The editors of BioScience welcome original manuscripts written for a broad audience of professional biologists, biology teachers, advanced students, and policymakers. Overview articles summarize recent advances in important areas of biological research. Roundtable articles bring together the views of different authors on issues important to biologists. The Education department contains essays on the teaching of biology to students and to the general public. Professional Biologist discusses issues in the practice of biological professions. Thinking of Biology consists of essays on the philosophy of biology, and Biology in History articles address the history of biological thought. Biologist's Toolbox articles discuss technology's contribution to the practice of biology. Forum essays address topical issues.

Articles in the preceding categories, whether invited or independently submitted, undergo peer review of content and writing style. BioScience also publishes some nontechnical material that is generally not subject to peer review. In this category are letters pertaining to previously published material; Features, which are stories of general interest to scientists; Editorials, which are short opinion pieces; Viewpoints, which are longer opinion pieces; book reviews and special book articles; and occasional Special Reports.

The editors reserve the right to edit all manuscripts for style and clarity. Contributions are accepted for review and publication on the condition that they are submitted solely to BioScience and will not be reprinted or translated without the publisher's permission.

Authors must transfer certain copyrights to the publisher.

Overview articles

Overview articles review significant scientific findings in an area of interest to a broad range of biologists. Overview articles should include background information for biologists in a variety of fields, and they should be free of jargon. Articles must be no longer than 20 double-spaced pages, excluding figures, tables, and references. No more than 50 references should be cited. Please include an abstract of up to 150 words and list up to five keywords.

BioScience occasionally publishes special sections, which are compilations of overview articles on particular topics. Like other BioScience overview articles, they undergo peer review. Special sections are organized by a coordinator who helps maintain a timely production schedule and ensures the pertinence and coherence of the whole. If you wish to coordinate a special section, write the editor-in-chief at

Department articles

Editorials may cover any topic of interest to biologists, from science policy to technical controversy. Editorials should not exceed 500 words and may not have references or footnotes. The word limit for Viewpoint manuscripts is 1400; please keep references cited to a minimum. Viewpoints generally have a single author.

Manuscripts for Roundtable, Forum, Education, Professional Biologist, Thinking of Biology, Biology in History, Biologist's Toolbox, and special book articles should not exceed 15 double-spaced pages and should cite no more than 25 references. Please submit an abstract of up to 150 words and list up to five keywords. Department articles may include a few photographs, drawings, figures, or tables. Roundtables may be multiauthored or may comprise two or more articles espousing different points of view on a subject.

Book reviews and Features are generally solicited. If you are interested in writing a book review, contact the book review editor ( Send queries regarding ideas for feature stories to the features editor (

Manuscript preparation


Submit all manuscripts that are subject to peer review through Cadmus Rapid Review. To submit a manuscript through Rapid Review, authors should go to and create an account. Authors must obtain written permission to use in their articles any personal communication and any material—text, data, art, tables, or figures—copyrighted by another author or publisher; be sure that credit to the source is complete. Send these letters of permission electronically when you submit your manuscript; mail them to the publications assistant, BioScience, 1444 I Street, NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20005; or send them by fax (202-628-1509). Provide with your submission the names of colleagues who have reviewed your paper, plus the names, addresses (postal and e-mail), and telephone numbers of four potential referees from outside your institution. Viewpoints, Editorials, letters to the editor, and book reviews may be submitted by e-mail to


Everyone listed as an author of an article must have made a substantial contribution to the manuscript; specific requirements are listed under the heading “Policy on Authorship” at In the case of multiple-author contibutions, please include a brief statement detailing the contribution of each author.

Before we can publish an article, all the authors must print, sign, and return to BioScience a copy of our publication agreement, which can be found at

Conflict of interest statement

The pages of BioScience are open to all members of the scientific community, whether they work independently or for academic, government, industry, or other organizations. To enable our editors, peer reviewers, and readers to assess authors' professional credentials as well as potential biases, we ask that authors disclose all information about their employment affiliations and any financial interests relevant to the work that the author has submitted for publication in BioScience. Reviewers also should disclose similar information relevant to the works they are asked to evaluate.

Document format

Use double-spacing and 12-point font throughout all text, tables, references, and figure captions. Number all pages. Avoid the use of footnotes in the text. Put tables and figure captions at the end of the document. The title page should contain authors' names, titles, affiliations, and postal and e-mail addresses.


Follow Scientific Style and Format (CBE 1994) for conventions in biology. For general style and spelling, consult the Chicago Manual of Style (Chicago 2003) and a dictionary such as The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (Soukhanov 1992).

