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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Information for Authors

Submission Guidelines

Anyone may submit an original manuscript to San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science. SFEWS accepts manuscripts in a variety of categories as described in the Aims and Scope. Clearly written manuscripts with broad application have the best chance for publication. Authors should place the topic addressed into the context of what is known within and beyond California's borders, including citation and discussion of the relevant literature. Further, authors should establish the relevance and importance of the topic for the communities of scientists, resource managers, and policymakers who may be interested. Laboratory, modeling, and methodological studies must demonstrate relevance to natural environments, especially to the San Francisco Bay, Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, its watershed, and adjacent coastal ocean. Coordinators of a series of papers on a related topic may submit them as an edited volume (e.g., Volume 10, Issue 3). Before compiling the volume, coordinators should submit a proposal to the Editor-in-Chief. The proposal should describe the intellectual issues addressed and how the work will advance the broader understanding of the Bay–Delta, its watershed, and adjacent coastal ocean.

Information for Authors

San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science is a "gold" open-access publication. As such, we do not charge article processing charges (APCs) or submission charges. Because there are no publication charges collected, SFEWS does not carry a waiver policy for developing countries or authors from developing countries. SFEWS has chosen to publish all articles under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License, in which authors will retain copyright of the work.

In the long-standing tradition of scholarly publication, SFEWS occasionally makes available the peer-reviewed and accepted version of the scientific findings to interested parties (e.g., peer reviewers, resource managers, policy-makers, public information officers, etc.) before the journal’s official publication date. To ensure responsible coverage of technical topics, these are made available with the express understanding that general coverage may occur only after the publication is released. Refer to our Policies page to review the rights of authors, the rights of the California Digital Library, and our embargo policies.

To submit an original manuscript to SFEWS, use the Submit Article link. You will be prompted to create an account if you do not have one. The ScholarOne submission system will require your name, email, and an original password to create the account. Use this account to submit an original manuscript, review its status, or submit any subsequent revisions. Refer to our in-house guides for our comprehensive Style Guide for Authors (February 2022), Design Template (April 2020), and guide for Referencing Legal Works.

Before you submit an original manuscript, you will need the following items:

  • An abstract (300 words or less)
  • Keywords (10 or less)
  • An original manuscript in Microsoft Word or Rich Text format
  • A cover letter

The cover letter should briefly describe how the work will advance the understanding of important issues relevant to the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary, its watershed, and adjacent coastal ocean. It should also include contact information for the submitting author and two potential reviewers. You may submit supplemental files (such as appendices, oversized maps, or datasets) that accompany the manuscript.

Peer Review

Upon receipt, the Editor-in-Chief will read the manuscript to determine its suitability for publication prior to in-depth review. Manuscripts of low technical quality will be returned to the submitting author without additional review. The Managing Editor will review the manuscript for adherence to submission guidelines. Poorly formatted manuscripts will be returned to the submitting author with a request to resubmit, indicating needed revisions.

Manuscripts initially approved will be reviewed anonymously (i.e., via blind peer review) by two or three outside experts. Reviewers are often selected by the Associate Editors, who may also consider experts suggested by the submitting author.

Reviewers will judge manuscripts based on scientific competence; contribution of original data, ideas, and interpretation; and the degree to which new findings are integrated with existing knowledge. Reviewers take routine steps to avoid redundant publication and screen for plagiarism or other possible misconduct through standard means as guided by the COPE Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors. The Editor-in-Chief will evaluate the reviews and determine the manuscript's suitability for publication; that is, whether it should be (1) published as is, (2) modified, or (3) rejected.

Submitting Revisions to a Reviewed Manuscript

In some instances the Editor-in-Chief may provide suggestions as to how a manuscript that is rejected (or accepted with major or minor revisions) might be improved to warrant subsequent consideration. In such cases, the revised manuscript would be subjected again to the review process.

