Skip Navigation

Author Guidelines



AoB PLANTS is an open-access, online journal that publishes peer-reviewed articles on all aspects of environmental and evolutionary plant biology. Published by Oxford University Press, this non-profit journal provides a fast-track pathway for publishing high-quality research in an open-access environment, where papers are available online to anyone, anywhere, free of charge. The taxonomic scope of AoB PLANTS spans the full gamut of vascular and non-vascular plants, as well as other taxa that influence these organisms.

AoB PLANTS publishes plant-focused research that has been rigorously conducted, analysed and summarized, and placed within a strong conceptual framework. Articles must clearly state and effectively evaluate specific research questions and hypotheses (largely descriptive papers are discouraged). Although authors must discuss the novelty and significance of their work, the journal bases decisions to accept or reject papers solely on scientific rigour and leaves judgements about the wider importance of published works to the scientific community. In addition, the journal believes that the personal characteristics of authors (e.g., gender, ethnicity, home institution, seniority, reputation, etc.) should not influence how manuscripts are handled during the review process. Thus, since its establishment, AoB PLANTS has evaluated manuscripts using a double-blind process, wherein the identities of both authors and reviewers are not revealed during peer review.

AoB PLANTS welcomes referrals from independent review services, such as Axios Review ( However, referred manuscripts may be subject to additional external review by AoB PLANTS, and we cannot guarantee acceptance.


Manuscripts submitted to AoB PLANTS should be written with an engaging style that clearly conveys the importance of the research to a broad scientific audience. To achieve this objective, authors should adhere to the following guidelines:

  • 1. Titles of papers should emphasize the general concepts addressed and the results obtained in the study (emphasis on techniques used or the focal study organisms and regions is discouraged).
  • 2. In the Abstract and Introduction, authors should frame their work within a broad conceptual framework prior to discussing their focal study organisms and/or study regions.
  • 3. In the last paragraph of the Introduction, authors must clearly articulate the specific research questions being addressed in the manuscript.
  • 4. In the Methods section, authors should provide detailed descriptions of the statistical analyses performed to evaluate their focal hypotheses.
  • 5. In the Results section, authors need to provide extensive details on the results of all statistical tests performed – i.e., test statistics, degrees of freedom, and P values.
  • 6. In the Abstract, Introduction and Discussion, authors should discuss the significance and originality of their research (although editorial decisions to accept or reject papers will be based solely on scientific rigour and will leave judgements about the wider importance of published works to the scientific community).

To ensure that authors meet these objectives, Associate Editors and Referees are asked to assess each paper using the following questions:

  • Has the work been placed within a broad conceptual framework that integrates the relevant published literature and draws in the reader?
  • Are the specific research questions being addressed in the manuscript clearly articulated at the end of the Introduction?
  • Have the authors clearly and sufficiently described their statistical analyses, and do these analyses adequately address their focal hypotheses?
  • Have the focal research questions been evaluated rigorously and are the conclusions supported by the data presented?
  • Have the authors discussed the originality and significance of the work? (Papers will not be accepted or rejected based on these issues, but we expect authors to discuss them.)
  • Does the manuscript title capture the concepts addressed in the paper and does it invite interest?


AoB PLANTS publishes six article types: Research Article, Point of View (limit 4000 words), Review, Invited Review, Mini-Review (limit 6000 words) and Short Communication. Before submission, authors should consult Overview for details on the scope of the journal, publication charges and open-access status. Please also see Review Procedures and Criteria.


AoB PLANTS accepts only online manuscript submissions ( Authors using the AoB PLANTS online submission system for the first time should register a username and password by clicking the ‘first-time author’ link at the bottom of the login page. A ‘password reminder’ link is also available for registered authors who have forgotten their password.

On-screen guidance is available throughout the submission process. For help, click on the “Author Instructions” link at the top of each screen. Additional context-sensitive guidance is indicated by clickable question-mark symbols displayed prominently throughout the site.

