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Manuscript preparation


1. General information

JEB requires authors to submit their manuscripts online using the Bench>Press manuscript processing system. All manuscripts should adhere to the journal’s terms of submission.

Authors are required to read our journal policies before preparing their manuscripts and to complete and submit our submission checklist with their manuscripts. This form asks authors to confirm that they have followed best practice guidelines regarding experimental subjects, data reporting and statistics. The checklist is based on the NIH Principles and Guidelines for Reporting Preclinical Research and is intended to help ensure high standards for reporting and to aid reproducibility.

All pre-submission or general editorial queries should be directed to the Editorial Office.



2. Manuscript length

The following table shows the maximum word count of the main text (excluding title page, summary, references and figure captions) and maximum number of display items (figures and tables) for different article types.

Article type Maximum word count Maximum no. of display items
Research Article 7000 10
Short Communications 2500 3
Methods & Techniques 2500 3
 Review 7000 8
Commentary 4500 5

Articles exceeding the limits specified above will be returned to authors at submission.



3. Preparing the text and tables

The information below relates to a standard Research Article. For all other article types, please refer to the style and layout guidelines provided on our article types page.


3.1 File formats

For manuscript text and tables, our preferred file format is Microsoft Word .docx (or .doc). We also accept Pages (rtf format) and LaTeX.

Please include tables as part of the manuscript file. Tables must be editable and not embedded as an image.

If you are submitting a LaTeX file, please include any component files, such as .st (style file), .cls (class file) and .bib (bibliography file) in your file submission. Please note that LaTeX files will be converted to Microsoft Word files during the production process and that authors will be required to check the conversion of symbols and special characters carefully at the proofing stage.

For mathematical equations, our preferred file format is MathType. We also accept Equation Editor (Microsoft Word) and LaTex.


3.2. Article sections

3.2.1. Title page

This section should include a title of 120 characters or less that clearly and concisely summarises your specific findings and avoids specialist abbreviations, a running title of 40 characters or less, the full names (including middle initials) and affiliations of all authors (including present addresses for authors who have moved), and the corresponding author’s email address. Please note any cases where authors contributed equally to the work. Please also include 3-6 key words for indexing purposes (select key words that will make your manuscript easily searchable).

3.2.2. Summary statement

Provide a brief Summary Statement for use in emailed and online tables of content alerts. The text should be between 15 and 30 words, and should explain, without overstatement, why someone should read the article. Please do not simply repeat the title, and avoid unfamiliar terms and abbreviations, as the text should be comprehensible to non-experts. We reserve the right to edit the text.

3.2.3. Abstract

Provide a brief abstract of no more than 250 words for Research Articles (150 words for Short Communications and Methods & Techniques). This should succinctly and clearly introduce the topic of the paper, summarise the main findings and highlight the significance of the data and main conclusions. The abstract is used by abstracting services without modification and is often read more frequently than the full paper and therefore needs to be comprehensible in its own right. Do not include subheadings or references, and avoid any non-standard abbreviations.

3.2.4. Introduction

This section should succinctly provide the background information that is required to set the results into their proper biological context. It should not contain subheadings.

3.2.5. Materials and methods

This section should include sufficient detail to understand and to replicate the experiments performed, in conjunction with cited references. It should be divided into sections, and should include subsections detailing reagents, animal models and statistical analysis. Provide names and locations (town, state, country) for ALL equipment and reagent suppliers. Give Latin names and taxonomic authority (e.g. Linnaeus) for all experimental species. Reporting standards should follow those recommended in our journal policies and submission checklist.

3.2.6. Results

This section should describe the results of the experiments performed and should be broken up by subheadings to organise the findings presented and walk the reader through the results. Reproducibility of results must be included – see our submission checklist for further information. Please ensure that the distinction between new results and published findings/established facts is clear.

