Text Requirements and Guidelines

Preparing your paper as outlined below will help expedite consideration.

AGU journals consider a number of different papers types. Each of these has different length limits or guidelines.

Length: For most journals, Research Articles are allowed to be up to 25 publication units (PU), where 1 PU is 500 words or 1 display element (figure or table),. The title, authors, affiliations, text in tables (but not captions) and references are excluded from word counts.  Longer papers are assessed an excess length fee.  Research Letters for Geophysical Research Letters have a maximum length of 12 publication units. Longer papers are not considered in GRL and will be returned for shortening.  For most journals, Commentaries are limited to 12 publication units.

In submitting, the corresponding author affirms that:

  • All authors have read and approved the paper and will be informed about all reviews and revisions. It is expected that authors will have: (1) made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data, or creation of new software used in the work; or have drafted the work or substantively revised it; (2) approved the submitted version (and any substantially modified version that involves the author’s contribution to the study); and (3) agreed to be personally accountable for their own contributions and for ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work, even ones in which the author was not personally involved, are appropriately investigated, resolved, and documented in the literature. AGU will notify each co-author about a submission and all revisions.
  • All author affiliations related to the work are indicated.
  • Any real or perceived conflicts of interest related to this work are declared to the editors in the cover letter
  • Data and data products related to the paper will be available upon publication in a publicly available database.
  • The paper is an original submission and not under active consideration elsewhere. All papers are checked for plagiarism. Papers with significant overlap will be rejected or returned for correction.

GENERAL GUIDELINES

Please prepare your manuscript following our checklists and templates.

LATEX

For LaTeX, use the AGU template. AGU LaTeX templates are also on Overleaf, a cloud-based LaTeX authoring system that allows direct submission to AGU journals. Please DO NOT introduce any extraneous formatting, new commands, macros, or shortcuts, as they are not compatible with our publishing process. Papers with extensive extraneous formatting, macros, or shortcuts (including \def,\newcommands, \renewcommands, and especially those commands with #) will be returned for correction.

COMPANION MANUSCRIPTS

AGU will consider papers that are companions or so related that publication and citation should be coordinated.  AGU can work with other journals to coordinate publication.  If you are submitting companion papers, please indicate this and any information regarding coordination in your cover letter and provide copies of all papers as part of your submission if they are not being submitted to the same journal.  Please provide regular updates to the editors on the progress of related papers, especially at revision.  If there are multiple companions, we strongly recommend that you contact our staff and the journal editors in advance.

Other papers under consideration elsewhere and related to your AGU submission should also be included for the editors and the relation explained in the cover letter.  AGU will not publish manuscripts with any references that are not yet published. If the citation of such manuscripts is approved by the editor, AGU will hold final publication until the cited literature is accepted and publicly available.

SAMPLE IDENTIFICATION

AGU recommends use of IGSNs (International Geo Sample Numbers) for all samples reported in AGU Journals. IGSNs provide a unique identifier allowing samples to be linked across publications and searched through a central repository. We strongly encourage authors to register samples and obtain IGSNs and use them throughout their manuscript and tables. We recognize IGSNs during our production process and will provide links in manuscript tables to the registered sample descriptions.

DATA

AGU requires that all data needed to understand, evaluate, replicate, and build upon the reported research be available at the time of publication and encourages following community best practices around data deposition and citations. Usually these data would be the derived data and data products typically deposited in community repositories for that discipline and that cover the data presented in the figures and analyses in the paper, and software or other methods used to generate, interpret, or process the data. If the methods and data are previously published, these can be cited. Large data sets and newly compiled data sets should be deposited in these domain repositories prior to publication. If a domain repository is not available, general repositories such as Figshare, Zenodo, the Open Science Framework, and Dryad can be used. An index of recommended domain repositories is here. Deposited data sets should be cited as full references in the reference list.  Small data sets and derived data summaries can be included in tables in the paper or in the supporting information.

AGU, along with many other publishers, is a signatory of the Coalition on Publishing Data in the Earth and Space Sciences (COPDESS), the Transparency and Openness Guidelines, and the Joint Declaration of Data Citation Principles.

PREPARING YOUR MANUSCRIPT

For submission, we prefer to receive a single file containing your manuscript, figures, and tables. Checklists and templates in Word and LaTeX are available here.  Supporting information and large tables should be uploaded separately.

