Guidelines for Authors

To check on the status of your submission, please visit Ecosystem Health and Sustainability's manuscript submissions site.

For general guidance on using the manuscript submission system, please read the tutorials for Authors, Editors, and Reviewers. For questions on specific functionality, explore the Editorial Manager video library.

Categories of manuscripts

Research articles should present significant major advance. Submissions must include an abstract of up to 250 words, an introduction and sections with brief informative subheadings. Authors may include up to 10 figures and/or tables and 50 references. The total research article length should be under 10,000 words. Supplementary materials should be limited to information that is not essential for the general understanding of the research presented in the main text and can include data sets, figures, tables, videos or audio files. For ease in preparing your submission, please follow the manuscript templates in Word and LaTex.

Review articles should describe and synthesize recent developments of significance and highlight future directions in sustainability ecology fields. Reviews must include an abstract, an introduction that outlines the main theme, brief subheadings and an outline of important unresolved questions. Authors may include up to six figures and/or tables and up to 100 references. Reviews should be no longer than 8,000 words, although longer manuscripts will be considered when warranted. Most reviews are solicited by the editors, but unsolicited submissions will also be considered.

Editorials are short, invited opinion pieces that discuss an issue of immediate importance to the research community. Editorials should have fewer than 1,000 words total, no abstract, a minimal number of references (no more than five) and no figures or tables. Editorials are only solicited by the editors.

Perspectives highlight recent exciting research, but do not primarily discuss the author’s own work. They may provide context for the findings within a field or explain potential interdisciplinary importance. Perspectives that comment on papers in Ecosystem Health and Sustainability should add a dimension to the research and not merely be a summary of the experiments described in the paper. As these are meant to express a personal viewpoint, with rare exceptions, Perspectives should have no more than five authors. Perspectives should include an abstract and have no more than 2,000 words, one figure or table, and no more than 20 references.

Policy forums present issues related to the intersections between science and society that have policy implications. Policy forums should include an abstract and have no more than 2,000 words, one figure or table, and no more than 20 references.

Narrative is a new article type created by Ecosystem Health and Sustainability, which uses original high-resolution pictures and photos with short descriptions to present novel ideas or main findings. Narratives are suitable for those who conduct long-term field ecology studies to present their findings in a vivid manner. Only original pictures and photos taken by the co-authors are acceptable, accompanied by novel ideas and opinions. Narratives should include an abstract and have no more than 2,000 words and no more than 20 references.

Commentaries and replies are short observations or discussions about findings that concern a current issue in the field. Commentaries should have no more than three authors, include an abstract, and have no more than 1,000 words, one figure and/or table, and no more than 10 references.

Reports present important new research results of broad significance. Reports should include an abstract, an introductory paragraph and have no more than 2,500 words. Reports may include up to four figures and/or tables and no more than 30 references. Materials and Methods should be included in supplementary materials, which should also include information needed to support the paper's conclusions.

Preparation of manuscripts

English language editing services

Interested in English language assistance prior to submission? The Science Partner Journals publishing team has evaluated the work of the companies listed on the SPJ Author Services page and found their services to be effective for editing scientific English language in manuscripts prior to submission.

Experimental design and statistics guidelines

Study design guidelines

In the first section of the Materials and Methods, we encourage authors to have the subtitle "Experimental and Technical Design," which includes a diagram or flowchart to show the entire experimental design and illustrates the most significant elements: materials, treatments, measurements, data collection, methods of data analysis. This will facilitate the editors and reviewers to understand and follow the whole concept, design, and results.

Statistical analysis guidelines

Generally, authors should describe statistical methods with enough detail to enable a knowledgeable reader with access to the original data to verify the results.

Reporting guidelines

Authors are encouraged to follow published standard reporting guidelines for the study discipline. Many of these can be found at the EQUATOR website.

Figure, table, and supplementary material guidelines

Creating your figures

It is best to create your figures as vector-based files such as those produced by Adobe Illustrator. Vector-based files will give us maximum flexibility for sizing your figures properly without losing resolution. These figure files can be saved at a lower resolution to minimize the file size at initial submission.