3.2.7. Discussion

This section should explain the significance of the results and should place them into the broader context of the current literature. The Discussion may contain subheadings to highlight important areas that are expanded on in the text.

3.2.8. Acknowledgements

This section should mention any individuals or groups that are not named as authors but have contributed to the research presented (e.g. in terms of reagents, time, expertise) or writing of the manuscript.

3.2.9. Competing interests

Include a statement to identify any potential influences that readers may need to know about when thinking about the implications of the presented research. For more specific information regarding the affiliations and associations that must be disclosed, please see our journal policies page. Authors without financial or competing interests should explicitly assert this and include the statement ‘No competing interests declared’.

3.2.10. Author contributions

An author is someone who has made significant and substantial contributions to a study. JEB requires that the independent contributions of each author are stated in the manuscript. Please refer to journal policies for further information on our authorship policies. It is the responsibility of the corresponding author to ensure that ALL co-authors have checked and confirmed their contribution statement prior to manuscript submission.

3.2.11. Funding

Details of all funding sources must be provided. It is the responsibility of the corresponding author to provide the relevant funding information from ALL authors. Please provide the full official funding agency name, i.e. 'National Institutes of Health', not 'NIH', and all relevant grant numbers. Where individuals need to be specified for certain sources of funding, please add initials after the relevant agency or grant number. Please use the following format: This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health [AA123456 to C.S., BB765432 to M.H.]; and the Alcohol & Education Research Council [hfygr667789]. Where no specific funding has been provided for the research, please state ‘This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors’.

3.2.12. References

All references cited in the text, tables and figure legends should be included in a single reference list at the end of the article. For specific information about reference formatting, please see the references section below.

3.2.13. Figure legends

Figure legends should be listed at the end of the manuscript. The first sentence of the legend should summarise the figure and be in bold. Each figure legend should stand alone and should contain enough information to ensure that the figure is understandable without having to refer to the main text. Figure panels should be labelled with uppercase letters (A, B, C, etc.), and each panel should be described in the legend. Any abbreviations not given in the main text should be defined. For further details on what should be included in figure legends, please refer to our submission checklist.

3.2.14. Appendices

This optional section can be used for information that is critical to the manuscript but would interrupt the flow of the article and is not suitable for inclusion as supplementary information. It should be formatted according to normal journal style. All figures, tables and equations should be numbered separately from the main text as Fig. A1, Table A1, Eqn A1, etc. Please note that the text, figures and tables in an Appendix count towards the overall manuscript length.


3.3. Preparing the text

3.3.1. General information

  • Prepare manuscripts in English (either US or UK spelling is acceptable but be consistent within the manuscript). Your writing should be comprehensible to editors and reviewers, and your writing style should be concise and accessible. If English is not your first language, please consider using a language editing service prior to submission.
  • Ensure that the language in your manuscript is original and does not contain previously published passages of text (including those from your own publications) – see our journal policies for more details. All accepted manuscripts are routinely screened using plagiarism-detection software.
  • Use 1.5 line spacing and continuous line numbering throughout the paper in order to facilitate online reviewing.
  • Do not embed figures in the text.
  • Cite each figure, table and movie in the text in numerical order. Figure or table parts should be labelled with uppercase letters (A, B, C, etc.). Use the following format for citations: Fig. 1A,B or Figs 1, 2 or Table 1 or Movie 1.
  • If necessary, display equations should be cited using the following format: Eqn 1.
  • For supplementary figures, tables and equations, cite as Fig. S1, Table S1, Eqn S1.
  • Define abbreviations at first mention and include a List of Symbols and Abbreviations used.
  • For special characters not available on a standard keyboard (e.g. Greek characters, mathematical symbols), use the Symbol font or the ‘Insert Symbol’ function in Microsoft Word, where possible. For special characters that are not available via this route, please use MathType characters; do not use embedded images (e.g. GIF).

3.3.2. Units and nomenclature

3.3.3. References References in text

References in the text should be cited using the Harvard (name, date) referencing system.

