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Author guidelines – Manuscript preparation

The instructions below have been formulated to help authors prepare their manuscript, and if followed carefully the time between receipt, review and publication will be minimised. Failure to follow the instructions may lead to the manuscript being returned for correction, with a consequent delay in review and publication. Failure to follow normal scientific standards or a lack of readability may lead to rejection of the manuscript.

Manuscripts are accepted in British or American English as long as usage is consistent throughout the manuscript. If you have concerns about English usage, please consider getting professional help with language editing before submission. One option is the Wiley editing service. A clear presentation of your paper and a good usage of English are very important to ensure that your scientific message is clear and fully understandable. This will significantly increase your chances to be published.

Cover letter

Authors should include a cover letter detailing the key findings of their manuscript. The cover letter should highlight the novel aspects of the data and briefly describe how the presented results will advance the knowledge of the field. If the species investigated is not a common experimental species, the authors should indicate what basic scientific/biological reason dictated their choice of species and what new insights have been gained from its use.

Formats and organization

In order for manuscripts to be suitable for publishing as Online Accepted papers, authors are required to adhere strictly to the following formatting guidelines. The entire manuscript must be typed in Times New Roman, 11-point size with 1.5-line space. Left and right margins should be 25 mm. All pages must be paginated.


The layout of the manuscript should be as follows:

  • Title
  • Full name(s) of author(s) (the corresponding author should be indicated)
  • Address(es) of author(s) (including e-mail address for the corresponding author)
  • Abstract
  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction
  • Materials and methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Author contributions
  • Acknowledgements
  • References
  • Supporting information
  • Figure legends (included in the main text document)
  • Figures and tables are submitted as separate documents


The title should be concise and appealing. Long and descriptive titles should be avoided.


The abstract should not exceed 250 words, not be divided into paragraphs and sum up the most pertinent areas of the article and be self-contained for information retrieval purposes. There should be no unexplained abbreviations and preferably no references but the scientific name(s) and, where applicable, cultivar or variety of the plant(s) used should be spelled out in full. EC numbers should be given for enzymes mentioned. A good abstract should therefore contain:

  • a brief statement of the problem
  • a brief statement of the authors objectives
  • the major method(s)
  • the main result(s)
  • a concluding statement indicating how the results have increased our knowledge of the problem.


Abbreviations used should be listed alphabetically and have the form: DPC, diphenylcarbazide; PQ, plastoquinone; ROS, reactive oxygen species.

The abbreviations list is an extra help for the readers and does not replace the explanation of abbreviations in the main text. Furthermore, standard abbreviations need not be defined in this section (i.e. PCR, polymerase chain reaction; N, nitrogen etc.). Avoid complicated abbreviations of your own that make reading difficult. Abbreviations in the introduction and following text should be written out in full the first time they are mentioned regardless of their previous usage in the abstract.


The introduction should be concise, giving the reader an outline of the subject, presenting the “state-of-the-art”, leading into the reasons for the present study and its aims.

Materials and methods

The materials and method section should be detailed. It should provide information on the number of independent experiments and replicates as well as statistical methods. All growth conditions should be properly described, including the trade name and manufacturer of all lamps used, as well as irradiance (W m2) or photosynthetic photon flux density (μmol m2 s1); lux or μE are not acceptable. The trade name(s) and suppliers of apparatus and chemicals used should also be given as well as the city and the state of the manufacturer headquarter. For the USA, the country is replaced by the 2-letters code of the corresponding state (

EC numbers should be given for enzymes used.

If the data includes microarray/Affimetrix analysis, authors should refer to the MIAME recommendations for guidance in preparing their manuscripts.


The result section should be as objective and descriptive as possible and written in the past tense. Tables and figures should be comprehensible as far as possible without reference to the main text (including brief but descriptive legends).


The discussion should not merely be a catalogue of results. The authors should show how their findings advance our knowledge and understanding of the topic investigated. The discussion should be concisely written with the main points of the work logically presented and with reference to the relevant tables, figures and literature.

Author contributions

The contributions made by all authors should briefly be described. Physiologia Plantarum asks all authors to follow the guidelines outlined in the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) report from 2003. Detailed guidelines for the preparation of manuscripts and recommendations for ethical authorship can be found online.

Citations and References

Citations (in-text reference) should have the form:

Gould and Lister (2005)
Dixon et al. (2005), if more than two authors.
Multiple text references should be cited chronologically (Bowler et al. 1989a, 1989b, 1991, Tsang et al. 1991, Legendre et al. 1993, Chang and Kaufman 2000).

Note that comma is the separator between references, but there should be no comma between author name and year. Unpublished data and personal communications should have the form: (Smith et al. unpublished data), (Hosino et al. personal communication).

References should be listed alphabetically (no numbering) according to the first named author. Where there are multiple references by the same first author, the order in the list should be:

  • Single author. Where more than one reference is given for a single author the publications should be listed chronologically.
  • Two authors (should come before 3 or more authors). These should be arranged first alphabetically, then chronologically.
  • Three or more authors. These references should be arranged chronologically.

