We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more Skip to Main Content

Instructions to Authors

Manuscript Preparation

Supplementary Materials

Publication Fees 


Conflict of Interest Statement

License to Publish

BioScience is A Forum for Integrating the Life Sciences. The editors of BioScience welcome original manuscripts written for a broad audience of professional biologists, biology teachers, advanced students, and policymakers. We give priority to articles that explain connections among disciplines or synthesize conclusions of general interest to biologists. BioScience does not publish primary research articles, except in the case of Education and citizen science submissions.

Unsolicited manuscripts are usually subject to peer review.

  • • Overview articles review and synthesize recent advances in important areas of biological research broadly related to the environment.
  • • Forum articles summarize research, but with a more explicit emphasis on conservation, policy, and/or management.
  • • Biologist’s Toolbox articles discuss technology’s contribution to the practice of biology.
  • • Education articles generally present primary research on formal and informal biology education and citizen science, but reviews and syntheses are also welcome. In all cases, submissions should strongly emphasize application.
  • • Professional Biologist discusses issues in the practice of biological professions.
  • • Thinking of Biology consists of essays on the philosophy of biology.
  • • Biology in History articles address the history of biological thought on a general topic of interest to a wide range of biologists.

Overview and Forum articles may provide some new data but should primarily build on and synthesize published research. Inquiries regarding peer-reviewed submissions should be sent to the Editor in Chief at editorinchief@aibs.org.

BioScience also publishes some nontechnical material that is generally not subject to peer review, but manuscripts are frequently vetted by members of the Editorial Board. Please contact the Editor in Chief prior to submitting Letters, Editorials, or Viewpoint and Counterpoint manuscripts.

  • • Letters pertaining to previously published material
  • • Features, which are commissioned journalistic stories of general interest to scientists
  • • Editorials, which are short opinion pieces
  • • Viewpoints, which are longer opinion pieces
  • • Book reviews and Special Book Articles
  • • Eye on Education columns
  • • Washington Watch columns
  • • BioBriefs, which are commissioned journalistic short reports
  • • Special Reports
  • • Counterpoints, which are invited responses to other articles

Submitted manuscripts should be free of jargon. 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. It is a condition of publication that authors grant an exclusive license to Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. BioScience follows the data citation principles of FORCE11 (www.force11.org). Send inquiries to the Senior Editor at bioscience@aibs.org.

Overview and department articles

Overview articles are synthesis and reviews of important topics of broad relevance to biology. Overview submissions should include background information for biologists in a variety of fields. They must be no longer than 7000 words (approximately 20 double-spaced pages), excluding figures, tables, and references, but including text boxes. Text boxes should not exceed 600 words. No more than 90 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.

Forum manuscripts typically have an applied slant and are directed at improving conservation practice, management, or policy. Forum submissions should not exceed 5000 words (approximately 15 double-spaced pages), excluding figures, tables, and references but including text boxes, and should cite no more than 70 references. Text boxes should not exceed 600 words. Please submit an abstract of up to 150 words and list up to five keywords.

Education, Professional Biologist, Thinking of Biology, Biology in History, and Biologist’s Toolbox manuscripts should not exceed 5000 words (approximately 15 double-spaced pages), excluding figures, tables, and references but including text boxes, and should cite no more than 50 references. Text boxes should not exceed 600 words. Please submit an abstract of up to 150 words and list up to five keywords. These articles may include a few photographs, drawings, figures, or tables.

Nontechnical articles

Authors of nontechnical articles should consult the Senior Editor at bioscience@aibs.org before submitting. Editorials may cover any topic of interest to biologists. Editorials cannot exceed 500 words and may not list references. The typical word limit for Viewpoint manuscripts is 1400; please keep references cited to a minimum. Letters should be limited to 500 words. Book reviews and Features are generally invited.



Submit all manuscripts through ScholarOne. After you have prepared your manuscript according to the instructions below, please visit the online submission web site. Instructions on submitting your manuscript online can be viewed here. 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. Provide with your submission letter the names of any colleagues who have already reviewed your article, and be prepared during the submission process to provide the names, e-mail addresses, institutions, and telephone numbers of four potential referees from outside your institution. Submissions from authors whose research involved the use of “human” or “animal” subjects (as defined in US federal law) must include evidence of approval from an institutional review board.

Document Format

Use double-spacing and 12-point font throughout all text, tables, references, and figure captions. Number all pages. Avoid the use of appendixes and footnotes in the text; remove all field codes from submitted manuscripts. 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. Please include a short biographical narrative at the end of the submission, stating the authors’ affiliations.

Style. Follow Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers, 8th edition, for conventions in biology. For general style and spelling, consult the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, and a dictionary such as Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. Also refer to A Guide to BioScience Style.

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. All tables must fit onto one printed page. For more general guidelines on the construction of tables, see the Chicago Manual of Style.

Artwork should suit the manner in which it will be published and should be readable in black and white, even if it will appear in color. Artwork submitted for publication should be of the highest quality, in vector-graphic format if possible, or with a minimum resolution of 600 dpi for line art and 400 dpi for photographs at 4 x 6 inches for figures intended to run within the article, and the same resolution at 8 x 11 inches for figures intended for the cover. Images for the cover of BioScience should have a vertical (portrait) orientation. Photographs (without text) and line art should be submitted in the original format in which it was created, at the highest possible resolution.

