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Information for Authors

This guide describes what Journal of Experimental Botany (JXB) publishes and how to submit a paper for consideration using HighWire’s Bench>Press. There are no submission fees or page charges.

Last updated 29th February 2016

WHAT DOES JXB PUBLISH?

Scientific scope


The aim of Journal of Experimental Botany (JXB) is to publish papers that advance our understanding of plant biology. Original research should provide new information on fundamental processes or mechanisms including those underpinning the improvement of plants for the sustainable production of food, fuel and renewable materials. When considering if a paper is suitable, consideration will be given to the breadth and significance of the work to the plant science community.

Areas of particular focus:

Growth and development – integration of internal and external cues determining development and architecture; reproductive biology.
Cell biology – molecular and vesicular trafficking; cell-to-cell communication; cytoskeleton; cell division; differentiation and death.
Metabolism – photosynthesis; carbon uptake and assimilation; resource allocation; nutrition.
Plant–environment interactions – global change; biotic and abiotic stress; symbioses; plant–rhizoflora interactions; mineral nutrition.
Crop molecular genetics – trait and gene characterization; molecular analysis; metabolic processes.

Further editorial guidance is provided below.

Types of article


Research papers should provide new insights into underlying biological processes or functions at the molecular, cellular or organism level. Review papers provide a synthesis of recent developments in areas of intensive current research. In-depth Opinion papers that express a particular point of view on a controversial topic relevant to any aspect of plant science are also encouraged.

Darwin reviews are prestigious, invited articles providing a contemporary perspective on topics of broad interest to the plant science community. Proposals are always welcome – just contact the editorial office.

Our popular Special Issues bring together articles on fast-moving areas of research. All papers are subject to the same level of rigorous peer review as those in regular issues.

The eXtra Botany section of the journal includes Insights highlighting some of the most exciting papers in the journal, and is an open forum for commentary and opinion relevant to plant scientists. As well as being topical, broad interest and accessible, articles may also cover contentious areas.

WRITING AND SUBMISSION

Overview


All submissions are checked in terms of remit and quality, and if suitable go forward to full peer review.

All published research papers from corresponding authors whose institutions have a full subscription to
JXB will be available online immediately, without charge (Open Access). All other content is similarly freely accessible after one year.

Corresponding authors can order 25 free offprints and/or a free copy of the relevant journal issue. A unique URL is also provided giving access to both PDF and HTML versions, and this can be added to your homepage or institutional website. Additional offprints or Open Access can be purchased if required.

If you have any questions contact the editorial office and the team will be glad to help.

Presentation


Clear presentation of your paper is very important to ensure that its scientific content is clear and fully understandable.

British or American English is acceptable as long as usage is consistent throughout the paper. If you have any concerns about use of English, please consider getting professional help with language editing before submission (please note that this does not guarantee acceptance).

Length and Structure


Research papers may be up 6,500 words, counting from the start of the introduction to the end of the acknowledgements – don’t include references, tables and figure legends. Primary data should only be presented once (e.g. table or graph, but not both). Useful data not critical to a full understanding of your paper may be submitted for online-only publication (supplementary data).

Please use a standard 12-pt font and 1.5-line spacing, numbering all pages (right hand side, bottom of the page). Lines should be numbered up to the start of the references section.

Following the title page, research papers should be presented as follows: (title), Highlight, Abstract, Introduction, Materials and methods, Results, Discussion (or Results and discussion), Supplementary data (brief, single-sentence descriptions for each item), Acknowledgements (which should include funding details), and References. This should be followed by tables, figure legends, and figures. Each table and figure should be presented on a separate page.

Submission


All submissions are processed using HighWire’s Bench>Press: you should upload your fully prepared paper in the Author Area. However, do use the site as a resource from the start – the information is an essential complement to this guide.

You will need to provide various basic information about your paper and its authors which you can save and come back to at any point. Some of these, such as the title and abstract, can be inserted directly from your final paper. The cover letter text, which is separate, should briefly describe the novel and significant findings reported.

Your main file will need to be in Microsoft Word or .rtf format and include everything except any supplementary data. If for any reason it is not possible to include figures simply provide them in a separate file (or files). If your paper is accepted a separate file (or files) will be needed for all your figures.