Each reference cited in the text (including those cited in supplementary information) must be listed in the Reference list and vice versa: please check these carefully.

Literature citations in text are as follows.

  • One author – (Jones, 1995) or (Jones, 1995; Smith, 1996).
  • Two authors – (Jones and Kane, 1994) or (Jones and Kane, 1994; Smith, 1996).
  • More than two authors – (Jones et al., 1995) or (Jones et al., 1995a,b; Smith et al., 1994, 1995).
  • Manuscripts accepted for publication but not yet published: list in Reference list as (Jones et al., in press).
  • Citation of unpublished work: we discourage citation of unpublished data; if it is necessary, use the format (S. P. Jones, unpublished observations/data). Unpublished data cannot be included in the Reference list.
  • PhD theses: cite in the text but do not list in the Reference list; use the format (R. Arthur Goode, Title of thesis, PhD thesis, Institute, Year).
  • Website URLs: cite in the text but do not list in the Reference list; provide the URL and, if the website is frequently updated, the date that the site was accessed.
  • Personal communications (i.e. the unpublished observations of other scientists): when a person who is not an author on the paper is the source of unpublished data, those data should be cited as a personal communication using the format (full name, institution, personal communication). Personal communications should not be cited in the Reference list and will only be published when substantiated by written permission (e.g. email) from the scientist cited. Reference List

References are listed in alphabetical order according to surname and initials of first author.

  • Use the following style:


    Rivera, A. R. V., Wyneken, J. and Blob, R. W. (2011). Forelimb kinematics and motor patterns of swimming loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta): are motor patterns conserved in the evolution of new locomotor strategies? J. Exp. Biol. 214, 3314-3323.


    Hochachka, P. W. and Somero, G. N. (2002). Biochemical Adaptation: Mechanism and Process in Physiological Evolution. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

    Book chapter

    Feller, G. (2008). Enzyme function at low temperatures in psychrophiles. In Protein Adaptation in Extremophiles (ed. K. S. Siddiqui and T. Thomas), pp. 35-69. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

  • If there are more than 10 authors, use 'et al.' after the 10th author.
  • Within a group of papers with the same first author, list single author papers first, then papers with two authors, then et al. papers. If more than one reference exists for each type, arrange in date order. Use a and b for papers published in the same year.
  • 'In press' citations must have been accepted for publication and the name of the journal or publisher included.


3.4. Preparing tables

Prepare tables in ‘cell’ format and include in the same file as the main text. Tables must be editable and not embedded as an image.

The title of the table should be a single sentence and should summarise the contents of the table. Details referring to one or more isolated item(s) in the table are best given in a table footnote. Units should be given in parentheses at the top of each column (do not repeat in the table).


3.5. Preparing display equations

Our preferred file format for equations is MathType. We also accept Equation Editor (Microsoft Word) or LaTex.

Please number all display equations, consecutively. They should take the form:

Formula (1).

Units should be defined in the text rather than included in the equation.



4. Preparing figures

4.1. General information

Figures should be numbered in a single series that reflects the order in which they are referred to in the text.

Figures should be prepared at the smallest size that will convey the essential scientific information; final figure size is at the discretion of the journal. For further information on how to arrange your figures to optimise viewing by reviewers and readers, download our figure layout guidelines.

At initial submission, you may submit a single PDF file containing all text and figures. Once an article has been accepted for publication, you are required to submit separate files for each figure (see below for file formats).

Figure legends should be included in the main text file and not in the figure file.

There are no charges for the use of colour in figures, although gratuitous use of colour in graphs and diagrams should be avoided and colour should only be used to improve scientific clarity.


