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Instructions to Authors | NSE

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coverNatural Sciences Education is a unique journal that publishes articles from all natural sciences disciplines and from various educational arenas. This is reflected by the diversity of the professional societies who are Natural Sciences Education cooperators with the American Society of Agronomy.
 
The cooperating organizations are Agricultural & Applied Economics Association, American Association for Agricultural Education, American Institute of Biological Sciences, American Phytopathological Society, American Society of Animal Science, American Society of Horticultural Science, American Society of Plant biologists, Crop Science Society of America, Ecological Society of America, Entomological Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America.
 
Scope of Contributions. The Natural Sciences Education Editorial Board welcomes submissions of articles from all cooperating professional societies and all natural science disciplines presenting original teaching methods in such areas as natural resources, life sciences, agriculture, and K-16 education.
 
The journal accepts: (1) reports of original research pertaining to concepts of resident, graduate, extension, and industrial education; (2) analyses and syntheses of existing knowledge or research, instructional techniques and methodology, surveys of instruction, and other studies that contribute to the development or better understanding of educational efforts; (3) reviews or digests of a comprehensive and well-defined scope; (4) case studies; (5) computer software papers; (6) newsfeatures; (7) K-12, undergraduate, and graduate education; and (8) profiles of prominent educators.
 
Articles may confirm and strengthen the findings of others, revise established ideas or practices, or challenge accepted theory, providing the evidence presented is significant and convincing. Manuscripts based chiefly on personal philosophy or opinion are acceptable if they conform to the above criteria. The journal encourages “Letters to the Editor,” including comments and criticisms of published articles and editorials, suggestions for journal improvement, and other educational concerns or viewpoints.
 
Publication Fee and Other Charges. No publication charges. No charges for tables and figures. There is no page limit or word limit.
 
Open Access and Archive Deposit Policy. The author has the option of paying an additional $800 fee, above the usual publication charge, to make the article open access (freely available without subscription) at the time of publication on the NSE website (https://www.agronomy.org/publications/nse). 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. If you would like the open access option, inform the managing editor of the journal before the issue goes to press.
 
Prior Publication. Manuscripts published in Natural Sciences Education must be original reports. They may not have been published previously or simultaneously submitted to another scientific or technical journal.
 
Screening for Plagiarism. Authors, be aware that your papers may be screened for plagiarism. Our software product evaluates papers to find significant duplication. If there appears to be major repetition from other sources, we will forward those papers to the Journal Editor for further evaluation and action if warranted, and you may be informed as well.
 
Changes in Author Byline. From time to time, authors are added or deleted from a manuscript between the time of submission and publication. In situations such as this the ethical and responsible way to handle this type of change is for the lead author to advise the author being added or deleted of the change and to notify, in writing, the Editor and Managing Editor of the journal.
 
Creating the Manuscript File
All accepted manuscript files will be edited in Microsoft Word. Therefore, authors should compose manuscripts in Word. Authors should avoid using word processing features such as automated bulleting and numbering, head and subhead formatting, internal linking, or styles.
 
Avoid using more than one font and font size. Limited use of italics, bold, superscripts, and subscripts is acceptable. Manuscript text and tables should be double-spaced, with line numbering.
 
There is no page limit or word limit.
 
Notice for Word 2007 users: If you have equations, they must be composed using the Microsoft Equation 3.0 editor found under INSERT OBJECT, or with another MathML format such as MathType. Do not use INSERT EQUATION, which creates images (when converted) that cannot be used for typesetting. Regrettably, we will need to return any files created with Word 2007 that contain equations created with INSERT EQUATION to the authors for resetting.
 
The Publications Handbook & Style Manual is the official guide for preparing and editing papers.
 
Although manuscript review is done with PDF files, accepted manuscripts are prepared for typesetting with a word-processing file. Therefore, authors should compose the manuscript in Word; TEX files are not acceptable. The file must be doublespaced and line-numbered, with at least 2.5-cm (1-inch) margins.
 
Title Page. A good title briefly identifies the subject and indicates the purpose of the study or the major findings. Avoid abbreviations.
 

• A short (12 words maximum) title accurately identifies and describes the manuscript content.

• An author-paper documentation list includes author name(s) and complete address(es). The email address of the corresponding author is also included.

• An abbreviations list is a key to abbreviations that are used repeatedly throughout the manuscript. The list should not include SI units or elemental abbreviations.

 
Abstract. Include an informative, self-explanatory abstract, not exceeding 250 words. It should be specific, telling why and how the study was made, what the results were, and why they were important. Use quantitative terms where possible. Do not cite figures, tables, or references. Avoid equations.
 
