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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. 

Detailed manuscript preparation instructions

Please consult the online guidance and refer to a recent issue to familiarize yourself with Journal conventions and layout. Attention to these and other details will speed publication. Manuscripts should be written in UK English using the spelling of the Concise Oxford Dictionary and should as far as possible be comprehensible to the non-specialist reader. They should be concise and focused on the scientific hypothesis and objectives. Research Papers and Research Communications must be completely comprehensible without reference to any Supplementary File; what was done and what was found must be fully apparent. However, the detailed methodological descriptions or cited methodologies required to allow repetition must be given in the Supplementary File, and not in the manuscript. Similarly, data that is methodological (eg tabular description of a diet) or that is supportive of the conclusions without being essential to them must be given in the Supplementary File. Formatting should include double spaced and consecutively numbered lines, standard margins and an appropriate font of appropriate size. Do not hyphenate words at the end of a line unless a hyphen is to appear in the printed text.

Layout of Research Paper manuscripts

Please remember that the complete manuscript should be submitted as a single document.  The manuscript should generally be divided as follows:

Cover sheet should give the title of the article, names of the authors each with one forename together with their affiliations, a shortened version of the title suitable as a heading, and the name and email of the author to whom correspondence and proofs should be sent.

Figures should be produced using an editable software and copied into the Word document.

Abstract, preferably not more than 300 words, should encapsulate the whole paper, showing clearly the new knowledge acquired. The first line of the summary should identify the article as a Research Paper and present the objectives, preferably in the form of a hypothesis (eg This Research Paper addresses the hypothesis that…). Without using separate sections, the Abstract should briefly explain what was done, why it was done, how it was done and what was found. Results and conclusions should be clearly stated, but the Abstract should not contain individual data values unless this is essential to the conclusions.

Keywords: up to 5 keywords must be supplied.

Introduction should not have a heading. It should not contain a full review of the literature, but should help the non-specialist to understand why the subject of enquiry is interesting or important, why the authors have chosen the approach described and what the likely impact of the research will be. The objectives must be clearly stated, preferably in the form of a hypothesis.

Materials and Methods section should be sufficiently informative to allow the reader to understand what was done, but should not contain the detail needed to allow repetition (this should be given in the Supplementary File). Proper reference must be made to the Supplementary Materials and Methods.   

Results should be as concise as possible, without repetition or inclusion of irrelevant material. Tables and illustrations should be used efficiently. All data reported must directly relate to the understanding of the research objectives and conclusions. Supporting or confirmatory data that corroborate the conclusions without being essential to them should be presented separately as part of the Supplementary File. Proper reference must be made to this Supplementary Data.

Discussion should not repeat the results but discuss their significance. Refer to existing or accepted knowledge in the present tense and the authors' work in the past tense; the difference in tense should clearly show the authors' contribution. A separate conclusion is not necessary but authors should summarize their main conclusions briefly at the end of the Discussion. A combined Results and Discussion is acceptable but not preferred.

Acknowledgements of financial support, technical assistance and so on are given in a separate paragraph. It is the responsibility of the authors to ensure that individuals or organizations acknowledged as providing materials or otherwise are willing to be identified.

References must be consistent and must use the style described below.

Tables and table legends, following the style described below.

Figure legends sufficient to allow the figure to be understood without reference to the text

Layout of submitted Research Communication manuscripts

In general, follow the same format and layout as for a Research Paper. The introduction will typically be shorter and the results and discussion are more likely to be combined into one section. The number of citations will be less, and presentation of data should be restricted to one or two figures and tables. Use of a Supplementary File for the presentation of supporting data is normally a requirement. The Abstract should start with a sentence clearly identifying the article type and presenting the objectives (eg This Research Communication describes….)


Refer to a recent issue and ensure that your reference citations comply with Journal style. References should be given in the text as Brown & Jones (1987) or (Schmidt, 1985; Nakamura et al.1989); the first author with et al. is used for papers with three or more authors. Where necessary, papers are distinguished as Lenoir (1988a), (Litov et al. 1990a, b). When several references appear together in the text, cite them in chronological order, and alphabetically within years. The Reference list at the end of the paper, which should begin on a fresh page, is given in strict alphabetical order and uses the minimum of punctuation. Each reference should contain authors' names, with initials (in capitals), the year, the title of the paper, the name of the journal in full, the volume and the page range. Titles of articles originally published in another language should be given in English translation, and this indicated by the use of square brackets. References to books should include the town of publication and the publisher, with editor(s) and volume and edition number where appropriate. Unpublished work should be given in the text (use authors' initials and surname) and not in the Reference list. You are reminded that it is your responsibility to check all references.

