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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. 

Preparing your manuscript


Papers submitted for publication must be written in English. Cambridge recommends that authors have their manuscripts checked by an English language native speaker before submission; this will ensure that submissions are judged at peer review exclusively on academic merit. We list a number of third-party services specialising in language editing and/or translation, and suggest that authors contact as appropriate. 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. 

Layout and style

Authors are advised to use the format adopted in recent issues (NB: Please do NOT arrange your text in two columns). A simple direct style of writing is preferred, and papers must be written in the third person. Spelling should conform to that given in the Concise Oxford Dictionary.

Graphical abstracts

A Graphical Abstract is a single image that summarises the main findings of a paper, allowing readers to gain quickly an overview and understanding of your work. Well-designed graphical abstracts are an important way to publicise and disseminate your work to a wider audience. Ideally, the graphical abstract should be created independently of the figures already in the paper but it could include a (simplified version of) an existing figure. Graphical abstracts are displayed at article level, and on the article landing page online. 

The graphical abstract should be submitted separately from the main paper using the ‘Graphical Abstract’ file designation on ScholarOne. Graphical abstracts should be clear and easy for the viewer to read, and should illustrate one main point only. Permission to reuse images should be sought by the authors before submitting,

We recommend that only TIFF, EPS or PDF formats are used for electronic artwork. Other non-preferred but usable formats are JPG, PPT and GIF files and images created in Microsoft Word. For further information about how to prepare your figures, including sizing and resolution requirements, please see our artwork guide. The image will be scaled to fit the appropriate space on Cambridge Core, so please ensure that any font used is clear to read, and that any text is included as part of the image file (although text should ideally be kept to a minimum). There is also no need to include the title ‘Graphical Abstract’ in your image.

You can use our formatting template here if you wish. A brief overview follows:

Main Document

Title. The title should be informative but concise and should not contain abbreviations. It should name the organism studied, where relevant. Authorities for Latin names should not be given in the title but should be given at first mention in the text.

An Abstract, placed at the beginning of the text, should briefly indicate the experiments described (including year and place, as appropriate), the main results (preferably including some numerical values) and the most important conclusions. It should not repeat the wording of the title. The Abstract must not exceed 250 words.

Text. For research papers, the accepted sections are Abstract, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion. Combined Results and Discussion sections are strongly discouraged and any paper containing one will be returned to the author for re-writing. Too many headings and sub-headings should be avoided. The Introduction should set the work in context, present only essential background, and include a concise statement of the objectives; a detailed review of the literature is not necessary. Relevant details should be given of the experimental materials and design, and the techniques and statistical methods used. Statistical guidelines are available on request. Numerical results should be shown in the tables and not repeated in the text. Metric and SI units should be used e.g. kg/ha, mg/l. Use of % should be restricted and used only to describe relative changes in responses. Experimental details and results should be reported in the past tense. The Discussion should draw together the results, briefly relate the author’s results to other work on the subject, summarize any implications and applications and give the author’s conclusions. Footnotes should not be used. All abbreviations used should be fully explained at first mention. Papers should be written in the third person. The main document should have continuous line numbering throughout, to help the referees draw attention to specific sections of text. The main document must not contain anything that could identify the authors.

For animal papers concerning diet, please note that the unit for describing digestibility / degradability is a coefficient. Authors should not use g/kg or g/100g, which is the unit for the concentration of a digestible component. The subject is described in detail in an editorial (Wiseman, J. (2018). Editorial: Digestibility and degradability in animal nutrition studies. The Journal of Agricultural Science, 156(10), 1161-1162. doi:10.1017/S0021859619000121) which may be used as a reference in any paper.

Statistical Note (PDF)

Required statements

All papers must include sections detailing Acknowledgments, Financial Support, Conflicts of Interest, Ethical Standards and Authorship. If you have nothing to declare under any of these headings, please write ‘None’ or ‘Not applicable’. 