Core Ideas. Include 3 to 5 summary statements that convey the core findings of the article. These statements should emphasize the novel aspects and impacts of the research on scientific progress and environmental problem solving. Each statement must be 85 characters or less (spaces included). If the article is accepted, the core ideas may also be used for promoting and publicizing the research.
 
Text. The typical sequence for a paper is title, abstract, a list of abbreviations, introduction (without any heading), materials and methods, results, discussion, summary or conclusions, references, figure captions (without any heading), and tables last of all. Other appropriate headings are acceptable.
 
If an appendix is needed, it comes before the references.If you are writing a case study, slide set article, or software article, please see our Publication Policies about these types of articles. This will provide authors with instructions on how to set up these types of manuscripts.
 
References. When preparing the references list, authors must refer to a recent issue of NSE and/or the Publications Handbook & Style Manual and note the general style for reference list entries, in addition to following these guidelines:
 

• Do not number the references list.

• Arrange the list alphabetically by the surnames of the first authors and then by the second and third authors.

• Single-authored articles should precede multiple-authored articles for which the individual is senior author.

• Two or more articles by the same author(s) are listed chronologically; two or more in the same year are indicated by the letters a, b, c, etc.

• Only literature that is available through libraries can be cited. Material that does not meet this standard should be cited as personal communications or unpublished data. Examples: D.N. Exner, personal communication, 2014; E. Perry and J. Swift, unpublished data, 2013.

 
Examples of References

Print journal article
Bracke, M.S., and J.G. Graveel. 2014. Using calibrated peer review to teach basic research skills. Nat. Sci. Educ. 43:11–15. doi:10.4195/nse.2013.09.0027

Online-only journal article
Khan, M.A., K.M. Olsen, V. Sovero, M.M. Kushad, and S.S. Korban. 2014. Fruit quality traits have played critical roles in domestication of the apple. Plant Gen. 7. doi:10.3835/plantgenome2014.04.0018.

Other online sources
University of Minnesota. 1998. Golf facilities and turf systems..http://www.crk.umn.edu/academics/golf/Careers/ (accessed 25 Nov. 2012). Univ. of Minnesota, Crookston, MN.
 
ASA, CSSA, and SSSA. 2004. Publications handbook and style manual, 3rd edition. https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/style/(accessed 1 Jan 2015). ASA, CSSA, and SSSA, Madison, WI.

Book
Moore, M.G., and G. Kearsley. 2005. Distance education: A systems view. 2nd edition. Wadsworth Publishing Co., Belmont, CA.
 
Chapter in a book
Svinicki, M.D., A.S. Hagen, and D.K. Meyer. 1996. How research on learning strengthens instruction. In: R.J. Menges and M. Weimer, editors, Teaching on solid ground. Jossey Bass Publ., San Francisco, CA. p. 257-288.
 
Published proceedings
Bailey, S.W., editor. 1976. Proceedings of the International Clay Conference, Mexico City. 16–23 July 1975. Applied Publishing, Wilmette, IL.
 
Chapter in a proceedings
Dawson, J.C., and I. Goldringer. 2009. Direct or indirect selection in breeding for organic agriculture. In: H. Østergård, E.T. Lammerts van Bueren, and L. Bouwman-Smits,
editors, Proceedings of the BioExploit/Eucarpia Workshop on the Role of Marker Assisted Selection in Breeding Varieties for Organic Agriculture, Wageningen, the
Netherlands. 25–27 February. BioExploit Project, Wageningen, the Netherlands. p. 15–18.
 
Dissertations and theses
Hess, A.J. 2010. Starting a learning progression for agricultural literacy: A qualitative study of urban elementary student understandings of agricultural and science education benchmarks. Ph.D. diss. University of California, Davis, CA.
 
Papers and poster sessions presented at meetings
Kaeppler, S., N. De Leon, R. Sekhon, C. Hansey, C. Buell, H. Lin, and K. Childs. 2011. Expression analysis supporting functional genomics research in maize. Paper presented
at: Fundamental for life: Soil, crop, and environmental sciences. ASA, CSSA, and SSSA Annual Meetings, San Antonio, TX. 16–19 Oct. Paper 110-5.
 
Supplemental Material. Supplemental material may be included with articles at the discretion of the journal editor and production editor. Authors are encouraged to submit material that contributes to the content and quality of the article. The material must be submitted along with the original manuscript for peer review.
 
