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Author Guidelines

Submit your manuscript using the online submission method.  After LOGIN, under 'User Home', select 'Author' and follow instructions under 'Start a New Submission'.

Please read over the following instructions carefully; manuscripts that do not follow the guidelines will be returned to the author(s) for revision.

Authors have the option of submission using the Author-Directed Peer-Review (ADPR) system. This allows authors to make their own arrangements for peer-review of manuscripts, thus providing several advantages over the conventional peer-review system—including faster publication time and reduced author fees (see Aarssen and Lortie 2010). IEE, however, will continue to seek referees and arrange peer reviews for submitted manuscripts in the traditional manner, if authors wish.

Accordingly, submissions must be accompanied by one of two things:

  • two completed ADPR forms (if using the ADPR system), with signatures, from two referees — each of which is qualified to review the manuscript, is regarded by the author as unbiased and without conflict of interest, and holds a Phd, or is registered in (and expected soon to complete) a PhD program from an accredited institution. The two ADPR forms should be either uploaded (as scanned pdf files) as Supplementary Files during the online submission process, or, the two forms may be mailed or faxed (613-533-6617) to IEE at:

    Ideas in Ecology and Evolution,
    Lonnie Aarssen (editor)
    Department of Biology
    Queen's University
    Kingston ON Canada K7L 3N6


  • the names, insititutional affiliations, and email addresses of at least three potential referees — each of which is qualified to review the manuscript, is regarded by the author as unbiased and without conflict of interest, and holds a Phd, or is registered in (and expected soon to complete) a PhD program from an accredited institution. These potential referees can be added as a "Comment to the Editor" during the online submission process, and may or may not be used at the discretion of the editors.

By submitting a manuscript, you are doing so on the understanding that the work has not been published before, is not being considered elsewhere for publication (unless using the ADPR system), and has been read and approved by all authors. Submission of a manuscript means that the authors automatically agree to the terms stipulated in the Copyright Notice (see below) if and when the manuscript is accepted for publication.

A PDF version of the Author Guidelines is available here.

Articles must be styled under one of three sections:

  • New Idea. These articles must introduce a new idea related to the study of ecology or evolution, using straightforward arguments that address the novelty, plausibility, and testability of the idea, plus its comparison with any other similar, previously published ideas or theory. The manuscript must include a succinct discussion of how the idea has significant potential to impact on the discipline, and hence, why it merits further study.
  • Commentary. These articles provide a critique or commentary on an article previously published in the journal, or a short original opinion-piece relating to a topic in ecology or evolution.  (IEE does not publish traditional comprehensive review papers.)
  • Future of Publishing. These articles focus specifically on commentary and analyses that provide insights into the process of scholarly communication in ecology and evolution, including with inspiration for other fields of study. These articles provide exploration, interpretations, and recommendations for advancing communication tools for researchers, and the dissemination of all forms of research products.  

New idea and Commentary submissions must meet each of the five core criteria listed below. Authors are encouraged to consult the standard review form that addresses these 5 criteria and will be used by reviewers.

  • The paper must present a genuinely novel idea or commentary.
  • The new idea /commentary must be well-argued and plausible.
  • The paper must demonstrate the potential for the new idea /commentary to impact significantly on the subject area or broader discipline.
  • The paper must clearly differentiate the idea or commentary from any previously published similar ideas or commentaries.
  • In the case of a ‘New Idea', the paper must provide a proposal for testing the idea, even if it is completely impractical with current technology. Testability may be addressed directly, e.g. through empiricism, or in terms of the consilience of inductions.1

[1William Whewell (1840, "The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences") explained that, "The Consilience of Inductions takes place when an Induction obtained from one class of facts, coincides with an Induction obtained from another different class. Thus Consilience is a test of the truth of the Theory in which it occurs." Much of the history of support for Darwin's theory of evolution is based entirely on this form of testability.] 

New Idea and Commentary will not normally be used for publishing papers based primarily on mathematical/quantitative modeling. A high priority must be placed on maximizing ease of readability and facilitation of understanding for a wide audience of potential readers using good narrative with a minimum of jargon. Hence, explanation and development of the idea must be based on logical verbal argument that may include conceptual/qualitative modeling. Minor use of mathematical expression may be used but only if it contributes significantly in clarifying or otherwise supporting the idea.

New Idea and Commentary will not normally be used for publishing papers based primarily on experimental studies. Data are not generally expected. However, new reports of anecdotal information or observations, or new analysis of previously published data may be considered as a minor component of the paper if it provides particularly effective inspiration for further study, e.g. as a compelling preliminary/exploratory test of the idea.