Symbols, acronyms, and units of measure

Define all symbols and spell out all acronyms and units of measure the first time they are used; abbreviate them thereafter. Use the metric system, SI units (Système international d'unités), to express weights and measures.

Tables and figures

BioScience style is to capitalize only the first word in figure and table titles (and subheads), except for proper nouns. Use lowercase letters to indicate footnotes in tables and panels in figures. Put panel labels in the upper left corner of figures, if feasible. Construct tables without vertical rules. For more general guidelines on the construction of tables, see chapter 13 in Chicago (2003).

Artwork should suit the manner in which it will be published—do not, for example, use colored bars or lines in a graph that will be published in black and white. Artwork submitted for publication should be of the highest quality, preferably slides or prints or, if electronic, with a minimum resolution of 600 dpi for black-and-white line art and 400 dpi for color at 4 by 6 inches for figures intended to run within the article, and the same resolution at 8 by 11 inches for figures intended for the cover. Images for the cover of BioScience should have a vertical orientation. Please supply electronic figures in .tif or .eps format only; .jpg and PowerPoint files will not be accepted. We will return slides or prints to the corresponding author.

References cited

The number of references cited should comply with the limits specified above. Personal communications should be cited parenthetically in the text; the citation should include the source's name and affiliation and the date of the communication: (Henry J. Smith, [university or other affiliation, city, state], personal communication, [date of communication]). Submit letters from authors of personal communications giving permission to use the material. Manuscripts submitted for publication but not yet accepted may not be cited. In-text citations of published references take this form: (Author date). Multiple in-text citations are ordered by year of publication, earliest first: (Author 1998, Author 1999, 2000). Use the first author's last name and “et al.” for in-text citation of works with more than two authors or editors. List the name of every author or editor, unless there are more than 10, in References cited; for works with more than 10 authors or editors, list the name of the first and indicate the others with “et al.” List all works cited in the text in References cited; works not cited should not be listed. Provide the full names of all journals. The following examples are typical of references in BioScience; refer to recent issues of the journal for additional formatting guidance.

  • Journal article: Bryant PJ, Simpson P. 1984. Intrinsic and extrinsic control of growth in developing organs. Quarterly Review of Biology 59: 387–415.

  • Book: Ling GN. 1984. In Search of the Physical Basis of Life. New York: Plenum Press.

  • Chapter in a book: Southwood TRE. 1981. Bionomic strategies and population parameters. Pages 30–52 in May RM, ed. Theoretical Ecology. Sunderland (MA): Sinauer Associates.

  • Technical report: Lassister RR, Cooley JL. 1985. Prediction of Ecological Effects of Toxic Chemicals, Overall Strategy and Theoretical Basis for the Ecosystem Model. Washington (DC): Government Printing Office. Report no. 83-261-685.

  • Meeting paper: Kleiman RLP, Hedin RS, Edenbom HM. 1991. Biological treatment of minewater—an overview. Paper presented at the Second International Conference on Abatement of Acid Drainage; 16–18 September 1991, Montreal, Canada.

  • Online article: Palevitz BA. 2002. Designing science by politics. The Scientist 16 (11): 25. (1 April 2003;

Publication fees

Color charges

Authors who want their artwork printed in color pay a fee of $700 for the first piece and $250 for each additional piece. There is no fee for color in an image used on the cover of BioScience.

Page charges

Authors who submit papers subject to peer review must pay a fee of $50 per printed page, to be billed when the article is published in BioScience. Page charges may be waived upon request for authors in developing countries listed by the Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative (HINARI; see

Artwork charges

Authors whose graphics do not meet BioScience standards at the time an article is scheduled for publication will be charged for in-house assistance. More information is at

References cited


[CBE] CBE Style Manual Committee 1994. Scientific Style and Format: The CBE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers. 6th ed. New York: Cambridge University Press. Google Scholar


[Chicago] University of Chicago Press 2003. The Chicago Manual of Style. 15th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Google Scholar


A. H. Soukhanov ed. 1992. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 3rd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Google Scholar


[1] Correspondence: Direct all correspondence to BioScience, American Institute of Biological Sciences, 1444 I Street, NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20005. Telephone: 202-628-1500; fax: 202-628-1509;

"How to prepare a manuscript for BioScience," BioScience 55(5), 460-463, (1 May 2005).[0460:HTPAMF]2.0.CO;2
Published: 1 May 2005
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