References. 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]). 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.

Data supporting article conclusions ordinarily should be published, preferably in an appropriate data repository, such as Dryad (www.datadryad.org), and cited; BioScience will consider justified requests for embargoes on the publication of data. Small data sets can be published as supplementary material (see below).

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. Plenum Press.

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

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

Online article: Palevitz BA. 2002. Designing science by politics. The Scientist 16: 25. (1 April 2003; www.the-scientist.com/yr2002/may/palevitz_p25_020527.html)

Data: Cross PC, Maichak EJ, Rogerson JD, Irvine KM, Jones JD, Heisey DM, Edwards WH, Scurlock BM. 2015. Data from: Estimating the phenology of elk brucellosis transmission with hierarchical models of cause-specific and baseline hazards. Dryad Digital Repository. doi:10.5061/dryad.c15ph


Supplementary materials that could benefit researchers may be hosted online. They should be uploaded during the submission process. Supplementary material files will not be edited and should conform to BioScience style. They can be hosted online in document files (Word, Excel, PDF, etc.). Audio and video files should be no more than 10 minutes in length. Video files may be supplied by authors in .avi, .mov, .mp4, .mpg, .flv, .swf format, MPEG-2, or MPEG-4 preferred. Audio files should be MP3. 3-Dimensional Objects and Geographic Information System data should be KML files.


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. Color may be provided online only with no fee, but the artwork must be readable in print with the same caption as the color version. 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 $80 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 HINARI Access to Research in Health Programme (see www.who.int/hinari/en/).

Open Access

BioScience authors have the option to publish their paper under the Oxford Open initiative (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/open_access), whereby, for a charge, their paper will be made freely available online immediately upon publication. As part of the licensing process authors will be asked to indicate whether or not they wish to pay for open access. If authors do not select the open access option, the paper will be published with standard subscription-based access. Oxford Open articles are published under Creative Commons licenses. Authors publishing in BioScience can use the following Creative Commons licenses for their articles: Creative Commons Attribution license (CC-BY) and Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial license (CC-BY-NC).

You can pay Open Access charges using our Author Services site. This will enable you to pay online with a credit/debit card, or request an invoice by email or post. The open access charges applicable are:
CC-BY - £2,245 GBP/$3,500 USD/€3,137 EURO
CC-BY-NC - £1,700 GBP/$3,000 USD/€2,550 EURO

Orders from the UK will be subject to the current UK VAT charge. For orders from the rest of the European Union, OUP will assume that the service is provided for business purposes. Please provide a VAT number for yourself or your institution, and ensure you account for your own local VAT correctly.


Everyone listed as an author of an article must have made a substantial contribution to the manuscript. In the case of multiple-author contributions, please upload as a supplementary file a brief statement detailing the contribution of each author.

1) Authorship should be restricted to those individuals who have met each of three criteria: (a) made a significant contribution to the conception and design of the article or the analysis and interpretation of data or other scholarly effort, (b) participated in drafting the article or reviewing and/or revising it for content, and (c) approved the final version of the manuscript.

2) In the case of papers with multiple authors, the corresponding author has the responsibility for: (a) including as coauthors all those who meet the three criteria defined in part 1 of this policy and excluding those who do not; and (b) obtaining from all coauthors their agreement to be designated as such, as well as their approval of the final version of the manuscript. Of course, any person can refuse to be a coauthor if he or she elects to do so.

3) Coauthors assume full responsibility for all work submitted under their names and, as a coauthor, acknowledge that they meet each of the three criteria for authorship as defined in part 1 of this policy.

4) Honorary or courtesy authorships are inconsistent with the principles of this policy and, as such, are unacceptable.


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 any 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 should also disclose similar information relevant to the works they are asked to evaluate.>


Please note that by submitting an article for publication you confirm that you are the corresponding/submitting author and that Oxford University Press ("OUP") may retain your email address for the purpose of communicating with you about the article. You agree to notify OUP immediately if your details change.

Upon receipt of accepted manuscripts at Oxford, authors will be invited to complete an online license to publish form. Once invited, the license form should be signed within 24 hours. If we have not received confirmation of signature by the time the manuscript arrives, your manuscript may be delayed.

It is a condition of publication for all Oxford Journals that authors grant an exclusive license to Oxford University Press or the sponsoring Society. This ensures that all necessary rights needed for publication are in place, including provision for any requests from third parties, to reproduce content from the journals efficiently and consistently by OUP, and enabling the content to be as widely disseminated as possible. No article will be published unless the signed license has been received at Oxford Journals.

As part of the terms of the license agreement, Authors may use their own material in other publications written or edited by them provided that the outlet is acknowledged as the original place of publication, as well as Oxford University Press. As the Author(s), copyright of the Article remains yours (or your employer’s if your employer claims copyright in your work). See here for full details of Oxford Journals' copyright policy and the rights retained by you/your institution under the terms of the license.

Work submitted for publication must be original, previously unpublished, and not under consideration for publication elsewhere. If previously published figures, tables, or parts of text are to be included, the copyright-holder’s permission must have been obtained prior to submission. For more information on how to obtain permissions, please consult Rights and Permissions.

This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

This PDF is available to Subscribers Only

View Article Abstract & Purchase Options

For full access to this pdf, sign in to an existing account, or purchase an annual subscription.

Subscribe Now