Although we do not need the highest-resolution files for the initial submission, you will need to have these high-resolution files of your figures on hand so that they can be submitted with your revised manuscript for final publication production. Each figure or image must be in a separate editable file format at revision.

Acceptable Figure Formats

Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF), PostScript (PS), or Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) for illustrations or diagrams; Tagged Image File Format (TIFF), JPEG, PNG, PhotoShop (PSD), EPS, or PDF for photography or microscopy. Authors who have created their files using a drawing or painting program such as Macromedia Freehand, Adobe Illustrator, or Adobe Photoshop should export the files to one of the aforementioned formats (preferably PDF).

We cannot accept the following files:

  • Microsoft PowerPoint files.
  • Figures embedded in Microsoft Word files.
  • Figures prepared in PowerPoint or Word formats that have been converted to other acceptable formats such as PostScript or PDF.

Figure layout and scaling

In laying out information in a figure, the objective is to maximize the space given to presentation of the data. Avoid wasted white space and clutter.

Please follow these guidelines for creating and labeling your figures:

  • The figure's title should be at the beginning of the figure legend, not within the figure itself.
  • Include the figure's identifying number (e.g., "Fig. 1") on the same manuscript page that includes the figure.
  • Keys to symbols, if needed, should be kept as simple as possible. Details can be put into the figure legend.
  • Use solid symbols for plotting data if possible (unless data overlap or there are multiple symbols). For legibility when figures are reduced, symbol sizes should be a minimum of 6 points and line widths should be a minimum of 0.5 points.
  • Panels should be set close to each other and common axis labels should not be repeated.
  • Scales or axes should not extend beyond the range of the data plotted. All microscopic images should include scale bars, with their values shown either with the bar or in the figure legend. Do not use minor tick marks in scales or grid lines. Avoid using y-axis labels on the right that repeat those on the left.

Color-mix and contrast considerations

  • Avoid using red and green together. Color-blind individuals will not be able to read the figure.
  • Do not use colors that are close to each other in hue to identify different parts of a figure.
  • Avoid using grayscale.
  • Use white type and scale bars over darker areas of images.

Typefaces and labels

Please observe the following guidelines for labels on graphs and figures:

  • Use a serif font whenever possible.
  • Use simple solid or open symbols, as these reduce well.
  • Label graphs on the ordinate and abscissa with the parameter or variable being measured, the units of measure in parentheses and the scale. Scales with large or small numbers should be presented as powers of 10. (When an individual value must be presented as an exponential, use form: 6 × 10 –3, not 6e-03.).
  • Avoid the use of light lines and screen shading. Instead, use black-and-white, hatched, and cross-hatched designs for emphasis.
  • Capitalize the first letter in a label only, not every word (and proper nouns, of course).
  • Units should be included in parentheses. Use SI notation. If there is room, write out variables—e.g., Pressure (MPa), Temperature (K).
  • Variables are always set in italics or as plain Greek letters (e.g., P, T, µ). Vectors should be set as roman boldface (rather than as italics with arrows above).
  • Type on top of color in a color figure should be in boldface. Avoid using color type.
  • When figures are assembled from multiple gels or micrographs, use a line or space to indicate the border between two original images.
  • Use leading zeros on all decimals—e.g., 0.3, 0.55—and only report significant digits.
  • Use small letters for part labels in multipart figures enclosed in brackets, (a), (b), (c), etc.
  • Avoid subpart labels within a figure part; instead, maintain the established sequence of part labels, using small or lower-case letters. Use numbers (1, 2, 3) only to represent a time sequence of images.
  • When reproducing images that include labels with illegible computer-generated type (e.g., units for scale bars), omit such labels and present the information in the legend instead.