Here you may acknowledge individuals or organizations that provided advice and/or support (non-financial). Formal financial support and funding should be listed in the following section.

Financial support

Please provide details of the sources of financial support for all authors, including grant numbers. For example, "This work was supported by the Medical Research Council (grant number XXXXXXX)". Multiple grant numbers should be separated by a comma and space, and where research was funded by more than one agency the different agencies should be separated by a semi-colon, with "and" before the final funder. Grants held by different authors should be identified as belonging to individual authors by the authors' initials. For example, "This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust (A.B., grant numbers XXXX, YYYY), (C.D., grant number ZZZZ); the Natural Environment Research Council (E.F., grant number FFFF); and the National Institutes of Health (A.B., grant number GGGG), (E.F., grant number HHHH)".

This disclosure is particularly important in the case of research that is supported by industry. Support from industry not only includes direct financial support for the study but also support in kind such as provision of food items, medications, equipment, kits or reagents without charge or at reduced cost and provision of services such as statistical analysis; all such support must be disclosed here. Where no specific funding has been provided for research, please provide the following statement: "This research received no specific grant from any funding agency, commercial or not-for-profit sectors."

In addition to the source of financial support, please state whether the funder contributed to the study design, conduct of the study, analysis of samples or data, interpretation of findings or the preparation of the manuscript. If the funder made no such contribution, please provide the following statement: "[Funder's name] had no role in the design, analysis or writing of this article."

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.” 

For more information on what constitutes a conflict of interest, please see the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) guidelines.

Ethical Approval

If your work included the use of vertebrates, information on the ethical standards that the work adhered to must be written here, including the reference number provided by the relevant Ethical Approval committee. For the avoidance of any potential doubt or confusion, please write ‘Not applicable’ here if your paper did not include work with vertebrates.

Author contributions

A short statement must be provided indicating how each author contributed to the work. For example: AB and CD conceived and designed the study. CD and EF conducted data gathering. GH performed statistical analyses. AB, EF and GH wrote the article.

Please apply the following principles when constructing an author list. Collaborators who meet one or more of these criteria should be listed as an author:

  •    Made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; and/or
  •    Made substantial contributions to the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; and/or
  •    Enabled the drafting the work or revised it critically for important intellectual content

In addition all authors should give their:

  1.   Final approval of the version to be published; and
  2.   Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work and to ensure that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

We encourage authors to list anyone who does not meet the criteria for authorship in the Acknowledgments section, with permission; for example to recognise the contributions of anyone who provided research or writing assistance.

Tables and Figures

Tables must be numbered consecutively in the order in which they are cited in the text. Numerical results should be displayed as means with their relevant standard errors and degrees of freedom. Normally a mean should be rounded to one-tenth of its standard error and the standard error given to one decimal place more than the mean. The title should fully describe the contents of the Table and explain any abbreviations used in it. We do not use letters to denote statistical significance: instead, you should use S.E.M. or S.E.D. as appropriate together with D.F., and P values can also be quoted. If footnotes are necessary, use superscript numbers to list them, in numerical order.

Figures may be restricted to the display of results where a large number of values are presented, and interpretation would be more difficult in a Table. Figures may not reproduce the same data as Tables and must be cited in the text. Figures may be saved as separate files, preferably as TIF or EPS files at approximately the size of reproduction, or may be embedded in a Word document. For revised submissions Figures and Tables must NOT be presented within the text: they may either be presented after the Reference list or in separate files. If gathered together in one file, please use page breaks between each Figure and Table so that each one begins on a new page. All files must be clearly named.

The following specifications are to be followed when saving files to ensure good quality reproduction for printing.

Line artwork

  • Format: tif or eps
  • Colour mode: black and white (also known as 1-bit) 
  • Resolution: 1200 dpi

Black and white halftone artwork

  • Format: tif
  • Colour mode: grayscale (also known as 8-bit) 
  • Resolution: 300 dpi.

