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Instructions to Authors

BioScience is A Forum for Integrating the Life Sciences.The editors of BioScience welcome original manuscripts written for a broad audience of professional biologists, biology teachers, advanced students, and policymakers. We give priority to articles that explain connections between disciplines or synthesize conclusions of general interest to biologists. Overview articles summarize recent advances in important areas of biological research. Roundtable articles bring together the views of authors from different disciplines on issues important to biologists. The Education department contains articles on the teaching of biology to students and to the general public. Professional Biologist discusses issues in the practice of biological professions. Thinking of Biology consists of essays on the philosophy of biology, and Biology in History articles address the history of biological thought. Biologist’s Toolbox articles discuss technology’s contribution to the practice of biology. Forum essays address topical issues.

Articles in the preceding categories, whether invited or independently submitted, undergo peer review of their content and writing style; they should provide new data or build on published findings. BioScience also publishes some nontechnical material that is generally not subject to peer review. In this category are letters pertaining to previously published material; Features, which are stories of general interest to scientists; Editorials, which are short opinion pieces; Viewpoints, which are longer opinion pieces; book reviews and special book articles; Eye on Education; Washington Watch; BioBriefs; and occasional Special Reports. Counterpoints are invited responses to other articles.

Submitted manuscripts should be free of jargon. The editors reserve the right to edit all manuscripts for style and clarity. Contributions are accepted for review and publication on the condition that they are submitted solely to BioScience and will not be reprinted or translated without the publisher’s permission. Authors must transfer certain copyrights to the publisher. AIBS recommends that original data reported be deposited in a suitable public database. Send inquiries to the editorial office.

Overview articles

Overview articles should include background information for biologists in a variety of fields. They must be no longer than 20 double-spaced pages (6500 words, excluding figures, tables, and references). No more than 60 references should be cited. Please include an abstract of up to 150 words and list up to five keywords. BioScience occasionally publishes special sections, which are compilations of overview articles on particular topics.

Department and nontechnical articles

Editorials may cover any topic of interest to biologists, from science policy to technical controversy. Editorials should not exceed 500 words and may not list references. The word limit for Viewpoint manuscripts is 1400; please keep references cited to a minimum. Viewpoints are generally invited and have a single author.

Manuscripts for Roundtable, Forum, Education, Professional Biologist, Thinking of Biology, Biology in History, Biologist’s Toolbox, and special book articles should not exceed 15 double-spaced pages (4500 words, excluding figures, tables, and references) and should cite no more than 40 references. Please submit an abstract of up to 150 words and list up to five keywords. These articles may include a few photographs, drawings, figures, or tables.

Book reviews and Features are generally solicited. Send queries regarding ideas for feature stories to the Features Editor.



Submit all manuscripts through ScholarOne. Once you have prepared your manuscript according to the instructions below, please visit the online submission web site. Instructions on submitting your manuscript online can be viewed here. Authors must obtain written permission to use in their articles any personal communication and any material—text, data, art, tables, or figures—copyrighted by another author or publisher; be sure that credit to the source is complete. Send these letters of permission electronically when you submit your manuscript; mail them to the peer-review coordinator, BioScience, 1900 Campus Commons Drive, Suite 200, Reston, VA 20191; or send them by fax (202-628-1509). Provide with your submission letter the names of any colleagues who have already reviewed your article, and be prepared during the submission process to provide the names, addresses (postal and e-mail), and telephone numbers of four potential referees from outside your institution. Submissions from authors whose research involved the use of “human subjects” (as defined in federal law) must include evidence of approval from an institutional review board.

Document Format

Use double-spacing and 12-point font throughout all text, tables, references, and figure captions. Number all pages. Avoid the use of appendixes and footnotes in the text. Put tables and figure captions at the end of the document. The title page should contain authors’ names, titles, affiliations, and postal and e-mail addresses.

Style. Follow Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers, 7th edition, for conventions in biology. For general style and spelling, consult the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, and a dictionary such as Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. Also refer to A Guide to BioScience Style.

