit the manuscript file in Word format containing the title, abstract, text, references, and tables. Please submit figures in separate files.

The submission should contain the following elements:
• Title
• Authors
• Affiliations

• Abstract
• Abbreviations list
• Text
• References list
• Figure captions
• Tables
• Figures (figures may be submitted separately as high-resolution image files in the following acceptable formats: EPS, TIF, PDF, or JPEG)
• Interpretive summary
• Cover submission (optional)


Paper structure. On the first page, give the title, a byline with the names of all authors, an author–paper documentation, a list of all nonstandard abbreviations used in the paper (standard abbreviations available in the style manual, https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/style), and any other necessary footnotes. An abstract is required and is normally the second manuscript page. After the title page and abstract, the usual order of sections is an untitled introduction (which includes the literature review), Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusions (optional), Acknowledgments (optional), and References, followed by any figure captions and the tables. Results and Discussion may be combined and conclusions can be given at the close of the Discussion section. Start each section (including figure captions and tables) on a new page and number all pages.

Title and byline. A title gives the reader a clear idea of what the article is about; it should be brief and informative. Use common names for crops and avoid abbreviations. The usual limit for titles is 10 to 12 words (not counting “and,” “of,” and similar conjunctions and prepositions). Titles in a numbered series of articles may be longer. Below the title, list the names of all authors. Place an asterisk after the name of the corresponding author (i.e., the person from whom reprints are to be requested).

Affiliations. The author–paper documentation is a single paragraph. The first sentence lists the authors (without professional titles) and their complete, current addresses. If a paper has only one author, or if all authors are from the same department and institution, omit the names (i.e., give the address only). The second sentence lists institutional sponsors, with the institutional article number of similar contribution acknowledgment. Add such an acknowledgment if an author has moved and using the current address leaves no other mention of the involvement of the former institution. Other information such as granting, funding, or dissertation status may follow here or in a separate acknowledgment section at the end of the paper. End the author–paper documentation paragraph with these two statements: “Received ___________. *Corresponding author (e-mail).” The date received will be filled in by an editor.

Abstract. Abstracts are a single self-contained paragraph of no more than 1500 characters – including word spaces ‑ for papers or 750 characters for Notes. Abstracts should contain the rationale, objectives, methods, results, and their meaning or scope of application. Be specific. Identify the crops or organisms involved, the soil type, chemicals, and other details that are pertinent to the results. Do not cite references.

Abbreviations. Prepare a list in alphabetical order of abbreviations used in your article. Do not include SI units, chemical abbreviations, or most common abbreviations such as those listed in the style manual.

Conflict of Interest. Authors should include a statement just before the References section that explains any conflicts of interest. If there are none, authors should explicitly state there are no conflicts of interest.

References. The author–year notation system is required; do not use numbered notation. In the list, arrange references alphabetically by author. All single-author entries precede multiple-author entries for the same first author. Use chronological order only within entries with identical authorship (alphabetizing by title for same-author, same-year entries). Add a lowercase letter a, b, c, etc. to the year to identify same-year entries for text citation. Do this also for any multiple-author entries that would otherwise result in identical citations in the text.

Reference examples:
Lewis, J.M., L. Siler, E. Souza, P.K.W. Ng, Y. Dong, G. Brown-Guedira, G.-L. Jiang, and R.W. Ward. 2010. Registration of ‘Ambassador’ wheat. J. Plant Reg. 4:195–204.
USDA-ARS National Genetic Resources Program. 1993. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) database. Festuca arundinacea Schreb. POACEAE ‘Maximize’. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, MD. http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/acc/display.pl?1444051 (accessed 1 Jan. 2015).


Figures. Submit figures in high-resolution, individual files (one figure per file). All panels of one figure need to be in the same single file and on the same page if possible. Check your figures in the PDF proof generated by Manuscript Central, as the figures in the PDF may be used for publication. TIFF or EPS files are best for resolution (don’t insert these files into a word processing document because this will reduce resolution). Width of figures should approximate desired print size, i.e., 3 ¼ inches for a one column figure, 7 inches for a two column figure. Photographs and drawings for graphs and charts should be prepared with good contrast of dark and light. Give careful attention to the width of lines and size and clarity of type and symbols. Variables (e.g., r, x, y) should be italicized.

A figure caption should be brief, but sufficiently detailed to tell its own story. Specify the crop or soil involved, the major variables presented, and the place and year. Identify curves or symbols in a legend within the figure itself, not in the caption. Define abbreviations in the caption. Define symbols used in the caption or in the legend. Be sure to indicate the scale for micrographs, either in the illustration or the caption.

Tables. Prepare tables with the tables feature in your word processor; do not use tabs, spaces, or graphics boxes. Each datum needs to be contained in an individual cell. Number tables consecutively. Table heads should be brief but complete and self-contained. Define all variables and spell out all abbreviations. Tables should be placed at the end of the main text document.

Interpretive summary. Interpretive summaries are used to assist in assigning editors and reviewers, and for article promotion if a manuscript is accepted. Goal and general guidelines:

The goal is to draw the reader into the journal, and hopefully to your research. Summaries should be written in language that can be understood by an undergraduate student. Make the summary clear, concise, and interesting. Emphasize your one or two main findings and why they are important, rather than your methods. Avoid the use of acronyms, unless they are very common, e.g., DNA. 