Your manuscript should be arranged in the following order:

  1. Title page including authors’ names and affiliations
  2. Key Points
  3. Abstract and Plain Language Summary (optional but recommended)
  4. Keywords
  5. Text (including appendices) and Equations
  6. Acknowledgments and Data Statement
  7. References
  8. Tables
  9. Figures
  10. Supporting information (e.g., data sets, long tables, graphs)

Title Page

A title should be specific, informative, and brief. Use abbreviations only if they are defined in the abstract.

Authors are individuals who have significantly contributed to the research and preparation of the article (see specific guidelines above). Group authors are allowed, if each author in the group is separately identified in an appendix or supplement. Other contributors who do not meet the authorship criteria should be acknowledged.

Author affiliations should indicate to the reader where the author was employed or affiliated with at the time of the work.  Current addresses or affiliations should be indicated with a footnote.  Authors are expected to indicate in the acknowledgements and cover letter any additional affiliations or employment that might be perceived as a conflict of interest related to the paper.

AGU now requires all corresponding authors to register for an ORCID identifier and connect it to your account in our editorial system. We strongly encourage all authors and reviewers to register for an ORCID. Your ORCID identifier will be included in your published manuscript, and we will in turn update your publication list in your ORCID record.  (Please look for an email message from ORCID and CrossRef to grant permission for this update process). Including your ORCID identifier helps ensure you get credit for your work, improves integrity in publishing, and enables discovery and linking of your publications, datasets, and more.

Further information on ORCID is available here and in an Eos article on identifiers.

AGU Journals allow authors to indicate their respective contributions using the CRediT taxonomy. This information will be published with your paper starting in 2018.  If a more specific contribution statement is needed, please add a paragraph as part of the acknowledgements.

Key Points

Key Points convey the main points and conclusions of the article. Up to three key point statements are allowed, and each is limited to at most 140 characters with no abbreviations

Abstract

The abstract (1) states the nature of the investigation and (2) summarizes the important conclusions. The abstract should be suitable for indexing. Your abstract should:

  • be set as a single paragraph.
  • be less than 250 words for all journals except GRL, for which the limit is 150 words.
  • not include table or figure mentions.
  • not include reference citations.
  • define all abbreviations.

Plain Language Summary

AGU journal articles can now include a plain-language summary that will help the general reader understand your paper.  This is optional and can be added at revision.   The plain language summary should be written for a broad audience. It should be free of jargon, acronyms, equations and any technical information that would be unknown to the general public. The purpose is to explain the study to the public. A good summary should state the general problem, what was done, and the result. Suggestions for writing a plain-language summary are here.

Index Terms and Keywords (part of submission not manuscript?)

Index terms are important for discovery and linking your article. Up to five index terms are allowed and are  provided at the time of submission. Use the AGU Index Set. Do not use terms ending in “00.”

Authors may also provide up to six keywords. These are free-form terms that can be used to facilitate online searches.

Text

Headings. Except for short manuscripts (such as comments and replies), the text should be divided into sections, each with its own heading.

Sections are numbered with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.). A maximum of four levels of heads may be used, with subsections numbered 1.1., 1.2.; 1.1.1., 1.2.1; 1.1.1.1., and so on. Headings should be sentence fragments and do not begin with a lowercase letter or number. They should not include parenthetical reference citations or table and figure callouts.

Footnotes.  Footnotes are used only for author affiliations and tables.  Incorporate all other footnoted information into text;

Reference citations. Use name-date format, not numbered references, and enclose citations in brackets with authors in italics.

(Smith et al., 2009) or

Smith et al. (2009)

Mathematics. Build equations with Mathtype or the Word Equation Editor (if using Word), or in Latex. Do not use graphics for equations.

Acknowledgments and Data

The acknowledgments must list:

  • All funding sources related to this work from all authors including any source of direct or in-kind support or source of data or samples. Funding information should also be included in the GEMS submission form. We use this information to make your paper available to your funders throughCHORUS. Funding information should include the funding body and contribution number.
  • Any real or perceived financial conflicts of interests for any author.
  • Other affiliations for any author that may be perceived as creating a conflict of interest with respect to the results of the paper.
  • A statement that indicates to the reader where the data supporting the conclusions can be obtained (for example, in the references, tables, supporting information, and other databases). A more thorough description of AGU’s Data Policy is here. It is also the appropriate place to thank colleagues and other contributors. AGU does not normally allow dedications.
  • Do not include honorifics such as Dr etc.; include first name or initial and last name. Further explanations for the editors of conflicts of interests, data, or funding information should be included in the cover letter
  • An optional separate optional paragraph indicating author contributions beyond that identified in the CRediT

References

All sources cited in text, tables, figures, and supporting information must appear in the reference list, and all entries in the reference list must be cited in text or the supporting information. Every reference must be available publicly online or in print before a paper can be accepted.  Thus “unpublished” or “in press” references are not allowed References in supporting information should also be included in the main text and reference list of the main paper so that they will be discovered, linked, and indexed. A separate list in the supporting information is not necessary.  Reference text is not included in excess length calculations.