Combination artwork line/tone

  • Colour mode: grayscale (also known as 8-bit) 
  • Resolution: 800 dpi

Colour halftone artwork

  • Format: tif
  • Colour mode: CMYK

Lines should be bold enough to allow the Figure to be reduced to either single or double column width in the Journal. Vertical axes should be labelled vertically.

A legend, describing the Figure and giving a key to all the symbols on it, should be provided at the end of the manuscript after the references. The symbols preferred are ○, ●,  □, ■, and ∆, ▲but + and × should be avoided.


As per AGS’s policy on format-neutral submission for original submissions, please note that the below applies to revised papers only

In the text, a reference should be quoted by the author’s name and date in parentheses, in date order, e.g. (Jarvis 1994; Edmondson 1998). Where there are three or more authors, the first name followed by et al. should be used. A list of references should be given at the end of the text listing, in alphabetical order, surname of authors and initials (in capitals), year of publication (in parentheses), title of paper, name of journal in full (in italics or underlined) as in CAB International Serials Checklist, volume, and first and last pages of the reference; the place of publication and publisher (and Editor(s) if appropriate) for books and conferences should be included. Note that ALL author names must be listed for each publication. Examples:

In text:

Jarvis (1994); Jarvis (1994a, b); Scott and Jaggard (1993); (Edmondson, 1998); (Scott and Jaggard, 1993; Jarvis, 1994; Edmondson 1998); Ferris et al. (in press); (Ferris et al., in press); A.B. Smith (unpublished); (A. B. Smith, unpublished); D. J. Jones (personal communication); (D. J. Jones, personal communication).

In reference list:

Raymundo R, Asseng S, Cammarano D and Quiroz R (2014) Potato, sweet potato, and yam models for climate change: a review. Field Crops Research 166, 173–185.

Agren GI and Bosatta E (1996) Theoretical Ecosystem Ecology: Understanding Element Cycles. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Satter LD, Jung HG, Van Vuuren AM and Engels FM (1999) Challenges in the nutrition of high- producing ruminants. In Jung HG and Fahey GC (eds). Nutritional Ecology of Herbivores, Proceedings of the Vth International Symposium on the Nutrition of Herbivores, pp. 609–646. Savoy, Illinois, USA: American Society of Animal Science.

Scott RK and Jaggard KW (1993) Crop physiology and agronomy. In Cooke DA and Scott RK (eds). The Sugar Beet Crop: Science into Practice, pp. 179–237. London: Chapman & Hall.

Johansson E (1995) Wheat grain proteins: accumulation and composition in breeding for improved bread-making quality. PhD thesis, The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Svalöv, Sweden.

Jarvis S (1994) Soils and the environment. In Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research 1993 Annual Report, pp. 69–76. Aberystwyth: AFRC Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research.

Ferris CP, Gordon FJ, Patterson DC, Mayne CS and Kilpatrick DJ (in press) The influence of dairy cow genetic merit on the direct and residual response to level of concentrate supplementation. Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge.

Authors should check that all references in the text appear at the end of the paper and vice versa, and that the names and dates correspond in the two places. The accuracy of presentation of each reference in the list should be carefully checked.

Series. The Editors do not wish to publish continuing series and will accept work divided into parts only if they consider it of advantage to the readers; the whole work must be submitted at the same time. In general, the first part must include in the Introduction the reasons for carrying out the whole work and the final part must end with a Discussion of all the findings to show the progress made.

Mathematical models. Authors preparing papers involving complex mathematical models are advised to obtain, from the Editorial Office, notes setting out the Editors’ policy on these models.

Style and Editorial Conventions

Please use the following style:

Dates. (e.g.) 12 April 1999; from 12 April to 22 May (but 12–18 April).

Months. Abbreviate to three letters, no stops, when necessary in Figs or Tables, e.g., May, Jun, Sep.

Years. Use (e.g.) 1997–99 or ‘from 1997 to 1999’ or ‘between 1997 and 1999’. For a single season use (e.g.) 1998/99.