4.2. Preparing graphs and diagrams (line art)

4.2.1. General information

  • The maximum figure size, including lettering and labels, is 180 mm × 210 mm.
  • Line thicknesses and symbols should be of sufficient size to ensure clarity if the figure is reduced in size.
  • For graphs, our preferred symbols are filled and open circles, triangles, squares, or diamonds; where possible, the same symbol should be used for the same entity in different figures.
  • Colour: supply line art in RGB (not CMYK) mode, as this maximizes colour quality and is how the figures will be displayed online; do NOT use Spot, Pantone or Hex colours and do NOT assign a colour profile.
  • Text labelling: use 12 pt bold uppercase letters (A, B, C, etc.) to distinguish figure panels; other labelling should be 8 pt Arial font (sentence case) (headings should be bold); for gene sequences, use Courier font to ensure that each letter is the same width; use Symbol font for Greek characters.

4.2.2. File formats

Authors should submit their source figures in an editable format (vector graphic) that retains font, line and shape information. This format ensures that we can edit where necessary and produce high-quality print and online PDFs.

We accept the following file formats for graphs/line art: EPS, PDF, and WMF.

  • Applications such as Adobe Illustrator, Canvas, DeltaGraph, Corel Draw, Freehand, MatLab and SigmaPlot provide these formats.
  • Please ensure that you 'export' or 'save' with (text/font) information included
  • Save text/font information as ‘text’ not ‘curves’ or ‘outlines’.
  • If combining images, always 'embed' images; do NOT simply 'link' them. In Adobe Illustrator, copying and pasting or dragging an image directly from Adobe Photoshop will embed the image. Alternatively, if you use the 'Place' command, uncheck 'Link' in the dialogue box. For other software applications, please refer to the documentation (often there will be a 'link', 'proxy', 'OLE' or 'OPI' option, which must NOT be used with EPS files).
  • Note that submission of JPEG or TIFF format for graphs/line art may delay production of your article.


4.3. Preparing photographic images

4.3.1. General information

Photographic images (also known as bitmap images) are made up of pixels (e.g. light, fluorescence and electron microscopy, gels, and traditional photography)

  • The maximum figure size, including lettering and labels, is 180 mm x 210 mm.
  • Images should be saved at a resolution of 300 pixels per inch. Any image quality option should be set to maximum.
  • For micrographs, use a scale bar to show the magnification and give the length of this in the figure legend.
  • Colour: supply images in RGB (not CMYK) mode, as this maximizes colour quality and is how the figures will be displayed online; do NOT use Spot, Pantone or Hex colours and do NOT assign a colour profile.
  • Text labelling: use 12 pt bold uppercase letters (A, B, C, etc.) to distinguish figure panels; other labelling should be 8 pt Arial font (sentence case) (headings should be bold); for gene sequences, use Courier font to ensure that each letter is the same width; use Symbol font for Greek characters.

4.3.2. File formats

Our preferred file format is JPEG.

  • JPEGs are small, can be uploaded quickly and produce small PDFs that are easy for reviewers to download; JPEG compresses the image in a way that retains the detail that matters most
  • If you are unable to provide your figures in JPEG format, we are also able to accept TIFF files; however, please note that TIFFs are very large (10-40 MB per image), slow to upload and can result in large PDFs that reviewers and readers are unable to download.

PowerPoint images: we do NOT accept PowerPoint files. Instead, please save as PDF using the instructions below.


4.4. Image manipulation

Any alterations made to figures using computer software must be consistent with our image manipulation policy. The images presented in the manuscript must remain representative of the original data, and the corresponding author will be asked to confirm this at submission. Please read our requirements for preparing your figures (download PDF) to avoid a potential delay in the publication process or rejection on the basis of non-compliance with these guidelines.

All accepted manuscripts are routinely screened by our production department for any indication of image manipulation. If evidence of inappropriate manipulation is detected, the journal's Editors might ask for the original data to be supplied and, if necessary, may revoke the acceptance of the article.


