Auxiliary Materials Guidelines

The purpose of the auxiliary material, known as supporting materials or supplementary information, is to enable authors to provide and archive auxiliary non-print information such as data tables, figures, video, or computer software, in digital formats so that other scientists can use them. Please see our Data Policy for more information on referencing data in AGU publications.

A given article’s auxiliary material is embedded in the journal article when published online and will be included with the article in perpetuity. The names and formats of these files follow simple standards (outlined below) designed to designate the type of files. The author transfers the files to AGU during the manuscript submission process using GEMS so that the material can be peer-reviewed.

The key criteria that scientists should consider when creating auxiliary material are whether:

  • Data support the main scientific conclusions of the paper but are not so critical that they belong in the article itself;
  • Data are likely to be usable by other scientists working in the field;
  • Data are described with sufficient precision that other scientists can understand them;
  • Data have volume that is less than 500 megabytes.

What kinds of files are allowed?

All auxiliary material must have an “explainer” file, called a readme, listing the files and giving a brief overview of the auxiliary material.

AGU journals accept auxiliary material in any file format, but more common programs (Microsoft Office, LaTeX, figures in .eps or Illustrator, PDFs) are encouraged because they are less likely to limit other scientists’ access to data. AGU will accept .exe files but discourages their inclusion because of computer server security issues.

Text (usually in LaTeX of Microsoft Word formats), graphics, figures, spreadsheets, animations/movies, and sound are all accepted. For special circumstances only, e.g., software distribution, use of the standard zip compression is permitted. Contact to discuss formats queries and concerns.

How to Submit Auxiliary Material

Auxiliary material files should be submitted to AGU using the GEMS system at the time of manuscript submission. In some cases it may be necessary to use FTP instead of GEMS. If you are unable to upload your files to GEMS, email your journal editorial office to problem-solve and potentially receive FTP instructions.

File naming conventions

When uploading your files at submission, label all static files (including the readme) as “Auxiliary Material” and all dynamic files (sound and animation) as “Dynamic Content”:

You will be prompted to provide a title for your auxiliary material files. Use the following naming convention in which xx is the number (e.g., 01, 02):

Figures: -fsxx …. fs01 is Figure 1 … fs02 is Figure 2, etc.

Tables: -tsxx … ts01 is Table 1 …. Ts02 is Table 2, etc.

Text: -textxx

Data sets: -dsxx

Animations and movies: -msxx

Audio: -audsxx

Software, databases, computer code: -sftsxx

The readme file

The readme file provides a summary of the auxiliary files. It must be formatted in a specific way with information pertaining to the article. (There is an example of a complete readme following these instructions.) The readme should include:

1. The Title Bar, which includes title, journal, and author information. The Title Bar should be centered on the page:

Auxiliary material for

[Title of article, exactly following journal article]

[Author List (with institutional affiliations), exactly following journal article]

[Journal Name]

2. A section labeled Introduction that gives an overview of the auxiliary material. The author should include information about as many of the following as possible (when appropriate):

  • a general overview of the kind of data files;
  • information about when and how the data were collected or created;
  • information about how the data have been divided into files;
  • a general description of processing steps used;
  • any known imperfections or anomalies in the data.

3. For each file submitted as auxiliary material (except for the readme file itself), an explainer labeled with the name of the file and a description of its contents is required. Below is a listing of what is needed for different file types.

How to describe different file types

  • Text files: Text files can be described by with a few sentences detailing their general contents.
  • Table files need:
    • an initial subsection describing the table as a whole, giving as much relevant information as possible;
    • subsequent subsections — one per column in the table — giving the column name, its physical meaning or description, the units of measurements, and any other relevant information.
    • If a table presents the underlying data behind one or more figures in the main text of the article, the corresponding figure number(s) should be noted.
    • Figures: Figures are described by a standard AGU-acceptable figure caption. If a figure corresponds to one in the printed text of the article, the corresponding figure number should be noted, and the figure captions should correspond as closely as possible. (Exact correspondence may not be possible if the printed version uses non-ASCII characters.)
    • References: References mentioned within the data set should be listed at the end of the data set under the heading References, and should appear in the standard AGU reference style .

Full example of a readme file:

Auxiliary Material for

Earthquakes in Fredland Caused by Gas Eruptions.

William Menke

(Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, New York)

Journal of Geophysical Research, Solid Earth, 2003


This data set contains seismic data for 107 earthquakes that occurred in Fredland during the period June 1 – June 15, 1996 as recorded by the portable seismic array described in further detail in the paper. Basic hypocentral data are given in the table “ts01.txt” and a high resolution color hypocentral map in the Postscript file “fs01.eps”. The hypocentral data were computed from travel times automatically measured from the digital seismograms, using Menke’s [1996] phase discrimination algorithm, the HYPOINVERSE earthquake location program [Klein, 1986], and the vertically stratified earth model specified in the table, “text01.txt”.

1. ts01.txt Basic hypocentral data for 107 earthquakes used in study.

1.1 Column “lat”, degrees, latitude of the earthquake hypocenter, north of equator.

1.2 Column “lon”, degrees, longitude of earthquake hypocenter east of Greenwich.

1.3 Column “depth”, km, depth of hypocenter beneath mean sea level.

1.4 Column “error_h”, deg, horizontal error (95% confidence) of hypocentral location.

1.5 Column “error_v”, km, vertical error (95% confidence) of hypocentral location.

1.6 Column “mag”, magnitude units, earthquake magnitude based on the coda wave method of Bolt [1954].


text01.txt Velocity model used in earthquake locations, adapted from the seismic refraction studies of Menke [1995]. Linear interpolation should be used to calculate velocities between those specified in table.

2.1 Column “depth”, km, depth below mean sea level.

2.2 Column “alpha”, km/s, compressional wave velocity.

2.3 Column “beta”, km/s, shear wave velocity.


3. fs01.eps (Figure 14) Map of Fredland showing topography (contours, after ETOPO5 [Edwards et al., 1990]), seismic stations (squares), and earthquake epicenters (triangles).