AGU follows the Joint Declaration of Data Citations Principles. Authors should cite data and software in the reference section of their manuscript. Authors should strive to archive their data in established repositories that follow best practices (link to faq). Citation in a reference section applies to: 1) data and software that are already published, either in a previous paper or from a repository, and used in your manuscript; and 2) data sets or software that are newly generated by you or your co-authors and archived in a repository.

The data citation should adhere to emerging practices and include as much of the following information as possible: Dataset or software authors/producers, release date; title; version; archive/distributor, and the locator/identifier (doi preferred, or URL), and year.  Examples of citations are provided by ESIP.

These data sets should be cited as all other references in the text and reference list as appropriate.

For examples and AGU style information, please see here.

Tables

Large tables or data sets should be deposited in appropriate domain repositories, other available repositories, or if necessary included as Excel or .csv files in the Supporting Information. Lists of repositories in the Earth and Space Sciences are available at the directory of the Coalition on Publishing Data in the Earth and Space Sciences (COPDESS).   Tables within a manuscript should primarily be summaries of the data or analysis.

Every table must have a unique title. Explanatory information and definitions should be included in a footnote to the title.

Column heads. All columns (except the first one) must have headings.

Additional information on table formatting is available here.

Figures

AGU recommends that figures be prepared in one of the following formats: JPG, TIFF, EPS, PS or PDF.  Figures should be embedded in the main manuscript for submission but uploaded separately at resubmission or revision (because separate files are needed for production). For revision, each figure file must be complete and contain all parts of a single numbered figure. Do not include figure captions or figure titles (e.g., “Figure 1”) as any part of the figure. Separate files for different parts of a figure cannot be accommodated.

Each figure should also have a caption in the text. These can be placed near the figure at submission.

  • Indicate latitude and longitude on maps.
  • Use lowercase letters (a, b,c…) to label parts of the figure; do not use Arabic or roman numerals. Combine all figure parts into a single figure.
  • When possible, include the figure label in the top left corner of each plot.
  • Do not include information in a figure that could easily be included in the caption.
  • Cite each figure in numerical order in text. Figures in the main body of the text should be numbered consecutively, not by section.

Appendix figures should be numbered separately from the body and should begin with the letter of the appendix (e.g., figure A1 for the first figure in Appendix A).

Figures larger than a typical PDF page (e.g., a large map) should be included as a supplement.

Copyrighted Material

Authors who use figures or other material (e.g., graphics,) from another author or copyright holder must obtain permission to do so. This includes any figures redrawn but basically unaltered or with only slight modifications. Permission is not needed for material that originated in AGU journals or is in the public domain.

Permission must allow for the distribution of the material in any and all media in current and future formats.

Obtaining permission can be a lengthy process, so please make sure that you have the necessary permissions before you submit your manuscript to AGU.

Permission(s) should accompany the revised manuscript when submitted. Articles will not be published until permissions are received at AGU.

Supporting Information

Supporting text and images/figures should be included in one .PDF file, except where limited by file type or size. Tables (Excel or .csv files), movies, .zip archives, and other files can be uploaded separately. Authors should download and make use of our templates. Please see Supporting Information Guidelines for more information.  Supporting text can include methods or other information about samples or data. Discussion or interpretations should be in the main text only.

All supporting information will be reviewed with your manuscript.
References cited in supporting information must also be included in the main text so that they will be discovered, linked, and indexed. A separate list in the supporting information is not necessary.  Reference text does not count toward length limits.

The key criteria are that the data:

  • supplement the main scientific conclusions of the paper but are not essential to the conclusions (with the exception of including data so the experiment can be reproducible);
  • are likely to be usable or used by other scientists working in the field; are described with sufficient precision that other scientists can understand them.

Supporting Information should not include discussion or key analysis.