Authors are expected to revise tentatively approved manuscripts in a timely manner after receiving review comments. If a revision has not been received within 6 months, the submitting author will be asked for its status. Any manuscript not revised within 12 months of receiving review comments will be withdrawn from consideration. When uploading a revision to a manuscript already submitted, use the Submit Article link. The system will prompt you to login with your account name and password. Once you have logged in, please follow the instructions in the ScholarOne to submit a revision. Delete older versions of a previously submitted manuscript where the system requests you to do so.

Formatting Requirements

  • General
    Format the manuscript on an 8.5" x 11" page in portrait orientation with double-spaced text and one-inch margins. Number all pages. Use line numbering. Use Times New Roman or Arial font at 12 point text size. Refer to our in-house guides: Style Guide for Authors (June 2020), Design Template (April 2020), and guide for Referencing Legal Works.
  • Abstract
    Write the abstract as one paragraph and do not exceed 300 words. It should contain a concise statement of objectives, methods, essential results, and conclusions. Do not include citations in the abstract.
  • Keywords
    List up to 10 key words to describe the manuscript’s subject matter.
  • Organization and Length
    Organize the body of the manuscript into the following sections: Title Page, Acknowledgements, Abstract, Key Words, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusions, References, and Figure and Table Captions. Supplementary information should be logically organized in an appendix. If the manuscript exceeds 30 pages, subdivide it into major sections or chapters. Non-traditional sections are permitted (such as a summary or synthesis chapter) when submitting longer, complex manuscripts.
  • Symbols and Equations
    Use Arabic numerals and the International System of Units (SI) expressed with negative exponent notation (e.g., 25 mg C m -2 d -1). Refer to this NIST online guide for use of SI units. When necessary, provide English or conventional units in parentheses (ft 3 sec -1 or million acre-ft yr -1) after SI units to follow local usage and enhance reader comprehension. Use the Symbol font for variables and glyphs in equations.
  • Tables
    Structure the table with clearly defined column headings, row headings, and body cells. Avoid lengthy titles and footnotes. Refer to footnotes with superscript, lowercase letters (110 cm a, Mus musculusb).
  • Figures
    All figures and associated text should be legible and fit within an 8.5" x 11" page. Avoid lengthy titles. Do not use footnotes. Make sure each data series is clearly identified. For example, if you present 2 or more data series in a line graph, clearly distinguish each series by using solid, dashed, or bold lines. Use symbol markers and colors when needed. Graphics in color must be designed so that they can be clearly interpreted on a black and white printed page. Select a sufficiently large font size for all labels so that all words and numbers remain legible at a ¼ page reduction. For initial review, you may embed the figures within the body of the manuscript (i.e., within a Microsoft Word file). Alternately, you may submit them in series and separate from the manuscript in Adobe PDF format. If the manuscript is accepted for publication, be prepared to provide figures as individual files in their original format. Acceptable formats are Adobe PDF, JPEG, Adobe Illustrator (EPS), and TIF. Fonts must be embedded in Adobe PDF files. PowerPoint and Excel files are not accepted for review or publication.
  • Citations and References
    Be sure all text citations are included in the reference list and vice versa. Cite references using the name-year system. Our preferred style and format for different types of reference material comes from the book, Scientific Style and Format: The Council of Science Editor's Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers, 8th edition. You will be asked to recheck all references and text citations before resubmitting a manuscript for a second round of review and before final publication. Citation guidelines from this book are provided online at this link: CSE Online Citation Guide, 8th Edition. Refer to our in-house guides: Style Guide for Authors (February 2022), Design Template (April 2020), and guide for Referencing Legal Works.
  • Appendices
    Designate each appendix with a capital letter (A, B, C, etc.) and a brief title. Each appendix must be submitted as an electronic file. An appendix may be any combination of text, figures, and tables; however, we will only format appendices of 10 pages or fewer. Longer appendices can be linked within the main paper, but must be referred to another website. Hard copies are not accepted for review or publication.

Manuscripts Accepted for Publication

If your manuscript is accepted for publication, you will be notified by the Editor-in-Chief. The Managing Editor then be in contact with you to begin the publication process. This process is coordinated offline and is informed by the instructions and policies noted here and elsewhere on the website. If you have questions about this process, please contact the Managing Editor.