The production editor may limit the quantity of supplemental material posted per issue. Extra images, video, or large tables are examples of appropriate supplemental material.
 
A supplement may consist of one or multiple files; pdf is recommended. If submitting videos please use the format .FLV (Flash Video) with 640 x 480 or 720 x 480 (widescreen) as the resolution. If you do not have this format available to you please contact the Managing Editor.
 
The following are not allowed: executables (.exe) of any kind, java script, TeX, or PowerPoint. Additional figure and/or table charges will be applied for the supplemental material.
 
Figure Captions. If the manuscript has figures, insert the text for the captions in the file following the references list. Spell out abbreviations on first mention in figure captions, even if they have already been defined in the text. (The reader should be able to understand the figure content without referring back to the text).
 
Tables
Start each table on a new page.
Always use your word processor’s (Word) table feature. That is, the table that you create should have defined cells.
 
DO NOT create tables by using the space bar and/or tab keys.
 
Do not use the enter key within the body of the table. Instead, separate data horizontally with a new row.
 
Do not insert blank columns. Blank rows are acceptable, within limits.
 
Asterisks or letters next to values indicating statistical significance should appear in the same cell as the value, not an adjacent cell (i.e., they should not have their own column).
 
Use the following symbols for footnotes in the order shown: †, ‡, §, ¶, #, ††, ‡‡, etc. The symbols *, **, and *** are always used to show 0.05, 0.01, and 0.001 probability levels, respectively, and are not used for other footnotes. Footnote symbols should not be set in superscript type, and all footnotes should be set on separate lines.
 
Spell out abbreviations on first mention in tables, even if they have already been defined in the text. The reader should be able to understand the table content without referring back to the text.
 
Creating the Figures. Authors who are including figures in the manuscript may use any software to create figures, so long as they can provide high-resolution PDF files for review and high resolution TIF files for print. Authors should save figure files and be prepared to make changes if necessary.
 
Screening and/or shaded patterns often do not reproduce well; whenever possible, use black lines on a white background in place of shaded areas.
 
Authors can shorten manuscript length by supplying figures that can be reduced to fit in a single journal column. Letters and numbers in the final printed figure (i.e., after reduction) should range from 8- to 12-point type. As an example, a 16-cm-wide figure should have 16-point type, so that when the figure is reduced to fit in a single column (approximately 8 cm), the type is reduced to 8-point size.
 
Authors may publish color figures at no extra cost.
 
Consent and Permissions. Authors and their institutions are responsible for obtaining IRB approval for survey information presented in manuscripts (i.e., human subjects research).
The submitting author should have sent each living co-author a draft copy of the manuscript and have obtained the co-author’s assent to co-authorship of it.
 
Authors are responsible for obtaining all permissions for use of figures from other publishers and should supply these releases at the time the accepted manuscript is forwarded for production. Authors are also responsible for obtaining permission from individuals whose images are included in photographs. Please note that ASA-CSSA-SSSA reserves the right to publish and republish any images you submit with a manuscript.
 
To obtain permission to reprint content from NSE, send an email to the Managing Editor. Include a clear description of how and where you intend to use the materials.
 
Style

• Use a comma before the final item in a list of three or more items. For example: “Students collect the data, summarize the results, and write a report...”

• Both the common and chemical name of pesticides must be given when first mentioned. For example: “Atrazine (2-chloro-4-ethylamino-6-isopropylamino-1,3,5-triazine) was used...”

• The Latin binomial or trinomial and authority must be shown for all plants, insects, pathogens, and animals at first listing. For example: “Mapping data are presented for three of the barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) traits...”

• Manufacturer information must be included after first mention of a commercially available product. For example: “Samples were analyzed with a graphite furnace (HGA 600; PerkinElmer, Wellesley, MA)...”

• Software and software manuals must include a references list entry. For example: “SAS Institute. 1990. SAS user’s guide: Statistics. SAS Inst., Cary, NC.”

• SI units must be used in all manuscripts. Non-SI units may be added in parentheses.

 
Sources

• Spelling: Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary

• Plant scientific names: USDA-ARS GRIN Taxonomy

• Chemical names: ChemFinder.com

• Soil series descriptions: USDA-NRCS Official Soil Series Descriptions

• 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, revised yearly)

 
Submitting Manuscripts. Submit manuscripts at Manuscript Central. Instructions for submissions are available at that site.
 
Questions? Contact Susan Ernst, Managing Editor, Natural Sciences Education (sernst@sciencesocieties.org)
 
Updated 6/18/2015