Preparing your manuscript

Authors should read through these author guidelines and notes about how to prepare a manuscript for submission, as well as the publishing policies, before submitting to the journal.


Once you are ready to submit, please ensure that you have signed into MyScienceOpen with your ORCID.

Submit here

Author guidelines

We place very few restrictions on the way authors prepare their manuscript for submission and it is not necessary to try to replicate the published format of the journal (this is not a good use of a researcher’s time). In order to submit, we ask only that you consider your cross-disciplinary readers and reviewers by supplying a cover letter as first page to summarise your manuscript in a clear, generic and readable manner, and expressing possible ramifications for other areas of study.

We aim to post the preprint of your manuscript directly online in the format you provide, should it be approved by the Editor. The following can be used as a checklist to ensure that the manuscript has all the information necessary for successful review and publication (please also consider page and continuous line numbers):


  • Covering letter to the Editor as first page (see below section on how to write a covering letter)
  • Abstract (up to 250 words).
  • Keywords (up to 10 keywords).
  • Main body of text (e.g. Introduction, Materials, Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusions).
  • All abbreviations are defined.
  • Notes
    Use endnotes, not footnotes, for any additional notes and information. These appear at the end of the main text, before References. All notes should be used only where crucial clarifying information needs to be conveyed.
  • Tables, Figures and Figure captions
    These can be included within the text or can be deposited into a data repository and cited in text. For supporting or supplementary information and data, see below.
  • Funding and Acknowledgement statements
    All sources of funding for the research reported should be declared, including any project codes.
  • Authorship Contribution
    Authors are required to include an authorship statement in their article to outline how each author contributed to the article, after any acknowledgements in the article.
  • Data availability statement (see below).
  • Declarations and Conflict of Interests statementClearly state the following in the article as sub headings:
    • Conflicts of Interest
      Clearly declare any possible conflicts of interest, including but not limited to financial and non-financial competing interests. Where there are no conflicts of interests or competing interests, authors must clearly declare this under the same heading. For further information, please refer to the journal’s Editorial Policy
    • Ethics Approval
      Authors are required to show in their articles that they have received ethical approval for their research from all relevant institutional review boards and that they have followed appropriate personal data protection regulations (e.g. EU General Data Protection Regulation and the UK Data Protection Act 2018) in the handling of personal data. Where such committees do not operate, authors are responsible for providing evidence of their adherence to relevant ethical guidelines for the subject. Where ethics approval is not needed a statement should be included to declare this.
    • Consent for publication
      For all articles involving human subjects, including any images, videos, and any other personal and identifiable information, authors must have secured informed consent to participate in the study and to publication before submitting to the journal, and a statement declaring this must be included in the article.
  • Supporting Information (including supplementary information and appendices, see below)
  • A full reference list.

Article types

Find more information about what you can submit for publication at

Covering letter

To better engage all users and consumers of research, we ask authors to include a covering letter attached as first page to the manuscript PDF file to demonstrate how the contribution may improve and add to the corpus of knowledge in the field and to clarify the subject base and link to the focus of environment (i.e. how do you meet the scope of environment related research). This statement should be written in language suitable for non-discipline experts and the wider public to understand.

The cover letter should also include the following information:

  • Summarize the papers contribution to the scientific literature;
  • Relate the study to other previously published work;
  • Specify the type of article (for example, research article, open commentary, data note, systematic review, etc).

Please do not include any preferred or opposed reviewer information in the letter. If you do not include a covering letter or a statement of robustness, you may be requested to include it before proceeding with peer review.

Data availability statement

UCL Open: Environment strongly encourages authors to make all data and datasets on which the conclusions of the manuscript rely to be publicly available either in publicly open repositories (where available and appropriate) or presented in the main paper in machine-readable format (such as formatted tables rather than flat images) whenever possible.

Authors are encouraged to follow the FAIR data principles – to make data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Re-usable. Further information and guidance on these principles is outlined at

Authors must clearly state in their manuscript where their data are made available at time of submission. In circumstances where ethical and legal issues dictate any restrictions on sharing data (including research using personal data), a statement to this effect must be included for clarity. Where a widely established research community expectation for data archiving in public repositories exists, submission to a community-endorsed, public repository is mandatory. Persistent identifiers (such as DOIs and accession numbers) for relevant data must be provided in the manuscript.