Covers


We will consider original images for the cover of the journal, either directly from or closely related to a paper in an issue. If you have something suitable please provide it in the same final format as a figure, i.e. ideally as a .tiff and always at a minimum 300 dpi at publication size (which for the cover is 84×284 mm). Images may be submitted at the time of initial submission or later by e-mail (in which case please always provide your paper number/title). Include a very brief description of what is shown and credit information.

YOUR TITLE PAGE


The title page should contain the title, names of all authors, and names and addresses of the institutions where the work was carried out, including an e-mail address for each author. For the corresponding author also include a telephone number. The date of submission, the number of tables and figures, and the word count (start of the introduction to the end of the acknowledgements) should also be included. When listing figures, please state which should be in colour in print and which should be in colour online-only (see below). If your paper has supplementary data, specify the number of figures, tables or videos.

TITLE, HIGHLIGHT AND ABSTRACT

Title


The title should be concise and informative with no more than 120 characters, including spaces. For research papers it should usually state the novel scientific findings being presented. A title which asks a question may also be effective. Remember that this will be the most frequently read part of your paper.
Also include a shorter running title – no more than 60 characters, including spaces.

Highlight


Please provide a statement that highlights the novelty of your paper in fewer than 30 words. It should always contain the central findings of your work, as well as key words and phrases (but not simply repeat the title). This is a valuable opportunity to draw attention to the importance of your research.

Abstract


The abstract should be engaging and useful ‘stand-alone’ text without references of no more than 200 words. Research papers should detail why the research was undertaken; approach and methodology if appropriate; main findings; and key conclusions, including wider implications. Repeat key words and phrases as appropriate.

KEY WORDS AND ABBREVIATIONS

Key words


Please provide 6–10 key words for your paper (alphabetical order) after the abstract. Think of words/phrases people might use in searches. The main ones should also appear in the abstract.
Natural, consistent repetition of key words and phrases in your title, highlight, abstract and subheadings will aid search engine optimization – which means that other researchers will be able to find and cite your work.

Abbreviations


Please limit the use of nonstandard abbreviations – they can make your text harder, not easier, to read. Generally only use them for words used at least three times in the text but only where the shortened form will aid readability. Define the term on first mention: for example, the Bureau for Food Security (BFS) leads the US Feed the Future initiative... If you do have such defined abbreviations, also provide them in a list, in alphabetical order, after the key words.

In contrast to the above, there are a number of common abbreviations that should be used without definition and can be found here. This also applies to standard chemical symbols.

TABLES AND FIGURES

Tables


Each numbered table (e.g. Table 1, Table 2) should have a concise, descriptive heading, with any further essential explanation added as a footnote. This should provide enough detail to understand the table without referring to the main text (i.e. it should ‘stand alone’), although there is no need to redefine abbreviations not specific to the table or give full species names where this information has already been provided.

Please create your tables using the table tool in Microsoft Word and use a separate page in your main text file for each one. All tables need to be cited in sequence in the main text.

Figure legends


Each numbered legend (e.g. Fig. 1, Fig. 2) should begin with a concise, single-sentence description of the figure. It should go on to provide enough detail to understand the figure without referring to the main text. A description of any symbols should be given in full (please do not include actual character symbols in the legend). Micrographs must include a scale bar, with the length ideally provided on the image (but otherwise indicated in the legend).

Please use a separate page for the figure legends in your main file.

Figures


Figures are the final items in your main file, with one per page. However, these should be prepared in a separate file (or files) such that they are ready for publication assuming your paper is accepted. For this, the usual preferred format is .tiff (tone or colour and line art; otherwise use .eps, .pdf, .doc or .ppt). The guidance which follows refers to the preparation of this separate file, and further detail is provided here.

Please make your figures as clear as possible, and add labelling where there are multiple panels using capital letters (A, B, etc.)

In general use Helvetica Neue or a similar sans serif font for lettering, ensuring the size is uniform unless variation aids clarity. A text font size between 6 and 10 pt at expected final publication size is ideal. For micrographs, a scale bar with length indicated on the image is best.

Line weights should be between 0.35 and 1.5 pt. Preferred symbols (in order) are closed circles, open circles, closed squares, open squares, closed triangles and open triangles; these should be no smaller than 1 mm (height/diameter) at expected final publication size. Avoid using mathematical symbols.