The summary should contain the following:

1. Manuscript number and full article title.

2. A five- to seven-word shortened title for use with the summary, in which you sum up your results in a single phrase containing a strong verb.

3. One or two sentences that explain the larger context for your work and why it is important. Try not to be too broad: For example, “In order to feed 9 billion people by 2050, agriculture must increase productivity by 70%...” or “Soil water infiltration is an important process whose behavior depends on external factors and soil properties.”

4. One or two sentences that explain the problem or knowledge gap that your study addresses. 

5. The sentence immediately following the problem statement should begin with a reference to your paper, followed by a brief explanation of what you did, and your one or two most important results.

6. A statement about the larger implications of the findings.

Cover submissions. If you have any images which highlight your paper, you may submit them along with your paper in the Manuscript Central system. Please be sure to label as “image” (not “figure”). Cover images need to be at least 300 dpi at actual size. Please be aware that even if your image is not chosen for publication as the cover, images submitted to Crop ­Science may be used in other Society publications.

Supplemental materials. If you wish to include supplemental materials, please include these files with your submission. See the style guide for requirements. Label the file as “Supplemental File” when you upload. 

Units of measure. The SI system (Système International de Unités) is required in Crop Science. Other units may be indicated in parentheses after the SI unit if this helps understanding or is needed for replication of the work.

Math. If you have equations, please use the INSERT EQUATION function in Microsoft Word or use a program such as MathType.

Citing genetic material. Authors of CSSA publications must cite plant introductions, as well as registered cultivars, germplasm, parental lines, and genetic stocks when they are mentioned in the text of the Introduction, Discussion, or Characteristics section of research papers. Such genetic materials must also be cited when they are used to develop unreleased genetic populations that are the focus of the research paper, unless the development of the population can be cited more directly. Authors are encouraged to cite the Journal of Plant Registrations if possible. Other sources for citation information include the Genetic Resource Information Network (GRIN) maintained by the USDA. Registrations published in Crop Science and the Journal of Plant Registrations are indexed on the GRIN website at http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/csrlist.pl?. A general search in GRIN is available at http://www.ars-grin.gov/npgs/acc/acc_queries.html

Nomenclature and identification of materials. Give the complete binomial and authorities at first mention (in abstract or text) of plants, pathogens, and insects or pests. In order to ensure uniformity and to have clear definitions of terms used for grazing lands and grazing animals literature, manuscripts submitted to the C-06 section of Crop Science are required to adhere the terminology developed by the Forage and Grazing Terminology Task Force (see http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2494.2010.00780.x/pdf). Submissions that use terms and definitions that deviate from the recommended terminology will be returned to authors for corrections before they are sent for review. 


Publication Fees

Full-length manuscripts accepted for publication in Crop Science are assessed a publication charge of $0 for the first seven pages and $50 per page after seven. 

Open access and archive deposit policy. Authors have the option of paying an additional $1000 or $1500 fee (see options below), above the usual publication charge, to make the article open access (freely available without subscription) at the time of publication on the Crop Science Web site (https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/cs). Authors may post a PDF version of their accepted papers after peer review on their own personal sites, and/or their employer’s sites. The doi link must appear on the PDF. Authors choosing the open-access option may post the final published version of their papers anywhere, with no restrictions. Open access options are as follows.
Open Access Options

CC BY-NC-ND https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ 
In summary: You may share immediately with attribution, but not for commercial or derivative purposes. Open access articles may be posted on an author’s personal Website, funder and institutional repositories, and article sharing sites. This license permits noncommercial copying and redistribution of articles with proper attribution, and prohibits distribution of derivative content. This licensing option may be selected for $1000 (plus regular page fees).

CC BY https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
In summary: You may share immediately with attribution. Open access articles may be posted on an author’s personal Website, funder and institutional repositories, and article sharing sites. This licensing option may be selected for $1500 (plus regular page fees).

Important note: Some articles may contain figures, tables, or text taken from other publications, for which this publisher does not hold the copyright or the right to re-license the published material. Please note that you should inquire with the original copyright holder (usually the original publisher or authors), whether or not this material can be reused. 

Official Sources

• Spelling: Merriam-Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary
• Plant scientific names: USDA–ARS GRIN Taxonomy (http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/index.pl)
• Chemical names: ChemBioFinder.com (http://chembiofinder.cambridgesoft.com/)
• Soil series descriptions: USDA–NRCS Official Soil Series Descriptions (https://soilseries.sc.egov.usda.gov/osdname.asp)
• Fungal nomenclature: Fungi on Plants and Plant Products in the United States (APS Press)
• Journal abbreviations: Chemical Abstracts Service Source Index (CASSI; American Chemical Society, http://cassi.cas.org/)
• ASA-CSSA-SSSA journal style: Publications Handbook and Style Manual (dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/style)

Plagiarism Screening

Upon submission, papers are screened for plagiarism using specialized software. If significant duplication is found, the paper will be forwarded to the journal editor for evaluation.

 For questions about the format of submissions, the process of submitting a manuscript, or about the status of manuscripts that have been submitted and assigned a manuscript number, please contact Crop Science managing editor Liz Gebhardt: egebhardt@sciencesocieties.org.