Types of Contributions

Length limits with respect to manuscripts refer to all pages, including title page, text, literature cited, tables and figures. Each figure will count as one page. Generally 3.5 pages of the double-spaced manuscript correspond to one printed journal page.

Final decisions on article types are at the discretion of ESA. (i) Papers submitted/accepted as Communications that require more than 8.0 printed pages in the final version will instead be published as Articles.

Articles. Articles describing significant original research comprise the core of the journal. Articles generally should not exceed 60 manuscript pages (double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, including everything from the title page through the last figure). Abstracts should be no longer than 350 words. Articles exceeding 60 manuscript pages may be considered for transfer to Ecological Monographs at the discretion of the Editor-in-Chief.

Communications. Communications are shorter papers (up to 8 journal pages) of immediate impact in fast-moving scientific debate or urgent practical application. These papers will be fast-tracked through the editorial, review, and production processes so as to make possible a relatively rapid publication.

These papers must be accompanied by a cover letter clearly indicating that the paper is being submitted for consideration for the Communications section and explaining why the paper warrants this special treatment. Papers deemed unsuitable for Communications may be considered for publication as regular articles.

As added incentives for authors to cast their submissions in the concise Communications format:

* All Communications will be freely available for no extra charge (i.e., one need not be a subscriber or have institutional access in order to view full text online).

* There will be no charge for color figures to authors of Communications.

By making the Communications more accessible and visually appealing, we hope to increase our readership and cement Ecological Applications’ reputation as the place where authors publish the most important and exciting research findings in our science.

In order to assure rapid publication, papers must conform to a strict page limit and format. Communication submissions may contain up to 20 manuscript pages (double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, including everything from the title page through the last figure). The abstract can have a maximum of 200 words.

Invited Features. Invited Features are intended to address various aspects of a theme that is likely to be of broad interest to applied ecologists. Ideally, a feature should inform a broad audience about an unfamiliar topic or an area in which there has been considerable recent progress, or it should cause the audience to re-examine an issue that is not as settled as most have presumed. Proposals for Invited features should be addressed to the Editor-in-Chief. See Invited Features for additional advice and instructions that explain how to propose and prepare Invited Features.

Forums. Ecological Applications occasionally publishes Forums. A Forum can take a number of forms but always includes a series of commentaries solicited from a number of experts. These commentaries represent personal responses to a paper (or papers) considered to be of very broad interest and significance within the field of applied ecology. 

Possible variations include but are not limited to:

  • An original (published for the first time) research, review, or discussion paper, followed by a number of commentaries,
  • A paper republished (with permission) from another journal, followed by commentaries,
  • An ESA report, followed by commentaries,
  • Several original papers on a common topic, followed by commentaries,
  • A Special or Invited Feature, followed by several commentaries.

The number of commentaries can depend on the nature of the Forum, but normally would not exceed six to eight.  The commentaries are reviewed by the Editor-in-Chief (EIC).

An individual interested in proposing a Forum should contact the EIC to discuss the idea.  If the EIC believes the idea should be pursued, a short proposal must be submitted for review by one or more member of the Board of Editors.

Letters to the Editor. A Letter to the Editor points out errors of fact or interpretation in, or otherwise comments on, an article that previously appeared in a published issue (not merely a preprint) of Ecological Applications, or in articles or books that are the basis of numerous articles published in ESA journals. Submissions must contain no more than 16 manuscript pages.

Letters may be assigned to a Subject-matter Editor for evaluation.  As with regular articles, typically two reviews will be sought.  Every effort will be made to expedite the review process.

At the time a Letter is assigned to a Subject-matter Editor, a copy will be sent by the Publications Office to the corresponding author of the original paper.  The authors of the paper being commented upon will be offered the opportunity to submit a signed review to the Subject-matter Editor, who will view such a review as supplemental to and not a replacement for the regular reviews.  The signed supplemental review will be forwarded to the author(s) of the Letter, together with the two regular reviews and the Subject-matter Editor’s decision letter.

When the Letter is first sent to the authors of the manuscript being commented upon, they will be informed by receipt of this policy document that at such time as the Letter is accepted for publication, they will be sent a copy of the final version and will be invited by the Subject-matter Editor to prepare a response.  The response must be completed within four weeks if simultaneous publication is to be guaranteed.  Authors should submit the response online and it will be sent to the same Subject-matter Editor who handled the Comment or Letter.  The response will typically be reviewed by one reviewer, but the Subject-matter Editor may choose to accept the response without review in cases where the response is short and simple.

We will attempt to publish all letters on a particular paper plus any response together. We generally neither invite nor publish responses to responses.