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Earth System Science Data The data publishing journal
Journal topic

Manuscript preparation guidelines for authors

The following sections provide guidelines on how to prepare and compose your manuscript. Please follow these standards to ensure a smooth peer-review and production process. When preparing your manuscript, please also refer to the manuscript-type-specific guidelines.

If you or your institute plans a press release or some other promotional work on your paper, please inform Media and Communications at Copernicus ( before. We may be able to assist you and help distribute your work further.

Technical instructions for LaTeX

Technical instructions for MS Word and compatible formats

Technical instructions for R Markdown

Manuscript composition

For the review process a *.pdf file of the complete manuscript is required following the standards for sectioning and structure (see below). Tables and figures should be included in the text. All pages must be numbered consecutively and line numbers must be included.

  • Sectioning and structure:
    1. Title page
    2. Abstract
    3. Copyright statement (will be included by Copernicus)
    4. Introduction
    5. Sections
    6. Data availability
    7. Conclusions
    8. Sample availability
    9. Video supplement
    10. Appendices
    11. Supplement link (will be included by Copernicus)
    12. Team list
    13. Author contribution
    14. Competing interests
    15. Disclaimer
    16. Special issue statement (will be included by Copernicus)
    17. Acknowledgements
    18. References
  • Title page: Title (concise but informative), author first and last names, full institutional addresses of all authors, and correspondence email for proofs. Deceased co-authors should be marked accordingly, and an affiliation is not required.
  • Abstract: The abstract should be intelligible to the general reader without reference to the text. After a brief introduction of the topic, the summary recapitulates the key points of the article and mentions possible directions for prospective research. Abbreviations should not be included without explanations. Please include the DOI(s) to the referenced data set(s) as well as the citation(s).
  • Sections: The headings of all sections, including introduction, results, discussions or summary must be numbered. Three levels of sectioning are allowed, e.g. 3, 3.1, and 3.1.1. The abbreviation "Sect." should be used when it appears in running text and should be followed by a number unless it comes at the beginning of a sentence.
  • Footnotes: These should be avoided, as they tend to disrupt the flow of the text. If absolutely necessary, they should be numbered consecutively. Footnotes to tables should be marked by lowercase letters.
  • Equations: They should be referred to by the abbreviation "Eq." and the respective number in parentheses, e.g. "Eq. (14)". However, when the reference comes at the beginning of a sentence, the unabbreviated word "Equation" should be used, e.g.: "Equation (14) is very important for the results; however, Eq. (15) makes it clear that..."
  • Reproduction and reuse of figures, maps, and tables: authors must secure the right to reproduce any material that has already been published or copyrighted elsewhere, and corresponding citations must be included in the text as well as in the captions. If distribution licences other than CC BY are applied, corresponding statements must be included in the captions. If applicable, maps from map providers such as Google Maps or OpenStreetMap used in manuscripts must include the required copyright and distribution licence statements of the map provider. Authors must adhere to the individual redistribution permissions. The copyright and distribution licences of such maps must be visible in the maps themselves.
  • Figure composition: It is important for the production process that separate figures are submitted. Composite figures containing multiple panels should be collected into one file before submission. The figures should be labelled correctly with Arabic numerals (e.g. fig01, fig02). They can be submitted in *.pdf, *.ps, *.eps, *.jpg, *.png, or *.tif format and should have a resolution of 300 dpi. The width should not be less than 8 cm. A legend should clarify all symbols used and should appear in the figure itself, rather than verbal explanations in the captions (e.g. "dashed line" or "open green circles"). Tips for producing high-quality line graphics:
    1. The first choice should be vector graphics in *.eps or *.pdf format. Fonts must be embedded. Please make sure that the *.pdf files do not contain hidden objects. If you want to adjust fonts in your original figure file before converting into *.pdf, please make sure that you change the actual font of the original figure rather than adding text boxes or other additional layers.
    2. Please use only one font family in your figures (e.g. Arial or Times). Keep in mind that the usage of regular, italic, bold, and bold-italic of one font family already leads to four different fonts that must be embedded or adjusted by our image processors in case of text corrections within figures.
    3. If the processing of your vector figures requires an exceptional amount of time due to multiple fonts or hidden objects, we reserve the right to convert your *.eps or *.pdf figures into *.png files for the further production process.
    4. If the usage of vector graphics is not possible, a bitmap image should be saved in a "non-lossy" format (e.g. *.png). A high quality is recommended. It is always possible to reduce the size of the figure later.
    5. The *.jpg format should only be used for photos. It is not suitable for sharp edges. Note that it is not advisable to convert a *.jpg file back to *.png. If *.jpg files must be used please save them with high quality.
    6. If you are not able to fulfil the above-mentioned criteria, it is also possible to submit figures produced with Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign in the original file format. Our image processors will then produce the figures from these source files.
    7. For maps and charts, please keep colour blindness in mind and avoid the parallel usage of green and red. For a list of colour scales that are illegible to a significant number of readers, please visit ColorBrewer 2.0.

    The abbreviation "Fig." should be used when it appears in running text and should be followed by a number unless it comes at the beginning of a sentence, e.g.: "The results are depicted in Fig. 5. Figure 9 reveals that...".