For assistance with manuscript submission issues, contact the Editorial Office of AoB PLANTS (


All submitted manuscripts must contain items 1–3 listed below, and usually items 4 and 5 as well; items 6 and 7 should be included as needed:

  • 1. Cover letter
  • 2. Authorship page [click here for template]
  • 3. Main text file [click here for template]
  • 4. Table files (one separate file for each table)
  • 5. Figure files (one separate file for each figure)
  • 6. Supporting Information files (if any)
  • 7. Video files (if any)

Language Editing. Manuscripts must be submitted in grammatically correct English. Any manuscript that does not meet this standard will be returned to the author without review. Before submission, authors who are non-native English speakers are strongly encouraged to have their papers edited by English-speaking colleagues or by a professional editing service to improve the English. This is not a requirement, but it may help to ensure that the academic content of your paper is fully understood by journal editors and reviewers. Language editing does not guarantee that your manuscript will be accepted for publication. There are many specialized language editing services available and you can find these services easily by searching online. Note that authors are responsible for all costs associated with such services.

Conflicts of Interest. At the time of submission, authors must disclose any conflicts of interest, and details will be published if the paper is accepted. Conflict of interest statements should reveal any financial interests or other connections or situations that might raise the question of bias in the paper. Relevant commercial or other sources of funding for the individual author(s) or for the associated department(s) or organization(s) that are not declared in the 'Sources of Funding' section of the manuscript should be mentioned. A ‘Conflicts of Interest’ section must also be included in the paper itself.

File Types. Prepare all text files (Cover Letter, Authorship Page, and Main Text File) as follows:

  • 1. Use size 12 Arial font, left-justify all text, and double-space all lines.
  • 2. Indent the first line of each paragraph and do not insert an extra line space between paragraphs.
  • 3. Number pages consecutively and use continuous line numbering.
  • 4. Files prepared using Microsoft Word are preferred but Text, Postscript, RTF, and LaTeX formats are acceptable alternatives (PDF formats are not acceptable).

Graphs may be submitted as PowerPoint files, but Excel files are not acceptable.

Photographs should be formatted in TIFF, GIF, or JPG format.


Every submission must be accompanied by a cover letter as a separate text file. The letter should include the following:

  • 1. A concise summary (~40 words) of the paper’s main findings and its significance to the field (be sure to include a clear statement as to the specific research questions and hypotheses being addressed).
  • 2. The names and contact information for three scientists that the authors feel are well-suited to serve as reviewers of the manuscript, and any scientists that the authors would prefer not to serve as reviewers (AoB PLANTS will take these recommendations under advisement but is not bound by them).
  • 3. The names of scientists on the Editorial Board of AoB PLANTS (including the Chief Editor) that the authors feel are well-suited to serve as Associate Editors for the manuscript.


Every submission must include a stand-alone authorship page as a separate text file. This separation is essential to allow for double-blind evaluation of the manuscript. In the following order, the authorship page must include the following details:

  • 1. The type of article (Research Article, Point of View, Review, Invited Review, Mini-Review or Short Communication).
  • 2. The full title of the paper.
  • 3. The names of all the authors.
    • a. Where necessary, each name should be followed by an identifying superscript number (1, 2, 3 etc.) to link each author to their institutional address.
    • b. For papers with more than one author, the corresponding author's name should be followed by a superscript asterisk*.
  • 4. The institutional affiliation of each author.
  • 5. The corresponding author’s email address.
  • 6. A running title (i.e., a shortened version of the full title) of not more than 75 characters (including spaces).


The main text file should contain the abstract, full text of the paper, literature cited and figure legends. Do not include figures, tables, or the names of authors and their addresses. To preserve anonymity during the review process, do not place authors’ names in the running heads and do not include sources of funding or acknowledgements.

The first page should state the type of article (Research Article, Review, Invited Review, Mini-Review, Point of View or Short Communication) followed on a separate line by the title of the paper. The remainder of the page should contain an abstract (not exceeding 300 words) and 5 to 10 keywords for efficient online searching.

A Research Article should include the following sections: Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusions, Sources of Funding*, Contributions by the Authors (for multi-authored papers only)*, Conflicts of Interest*, Acknowledgements* and, if appropriate, sections for Supporting Information. The text should end with the Literature Cited and a list of any Figure Legends.

All papers other than Research Articles (i.e., Review, Invited Review, Mini-Review, Point of View and Short Communication) must include all sections above except for Methods, Results and Discussion.