Symbols, Acronyms, and Units of Measure. Define all symbols, and spell out all acronyms and units of measure the first time they are used; abbreviate them thereafter. Use the metric system, SI units (Système international d’unités), to express weights and measures.

Tables and Figures. BioScience style is to capitalize only the first word in figure and table titles (and subheads), except for proper nouns. Use lowercase letters to indicate footnotes in tables and panels in figures. Put panel labels in the upper left corner of figures, if feasible. Construct tables without vertical rules. For more general guidelines on the construction of tables, see the Chicago Manual of Style.

Artwork should suit the manner in which it will be published and should be readable in black and white, even if it will appear in color. Artwork submitted for publication should be of the highest quality, in vector-graphic format if possible, or with a minimum resolution of 600 dpi for line art and 400 dpi for photographs at 4 x 6 inches for figures intended to run within the article, and the same resolution at 8 x 11 inches for figures intended for the cover. Images for the cover of BioScience should have a vertical (portrait) orientation. Photographs (without text) should be submitted in .tif format. All other art should be submitted in .eps format.

References. The number of references cited should comply with the limits specified above. Personal communications should be cited parenthetically in the text; the citation should include the source’s name and affiliation and the date of the communication: (Henry J. Smith, [university or other affiliation, city, state], personal communication, [date of communication]). Submit letters from authors of personal communications giving permission to use the material. Manuscripts submitted for publication but not yet accepted may not be cited. In-text citations of published references take this form: (Author date). Multiple in-text citations are ordered by year of publication, earliest first: (Author 1998, Author 1999, 2000). Use the first author’s last name and “et al.” for in-text citation of works with more than two authors or editors. List the name of every author or editor, unless there are more than 10, in References cited; for works with more than 10 authors or editors, list the name of the first and indicate the others with “et al.” List all works cited in the text in References cited; works not cited should not be listed. Provide the full names of all journals. The following examples are typical of references in BioScience; refer to recent issues of the journal for additional formatting guidance.

Journal article: Bryant PJ, Simpson P. 1984. Intrinsic and extrinsic control of growth in developing organs. Quarterly Review of Biology 59: 387–415.

Book: Ling GN. 1984. In Search of the Physical Basis of Life. Plenum Press.

Chapter in a book: Southwood TRE. 1981. Bionomic strategies and population parameters. Pages 30–52 in May RM, ed. Theoretical Ecology. Sinauer.

Technical report: Lassister RR, Cooley JL. 1985. Prediction of Ecological Effects of Toxic Chemicals, Overall Strategy and Theoretical Basis for the Ecosystem Model. Government Printing Office. Report no. 83-261-685.

Meeting paper: Kleiman RLP, Hedin RS, Edenbom HM. 1991. Biological treatment of minewater—an overview. Paper presented at the Second International Conference on Abatement of Acid Drainage; 16–18 September 1991, Montreal, Canada.

Online article: Palevitz BA. 2002. Designing science by politics. The Scientist 16: 25. (1 April 2003;


Supplementary materials that could benefit researchers may be hosted online. They can be supplied as text, audio, or video files and uploaded as supplementary materials during the submission process. Supplementary material files will not be edited and should conform to BioScience style. Supplemental material can be hosted online in document files (Word, Excel, PDF, etc.). Audio and video files should be no more than 10 minutes in length. Video files may be supplied by authors in .avi, .mov, .mp4, .mpg, .flv, .swf format, MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 preferred. Audio files should be MP3. 3-Dimensional Objects and Geographic Information System data should be KML files.


Color Charges

Authors who want their artwork printed in color pay a fee of $700 for the first piece and $250 for each additional piece. There is no fee for color in an image used on the cover of BioScience.

Page Charges

Authors who submit papers subject to peer review must pay a fee of $80 per printed page to be billed when the article is published in BioScience. Page charges may be waived upon request for authors in developing countries listed by the HINARI Access to Research in Health Programme (see

Open Access

BioScience authors have the option to publish their paper under the Oxford Open ( initiative; whereby, for a charge, their paper will be made freely available online immediately upon publication. As part of the licensing process authors will be asked to indicate whether or not they wish to pay for open access. If authors do not select the open access option, the paper will be published with standard subscription-based access. Oxford Open articles are published under Creative Commons licences. Authors publishing in BioScience can use the following Creative Commons licenses for their articles: Creative Commons Attribution license (CC-BY) and Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial license (CC-BY-NC).

