Final Submission

Final format requirements

Nature Plants is read by scientists from diverse backgrounds. In addition, many of our readers are not native English speakers. Authors should therefore give careful thought to how their findings may be communicated clearly. Technical jargon should be avoided as far as possible and clearly explained where its use is unavoidable. Abbreviations, particularly those that are not standard, should also be kept to a minimum, and should be defined at their first occurrence. The background, rationale and main conclusions of the study should be clearly explained. Titles and abstracts in particular should be written in language that will be readily intelligible to any scientist. We strongly recommend that authors ask a colleague with different expertise to review the manuscript before submission, in order to identify concepts and terminology that may present difficulties to non-specialist readers. Please use British spelling throughout.

Manuscript text

All textual content should be provided in a single file, prepared using either Word or TeX/LaTeX; figures should be provided in individual files (see below).

The manuscript text file should include the following parts, in order: a title page with author affiliations and contact information (the corresponding author should be identified with an asterisk); the sections required for each content type (see information for Letters and Articles); then References, Acknowledgements (optional), Author Contributions, Competing Financial Interests statement, Figure Legends and Tables.

Word

Nature Plants does not use a manuscript template for Word documents. The manuscript file should be formatted as double-spaced, single-column text without justification. Pages should be numbered using an Arabic numeral in the footer of each page. Standard fonts are recommended, and the Symbol font should be used for representing Greek characters.

TeX/LaTeX

Authors submitting LaTeX files may use any of the standard class files such as article.cls, revtex.cls or amsart.cls. Non-standard fonts should be avoided; please use the default Computer Modern fonts. For the inclusion of graphics, we recommend graphicx.sty. Please use numerical references only for citations. There is no need to spend time visually formatting the manuscript: Nature Plants style will be imposed automatically when the paper is prepared for publication. References should be included within the manuscript file itself as our system cannot accept BibTeX bibliography files. Authors who wish to use BibTeX to prepare their references should therefore copy the reference list from the .bbl file that BibTeX generates and paste it into the main manuscript .tex file (and delete the associated \bibliography and \bibliographystyle commands). As a final precaution, authors should ensure that the complete .tex file compiles successfully on their own system, with no errors or warnings, before submission.

Methods

The Methods section should be written as concisely as possible but should contain all elements necessary to allow interpretation and replication of the results. The Methods section in Letters and Articles should ideally not exceed 3,000 words but may be longer if necessary. Authors can deposit the step-by-step protocols used in their study to Protocol Exchange, an open resource maintained by NPG. Protocols deposited by the authors will be linked to the Online Methods section upon publication. Methods sections can contain up to 20 references in addition to those used in the main text.

For manuscripts reporting original research results, authors must provide a completed reporting summary before the manuscript is sent for external peer review which will be made available to editors and reviewers during manuscript assessment. For more information, see reporting life sciences research.

Some types of research require additional methodological details, which are captured in accessory reporting summaries:

The reporting summary and associated accessory summaries will be published with all accepted manuscripts.

All authors must also complete an editorial policy checklist to ensure compliance with Nature Research editorial policies.

Please note: because of the advanced features used in these forms, you must use Adobe Reader to open the documents and fill them out.

Guidance and resources related to the use and reporting of statistics are available here.

References

References should be numbered sequentially first throughout the text and methods, then in tables, followed by figure legends and, finally, boxes; that is, references that appear only in tables, figure legends or boxes should be last in the reference list. Only one publication is given for each number. Only articles that have been published or accepted by a named publication or recognized preprint server should be in the numbered list; preprints of accepted articles in the reference list should be submitted with the manuscript. Published conference abstracts and numbered patents may be included in the reference list. Grant details and acknowledgments are not permitted as numbered references. Footnotes are not used.

BibTeX bibliography files cannot be accepted. LaTeX submission must contain all references within the manuscript .tex file itself (see above TeX/LaTeX section for more details).

Nature Plants uses standard Nature referencing style. All authors should be included in reference lists unless there are more than five, in which case only the first author should be given, followed by 'et al.'. Authors should be listed last name first, followed by a comma and initials (followed by full stops) of given names. Article titles should be in Roman text; the first word of the title should be capitalized and the title written exactly as it appears in the work cited, ending with a full stop. Book titles should be given in italics and all words in the title should have initial capitals. Journal names are italicized and abbreviated (with full stops) according to common usage. Volume numbers and the subsequent comma appear in bold.

Titles of cited articles are required for Articles, Letters, Reviews and Progress articles. Example: Rosenzweig, C. et al. Attributing physical and biological impacts to anthropogenic climate change. Nature 453, 353–357 (2008).

