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)
  • 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.
  • Funding and Acknowledgement statements – All sources of funding for the research reported should be declared, including any project codes.
  • Data availability statement (see below).
  • Declarations and Conflict of Interests statement – Where there are no conflicts of interests or competing interests, authors must clearly declare this under the same heading – usually as ‘The authors declare no conflicts of interest with this work’. For further information, please refer to the Editorial Policies.
  • A full reference list.

Article types

Find more information about what you can submit for publication at http://ucl-about.scienceopen.com/article-type-descriptions

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.

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 https://www.force11.org/group/fairgroup/fairprinciples 

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 https://ucl-about.scienceopen.com/open-data


Note on supplementary 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.


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 uclopen.environment@ucl.ac.uk

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.