Time. 06.30 h, GMT, BST, 4 h day.

Numbers. Avoid numerals at the beginning of a sentence; spell out or change word order if necessary. Cardinal and ordinal numerals: spell out up to ten, but note e.g. 3rd–5th leaf stage, 6 million tonnes.

Numerals before units, including time, e.g. 3 ha, 5 kg, 30 s (seconds), 20 min, 4 h, 8 days, 6 weeks, 3 months, 2 years.

Do not use commas in thousands, e.g. 2600, 23 000. Give ranges in full, e.g. 475–489. A zero must always precede a decimal point, e.g. 0.58.

Avoid confusion with consecutive figures by spelling out the first, e.g. two 3-year-old cows. For ratios use a colon,

e.g. 17:24, not a solidus.

Units. See Units, Symbols and Abbreviations, 4th edn (1988) (Ed. D. N. Baron). London: Royal Society of Medicine Services. SI units are preferred.

NB. Give cation exchange capacity in mmol (+)/kg not mequiv. Please use g/kg, mg/kg, mg/l, µm/g, ml/l, etc. rather than % or p.p.m. Use kg/ha, or t/ha if more than 999 kg/ha, not quintals.

For international units, use SI units where possible.

Use ‘litres’ in full after numbers where confusion could arise with the numeral l; e.g. use 5 litres/day but 5 ml/l.

Rates should be expressed by a solidus, e.g. kg/ha, 6 kg N/ha, 3 plants/m² (not 3 plants m²), 7 kg/ha per year.

Do not repeat units in lists, e.g. 3, 10, 17 and 30 °C; 20 or 30 % more. Use % after numbers, not per cent, e.g. 7 %.

The unit for digestibility is a coefficient. Authors often mistakenly use g/kg, which actually describes content of a digestible component. Further explanation of this subject is given in the following Editorial:

Abbreviations. All abbreviations must be explained at first mention in the text (and should not be used in the title),

e.g. leaf area index (LAI), dry matter (DM), artificial insemination (AI), acid detergent fibre (ADF).

Use full stops after words cut off short of their end, e.g. Fig., Ed. Do not use stops where the last letter of the abbreviation is that of the complete word, e.g. Figs, Expt, Expts, Eqn, Eqns, Eds. At the beginning of a sentence, write in full.

Quotations. In general, use single quotes, e.g. ‘headland’.

Spelling and Style. Follow the Concise Oxford Dictionary and, for scientific terms, the CAB Thesaurus, Wallingford: CAB International.

NB. Use –ize, ization endings, e.g. minimize, organization, except for words whose noun ends in -is e.g. analyse, synthesised. Use (e.g.) connection not connexion.

Please try to avoid using the following words: level (use content, concentration, rate; or just omit) elevated (to mean increased), presently (to mean currently or at present) parameter (to mean variable, trait, character) population (to mean population density) densities (to mean population density).

References. For full details, see Instructions to Authors page.

Papers accepted by a journal but not yet published should be given in the text as Ferris et al. (in press) or (Ferris et al., in press) and in the reference list as

Ferris CP, Gordon FJ, Patterson DC, Mayne CS and Kilpatrick DJ (in press). The influence of dairy cow genetic merit on the direct and residual response to level of concentrate supplementation. Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge.

If, by the proof stage, the publication details are still not known, cite in the text as (CP Ferris et al., unpublished) and delete from the reference list. Otherwise, give date, volume and page numbers.

Papers on digestibility and degradability of dietary components

Authors of papers on digestibility and degradability of dietary components should consult the following Editorial in advance of submission. Wiseman, J. (2018). Editorial: Digestibility and degradability in animal nutrition studies. The Journal of Agricultural Science, 156(10), 1161-1162. doi:10.1017/S0021859619000121 

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.

Author Hub

You can find guides for many aspects of publishing with Cambridge at Author Hub, our suite of resources for Cambridge authors.