NOTE: To preserve anonymity, asterisked items listed above should be added only after manuscripts have been reviewed, revised and accepted.

Citations. In-text citations should take the form of Felle et al. (2008) or Jacobsen and Forbes (1999) and should be ordered chronologically when grouped within parentheses (Williamson and Watanabe 1987; Rodrigues 2007a, b). Papers by three or more authors should be abbreviated to the name of the first author followed by et al. (e.g., Zhang et al. 2005). Refer to papers as 'in press' only if they have been accepted for publication in a named publication. Otherwise use the term 'unpubl. data', giving the initials of the person concerned (e.g., H. Gautier, unpubl. data). The term 'pers. comm.' (e.g., W. T. Jones, pers. comm.) can also be used.

References in the Literature Cited section should be listed alphabetically according to the surname of the first author. For two or more papers by the same first author, list chronologically. If an author has more than one paper in the same year, list single-author papers first, followed by two-author papers, then three-author papers, etc. For two-author papers with the same first author, list the papers alphabetically based on the surname of the second author and then, if necessary, by year. Follow the same style for papers with three or more authors and the same first author. Add italicized letters 'a', 'b', 'c', etc., to the dates of papers with three or more authors having the same first author and year in order to distinguish between these papers in the text.

Each reference cited must conform to one of the following styles:

Chapin FS III, Matson PA, Vitousek PM. 2012. Principles of terrestrial plant ecology, 2nd edn. New York: Springer.

Book Chapter
Stohlgren TJ. 2011. Landscape patterns of plant invasions. In: Rejmánek M, Simberloff D, eds. Encyclopedia of biological invasions. Berkeley: University of California Press, 422–425.

Research Paper
Seastedt TR, Pyšek P. 2011. Mechanisms of plant invasions of North American and European grasslands. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 42:133–153.

Tholen D. 2005. Growth and photosynthesis in ethylene-insensitive plants. PhD Thesis, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Abbreviations. Abbreviations are discouraged except for units of measurement, standard chemical symbols, names of familiar chemicals, procedures, molecular terminology or statistical terms, where these are in general use. Spell out other abbreviations at first mention and write out all terms when used to start a sentence. If a list defining the abbreviations would be helpful to the reader, include this as an Appendix.

Scientific Names. Names of plants and other organisms should be written out in full at first mention using italic letters (Genus species) in both the abstract and the main text. The full genus name is needed only for the first species contained in a list within the same genus (e.g., Lolium annuum, L. arenarium). Do not include species authorities (e.g., L., Mill., Benth.) for taxa. After first mention, the generic name may be abbreviated to its initial, except where its use causes confusion. Once defined in full, plants may also be referred to using vernacular or quasi-scientific names without italics or uppercase letters (e.g., arabidopsis, artemisia, rumex, soybean, maize). At first mention, any cultivar or variety should be added to the full scientific name (e.g., Solanum lycopersicum 'Moneymaker') following the appropriate international code of practice.

Dates and Times. Dates should be in the form of 10 January 1999, and times in the form of 1600 h.

Summary statistics. Averages and other summary statistics should be accompanied by the number of replicates and a measure of variation such as standard error or least-significance difference. Presentation of an abridged ANOVA table is permissible when its use illustrates critical features of the experiment.

Sequence information. Before novel sequences for proteins or nucleotides can be published, authors must deposit their data with one of the principal databases such as EMBL Nucleotide Sequence Database, GenBank, or the DNA Data Bank of Japan. Details of any novel protein structures should have been submitted previously to a data bank such as the Protein Data Bank.

Sequence matrices and microarrays should be included only if alignment information is critical to the message of the paper. Such matrices should not occupy more than half a page. Larger matrices are better published as Supporting Information (see below).