During submission, authors are required to confirm the data availability statement to indicate how fellow researchers can access their software and data and link to data sets in repositories. Read more about the journals open data policy at

Supporting Information

Data or information should not be submitted as supplementary information alongside the manuscript, but instead be included either as an appendix to the manuscript that forms part of the paper or deposited into a publicly available repository, depending on the type of data or information concerned.

Where supporting information is included in the article that has no persistent identifier (for example, a Google survey), authors may be requested to deposit the information into a relevant data repository to ensure persistent access, have it registered to a DOI, and cite the DOI in the article.


UCL Open: Environment follows the ‘Vancouver’ system for referencing and citation.

We do not generally require authors to format their manuscripts in this style for peer review, so long as references and citations are written in a clear, concise, and complete manner. If editorially accepted, the manuscript will go through the production process and reference and citation formatting will be applied. See here for a guide to the Vancouver reference system.

English language

All publications in the journal are in English (UK). In order to facilitate rigorous and high-quality peer review, all manuscripts should be submitted with a high and coherent level of English. Should you require help when writing your manuscript, a native English-speaking colleague may be well suited to help edit the level of English language in the manuscript. You may also want to consider using a professional English-language editing service to improve the level of English .

Please note that using professional English-language editing services does not guarantee manuscript acceptance in the journal, and you may be charged for these services.

Image permissions and copyright

Please ensure that where any copyrighted image or figure is used in the manuscript, appropriate permission to reuse in an open access journal publication has been obtained in writing and signed by the copyright holder. Please contact teh Editorial Office with any questions at

UCL Press house style

For general information about UCL Press and journal publication house style, see the list below or contact UCL Press for any questions or comments.


Authors should consistently adopt British spelling conventions (except in quotations from other sources, where the spelling convention of the original should be retained – for example World Health Organization).


Systems should consistently follow British conventions (except in quotations from other sources, where the punctuation convention of the original should be retained). British style uses single inverted commas, except for quotations within quotations (which have double inverted commas).

Punctuation should follow closing inverted commas (except for grammatically complete sentences beginning with a capital).


Please consult the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) for guidance. Hyphenation must be used consistently throughout your text.


Spaced en dashes – not em dashes or hyphens – should be used. Use en dashes rather than hyphens for page ranges, e.g.11–12, 22–29.

Contractions and abbreviations

If you need to use them please write in full at the first appearance with the abbreviation in brackets. You may repeat an abbreviation if it reappears later in your article.

Abbreviations are usually expressed without full stops, e.g. GNP, USA, PhD
In British style contractions have no full points (e.g. Mr, St, edn), though abbreviated words, which do not end with their final letter, will (e.g. vol., vols., ed., eds.)


Keep capitalisation to a minimum and use only for proper nouns and formal names of organisations, etc.

Numbers and dates

Spell out numbers up to but not including 10. Elide numbers to minimum digits, e.g. 233–4; dates, e.g. 1993–4. Do not elide in titles and headings.

Centuries should be written as words not numbers, e.g. eighteenth century.

Hyphenate if used as an adjective, e.g. eighteenth-century masterpiece.

Dates as British usage: 18 August 2015.

Use of italics and bold

Use both minimally. Use italics rather than bold for emphasising words within the text.

Use italics for the following: Book and journal titles, newspaper titles, film titles, play titles, stage directions, foreign words/phrases (that are not in common usage), song titles, etc.


Quotations should be indicated by single quotation marks but use double quotation marks for quotations within quotations. Indent quotations of more than 50 words. Quotations should remain exactly as they are in the original.


Should be omitted before the final ‘and’ or ‘or’ in lists unless the meaning is ambiguous.

Acceptable language

Please be sensitive in use of terms that might cause offence or be interpreted as racist or sexist; for example, avoid gender-specific pronouns where possible.