For Commentaries or News & Views, titles of cited articles are not included. Example: Schneider, S. H. Nature 411, 17–19 (2001).

For book citations, details of the publisher are required. Example: Jones, R. A. L. Soft Machines: Materials and Life Ch. 3 (Oxford Univ. Press, 2004).

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgments should be brief, and should not include thanks to anonymous referees and editors, or effusive comments. Grant or contribution numbers may be acknowledged.

Author contributions

Nature Plants requires an Author Contribution statement as described in the Authorship section of our joint Editorial policies.

Competing financial interests

Submission of a signed Competing Financial Interests statement is required for all content in the journal. This statement will be published at the end of Letters, Articles, Reviews and Progress articles, whether or not a competing financial interest is reported. For all other content types, a statement will be published only if a competing financial interest is reported. In cases where the authors declare a competing financial interest, a short statement to that effect is published as part of the article, which is linked to a more detailed version available online.

Figure legends

Figure legends for Articles and Letters begin with a brief title for the whole figure and continue with a short description of each panel and the symbols used; they should not contain any details of methods. Text for figure legends should be provided in numerical order after the references.

Tables

Please submit tables at the end of your text document (in Word or TeX/LaTeX, as appropriate). Tables that include statistical analysis of data should describe their standards of error analysis and ranges in a table legend.

Manuscripts reporting new structures should contain a table summarizing structural and refinement statistics. Templates for such tables describing NMR data are available here. To facilitate assessment of the quality of the structural data, a stereo image of a portion of the electron density map (for crystallography papers) or of the superimposed lowest energy structures (>10; for NMR papers) should be provided with the submitted manuscript. If the reported structure represents a novel overall fold, a stereo image of the entire structure (as a backbone trace) should also be provided.

Figures

Figures should be numbered separately with Arabic numerals in the order of occurrence in the text of the manuscript. Figures in one- or two-column formats are preferred. When appropriate, figures should include error bars. A description of the statistical treatment of error analysis should be included in the figure or scheme legend.

Figure lettering should be in a clear, sans-serif typeface (for example, Helvetica); if possible, the same typeface in approximately the same font size should be used for all figures in a paper. Use Symbol font for Greek letters. All display items should be on a white background, and should avoid excessive boxing, unnecessary colour, hatch patterns for shading, spurious decorative effects (such as three-dimensional 'skyscraper' histograms) and highly pixelated computer drawings. The vertical axis of histograms should not be truncated to exaggerate small differences. Labelling must be of sufficient size and contrast to be readable, even after appropriate reduction. The thinnest lines in the final figure should be no smaller than one point wide. Reasonable requests to enlarge figures will be considered, but editors will make the final decision on figure size. Authors will see a proof of figures.

Figures divided into parts should be labelled with a lower-case bold a, b, and so on, in the same type size as used elsewhere in the figure. Lettering in figures should be in lower-case type, with only the first letter of each label capitalized. Units should have a single space between the number and the unit, and follow SI nomenclature (for example, ms rather than msec) or the nomenclature common to a particular field. Thousands should be separated by commas (1,000). Unusual units or abbreviations should be spelled out in full or defined in the legend. Scale bars should be used rather than magnification factors, with the length of the bar defined in the legend rather than on the bar itself. In legends, please use visual cues rather than verbal explanations, such as "open red triangles".

Unnecessary figures should be avoided: data presented in small tables or histograms, for instance, can generally be stated briefly in the text instead. Figures should not contain more than one panel unless the parts are logically connected; each panel of a multi-part figure should be sized so that the whole figure can be reduced by the same amount and reproduced on the printed page at the smallest size at which essential details are visible.

Authors are encouraged to consider the needs of colour-blind readers (a substantial minority of the male population) when choosing colours for figures. Many colour-blind readers cannot interpret visuals that rely on discrimination of green and red, for example. The use of colour-safe combinations, such as green and magenta, turquoise and red, yellow and blue or other accessible colour palettes is strongly encouraged.

When we request submission of the final version of a manuscript prior to formal acceptance, we will ask for high-resolution figure files, possibly in a different electronic format. This information will be included in the decision letter. See below for details of digital image production and submission.

Gene nomenclature

Authors should use approved nomenclature for gene symbols, and use symbols rather than italicized full names (Ttn, not titin). Please consult the appropriate nomenclature databases for correct gene names and symbols. A useful resource is Entrez Gene. For proposed gene names that are not already approved, please submit the gene symbols to the appropriate nomenclature committees as soon as possible, as these must be deposited and approved before publication of an article.