All authors should be listed (no et al.) and journal name abbreviated without full points (e.g. Physiol Plant). Do not abbreviate one-word journal titles (e.g. Phytochemistry). Limit usage of the DOI to paper only available ahead of print. Note the absence of bold font, the absence of dot at the end of each reference and the absence of issue number.

Unpublished material (except for accepted manuscripts in press) and personal communications should only be cited in the text, and not in the reference list. In the text, the initials and last names of all collaborators should be given where unpublished work is cited.

Published theses should be cited in the reference list including the ISBN, or number in dissertation abstracts. Unpublished theses should only be cited in the text as follows: (R. Y. Smith 2007. Thesis, Univ. of California, Davis, CA, USA).

Harakeh S, Jariwalla RJ, Pauling L (1998b) Suppression of human immunodeficiency virus replication by ascorbate in chronically and acutely infected cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 87: 1745–1749

In press/published ahead of print
Fernandez V, Winkelmann G The determination of ferric iron in plants using the microbial iron chelator desferrioxamine E and HPLC. Biometals: doi number

Not peer-reviewed articles (ArXiv, bioRxiv, psyArXiv, SocArXiv, engrXiv)
Rich C, Reitz M, Eichmann R, Jacobs S, Jenkins DJ, Esteban E, Ott S, Schafer P (posted April 2018) Cell type identity determines transcriptomic immune responses in Arabidopsis thaliana roots. bioRxiv 302448:

Newspaper Online
Murphy H (4 Aug 2017) Can gene editing actually do that? The New York Times. Available at

Freshney RI (1994) Culture of Animal Cells, 3rd Edn, Vol. 11. Wiley-Lisds, New York, pp 86–95
Marsh JF (2001) Analysis of arbuscular mycorrhizas, 2nd Edn. Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht

Edited book
Galston AW, Kaur-Sawhney R (1995) Polyamines as endogenous growth regulators. In: Davies PJ (ed) Plant Hormones: Physiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2nd Edn. Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht, pp 158–178

Kramer PJ, Boyer JS (1995) Yield and quality of greenhouse grown tomatoes irrigated with saline water. Annual Report of ARO, The Volcani Center 307-0227: 1–18 (in Hebrew)

Online report
Estonian Human Development Report 2002. The quality of greenhouse grown tomatoes. Available at (accessed 17 September 2008)

Gullberg J (2005) Metabolomics: A tool for studying plant biology. DPhil Thesis. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå. Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae 2005:88, ISBN 91-576-6987-2

Anderson B, Katus K, Puur A, Silver B (1993) Characteristics of women having abortions in Estonia. International Population Conference, Vol. 1. IUSSP, Montreal, Canada

If it has been published
Schindelin J, Arganda-Carreras I, Frise E,  Kaynig V, Longair M, Pietzsch T, Preibisch S, Rueden C, Saalfeld S, Schmid B, Tinevez JY, White DJ, Hartenstein V, Eliceiri K, Tomancak P, Cardona A (2012) “Fiji: an open-source platform for biological image analysis” Nature methods 9: 676-682

If not: SigmaPlot (Systat Software, San Jose, CA) in text and not the reference list

Authors; Year; Dataset title; Data repository or archive; Version (if any); Persistent identifier (e.g. DOI)

When citing or making claims based on data, authors must refer to the data at the relevant place in the manuscript text and in addition provide a formal citation in the reference list.

Supporting information

Authors are welcome to submit additional supporting information, such as data sets or additional figures or tables. This material will not be published in the print edition of the journal but it will be viewable via the online edition. Such supporting information should be referred to in the text as, for example: ”Appendix S1, Fig. S1, Table S1”.

Supporting information should be provided as a single pdf including figures, tables and corresponding legends. Excel files or movies can be sent separately. It is the responsibility of the author to supply supporting information in an appropriate file format and to ensure that it is accurate and correct (meaning that the Editorial Office will not check for errors). It will be published online in the format supplied by the author and are not copyedited by the Publisher. Prior to publication, authors will be sent a link to their supporting information to check the content. Extensive editing of material is not possible at this stage and the author has the responsibility to ensure that material is sent in a correct form at the time of submission.

Authors should include a ’supporting information’ section immediately after their references section, which should be in the following form:

Supporting information
Additional supporting information may be found in the online version of this article:
Appendix S1/Fig.S1/Table S1. Short title of supplementary appendix S1
Appendix S2. Short title of supplementary appendix S2

Only short titles should be given in this section.
Figure legend and number needs to be included with the figure itself (stand-alone figure) and not in the main text as it is for the main figures.

Tables and figures

In the text, refer to figures and tables as Fig./Figs and Table/Tables. It is important that references to figures and tables are consistent throughout the manuscript so that figure and table tags work properly in the HTML proof.


Each table should be on a separate page furnished with explanatory headings. Tables must be planned to fit a printed width of either 80 or 166 mm. Footnotes are usually not allowed. Tables should be submitted as editable text files, such as DOCX, or ODT.


