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Preparing your materials

Policy on prior publication

When authors submit manuscripts to this journal, these manuscripts should not be under consideration, accepted for publication or in press within a different journal, book or similar entity, unless explicit permission or agreement has been sought from all entities involved. However, deposition of a preprint on the author’s personal website, in an institutional repository, or in a preprint archive shall not be viewed as prior or duplicate publication. Authors should follow the Cambridge University Press Preprint Policy regarding preprint archives and maintaining the version of record. 

Please include line numbers in your manuscript at submission stage.

Preparing your article for submission

The journal accepts two forms of research report – full articles and short communications. The format of these is detailed separately below. Authors should note that the journal will not review submissions using the RAPD marker system, except where very large numbers of assays place a cost limitation on the analysis, or where RAPD data is combined with, and is co-analysed with other forms of descriptive data, which allows an objective means of assessing the credibility of the RAPDs.

Full articles

The title page should carry the title of the article and the authors' names and addresses (including country for each author). Also indicate the name and include the e-mail address of the corresponding author. The e-mail address is particularly important as page proofs will be sent electronically as a .pdf file to the corresponding author for checking. (See 'Page proofs' section below).

The text must be divided into sections, each beginning on a new page. The sections consist of Abstract, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion, Acknowledgements, References, Tables, Figure legends. In exceptional circumstances, the Results and Discussion sections can be combined, but where this has been done, the authors must provide a justification for doing so in their covering letter. Footnotes are not acceptable. Files should not be submitted as 'read only'.

The Abstract should not exceed 250 words. It should indicate the scope and main conclusions of the paper. Below the text, add a list of keywords for indexing purposes.

The Introduction should explain why the work was done, and briefly introduce the scope and contents of the paper.

The Materials and Methods section should detail experimental design and statistical analysis and should be kept as brief as possible with the aid of appropriate citation to the literature (e.g. for standard methods etc.).

Results should be recorded in the past tense.

The Discussion should interpret the results, and present them in the broader context of other work on the subject. It should not simply be a restatement of the results.

Citations within the text should be:

  1. Listed in chronological order, by author and date
  2. using 'and' between names of joint authors and
  3. for those with more than two authors, citing only the first author et al. (e.g. White et al., 1993).
  4. The final list of references should be in the following format, and listed by alphabetical order of author, e.g.

Gregory RS (1985) Triticale breeding. In: Lupton FGH (ed.) Wheat Breeding: Its Scientific Basis. London: Chapman and Hall, pp. 20-30.

Kingston-Smith AH, Bollard AL, Humphreys MO and Theodorou MK (2002) An assessment of the ability of the stay-green phenotype in Lolium species to provide an improved protein supply for ruminants. Annals of Botany 89: 731-740.

Marshall DR and Brown AHD (1973) Stability of performance mixtures and multilines. Euphytica 22: 405-412.

Smith JE (1988) The effects of roguing on the frequency of atypical winter wheat plants. PhD Thesis, University of Nottingham.

Tables must be numbered consecutively (Table 1, Table 2 ..., NOT Table 1a, 1b, etc), each headed by its own caption. Tables are limited in size to one A4 page with ALL contents typed in 12pt Times New Roman. The number of tables is limited to four. Each table must be presented as a text (.doc or .odt) file, not as spreadsheet files (.xls, .ods or .pdf). Additional tables can be submitted for inclusion as Supplementary Material (which are not limited to one A4 page - see details below). Such material should support the paper but should not be integral to its understanding. These must be labelled Table S1, Table S2, etc., each with its own caption, and will be presented as additional resources alongside the paper.

To ensure that your figures are reproduced to the highest possible standards, please follow the instructions provided in the Cambridge Journals Artwork Guide. Additional figures can be submitted for inclusion as Supplementary Material. Such material should support the paper but should not be integral to its understanding. These must be labelled consecutively (Figure S1, Figure S2, etc.), each with its own caption, and will be presented as additional resources alongside the paper. No financial contribution is required for the inclusion of colour images in either the published paper or Supplementary Material. When submitting your manuscript, please ensure that figures are supplied as JPEG images (.jpg). Figures submitted in any other format will result in unsubmission of the paper. 

TOTAL number of figures/tables: the total number of tables plus figures may not exceed SIX.

The manuscript must be submitted in one file. All figures and/or tables (unless .jpgs) must be submitted together in a second, and separate, file. All Supplementary Material (figures and/or tables, unless .jpgs) must be submitted in a third, separate, file. Do not paste figures or tables into the manuscript file, but indicate their optimum placement in the margin of the text.