Minimum image resolution is 300 dpi at final size (1200 dpi for line art). Colour figures should be saved with CMYK settings for print publication (RGB if using online-only colour).

Each figure should be clearly labelled (Fig. 1, Fig. 2, etc.) and provided on a separate page in your main file. They should all be cited in sequence in the main text.

Composite figures made by reorganizing different parts from the same or different gels/blots/exposures must be made explicit – clear dividing lines should be used to separate individual parts and the rationale for this arrangement must be explained in the legend. Presenting composite images as unedited originals, giving an impression that no reorganization has occurred, is unacceptable.

No specific region or feature within an image should be modified (i.e. moved, removed, introduced, enhanced or concealed). Brightness, contrast and colour balance adjustments are permitted if they are applied to the whole image and do not misrepresent or otherwise obscure the information provided. Disclose any nonlinear adjustments, such as changes to gamma settings, in the figure legend.

You should keep ready access to all original images, which should be high quality, unedited, uncropped and high resolution. These may be requested during peer review.

COLOUR

General use


The use of colour online is encouraged, and there is no charge. Please always follow colour-blind friendly practice.

Colour in print is free for SEB members

There are no charges for colour online – figures and tables may be presented in colour online and in greyscale in print. It is essential with this option that the figure is fully understandable without the colour, and the legend (and main text of the paper) should not refer to colour so that it works in print. Please note the availability of online-only colour at the end of the legend:

This figure is available in colour at JXB online.

Colour in print is free where the corresponding author is a member of the Society for Experimental Biology (SEB) and the colour is essential for understanding a figure or table. Where print colour is used, it will also be used online, and reference can be made to colour use in the main text and legend.

Print Charges


In all other cases charges do apply for use of colour in print: £100/$190/€150 (+VAT) for each figure or table.

SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

Main file


Supplementary data for online-only publication may be submitted if it significantly enhances your paper, adding valuable information which is nevertheless not essential to a full understanding of the work. It is important to use this opportunity with care – it can only be used for data that has already been introduced. For example, any video file included should be linked to a figure in your paper.

In a supplementary data section, immediately following the discussion in your main paper, each item should be given a brief, single-sentence description. For example:

Table S1. List of primers used in this research.

Figure S1. Further examples of the infected wheat leaf phenotype.

Within each category (e.g. tables, figures, videos) all items of supplementary data should all be cited in sequence in the main text – hence all tables should be in order, etc.

Separate files


Ideally provide any supplementary data as a single PDF file, but in any case it should always be a separate file (or exceptionally files). The file name (or names) should refer to the full contents. For example:

Supplementary Tables S1–S3; Supplementary Figure S1

It should stand alone, so all explanatory material (e.g. figure legends) must be included. Please do not add any line numbers.

For images the minimum acceptable resolution for online viewing is 72 dpi. The preferred formats for video clips are .mov, .mpg, .avi and animated .gif files. Ensure they can be easily viewed with widely available software (e.g. Windows Media Player or QuickTime).

Note that although this data will be subject to full peer review, it is not professionally copy edited or proofread and so it is essential that it is checked meticulously.

REFERENCES

Citations


Previously published work must be acknowledged by appropriate citation in the main text and a full reference list. Attention to detail is important to ensure appropriate crosslinking.

Citation style examples:
Chen and Zhu (2015) have shown ...
... towards the root tip (Zhu, 2014; Chen and Zhu, 2015).
Note the use of date rather than alphabetical order. When papers are by more than two authors use et al. (e.g. Zhao et al., 2015).

If several papers by the same author in the same year are cited, use letters to distinguish between them (e.g. 2016a, b).

List


References should be listed in alphabetical order (without numbering). As with citations, these must be accurate and follow journal style.

For a paper with ten authors, list them all; for more than 10 authors, list the first three followed by et al.
Citation of papers from e-journals or available ahead of print should include the DOI or URL rather than volume/page numbers. Citation of other URLs may be made in the main text but should not be included in the reference list.