Avoid listing multiple names of genes (or proteins) separated by a slash, as in 'Oct4/Pou5f1', as this is ambiguous (it could mean a ratio, a complex, alternative names or different subunits). Use one name throughout and include the other at first mention: 'Oct4 (also known as Pou5f1)'.

Chemical and biological nomenclature and abbreviations

When possible, authors should refer to chemical compounds and biomolecules using systematic nomenclature, preferably using IUPAC and IUBMB rules (http://www.chem.qmw.ac.uk/iupac). Standard chemical and biological abbreviations should be used. Unconventional or specialist abbreviations should be defined at their first occurrence in the text.

Equations

Equations and mathematical expressions should be provided in the main text of the paper. Equations that are referred to in the text are identified by parenthetical numbers, such as (1), and are referred to in the manuscript as "equation (1)".

Supplementary Information

Supplementary information should be submitted with the manuscript and will be sent to referees during peer review. Supplementary information is not copy-edited by Nature Plants, so authors should ensure that it is clearly and succinctly presented, and that the style and terminology conform with the rest of the paper. The following guidelines detail the creation, citation and submission of supplementary information. Please note that modification of supplementary information after the paper is published requires a formal correction, so authors are encouraged to check their supplementary information carefully before submitting the final version.

Where there is supplementary information to be included exclusively in the online version of a paper published in Nature Plants, please follow these guidelines, or publication may be delayed.

Refer to each piece of supplementary information at least once within the text of the main article (the article that is published in the print issue of the journal), as follows:

Designate each item as Supplementary Table, Figure, Video, Audio, Note, Data, Discussion, Equations or Methods. Number Supplementary Tables and Figures as, for example, "Supplementary Table 1". This numbering should be separate from that used in tables and figures appearing in the main printed article. Supplementary Note or Methods should not be numbered; titles for these are optional.

Refer to each piece of supplementary material at the appropriate point(s) in the main article. Be sure to include the word "Supplementary" each time one is mentioned. Please do not refer to individual panels of supplementary figures.

Figure files should be submitted as web-ready files through the Nature Plants online submission system.

With the exception of spreadsheet, audio and video files, please submit the supplementary information as a single combined PDF, if possible.

File sizes should be as small as possible, with a maximum size of 30 MB, so that they can be downloaded quickly. The combined total size of all files must not exceed 150 MB. All panels of a figure or table (for example, Fig. 1a, b and c) should be combined into one file; please do not send as separate files.  Image files should be just large enough to view when the screen resolution is set to 640 x 480 pixels. Remember to include a brief title and legend (preferably incorporated into the image file to appear near the image) as part of every electronic figure submitted, and a title as part of every table.

Further queries about submission and preparation of supplementary information should be directed to plants@nature.com.

Preparing production quality figures

Please read the digital images integrity and standards policy. When possible, we prefer to use original digital figures to ensure the highest-quality reproduction in the journal.

When creating and submitting digital files, please follow the guidelines found here. (Live link to the attached PDF will be confirmed once all chief editors are ok with this)

For optimal results, prepare figures at actual size for the journal. Figures that do not meet these standards will not reproduce well and publication may be delayed until we receive high-resolution images. We cannot be held responsible for assuming the cost of corrected reprints should poor-quality images need to be used.​

Authors are responsible for obtaining permission to publish any figures or illustrations that are protected by copyright, including figures published elsewhere and pictures taken by professional photographers. The journal cannot publish images downloaded from the internet without appropriate permission.

Chemical structures

Chemical structures should be produced using ChemDraw or a similar program. All chemical compounds must be assigned a bold, Arabic numeral in the order in which the compounds are presented in the manuscript text. Figures containing chemical structures should be submitted in a size appropriate for direct incorporation into the printed journal. Authors using ChemDraw should make use of our journal template or use the preferences below, submitting the final files at 100% as .cdx files. Creating molecules within or copying them into the template will ensure that most of our journal style points are followed. For more information, please also review our Chemical Style Guide.

Drawing settings: chain angle, 120° bond spacing, 18% of width; fixed length, 14.4 pt; bold width, 2.0 pt; line width, 0.6 pt; margin width 1.6 pt; hash spacing 2.5 pt.

Atom Label settings: font, Arial; size, 8 pt. "Show labels on Terminal Carbons" and "Hide Implicit Hydrogens" should be unchecked.

Stereo images

Stereo diagrams should be presented for divergent 'wall-eyed' viewing, with the two panels separated by ∼5.5 cm. In the final accepted version of the manuscript, the stereo images should be submitted at their final print size.