Short communications

These will be limited to a maximum of 1000 words (excluding Abstract, Acknowledgements, References and Table/Figure Legends), plus two figures or tables (or one of each). Section headings should be restricted to Abstract, Introduction, Experimental, Discussion, Acknowledgements, References. Additional tables and figures can be submitted for inclusion as Supplementary Material, as for full articles. Such material should support the research report but should not be integral to its understanding. These must be labelled Table S1, Figure S1, etc. and will be presented as additional resources alongside the Short communication. All Supplementary Material must be presented together in one file (wherever practicable).

How to prepare your materials for blind peer review

Please see here for further details.

English language editing services 

Authors, particularly those whose first language is not English, may wish to have their English-language manuscripts checked by a native speaker before submission. This step is optional, but may help to ensure that the academic content of the paper is fully understood by the Editor and any reviewers.  

In order to help prospective authors to prepare for submission and to reach their publication goals, Cambridge University Press offers a range of high-quality manuscript preparation services – including language editing – delivered in partnership with American Journal Experts. You can find out more on our Language Services page.

Please note that the use of any of these services is voluntary, and at the author's own expense. Use of these services does not guarantee that the manuscript will be accepted for publication, nor does it restrict the author to submitting to a Cambridge-published journal. 

Seeking permissions for copyrighted material

Please see further guidance here.

Competing Interests

All authors must include a competing interest declaration in their main manuscript file. This declaration will be subject to editorial review and may be published in the article. 

Competing interests are situations that could be perceived to exert an undue influence on the content or publication of an author’s work. They may include, but are not limited to, financial, professional, contractual or personal relationships or situations. 

If the manuscript has multiple authors, the author submitting must include competing interest declarations relevant to all contributing authors. 

Example wording for a declaration is as follows: “Competing interests: Author 1 is employed at organisation A, Author 2 is on the Board of company B and is a member of organisation C. Author 3 has received grants from company D.” If no competing interests exist, the declaration should state “Competing interests: The author(s) declare none”. 

Authorship and contributorship

All authors listed on any papers submitted to this journal must be in agreement that the authors listed would all be considered authors according to disciplinary norms, and that no authors who would reasonably be considered an author have been excluded. For further details on this journal’s authorship policy, please see this journal's publishing ethics policies.

Author affiliations

Author affiliations should represent the institution(s) at which the research presented was conducted and/or supported and/or approved. For non-research content, any affiliations should represent the institution(s) with which each author is currently affiliated. 

For more information, please see our author affiliation policy and author affiliation FAQs.


We require all corresponding authors to identify themselves using ORCID when submitting a manuscript to this journal. ORCID provides a unique identifier for researchers and, through integration with key research workflows such as manuscript submission and grant applications, provides the following benefits:

  • Discoverability: ORCID increases the discoverability of your publications, by enabling smarter publisher systems and by helping readers to reliably find work that you have authored.
  • Convenience: As more organisations use ORCID, providing your iD or using it to register for services will automatically link activities to your ORCID record, and will enable you to share this information with other systems and platforms you use, saving you re-keying information multiple times.
  • Keeping track: Your ORCID record is a neat place to store and (if you choose) share validated information about your research activities and affiliations.

See our ORCID FAQs for more information.

If you don’t already have an iD, you will need to create one if you decide to submit a manuscript to this journal. You can register for one directly from your user account on ScholarOne, or alternatively via

If you already have an iD, please use this when submitting your manuscript, either by linking it to your ScholarOne account, or by supplying it during submission using the "Associate your existing ORCID iD" button.

ORCIDs can also be used if authors wish to communicate to readers up-to-date information about how they wish to be addressed or referred to (for example, they wish to include pronouns, additional titles, honorifics, name variations, etc.) alongside their published articles. We encourage authors to make use of the ORCID profile’s “Published Name” field for this purpose. This is entirely optional for authors who wish to communicate such information in connection with their article. Please note that this method is not currently recommended for author name changes: see Cambridge’s author name change policy if you want to change your name on an already published article. See our ORCID FAQs for more information. 

Supplementary materials

Material that is not essential to understanding or supporting a manuscript, but which may nonetheless be relevant or interesting to readers, may be submitted as supplementary material. Supplementary material will be published online alongside your article, but will not be published in the pages of the journal. Types of supplementary material may include, but are not limited to, appendices, additional tables or figures, datasets, videos, and sound files.

Supplementary materials will not be typeset or copyedited, so should be supplied exactly as they are to appear online. Please see our general guidance on supplementary materials for further information.

Where relevant we encourage authors to publish additional qualitative or quantitative research outputs in an appropriate repository, and cite these in manuscripts.