You can pay Open Access charges using our Author Services site. This will enable you to pay online with a credit/debit card, or request an invoice by email or post. The open access charges applicable are:

Regular charge - £1,700 GBP/$3,000 USD/€2,550 EURO

Orders from the UK will be subject to the current UK VAT charge. For orders from the rest of the European Union, OUP will assume that the service is provided for business purposes. Please provide a VAT number for yourself or your institution, and ensure you account for your own local VAT correctly.


Everyone listed as an author of an article must have made a substantial contribution to the manuscript. In the case of multiple-author contributions, please include a brief statement detailing the contribution of each author.

1) Authorship should be restricted to those individuals who have met each of three criteria: (a) made a significant contribution to the conception and design or the analysis and interpretation of data or other scholarly effort, (b) participated in drafting the article or reviewing and/or revising it for content, and (c) approved the final version of the manuscript.

2) In the case of papers with multiple authors, the senior author (generally the first or last author) has the responsibility for: (a) including as coauthors all those who meet the three criteria defined in part 1 of this policy and excluding those who do not; and (b) obtaining from all coauthors their agreement to be designated as such, as well as their approval of the final version of the manuscript. Of course, any person can refuse to be a coauthor if he or she elects to do so.

3) Coauthors assume full responsibility for all work submitted under their names and, as a coauthor, acknowledge that they meet each of the three criteria for authorship as defined in part 1 of this policy.

4) Honorary or courtesy authorships are inconsistent with the principles of this policy and, as such, are unacceptable.


The pages of BioScience are open to all members of the scientific community, whether they work independently or for academic, government, industry, or other organizations. To enable our editors, peer reviewers, and readers to assess authors’ professional credentials, as well as any potential biases, we ask that authors disclose all information about their employment affiliations and any financial interests relevant to the work that the author has submitted for publication in BioScience. Reviewers should also disclose similar information relevant to the works they are asked to evaluate.


Please note that by submitting an article for publication you confirm that you are the corresponding/submitting author and that Oxford University Press ("OUP") may retain your email address for the purpose of communicating with you about the article. You agree to notify OUP immediately if your details change.

Upon receipt of accepted manuscripts at Oxford, authors will be invited to complete an online license to publish form. Once invited, the license form should be signed within 24 hours. If we have not received confirmation of signature by the time the manuscript arrives, your manuscript may be delayed.

It is a condition of publication for all Oxford Journals that authors grant an exclusive license to Oxford University Press or the sponsoring Society. This ensures that all necessary rights needed for publication are in place, including provision for any requests from third parties, to reproduce content from the journals efficiently and consistently by OUP, and enabling the content to be as widely disseminated as possible. No article will be published unless the signed license has been received at Oxford Journals.

As part of the terms of the license agreement, Authors may use their own material in other publications written or edited by themselves provided that the Journal is acknowledged as the original place of publication, as well as Oxford University Press. As the Author(s), copyright of the Article remains yours (or your employer’s if your employer claims copyright in your work). See here for full details of Oxford Journals' copyright policy and the rights retained by you/your institution under the terms of the license.

Work submitted for publication must be original, previously unpublished, and not under consideration for publication elsewhere. If previously published figures, tables, or parts of text are to be included, the copyright-holder’s permission must have been obtained prior to submission. For more information on how to obtain permissions, please consult Rights and Permissions.


OUP offers pre-submission language editing through Oxford Language Editing, a service for researchers all over the world. Language editing, particularly if English is not your first language, can be used to ensure that the academic content of your paper is fully understood by the journal editors and reviewers. Visit to find out more about the freelance editors available and the different services offered. Please note that edited manuscripts will still need to undergo peer-review by the journal.