4.5. Figure permissions

It is the responsibility of the author to obtain permission to use figures from another publication in any article submitted to JEB and to ensure that any such use is credited to the source. Any fees associated with use of the figure are the responsibility of the author. Written permission from the author and/or publisher of the original material, as appropriate, should be provided at the time of submission, otherwise publication may be delayed. If a figure has been modified from a previously published figure, please check with the copyright owners to see whether permission is required and include a complete citation/reference for the original article.



5. Preparing movies

Our preferred file format for movies is .mov or .mp4

Please provide a separate text file containing the titles and captions of all movies. Please keep captions as short as possible and ensure that they explain what is being shown in the movie and any necessary details of how the movie was made.

Movies should be numbered in a single series that reflects the order in which they are cited in the text, e.g. see Movie 1. Movie 2, etc.

In the final online article, all movies are displayed in the supplementary information.

We have a limit of 5 MB for all movie and supplementary information files. If your movies exceed this limit, please contact the Editorial Office for advice before submission; we may be able to reduce the size of your movie files without losing resolution or discuss other options for hosting. For example, if you have movies that exceed our file limits and that are supplementary to the core message of the paper (or if you wish to provide readers with a higher-resolution version of the movie than can be displayed within our file size limits), we encourage you to deposit them in a reliable data repository such as Dryad or Figshare and link to them from the main paper - please see our guidelines on Data deposition for further information. Alternatively, we may consider hosting large movies that are central to the article on the journal’s YouTube channel, again with a direct link from the main paper.

Please note that we reserve the right to make movies or other data forms available on an Open Access basis via The Company of Biologists’ website, You Tube and other online channels.  Where we do, the movies and other data forms may on occasion be made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC-BY) Licence. These terms permit the copying and/or adaptation of the movie and the distribution of the movie or any such adaptation by any means and in any medium or format to any other person, including for commercial purposes, provided that you are credited as the original author. There would be no additional cost to you, the author.




6. Supplementary information

6.1 General information

Data that are essential for interpretation of the results of the main paper should be included in the main paper. Supplementary information provides access to supporting data that do not appear in the printed article or PDF but that accompany the final version of a paper online.

These data are peer reviewed and subject to the same criteria as the data that are to be published in the paper itself. During peer review, editors and reviewers are asked to assess whether supplementary information is appropriate and essential for supporting the findings of a paper.

All supplementary data will be strictly limited to a total of 5 MB per article, with a maximum of 4 figures.

We only accept data files - such as datasets, movies, audio, figures and tables - as supplementary information. We do not accept text files that provide additional materials and methods, results or discussions related to the article; these should be included in the article itself. Very large files or those requiring specialist software are not suitable as supplementary information. For large datasets, e.g. imaging data, please see our guidelines on data deposition.

With the exception of movies and large tables (see sections on preparing movies and supplementary tables), all supplementary information should be collated into a single PDF file. For the convenience of readers, please number each figure/table and place next to the corresponding legend in the PDF.

Please note that supplementary data files are not copyedited by JEB and therefore authors must ensure that all files are checked carefully before submission and that the style of terms and figures conforms to that of the article. Modification of supplementary information after publication will require a formal correction.

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).


6.2. Supplementary figures

Figures in PDF, EPS, JPEG and TIFF format are acceptable - see guidelines on preparing figures for further information.

Number supplementary figures using the format Fig. S1, Fig. S2, etc. and include a legend for each figure. If a supplementary figure relates to a particular figure in the text, please cite it as close to this figure as possible. For the convenience of readers, please place each figure next to the corresponding legend in the supplementary information PDF.


6.3. Supplementary tables

Tables should generally be submitted as a Microsoft Word (.docx) file. However, if your table is very large, or you wish readers to be able to export and/or manipulate the data, we would prefer you to submit is as a Microsoft Excel file. Please see our guidelines on preparing tables above for further information.

Number supplementary tables using the format Table S1, Table S2, etc. Use a separate numbering system from that used in the main article and include a title for each table.


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