  • Figure content guidelines: In order to facilitate consistency with our language and typesetting guidelines applied to the text of the manuscript, please keep the following in mind when producing your figures:
    1. Labels of panels must be included with brackets around letters being lower case (e.g. (a), (b), etc.).
    2. Ranges need an en dash and no spaces between start and end (e.g. 1–10, Jan–Feb).
    3. Coordinates need a degree sign and a space when naming the direction (e.g. 30° N, 25° E).
    4. Spaces must be included between number and unit (e.g. 1 %, 1 m).
    5. Units must be written exponentially (e.g. W m–2).
    6. Common abbreviations to be applied: hour as h (not hr), kilometre as km, metre as m.
    7. Capitalization: only the first word is capitalized in headers (in addition to proper nouns). More guidelines are provided in section English guidelines and house standards.
    8. Maps: please adhere to United Nations naming conventions for maps used in your manuscript. In order to depoliticize scientific articles, authors should avoid the drawing of borders or use of contested topographical names. The editors reserve the right to insert the label "under dispute" if contested borders are presented. If disputed territories are relevant for your map, please make sure that the figure caption stays neutral as well as the legend and labelling within your map.
  • Figure captions: Each illustration should have a concise but descriptive caption. The abbreviations used in the figure must be defined, unless they are common abbreviations or have already been defined in the text. Figure captions should be included in the text file and not in the figure files.
  • File size: Authors are kindly asked to find the best balance between the quality of figures and submitted material on the one hand, and a manageable file size on the other hand. Individual figures in the *.pdf format should not exceed 2 MB, file types other than *.pdf should not exceed 5 MB per figure, and the overall size of all submitted files, excluding supplements, should not exceed 30 MB.
  • Plot data: Authors are encouraged to put the data needed to create the plots, which are included in the manuscript, in a supplement to the published article (see below). Then, reviewers and readers are able to reproduce the plots.
  • Tables: Any tables should appear on separate sheets after the references and should be numbered sequentially with Arabic numerals. For the production of the accepted manuscript, they should be submitted as MS WORD or included in the LaTeX file. Tables submitted as a PDF or an image file cannot be processed. Tables should be self-explanatory and include a concise, yet sufficiently descriptive caption. Horizontal lines should normally only appear above and below the table, and as a separator between the head and the main body of the table. Please note that the word "Table" is never abbreviated and should be capitalized when followed by a number (e.g. Table 4).
  • Data sets: The data sets described in the manuscript need to be deposited in reliable data repositories including the assignment of digital object identifiers. Authors are required to properly cite the data sets in the abstract, text, and the reference list (see section References below). In addition, authors are required to provide a statement on how their research data can be accessed. This must be mentioned in the abstract and placed as the section "Data availability" at the end of the manuscript before the conclusions. Please see also our data policy.
  • Video supplements and video abstracts: authors are encouraged to upload videos associated with their manuscript to the TIB AV-Portal for archiving and DOI registration, facilitating proper citation of the videos in their manuscript. Please find more information in the dedicated section below.
  • Sample availability: if geoscientific samples which are registered as International Geo Sample Number (IGSN) have been used for the manuscript, authors are required to include the IGSN in the reference list, cite it in the article, and provide a statement on how to access the sample by adding a section "Sample availability" to the manuscript.
  • Appendices: These should be labelled with capital letters: Appendix A, Appendix B etc. Equations, figures and tables should be numbered as (A1), Fig. B5 or Table C6, respectively. Please keep in mind that appendices are part of the manuscript whereas supplements (see below) are published along with the manuscript.
  • Supplement:
    1. Authors have the opportunity to submit supplementary material with their manuscript, such as additional figures and tables, plot data, movies, animations, highly detailed and specific technical information, such as computer programme code, user manuals, maps, very large images, etc.
    2. The supplement shall contain only complementary information but no scientific interpretations or findings/messages that would go beyond the contents of the manuscript.
    3. Supplements will receive their own DOI (digital object identifier) and will be published online along with the article as *.zip archive or single *.pdf file.
    4. Supplements will receive a title page added during the publication process including title ("Supplement of"), authors, and the correspondence email. Therefore, please avoid providing this information in the supplement.
    5. Equations, figures and tables in supplements should be numbered as (S1), Fig. S5 or Table S6. Sections are numbered as S3, S3.1, and S3.1.1.
    6. The overall file size of a supplement is limited to 50 MB. Authors of larger supplements are kindly asked to submit their files to a reliable data repository and to insert a link in the manuscript. Ideally, this linkage is realized through DOIs.
  • Author contribution: Authors are required to add a section "Author contribution" before the acknowledgements in which the contributions of all co-authors are briefly described. Example: AA and BB designed the experiments and CC carried them out. DD developed the model code and performed the simulations. AA prepared the manuscript with contributions from all co-authors.
  • Competing interests: Declaration of all potential conflicts of interest is required by Copernicus Publications as this is an integral aspect of a transparent record of scientific work. Please see our competing interests policy.
    1. If there are no competing interests in their submitted manuscripts, authors should state: "The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest."
    2. If there are possible conflicts of interest, authors must state what competing interests are relevant to the submitted work: "Author A is a member of the editorial board of the journal. Author B has received research funding from Company Y. Author C is a member of committee Z."
  • Review criteria: While preparing their manuscript, authors are kindly requested to consider the manuscript review criteria to meet the quality standards and to reduce the peer-review processing time.


Mathematical notation and terminology

English guidelines and house standards

Author's response

Video supplements and video abstracts