Guidelines for Authors

Manuscript will be carefully scrutinized for evidence of plagiarism, duplication and data manipulation; in particular, images will be carefully examined for any indication of intentional improper modification.

Any suspected misconduct ends up with a quick rejection and is then reported to the US Office of Research Integrity.

Ensure that your work is written in correct English before submission. Professional copyediting can help authors improve the presentation of their work and increase its chances of being taken on by a publisher. In case you feel that your manuscript would benefit from an English language copyediting checking language grammar and style, you can find a reliable revision service at:

The Corresponding Author must submit the manuscript online-only through our Manuscript Submission System.

Authors are kindly invited to suggest potential reviewers (names, affiliations and email addresses) for their manuscript, if they wish.

Manuscript preparation

Should be saved and submitted as a single WORD file containing the full text, references, tables and figures. In case of acceptance, original text and figures must be provided for publication.
Original Articles: should normally be divided into an abstract, introduction, materials and methods, results, discussion and references. The abstract should contain a maximum of 400 words. A maximum of 20 authors is permitted, and additional authors should be listed in an ad hoc appendix.
Review Articles: no particular format is required for these articles. However, they should have an informative, unstructured abstract of about 250 words. Reviews may also include meta-analyses, guidelines and consensus papers by scientific societies or working groups. These studies must be conducted following proper, widely accepted ad hoc procedures.
Short Communications: are articles with a simple layout and containing limited data (no more than two figures or tables) and a small number of citations (not more than 25). They should be limited to 2,000 words of text (figure captions, table headings and references lists are additional to this limit).
Letters to the editor: should be from 250 to 1,000 words in length. Authors of letters to the editor should provide a short title for their letter.

IMPORTANT! Checklist for Authors submitting manuscript to the Italian Journal of Agronomy

Editors will NOT send to reviewers most articles that will not be compliant to the following suggestions:

  1. Title:
    1. try to avoid titles like e.g. "Effects of nitrification inhibitors on nitrate leaching in maize" or including the name of the specific geographic area where the research was done.
    2. Titles should reveal clearly what are the main findings of the study e.g. in the form of a strong statement like e.g. "Nitrification inhibitors are not effective in preventing nitrate leaching in maize cropping systems".
    3. Relevant keywords ideally should appear within the first 65 characters of the title: this will improve the search engine discoverability.
    4. keep your title as short as possible, moving details to the first or second sentence of the abstract.
  2. Highlights: please add up to 5 bullet points summarizing the main outcomes of the article in the form of statements possibly avoiding any non-standard abbreviation.
  3. Key words:
    1. choose your key words carefully so that they are easily recognized worldwide in the scientific domain. e.g. grassland is better than pasture; alfalfa is better than Lucerne. Check with search engines (e.g. Scholar) the occurrence of synonyms and prefer the word with higher occurrence.
    2. use common keywords, usually 1 word per keyword, rarely more than 2 words.
    3. double check that the keywords used in the title and in the keyword sections are also repeated (consistent) in the manuscript text.
  4. Abstract:
    1. place essential findings and keywords in the first two sentences of your abstract.
    2. repeat your relevant keywords 3-6 times in the abstract text to improve search engine discoverability.
  5. Introduction:
    1. please check that the introduction text clearly frames the main research questions of the proposed study into a wide international scientific debate, with updated references, mostly of the previous 5 years.
    2. for the experimental studies, include the hypothesis/es and objectives in the final part of the introduction.
  6. Results:
    1. double check the consistency of results in tables and figures.
    2. use the international system of units (SI).
    3. check that number approximation is adequate in relation to the magnitude; do not use more digits that are allowed by the accuracy of your measurements, even for derived statistics and computations.
    4. always provide some measure of variability for all experimental results, e.g. standard errors, coefficients of variation, least significant differences.
  7. Discussion:
    1. normally the discussion section is separated by the results section but this may not be a strict rule.
    2. please double check full consistency with hypotheses made in the introduction in the discussion structure.
    3. frame your results in the international scientific debate by possibly referring to most updated scientific literature.
    4. do not repeat results in the discussion section: just discuss them!
  8. Conclusions:
    1. provide clear answers to the research questions made by the study, possibly point by point.
    2. normally the conclusion section does NOT contain references.
    3. express clearly the boundaries and limitations of the study in relation to methodology used.
  9. References: double check that all citations are in the references and vice versa.