Gene nomenclature. Species-specific rules on plant gene nomenclature are available for: maize; rice; wheat and arabidopsis; tomato and brassica. Otherwise, use the following conventions for abbreviations: each gene abbreviation is preceded by a combination of upper- and lowercase letters identifying the genus and species of origin (e.g., Rp or Rp for Rumex palustris). Use lower-case italics for mutant genes (e.g., Rp-etr1) and upper-case italics (e.g., Rp-ACO1) for wild-type genes; use non-italicized lowercase for products of mutated genes (e.g., Rp-adh1) and non-italicized upper-case for proteins of wild-type genes (e.g., Rp-MYB2). It may sometimes be helpful to readers if the names of genes or gene families are spelled out in full at first mention; e.g. Rumex palustris ethylene response2 (Rp-etr2).


Tables. All tables must be cited in the text in the order that they appear. Upload each table as a separate file, and number tables consecutively. Place the table caption above the data, beginning with a single introductory sentence that summarizes the contents. Include additional sentences as needed to assist the reader in understanding the data presented in the table.

Figures. All figures must be cited in the text in the order that they appear. Provide each figure as a separate file, and number figures consecutively. The overall width should suit either single-column (up to 8 cm wide) or double-column (up to 17 cm wide) reproduction. Maximum height is 23 cm.

Grouping related images into a single figure is strongly encouraged. If a block of illustrative material consists of several parts, the parts should be labelled A, B, C, etc. and should not be treated as separate figures.

Line diagrams should generally be provided as black on white and boxed with inward scale markings. Colour may be used to improve clarity. Use open and/or closed circles, squares, and triangles for symbols in line graphs. Electron and light photomicrographs should have internal scale markers.

Simple line drawings and graphs should be supplied as JPG files of 300-dpi resolution or as Microsoft PowerPoint files. Do not format line drawings as Microsoft Excel files. If manuscripts are accepted, the publisher will normally redraw graphs and diagrams to ensure a consistent style. More complex drawings, such as detailed botanical illustrations or mixed-content figures, will not be redrawn and should be supplied as 600-dpi JPG files.

Photographs should be supplied as JPGs of resolution 300 dpi (or 600 dpi if the image is a mix of pictures and text and/or has thin lines). Submit all images at approximately the physical size they would appear within an A4 portrait-format page (21 cm wide × 29.7 cm high).

Please do not supply photographs as PowerPoint or PDF files, as these are generally of insufficient resolution. Photographic images that do not contain colour should be saved as ‘greyscale’ whereas colour images should be saved as RGB rather than CMYK.

Permissions. It is the responsibility of the corresponding author to obtain permission from copyright holders (and to pay any associated fees) to reproduce figures, tables, or other material that has been previously published elsewhere.

Supporting Information. Authors are welcome to include additional material in their manuscript as Supporting Information. This material should be presented in a Microsoft Word file and will be refereed along with the core paper. (Please supply a single document titled ‘Supporting Information’, with a legend/title prior to each figure/table, in the order that they are mentioned in the main text.) At appropriate positions in the main text, authors should indicate that extra material is available to readers by inserting the words [see Supporting Information] in bold and between square brackets. If authors are including video, they should enter [see Supporting Information – Video] at the appropriate place(s) in the text. Videos should be brief (shorter than 5 min and less than 5 megabytes) and created in a widely available program such as Windows Media Player or Quick Time


Shortly after final acceptance, each manuscript will be published online as a reviewed and accepted PDF (but not officially copyedited or typeset). It will carry a unique DOI (Digital Object Identifier) code that can be used in bibliographic referencing and searching, and the date will constitute the official publication date for the paper. PDF proofs will be emailed to the corresponding author approximately 2–4 weeks later. Authors must correct the proofs and return them to the publisher within 24 hours. In addition to the text, authors need to review all diagrams, figures and equations, since these items are usually regenerated by the publisher to conform to a standard style.

As soon as author-corrected proofs have been processed by the publisher, the author’s provisional PDF manuscript will be replaced online with fully formatted PDF and HTML versions. The promotional items, DOI and original date of publication will be retained.

Upon receipt of accepted manuscripts at Oxford Journals, authors will be asked to complete an online copyright licence to publish form.

By submitting an article for publication authors confirm that they are the corresponding author and agree that Oxford University Press ("OUP") may retain their email address in order to communicate about the article.

Crossref Funding Data Registry
In order to meet your funding requirements authors are required to name their funding sources, or state if there are none, during the submission process. For further information on this process or to find out more about the CHORUS initiative please click here.