Publication Fee

If the paper is accepted for publication, authors are charged a fee to cover handling, proof production, editing and publication costs. Currently, this fee is $100 for authors using the ADPR system, or $200 if using the conventional peer-review system (see above). A reduced fee of $50 applies if the authors are all graduate students or postdocs. The only method of payment for these fees is through the journal website's link to PayPal, a secure online payment system. Authors who are unfamiliar with PayPal are encouraged to visit Author financial information will be protected by PayPal's encryption protocols and will never be handled by Ideas in Ecology and Evolution.

Manuscript Specifications

File Format. Manuscripts should be submitted as a single file in Microsoft Word format (please ensure the file extension is .doc) with figures and tables included.

Language. The manuscript must be well-written with high quality English and must be free from unprofessional or frivolous language or content. Authors whose first language is not English are strongly advised, before submission, to have their paper edited carefully by a qualified English-speaking editorial consultant or service - e.g. see or or or Enago currently offer a 20% discount (Code IEE20) on first-time use of their services to authors submitting manuscripts to IEE. Bioedit currently offers a 10% discount to authors citing submission to IEE when sending their manuscript for English editing.

Text. The following general guidelines for the text should be followed:All pages should be double-spaced with 12 point font (including figure legends and table titles)

  • Use 1 inch margins on all sides; please do not use right margin justification or hyphenation
  • Number all pages starting with the title page
  • Include line numbers for all pages of text
  • Define all symbols, abbreviations, and acronyms the first time they are used
  • Italicize scientific names

Manuscripts should be assembled in the following order: title page, abstract and key words, text with tables/figures at first mention, acknowledgements, references. Specific details about each section are provided below (for general style and layout, please refer to published articles from the recent Table of Contents).

Title Page

Provide a concise, informative title that contains keywords appropriate for search and retrieval purposes List of Authors For each author, give a relevant address (i.e. institutional affiliation). Each author's email address should be a footnote at the bottom of the title page

Abstract and Key Words

An abstract is required at submission for a New Idea, Commentary, or submission to the Future of Publishing section, and may be used to advertise the manuscript to potential referees. In the event that a New Idea is accepted, the abstract will be published with the article. In the event that a Commentary or Future of Publishing submission is accepted, the abstract may, or not be published with the article, at the discretion of the Editor and/or authors, and depending on the degree of overlap with the body of the article. Abstracts should be no longer than 300 words, and should provide a summary of the idea/commentary presented in the article. Literature citation should not be included. Key Words follow the abstract with a list of no more than six key words or short phrases, which may include words from the manuscript title.

Body of the Article
The body of the article should be structured with meaningful subtitles that assist in the flow of the text, where appropriate. Figures and tables should be included in the text at first mention.

Formatting of subtitles should be as follows: first-order title: lower case text with first word capitalized, bold type, left justified second-order title: lower case text with first word capitalized, bold type, italicized, left justified

Illustrations. Manuscripts should normally have no more than 3 figures/tables combined. All figures and tables should be embedded in the text near to where they are first mentioned, and numbered in order of their citation in the text. Illustrations that are effective in providing a visual summary or integration of concepts that are central to the arguments in support of the idea/commentary are especially encouraged.

Tables should supplement, but not duplicate the text. Each table should be accompanied by a short descriptive title, located at the top of the table. The first two words of the table title should be the table name (i.e., Table 1.). Avoid the use of vertical or horizontal lines, unless necessary to avoid ambiguity. To speed the publication process in the event that the manuscript is accepted, please provide all tables in an editable format.

Figures should each be accompanied by a figure legend which describes the figure, located below the figure. The first two words of the figure legend should be the figure name (i.e., Figure 1). Figure legends should be separate text, not incorporated into the figure itself, and in an editable format. Text within figures must be in Arial font.
Most figures will be reduced to single-column width for publication as a PDF; text and images in a figure should be legible at that size, if possible. For black or gray scale images, resolution should be 600 dpi; for colour images, resolution should be 300 dpi.

Acknowledgements. Acknowledgements should be a brief statement at the end of the body of text.

References. Reference citation should be kept to a minimum and used only to place the idea/commentary in the context of established theory or current trends in the discipline. ‘Review' papers will not be published.

Please check every citation in the text against the References section to see that they match exactly. References should be arranged alphabetically on authors' names, and chronologically per author. Journal titles should be spelled out completely.

