Preparing your manuscript

We place very few restrictions on the way authors prepare their manuscript for submission (beyond the requirement of a Data Accessibility Statement and a supporting statement of robustness) and it is not necessary to try to replicate the published format of the megajournal (this is not a good use of a researcher’s time). In order to submit, we ask only that you consider your reviewers by supplying your manuscript in a clear, generic and readable layout (for example, page and continuous line numbers are always useful) and ensuring that all relevant sections are included (see below). 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:

  • Abstract (up to 250 words).
  • Keywords (up to 10 keywords).
  • Statement of robustness (see below).
  • Main body of text (e.g. Introduction, Materials, Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusions).
  • All abbreviations are defined.
  • A full Reference list/Bibliography.
  • 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).
  • Funding and Acknowledgement statements – All sources of funding for the research reported should be declared, including any project codes.
  • Open Data and Materials 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.

Statement of robustness

We believe that research is best served in an engaged and multi-discipline environment; rarely can the most interesting questions or the most significant societal challenges be adequately addressed by one discipline, one university or one sector alone. While disciplinary excellence is at the heart of every publishing practice, to amplify and inform research we need to cross conventional (and often artificial) boundaries – between disciplines, between communities (disciplinary, academic and otherwise) and between different kinds of activity – in order to increase engagement and develop co-design and co-production approaches to research and complex societal problems.

To better engage all users and consumers of research, we ask authors to include a short statement of robustness of no more than 250 words, 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.

This statement should be a separate heading and not part of the abstract – please refer to the heading layout guidelines above or contact the Editors for further information and advice. If you do not include this statement, you may be requested to include it before proceeding with peer review.

Submission statement

Upon submitting, the manuscript is considered under review for possible publication on the condition that it is submitted solely to UCL Open: Environment and that the manuscript or a substantial portion of it is not under consideration and has not been published elsewhere.

Article types & descriptions

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

Ethical obligations of authors and contributors

To contribute the highest quality article to UCL Open: Environment, we expect authors to adhere to our Publishing Policies as stated online at
https://ucl-about.scienceopen.com/editorial-policies, as well as to show the following:

  1. Present a precise and accurate account of the research performed and a clear, objective discussion of its robustness to demonstrate how the contribution may improve and add to the corpus of knowledge.
  2. Include sufficient detail and reference to sources of information in a manuscript to permit peers to repeat the work. If there are any limitations on use of or access to data, these must be clearly reported in the data availability statement.
  3. Identify sources of all information and cite those publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the reported work and that guide the reader quickly to these primary sources and other previous works essential for understanding the presented investigation. Information obtained privately (e.g. in conversation or correspondence) should not be used or reported without explicit permission from the source. Proper credit should always be given to holders of indigenous knowledge.
  4. Carefully document all methodology, assumptions and uncertainty.
  5. Follow the most recent acknowledged governing standards for ethics of work performed on/with human, animal, or plant subjects.
  6. Never plagiarise the work of others or your own work and always provide appropriate citation.
  7. Avoid unnecessary fragmentation or redundant publication of research reports to artificially increase the number of publications.
  8. Never include personal criticism in a written piece of work.
  9. Report to the Editor any changes made to the manuscript after acceptance.
  10. Reveal to the Editor any potential conflict of interest that might be affected by publication of the results contained in a manuscript or in the development of the research.
  11. In the role of corresponding author, ensure that all co-authors are fully cognisant of the steps and changes in the manuscript during the review and that all authors agree to the final version of the manuscript before publication.

Open Data and Materials Availability statement

UCL Open: Environment strongly encourages authors to make all data and materials 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 or additional supporting files, in machine-readable format (such as spread sheets rather than PDFs) 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 is 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 datasets must be provided in the manuscript.

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.

English language

All publications 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 UCL Press with any questions at uclpresspublishing@ucl.ac.uk


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.

House styles

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.

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.