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.
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.
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).
• 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.
• The corresponding author’s phone and fax numbers and email address should be included for complete contact information.
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 Do not cite figures, tables, or references.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.
Text. The main text of the manuscript typically includes an introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion, and Conclusions. Other descriptive headings are acceptable.
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 of References
Weil, R.R. 2002. Soil and environmental quality: A course for nonmajors. J. Nat. Resour. Life Sci. Educ. 31:117-122.
Howell, P.P., and J.A. Allan. 1994. The Nile sharing a scarce resource. Cambridge Univ. Press, London.
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, ediitors, Teaching on solid ground. Jossey Bass Publ., San Francisco, CA. p. 257-288.
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
Maraqa, M.A. 1995. Transport of dissolved volatile organic compounds in the unsaturated zone. Ph.D. diss., Michigan State Univ., East Lansing.
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.
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).
• 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.
• 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.
• 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)
Submit manuscripts at Manuscript Central
. Instructions for submissions are available at that site.