Examples:
Botha FC, Whittaker A, Vorster DJ, Black KG. 1996. Sucrose accumulation rate, carbon partitioning and expression of key enzyme activities in sugarcane stem tissue. In: Wilson JR, Hogarth DM, Campbell JA, Garside AL, eds. Sugarcane: research towards efficient and sustainable production. Brisbane: CSIRO Division of Tropical Crops and Pastures, 98–101.
Chang L, Ramireddy E, Schmülling T. 2015. Cytokinin as a positional cue regulating lateral root spacing in Arabidopsis. Journal of Experimental Botany 62, 4759–4768.
Lakatos M. 2011. Lichens and bryophytes: habitats and species. In: Lüttge U, Beck E, Bartels D, eds. Plant desiccation tolerance. Heidelberg: Springer, 65–87.
Smirnoff N. 2007. Antioxidants and reactive oxygen species in plants. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Tan YD, Xu H. 2014. A general method for accurate estimation of false discovery rates in identification of differentially expressed genes. Bioinformatics doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btu124
Uys L. 2009. Coupling kinetic models and advection–diffusion equations to model vascular transport in plants, applied to sucrose accumulation in sugarcane. PhD thesis, Stellenbosch University.
Wang P, Menzies NW, Lombi E, et al. 2013. In situ speciation and distribution of toxic selenium in hydrated roots of cowpea. Plant Physiology 163, 407–418.

Note use of bold and italic text, and full journal titles. Only papers published or in press should be provided (and if in press, a proof will need to be submitted with your paper). Unpublished results, including submitted papers and those in preparation, should be cited as unpublished in the text.

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.

STYLE POINTS

Numbers and dates


Numbers up to ten should be spelled out in the text except when referring to measurements. Use numerals for numbers higher than ten except at the beginning of a sentence. Use decimals rather than fractions.

Dates should be given in the form 6 June 2017, and the 24 hour clock should be used.

Scientific names


For species in frequent scientific use, such as wheat, it is preferable to use the common name in your paper (and note the use of Arabidopsis for Arabidopsis thaliana). If the common name is used then the scientific name (e.g. Triticum aestivum) should still be given at first mention in the abstract and main text. Otherwise, use the scientific name for species under study, abbreviating the genus to the initial after first use in the abstract and main text unless there is a chance of confusion with other species used in the paper. The complete scientific name (genus, species and authority, and cultivar where appropriate) must be cited for every organism used in the study on first use in the materials and methods section.

Measurements


Use SI units. If nonstandard abbreviations are essential then define them in the text. Units of measurement should be spelled out except when preceded by a numeral, when they should be abbreviated in the standard form: g, mg, cm3, etc. Use negative exponents to indicate units in the denominator (e.g. mmol m–2 s–1).

Chemicals, genes and proteins


Follow Chemical Abstracts and its indexes for chemical names. Use the IUPAC and IUBMB recommendations on chemical, biochemical and molecular biology nomenclature for amino acids, peptides, enzymes, nucleic acids, polynucleotides, carbohydrates and lipids.

Naming of genes and proteins must follow international standards. Always use italic text for gene symbols and loci, and capitalization as it applies for each organism. Proteins should appear in regular type. Use the nomenclature convention appropriate for the species being studied: Arabidopsis, maize, rice, tomato and wheat.

Equations


Please use numbering (1, 2, etc.) If equations require more than one level of subscript or superscript, use either Microsoft Equation Editor or MathType.

DATA DEPOSITION REQUIREMENTS

Deposition of sequence data (proteins or nucleotides), array data, molecular interaction data and any other data where there is a publicly held database is required before publication. The database accession number must be given in the paper (materials and methods section). For example, appropriate databases for nucleic acid and protein sequences are
ENA, GenBank and Protein Data Bank.

Microarray gene expression data should be MIAME compliant and deposited in a public repository such as ArrayExpress or GEO.

Authors of accepted papers containing gene function data are encouraged to submit this at the appropriate online resource (e.g. The Arabidopsis Information Resource (TAIR) database). When submitting your data, you will need your paper’s DOI, which is provided on the proofs.

ESSENTIAL STANDARDS


Submission of a paper to JXB implies the agreement of all authors. The work must be original with no part having been published elsewhere, with the exception of a short abstract/poster or as a non-peer reviewed online preprint using a server such as BioRxiv or PeerJ PrePrints, and must not be under consideration by any other journal. If accepted, you will need to update the status of any preprint, including your paper’s DOI.

The journal also requires that each author reveal any financial interests or connections, direct or indirect, or other situations that might raise the question of bias in the work reported or the conclusions, implications or opinions stated, including pertinent commercial or other sources of funding for the individual author(s) or for the associated department(s) or organization(s), personal relationships, or direct academic competition. When considering whether you should declare a conflicting interest or connection please consider the conflict of interest test: is there any arrangement that would embarrass you or any of your co-authors if it was to emerge after publication and you had not declared it?