Style

The manuscripts should be double spaced with numbered lines and wide margins and should be arranged as follows.
Title page: including the full title, the name(s) of the author(s), their affiliation and the name of the corresponding author to whom proofs and requests for off-prints should be sent.
Main text: should be structured as explained in the checklist above.
Units: authors are recommended to use the International System of Units (SI).
Scientific names: common names of organisms should always be accompanied, when first cited, by their complete scientific name in italics (genus, species, attribution and, if appropriate, cultivar).
Formulae: mathematical formulae must be carefully typed, possibly using the equation editor of Microsoft Word; when a paper contains several equations they should be identified with a number in parentheses (e.g. Eq. 1). Please note that each accepted paper will undergo technical and scientific copyediting before publication.
Tables: tables are numbered consecutively in Arabic numbers without “no.” before the number. References should be made in the text to each table. The desired style of presentation can be found in published articles. Titles of tables should be descriptive enough to be able to stand alone. Do not present the same data in tabular and graphic form.
Figures: figures are numbered consecutively in Arabic numbers. References should be made in the text to each figure. Each figure should have a caption. The term "figure" is used also for graphs and photos. Symbols and abbreviations used in figures can be defined in the figure caption or note or within the figure itself. Please avoid the use of bold face or greater size for the characters. Symbols and abbreviations used in figures can be defined in the figure caption or note or within the figure itself.

The figures must be submitted as .tif or .jpg files, with the following digital resolution:

  1. Color (saved as CMYK): minimum 300 dpi.
  2. Black and white/grays: minimum 600 dpi
  3. Lettering of figures must be clearly labelled.

Movies can be submitted and uploaded as "Supplementary Files" during the manuscript submission procedure. Dimension should not exceed 5 MB.

References should be prepared strictly according to the instructions given below
The Journal follows the "author, year" style of citation. When a citation has one or two authors, cite the reference throughout using the name(s) and the date. When a citation has more than two authors, cite the reference throughout the text with et al. following the last name of the first author. When two or more references are included in a grouping within a sentence, they are arranged and separated by a semicolon. The first criterion is the year (former citations precede recent ones); multiple citations for a given year are further arranged alphabetically and multiple citations for the same initial letter are arranged as follows: first the citation with one author, secondly the citation with two authors, then the other (with et al.). When the same author has two references with different dates, cite them in chronological order, separating the dates with a comma; when the same author has two references with the same date, arrange the dates as a and b (also in the reference list) and separated by a comma. Journal titles mentioned in the reference list should be abbreviated according to the following websites (sequenced by relevance):

  1. ISI Journal Abbreviations Index (http://library.caltech.edu/reference/abbreviations)
  2. Biological Journals and Abbreviations (http://home.ncifcrf.gov/research/bja)
  • Example: (Foury, 1967, 1972; Burns et al., 1970; Allen et al., 1990; White et al., 1990a, 1990b; Basnizki and Zohary, 1994).

Citation should be made in the text to each reference. Citations are listed in strict alphabetical order by first author' last names. Use capital and lower case letters for authors' names. If all authors are identical for two or more citations, chronological order of publication should dictate the order of citations. When more than one paper in a given year is listed by authors whose names are in the same order in each paper, the papers are arranged in alphabetical order of the paper title. Use the following system to arrange your references:

  1. periodicals: Hennighausen LG, Sippel AE, 1982. Characterization and cloning of the mRNAs specific for the lactating mouse mammary gland. Eur. J. Biochem. 125:131-41.
  2. books: National Research Council, 2001. Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle. 7th rev. ed. National Academy Press, Washington, DC, USA.
  3. multi-authors books: Brouwer I, 1965. Report of the sub-committee on constants and factors. In: K.L. Blaxter (ed.) Energy metabolism. EAAP Publ. N. 11, Academic Press Ltd., London, UK, pp 441-3.
  4. proceedings: Rossi A, Bianchi B, 1998. How writing the references. Proc. 4th World Congr. Appl. Livest. Prod., Armidale, Australia, 26:44-6. (Or 44, if one page) - Blanco P, Nigro B, 1970. Not numbered volumes. Page 127 (or pp 12-18) in Proc. 3rd Int. Conf. Cattle Dis., Philadelphia, PA, USA.
  5. thesis: Rossi P, 1999. Stima di parametri genetici nella razza Reggiana. Degree Diss., Università di Milano, Italy.
  6. material from a World Wide Web site: Food and Drug Administration, 2001. Available from: http://www.fda.gov.
  7. in press: Manuscripts that have been accepted for publication but are not yet published can be listed in the literature cited with the designation (In press) following the journal title.
  8. other: Citations such as personal communication, unpublished data, etc. should be incorporated in the text and NOT placed into the Reference section.

Peer-review policy

All manuscripts submitted to our journal are critically assessed by external and/or in-house experts in accordance with the principles of peer review, which is fundamental to the scientific publication process and the dissemination of sound science. Each paper is first assigned by the Editors to an appropriate Associate Editor who has knowledge of the field discussed in the manuscript. The first step of manuscript selection takes place entirely in-house and has two major objectives: i) to establish the article appropriateness for our journals readership; ii) to define the manuscript priority ranking relative to other manuscripts under consideration, since the number of papers that the journal receives is much greater than it can publish. If a manuscript does not receive a sufficiently high priority score to warrant publication, the editors will proceed to a quick rejection. The remaining articles are reviewed by at least two different external referees (second step or classical peer review). Manuscripts should be prepared according to the Uniform Requirements established by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).

Authorship
All persons designated as authors should qualify for authorship according to the ICMJE criteria. Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for the content. Authorship credit should only be based on substantial contributions to i) conception and design, or analysis and interpretation of data; and to ii) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and on iii) final approval of the version to be published. These three conditions must all be met. Participation solely in the acquisition of funding or the collection of data does not justify authorship. General supervision of the research group is not sufficient for authorship. Any part of an article critical to its main conclusions must be the responsibility of at least one author. Authors should provide a brief description of their individual contributions.

Changes in Authorship
If authors request removal or addition of an author after manuscript submission or during the peer-review process or at article acceptance, the journal editors should receive a letter clearly explaining the reason for the change.  Authors are also requested to sign and send to the Editors a statement of agreement for the requested change from all listed authors and from the author to be removed or added. No changes to the Authors or Corresponding Author can be made after publication of the article, either as an “Advance Online Article” or in the regular issue. Instead, a corrigendum may be considered by the journal editor.


Obligation to Register Clinical Trials
The ICMJE believes that it is important to foster a comprehensive, publicly available database of clinical trials. The ICMJE defines a clinical trial as any research project that prospectively assigns human subjects to intervention or concurrent comparison or control groups to study the cause-and-effect relationship between a medical intervention and a health outcome. Medical interventions include drugs, surgical procedures, devices, behavioral treatments, process-of-care changes, etc. Our journals require, as a condition of consideration for publication, registration in a public trials registry. The journal considers a trial for publication only if it has been registered before the enrollment of the first patient. The journal does not advocate one particular registry, but requires authors to register their trial in a registry that meets several criteria. The registry must be accessible to the public at no charge. It must be open to all prospective registrants and managed by a non-profit organization. There must be a mechanism to ensure the validity of the registration data, and the registry should be electronically searchable. An acceptable registry must include a minimum of data elements (http://www.icmje.org/about-icmje/faqs/clinical-trials-registration/). For example, ClinicalTrials.gov (http://www.clinicaltrials.gov), sponsored by the United States National Library of Medicine, meets these requirements.

Protection of Human Subjects and Animals in Research
When reporting experiments on human subjects, authors should indicate whether the procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2013. If doubt exists whether the research was conducted in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration, the authors must explain the rationale for their approach and demonstrate that the institutional review body explicitly approved the doubtful aspects of the study. When reporting experiments on animals, authors should indicate whether institutional and national standards for the care and use of laboratory animals were followed. Further guidance on animal research ethics is available from the World Medical Association (2016 revision).
When reporting experiments on ecosystems involving non-native species, Authors are bound to ensure compliance with the institutional and national guide for the preservation of native biodiversity.