Modification of figures

  • Ecosystem Health and Sustainability does not allow certain electronic enhancements or manipulations of micrographs, gels or other digital images.
  • Figures assembled from multiple photographs or images must indicate the separate parts with lines between them.
  • Linear adjustment of contrast, brightness or color must be applied to an entire image or plate equally. Nonlinear adjustments must be specified in the figure legend.
  • Selective enhancement or alteration of one part of an image is not acceptable.
  • In addition, Ecosystem Health and Sustainability may ask authors of papers returned for revision to provide additional documentation of their primary data.

Acceptable file formats


We prefer that the initial submission be uploaded to the electronic submissions site as a Word file (PDFs are acceptable if LaTex source files are used) that contains all components of the paper. Create a single file consisting of the text, references, figures and their legends, tables and their legends, and Supplementary Materials. Supplementary Materials that cannot be incorporated into a Word file must be sent to the Editorial Office separately.

Alternatively, you may upload your manuscript as one file that contains all of the textual material plus separate figure files (one for each figure) and separate Supplementary Material files. The text file should be a Word .docx (preferred) or .doc file (as stated before, PDFs are acceptable in the case of LaTex source files).

Please use zipped files when necessary to upload unusually large supplementary files.


See the guidelines above for creating and formatting your original figures. For initial submission, the figure files should be incorporated into the main text .doc or .docx file if possible. All figures should be cited in the manuscript in a consecutive order. Figures should be supplied in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF), PostScript (PS), or Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) for illustrations or diagrams; Tagged Image File Format (TIFF), JPEG, PNG, PhotoShop (PSD), EPS, or PDF for photography or microscopy.


Tables should be cited consecutively in the text. Every table must have a descriptive title and if numerical measurements are given, the units should be included in the column heading. Vertical rules should not be used.

Supplementary Materials

Text and figures. Include supporting text (including supplementary materials and methods, tables, and figures) at the end of the main manuscript file, in a separate section titled Supplementary Materials, if this can be easily done. Alternatively, Supplementary Materials can be included as a separate .docx file that can be uploaded. In that case, use one of the file types specified above (.doc or .docx preferred).

Video files. Acceptable formats for videos are MP4, AVI, MOV, MPEG, and WMV. Keep videos short and the display window small to minimize the file size of the video. Supply caption information with the videos. Edit longer sequences into several small pieces with captions specific to each video sequence.

Audio files. Please contact the editors regarding submission of such file types.

Submission of manuscripts

All manuscripts should be prepared according to the guidelines above and submitted via Editorial Manager by following the link to Submit Manuscript.

Additionally, if your manuscript is on bioRxiv, you can directly transfer it to our submission system.

Submission requirements

Authors should submit papers to Ecosystem Health and Sustainability in Microsoft Word .docx format (preferred), .doc or LaTex format. To submit, authors should use the Ecosystem Health and Sustainability manuscript template, which will facilitate accurate preparation and processing. Please follow the guidelines in this document when formatting your manuscript. Authors should also prepare an anonymous manuscript using the anonymous manuscript template.

The body text of research articles must include the following sections:

  • Title
  • Authors and their affiliations
  • Abstract
  • Keywords
  • Introduction
  • Materials and Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Acknowledgments
  • References
  • Figures and Tables
  • Supplementary Materials

Submission Checklist

The following items are required for submission:

  • A cover letter, containing the following:
    • The title of the paper and a brief summary of the main point.
    • A statement that none of the material has been published or is under consideration elsewhere, including online, and that all authors listed on the paper have reviewed and agree to the journal's Publication Ethics policies.
    • Names, email addresses and ORCID IDs for all authors, including selection of one to be corresponding author.
  • Names, affiliations and email addresses of potential referees.
  • Copies of any paper by you or your co-authors that is in press or under consideration elsewhere that relates to the work submitted to Ecosystem Health and Sustainability should be uploaded as a related paper during submission.