Data presentation

Choose the most economical form of data presentation, remembering that this could include data presented briefly in the text. All data included in the manuscript must directly relate to the hypothesis or objectives and be essential to establish the conclusions. Confirmatory or supportive data that corroborate the conclusions should not be given in the manuscript, but as part of the Supplementary File. For investigative research, avoid including in the main text large tables and figures that are comprised mainly of data that do not differ significantly between treatments. For descriptive research, use the Supplementary File for all apart from the most important observations.     


Tables should be numbered and carry headings enabling them to be understood without reference to the main text. Any abbreviations should be defined. Each Table should be typed separately at the end of the main text, but their approximate position should be indicated by a marginal mark (eg Table 1 near here). Symbols for footnotes should avoid use of *, **, etc, which should be used to indicate levels of significance. Additional Tables given in the Supplementary File should follow the same conventions and should be numbered Supplementary Table S1, S2 etc. Ensure that the manuscript includes proper reference to each Supplementary Table.  

Figures and Illustrations

Figures should be numbered and the combination of figure and legend should be comprehensible without reference to the main text.  Figures must be prepared using an editable file format and then copied into the Word document. Data points should be indicated by clearly distinguishable symbols. Illustrations such as photographic images should be accompanied by a legend as above, with scale bars if appropriate. Additional Figures given in the Supplementary File should follow the same conventions and should be numbered Supplementary Figure S1, S2 etc. Ensure that the manuscript includes proper reference to each Supplementary Figure.  Colour figures and artwork submitted to the Journal as part of the manuscript will be published online free of charge. If you request colour figures in the printed version, you will be contacted by CCC-Rightslink who are acting on our behalf to collect Author Charges. Please follow their instructions in order to avoid any delay in the publication of your article.  

Colour reproduction

To optimize the online colour reproduction, you will be given the opportunity to submit a colour graphic as either TIFF or EPS file, together with further instructions. It is your responsibility to ensure that any figures provided for colour online will reproduce well when converted to black and white for the print version.

Statistical treatment

Authors should, where possible, discuss their work with a statistician at an early stage and give attention to sample size. Individual results should not normally be given. The methods of statistical analysis should be clearly described; a suitable reference is adequate. Authors should make it clear whether they are quoting SED, SEM, SD, SE and so on. Any statement that two groups of values are different should be supported by the level of significance involved. Differences should not be claimed or implied if p> 0.05.

Gene Sequences

Original DNA sequences reported in the Journal must also be submitted to GenBank. Instructions can be found at

Ethics of experiments

All research published in the Journal must comply with the locally-applicable ethical legislation or codes for animal or human research, and there must be a clear statement detailing that compliance.


SI and commonly-used non-SI metric units should be used whenever possible Solutions may be reported in terms of molarity (M) or as mol/l, providing there is consistency and no ambiguity. Give compositions based on mass or volume as (e.g.) mg/l or mg/kg and not percentage. Report as part of the Supplementary File all details of buffers etc that would be required for repetition. Normality should not be used.


The organism should be described unambiguously, with genus, species and subspecies (if any) in italic and strain number or source in roman. Usage should conform to current international rules. Shortened forms or synonyms may be used after the first mention if desired.

Chemical formulae

These should be unambiguous. It is permissible but not required to use symbols for inorganic formulae.


The recommendations of the International Union of Biochemistry (Enzyme Nomenclature,1984, London: Academic Press) should be followed, and the EC number given where known.

Other nomenclature, symbols, abbreviations and conventions

Authors should consult a current issue for guidance. Useful information on biochemical nomenclature and permitted acronyms can be found in Biochemical Journal 169, 11-14 and on nutrient nomenclature in the British Journal of Nutrition. If authors use other abbreviations or acronyms, they should be defined at first mention, and their number restricted to ensure that the text is readable. Always use Arabic numerals with units; otherwise use words for 1-10 and figures for more than 10, (e.g. 3 weeks, three cows, 34 sheep) but avoid mixed lists. Time should be given by the 24 h clock, e.g. 14.15, without h or hours.

Supplementary material

A Supplementary File is now a normal requirement when submitting your research to the Journal, and if you choose not to include one you will be asked to justify that decision. It must be submitted by the same Corresponding Author as the original article. The purpose of the Supplementary File is to enhance the impact of the manuscript. The relationship between the two is straightforward: the article communicates the research in a scientifically validated and focused way, whilst the Supplementary File allows the research to be repeated by those who may wish to do so. The Supplementary File must be submitted as a single Word document that begins with the title of the paper and a list of authors (affiliations are not required) followed by the statement SUPPLEMENTARY FILE. The Supplementary File should be restricted to those materials that are specifically identified in the manuscript and will not normally be understandable without reference to the manuscript. The exact composition of the Supplementary File is flexible, but in general it will contain detailed materials and methods followed by data presented as tables and/or figures. Additional references may also be given. Tables must be numbered consecutively in the format Supplementary Table S1, S2 etc. Figures must similarly be numbered Supplementary Figure S1, S2 etc. The Supplementary File will be published online as a single pdf file with a link to that file provided at the end of the main article.   

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