In the text, citations should be constructed as follows:

One author: (Ireland 1994)
Two authors: (Smith and Jones 2001)
More than two authors: (Budden et al. 2008)
Several citations: (Ireland 1994, Smith and Jones 2001)
Reference to page numbers: (Ireland 1994: 131)

Formatting of the References should follow the examples provided below:

Journal article

Budden, A.E., Tregenza, T., Aarssen, L.W., Koricheva, J.K., Leimu, R. and C.J. Lortie. 2008. Double-blind review favours increased representation of female authors. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 23: 4-6.

For articles with more than 6 authors, please list the first 6 authors (as illustrated above), followed by 'et al'.


Lomolino, M.V., Riddle, B.R., and J.H. Brown. 2006. Biogeography. 3rd edition. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, Massachusetts, USA.

Chapter in book

Aarssen, L.W. 2005. On size, fecundity, and fitness in competing plants. Pages 215-244 in Reekie, E.G., and F.A. Bazzaz, editors. Reproductive allocation in plants. Elsevier, San Diego, USA.

Response to Referees

If a manuscript is accepted for publication, referees for the manuscript have the opportunity to submit a response paper that details their views on the original manuscript. In the event that one or both referees submit a response paper, the author of the original manuscript is required to include a Response to Referees section in the original article that addresses the referee's comments. The Response to Referee must not exceed 1500 words in length.

Each response to a referee should be included as a separate section, with the heading "Response to Referee", immediately following the References section of the original article. References cited in the Response to Referee should be listed directly following the Response to Referee; reference format should follow the specifications outlined above.

The Process From Submission To Publication

  • A submitted manuscript is initially screened by the Editor to determine whether all manuscript specifications have been met. Manuscripts which fail to meet these specifications will be returned to the authors immediately, with an indication of what needs to be corrected before the manuscript can be reviewed.
  • If the Editor judges that the manuscript has met all specifications, two referees will be assigned to review the manuscript, using the standard review form, following the review process described in Instructions For Reviewers.
  • If the manuscript is accepted, authors will be sent a copy of the Publication Agreement, and instructions on how to submit the publication fee. The Publication Agreement must be signed by the corresponding author, and mailed back to the journal. Once the publication fee payment has been received, preparation of the manuscript for publication will begin.
  • The copyeditor will prepare a proof of the article; authors may be contacted during this time should any questions arise about typesetting in the article. The proof will be sent to the authors for review. This proof, together with any required corrections indicated, must be returned to the Journal Manager within 24 hours, or publication date may be delayed.
  • The final article will be published within 5 days of receipt of both the returned proofs and signed Publication Agreement.
  • Authors will receive a PDF copy of their article by email, as soon as it is available. As Ideas in Ecology and Evolution is a completely online journal, this PDF can serve as a reprint.


Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.

  1. submission is provided as a Word document, with extension ".doc" or ".docx".

  2. submission includes either: (i) two signed ADPR forms, faxed, mailed or uploaded during the online submission process; OR, (ii) the names, affiliations, and contact information (email addresses) of at least 3 potential referees—entered as a Comment for the Editor during the online submission process.

  3. submission fulfills the five core criteria as outlined in the Author Guidelines.

  4. the submitted work has not been published before in a peer-reviewed journal or book (pre-print or earlier blog posting is fine), is not being considered for publication (unless using the ADPR system) in any other peer-reviewed journal (book is fine), and has been read and approved by all authors.

  5. the author(s) understand that, by submitting a manuscript, they automatically agree to terms stipulated in the Copyright Notice if and when the manuscript is accepted for publication.

  6. the manuscript (including text, figures and tables) is formatted according to the specifications indicated under Author Guidelines.

  7. the first language of the corresponding author is English; or if not, then the manuscript has been edited carefully by a qualified English-speaking editorial consultant.


Copyright Notice

Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:

  • Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
  • Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
  • Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).


Privacy Statement

The names and email addresses entered in this journal site will be used exclusively for the stated purposes of this journal and will not be made available for any other purpose or to any other party.


Author Fees

This journal charges the following author fees.

Publication Fee: 200.00 (CAD)
The Publication fee is 100.00 (CAD) using the ADPR system; or 200.00 (CAD) using the conventional peer-review system. The flat-rate fee for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows—as sole authors—is $50 (CAD). This fee is required to cover handling costs associated with the production of proofs, copy-editing, publication, account management, DOI registration, web maintenance, etc.