During manuscript submission, the submitting author will be asked to confirm their understanding of and compliance with Ecosystem Health and Sustainability's policies on:

  • Authorship
  • Prior publication
  • Informed consent
  • Animal care and use
  • Related papers
  • Citation to personal communications and unpublished data
  • Data deposition and availability
  • License selection
  • Materials sharing
  • Third-party image reuse
  • Publication of accepted version

References and Citation Style

There is only one reference list for all sources cited in the main text, figure and table legends, and Supplementary Materials. Do not include a second reference list in the Supplementary Materials section. Include references cited only in the Supplementary Materials at the end of the reference section of the main text; reference numbering should continue as if the Supplementary Materials are a continuation of the main text. References cited only in the Supplementary Materials section are not counted toward length guidelines.

Authors may submit their references in any style. If accepted, Ecosystem Health and Sustainability will reformat the references in the journal's style. Authors are responsible for ensuring that the information in each reference is complete and accurate.

List all authors by first initial(s) and last name. Do not use op. cit., ibid., 3-m dashes, en dashes, or et al. (in place of the complete list of authors' names).

For journals that do not use page number ranges use the article number.

All references should be numbered consecutively in the order of their first citation. Citations of references in the text should be identified using numbers in square brackets e.g., "as discussed by Liu [9]"; "as discussed elsewhere [9, 10]". All references should be cited within the text and uncited references will be removed.

DOIs, if available, should be included for each reference.

Posted preprints may also be included in the References list with appropriate identification information and an independent persistent identifier such as a DOI.

For your information, our citation style is:

[n] Author surnames and initials. Article title in sentence style. Journal Title. Year;volume(issue):pp or article ID.

For example:

[1] Watson JD, Crick FHC. A structure for deoxyribose nucleic acid. Nature. 1953;171(4356):737-738.

[2] Sapolsky RM. Behave: The biology of humans at our best and worst. London (England): Penguin Books; 2017.

[3] Antani S, Long LR, Thoma GR, Lee DJ. Anatomical shape representation in spine x-ray images. Paper presented at: VIIP 2003. Proceedings of the 3rd IASTED International Conference on Visualization, Imaging and Image Processing; 2003 Sep 8–10; Benalmadena, Spain.

[4] Hampton S, Rabagliati H, Sorace A, Fletcher-Watson S. Autism and bilingualism: A qualitative interview study of parents’ perspectives and experiences. PsyArXiv. 2017.

[5] Pennisi E. Climate change is killing off soil organisms critical for some of Earth’s ecosystems. Science News. 11 Apr 2022. [accessed 13 Apr 2022]

For articles with eleven or more authors, the first ten authors are listed followed by 'et al.'. When journals use only article numbers, no page numbers are necessary.

For example:

[6] Lin D, Zhang W, Yin H, Hu H, Li Y, Zhang H, Wang L, Xie X, Hu H, Yan Y, et al. Cross-scale synthesis of organic high-𝑘 semiconductors based on spiro-gridized nanopolymers. Research. 2022;2022:9820585.

Publication forms

Each submission to Ecosystem Health and Sustainability must be accompanied by Licenses to Publish and Conflict of Interest forms completed by each author prior to acceptance. Image Permission forms are required as needed for re-use of any third-party created figure, image, or other asset; permission is only needed if the copyright holder is not an author on the paper.

These forms need to be completed prior to manuscript acceptance. They do not need to be completed prior to submission.

Documents may be printed out, signed, and scanned or signed using an electronic signature. Once completed, please upload the files into Editorial Manager alongside your manuscript files.

Download the Authorship and Conflict of Interest Form

Download the License to Publish Form

Download the Image Permission Form

Copyright and licensing

Ecosystem Health and Sustainability content is Open Access, published under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) on a continuous basis. This means that content is freely available to all readers upon publication and content is published as soon as production is complete. ESC holds an exclusive license to the content, the author(s) hold copyright and retain the right to publish. Visit our FAQ page for information on re-use.

Appeal process

Appeals will be considered on a case by case basis and must be submitted in writing to the editorial office ([email protected]). Appeals on the basis on novelty or scope are not likely to be granted.