If your paper (or supplementary data) includes any data in tables or figure(s) already published, it should be clearly indicated and it is your responsibility to obtain copyright permission from the original publisher to reproduce them in both print and online format before your paper can be published. This includes figures adapted (modified or re-drawn) in any way from other publications. This can be a lengthy process, and so you should seek permission as early as possible. The permission document should be sent to the editorial office.

It is expected that novel materials used and described in your paper will be made available for noncommercial research purposes. A statement concerning availability, or restrictions on availability, should be included in the materials and methods section. It is acknowledged that some materials such as enzymes, natural products and antibodies require substantial effort to isolate, and supplies may be limited – a judgement will be made as to whether any restrictions on availability are reasonable. For antibodies, also note that full source information must be provided: company, including sufficient address details to enable contact.

It is a condition of publication that authors grant an exclusive licence to the SEB. This ensures that requests from third parties to reproduce articles are handled efficiently and consistently and will also allow the article to be as widely disseminated as possible. In assigning the licence, authors may use their own material in other publications provided that the journal is acknowledged as the original place of publication, and Oxford University Press, on behalf of the society, is notified in writing and in advance.

The Oxford Open Licence for Open Access papers in JXB is compatible with the Creative Commons Attribution Licence; the journal has an Author Self-Archiving Policy.

Finally, note that it is essential that the scientific community has full confidence in everything JXB publishes. For this reason all figures are screened for inappropriate manipulation or any deviation from their components, and any transgressions are viewed as a very serious matter. All cases of attempted fraud will be pursued with the relevant academic authorities.

CHECKLIST

It is important that you read this guide in full to ensure your paper is ready to submit. However, in keeping with our high standards, please particularly check the following ten points:

  • Have you prepared your cover letter text describing the novel and significant findings essential for any JXB paper?
  • Have you ensured that the work has been presented to an appropriately high standard following our style and within the word limit?
  • Have you given due consideration to an engaging title? This will help ensure your work reaches a wide audience.
  • Similarly have you taken care with the running title, highlight and abstract? After the title, these will be the most frequently read parts of your paper.
  • Have you selected appropriate key words? These are important and will make it easier to find and cite your work.
  • Have you checked that tables and figures can be fully understood without reference to the main text? And have they been cited in sequence?
  • If you are considering the inclusion of supplementary data, does it significantly enhance your paper while being nonessential to a full understanding of the work?
  • Have you checked all your references carefully for journal style? Have you ensured that they are all cited in your final version (and that all citations are to papers in your reference list)?
  • Have you checked our editorial guidance, data deposition requirements and essential standards?
  • Have you got any remaining questions? Remember that the editorial office team will be glad to help.

Further editorial guidance


The following notes are intended to help you decide if your paper is suitable for submission to JXB.

We welcome papers that describe:

  • Data sets linking genomics with phenomics, proteomics and metabolomics when the data and interpretation reveal new understanding of functional significance or demonstrate the applicability of novel applications of these approaches to further our understanding of plant biology.
  • Research on plant traits of economic importance when it provides new insights with broad application.
  • Both QTL studies and large-scale meta analysis of data (including population genetics and genetic diversity studies) if they advance mechanistic or functional understanding of biological processes in plants or provide a framework for future mechanistic work.
  • New methodologies if the application is supported with experimental data that provide new biological insight and the methods are of wide relevance to plant scientists. Clear demonstration of the applicability of the method is essential.
  • Studies of transgenic plants providing preliminary data on at least four independent lines. More in-depth data should be produced from a minimum of two independent lines displaying a related and stable phenotype.
  • qRT-PCR experiments conforming to the MIQE guidelines. Please note that normalization against a single reference gene is only acceptable if clear evidence is presented that confirms its invariant expression under the particular conditions described. Normalization is usually conducted with several validated reference genes. For further guidance see Graeber et al. (2011).

Note that we are unable to consider papers that are essentially descriptive or which confirm a well-known process in a species in which the process has not been identified previously.

PRINTABLE VERSION OF THE INTRUCTIONS TO AUTHORS

Please click here for a printable version of the instructions to authors.