Figure format and aesthetics

Each figure should be placed in a separate file. Save photographic images in TIFF format at a resolution of no less than 300 dpi. Line art and combination figures should be saved in PDF, EPS, or TIFF format at a resolution of no less than 600 dpi. Save TIFF files using LZW compression. The colour mode for black and white figures should be greyscale. Colour images should be saved in RGB colour mode.

Figures should have a maximum final width of 80 mm (single-column), 125 mm (1.5-column) or 166 mm (double-column). The font used should be either Helvetica regular or Arial regular. Letters, numbers and symbols must appear clearly but not oversized. A suitable final size for lettering is 2–3 mm (8-12 pt) at printed size. One uniform size throughout is recommended, e.g. do not use 8 pt on axis and 20 pt for the axis label.

Avoid complicated symbols or patterns. Use open and closed circles, squares and triangles; open, striped and closed bars in histograms. Graphs and histograms should be boxed in and scale marks (turning inwards) provided. Lines should be clear, but not thick and heavy, line weights of between 0.35 and 1.5 pt are suitable.

Adjustments for colour vision impaired readers

When preparing your figures please take into account that some readers have deficient colour vision. Images of fluorescent double-staining micrographs and DNA chips should preferably not contain a combination of red and green. Please use magenta and green instead. Also avoid using red characters on a dark background. In colour graphs and line art, use both colour and shape (different symbols and line types) to convey information. More detailed information can be found at:

A simple tool to convert your red into magenta is ImageJ, a freely available program. Open the figure in Image J (it opens all format). In the tab ‘Image’, choose ‘lookup table’ and then ‘magenta’.

Colour usage

Physiologia Plantarum offers authors free colour-online service, where colour figures are published online free of charge. In addition, the journal offers authors three colour figures free of charge in the printed version, providing the colour is deemed necessary by the Editor. Subsequent printed colour figures will be chargeable (4th figure 150£, subsequent figures 50£ each).

If the author supplies colour figures at Early View publication, they will be invited to complete a colour charge agreement in RightsLink for Author Services. The author will have the option of paying immediately with a credit or debit card, or they can request an invoice. If the author chooses not to purchase color printing, the figures will be converted to black and white for the print issue of the journal.

Image processing

Photographic images submitted to the journal should be minimally processed. No parts, regions or specific features of an image may be changed, moved, removed, obscured or enhanced. Changes of brightness, contrast and colour balance are allowed if they are applied to the whole image and equally to controls, provided that no information in the original image is misrepresented by the adjustments.

Images from different parts of a gel, or from different gels, that are grouped into a single figure must be clearly separated, e.g. with dividing lines.

All images in manuscripts accepted for publication will be scrutinized by the Editorial Office. Any indication of improper image manipulation will be reported to the Editor-in-Chief, who may request original image files and/or data from the authors. Failure to comply will lead to the revocation of the manuscript.

Cover photographs

Authors are welcome to submit high quality photographs suitable for the cover of Physiologia Plantarum. They should be supplied as digital images with a resolution of no less than 300 dpi at a reproduction size of 213 mm wide × 174 mm tall. Digital images should be saved in TIFF format using LZW compression. Potential cover photographs should be sent to the Editorial Office and be accompanied by a brief descriptive summary.

Style points

Units and numerals

The SI system should be used throughout. Use negative indices rather than solidus (e.g. mg l1, not mg/l). Use space between numeral and unit (e.g. 14 h, not 14h) and between units (e.g. μmol m2 s1) but no space between numeral and % or °C (34%, 5°C)

Thousands should be separated by spaces (e.g. 1000, 10 000, 100 000).

Use g (italic) and not rpm for centrifugation speed as rpm gives an indication of speed only when linked to a rotor size.

Scientific names

Give the full scientific name(s) of plant(s) used, as well as the cultivar (cv.) or variety (var.), where applicable. Spell out genus name at first mention abbreviated thereafter: e.g. Eucalyptus globulus in article title, at first mention in abstract, main text, tables, figures or at the beginning of a sentence, but E. globulus thereafter.

As much as the field allows, use the Arabidopsis nomenclature for GENE, PROTEIN and mutant to facilitate the reading experience.

Use of italic

Standard Latin phrases (in vitro, in vivo, in planta etc.) should not be italicized.

Statistical probability (P) as well as the “t” in t-test should be in italic.

Data deposition

Publication in Physiologia Plantarum implies an obligation for the authors to deposit any novel nucleic acid sequence data referred to in their papers with the EMBL Data Library, GenBank or DDBJ. Deposition of such data should, at the latest, be made immediately after the paper has been accepted for publication, so that the authors can add the relevant accession number in the text at the proof stage. To learn more about the role of data deposition read here.

Please note that Arabidopsis gene name must be registered at TAIR before use to check for availability and avoid redundancy. Similar procedure should be made for other plant species when existing.

Physiologia Plantarum encourages authors to share the data and other artefacts supporting their results by archiving it in an appropriate public repository. Authors should include a data accessibility statement, including a link to the repository they have used, that will be published alongside their paper.