Author Guideline

1. Manuscript submission overview

2. Manuscript preparation

3. Manuscript Components

4. How to Submit ?


1. Manuscript submission overview

There are restrictions on the length of the manuscript, as the text should be concise and complete. Full experimental details should be included to ensure reproducibility of results. The Manuscripts submitted to the INSTM Bulletin-MFS should neither be published previously nor be under consideration for publication in another journal.

The INSTM Bulletin: Marine and Freshwater Sciences publishes 4 types of manuscripts:

  • Research Article: Original research manuscripts. (max. 15p.)
  • Review Article: State-of-the-art evaluation of important current research areas. (max. 20 p.)
  • Short Note: Brief notes on relevant new research. (max. 4p.)
  • Extended Abstracts from Symposia or Workshops: The extended abstract is an extended version of conference (or workshop) abstract. It should not exceed 4 pages in total. The format may follow that of a research article (max. 4p.
  • Special issue: A special issue can be published following a request. A special issue proposal should be submitted to the editor, including the rationale for the special issue topic, potential contributors and how you intend to attract quality articles.

2. Manuscript preparation

Manuscripts must be written in good English (American or British usage is accepted, but not a mixture of these). The manuscript should be written in Arial, 11 point font, presented with 1.15 line spacing and in two columns (column width of 7.5 with a spacing of 0.8 between the two columns). All elements must be single-spaced, including the title, Abstract, Keywords, references, table and figure captions. The submission of a manuscript is in the form of a single Microsoft Word electronic file to facilitate peer review.

For submission, please respect the following:

  • Manuscript: Microsoft Word, text or RTF
  • Tables: Microsoft Word (preferred), Excel, or tab separated text files
  • Figure/image files: TIFF, EPS (vector graphics), PDF, PPT/PPTX, DOC/DOCX, or AI (min 300 dpi resolution regardless of format); the text within figures/images should have a font size greater than 9pt to ensure readability.
  • Graphical Abstract (GA): should represent the topic of the work submitted to the journal in an attractive way. The GA must be original and unpublished artwork. Any trademarked items or postage stamps, currency from any country, should be avoided.
  • Video: MPEG, QuickTime

Manuscripts should respect the international codes:

  • Genus and Species: should be mentioned in italics, and the authority (author’s name and date) should be indicated at the first occurrence of the species name in the text.
  • Dates: should appear in the day-month-year format.
  • Units of measurement: Measurements shall be metric and use the SI conventions for abbreviations and units
  • Geographical coordinates and names: should be given in accordance with the latest edition of the Atlas of the World. The location of the geographical coordinates should follow the Degrees Minutes Seconds (DMS) written+ format, e.g. 36°10'55” N, 10°30'35” E.
  • Equations and units/Formulas should be typed in the Microsoft Equation formula editor (or equivalent) with the possibility of editing (Use standard SI units). Numbered formulas are compulsory to be included in the paragraph; the number of the formula in parentheses is placed at the right edge of the page. Only those formulas that are referenced should be numbered. The font and size are the same as in the main text. Variables are usually italicized. Italicization should be consistent throughout the text. Leave one blank space on either side of '=', '>', ‘±’, etc. where these denote equalities or inequalities. Example: 'x = 3.6; < 0.05; but: 'only three individuals measuring >20 cm in length were found'.

3. Manuscript Components

The manuscript should be presented in the following order: Title, Abstract, Keywords, Text, Acknowledgments, References, Appendix (if any), Tables, and Figures.

Particular consideration should be paid to the title, keywords and abstract as these elements are indicators of the manuscript content in bibliographic databases and search engines.

3.1. Title

The title should be informative. Not more than 120 characters, i.e. ~18 words -on 1 or 2 printed lines). Capitalize only the first letter of the title, proper nouns (Genus species, countries, initials, and acronyms, organizations, places…).

3.2. Authors

Information about authors should include:

  • Full names of the authors are formatted as Name SURNAME. Separate the names with a comma (,) and add an ampersand (&) before the final name.
  • Affiliation of each author should include: the University or the full name of the organization, Department, City and Country. Begin each affiliation with a different numbered superscript. If the affiliation is the same for multiple authors, one entry and superscript should be used.
  • A corresponding author (Put an asterisk after the name). Email and post addresses should be given. Corresponding author will receive all communications.

3.3. Abstract 

Abstract should not exceed 250 words (one-half typed page). The abstract should describe briefly the objective of the research, the principal results and major conclusions. An abstract may be presented separately from the article, so it should be capable of being self-sufficient. Therefore references should be avoided and standard/non-standard abbreviations should be avoided, but if they are essential, they should be defined at the first mention in the abstract itself.

3.4. Keywords

List keywords for the work presented, separated by semicolon. Keywords should be different from these used in the title. The required number of keywords 3–7 using British or American spelling and avoiding general and plural terms. Where relevant these should include the main species concerned / the geographical area.

3.5. Text:

The text should be written correctly (style, synthesis, punctuation), brief, carefully edited and signed by all authors. Use this Article Template which details the sections that can be used in a manuscript (Articles). Sections that are not mandatory are listed as such. Review papers and other article types have a more flexible structure.

3.5.1. Introduction:

The Introduction must place the focus of the manuscript into a broader context. Classically, an introduction raises interesting scientific questions elaborated from the review of the current knowledge.

A report of field studies may need a detailed site description, which can be given in a separate section of the manuscript. Limit the information to that needed for understanding and interpreting the results. If only a few words are needed to describe the study site, include them in Methods.

3.5.2. Materials and Methods:

The Materials and Methods section must provide enough details for reproduction of the experiments and/or analysis. Submit detailed protocols for newer or less established methods. Well-established protocols may be simply referenced. The section should be divided into subsections, each with a concise and informative subheading. The Materials and Methods section should be written in past tense.

3.5.3. Results:

The Results section must describe the results that are required to support the conclusions of the paper. The section may be divided into subsections, each with a concise and informative subheading. The Results section should be written in past tense.

3.5.4. Discussion:

The Discussion must spell out the major conclusions and interpretations of the work including explanations of the significance of the work. The Discussion should be concise and tightly argued. If warranted, the Results and Discussion may be combined into one section, as appropriate. 

3.5.5. Conclusion:

Is not mandatory if the conclusions are included in the discussion section.

3.5.6. Acknowledgments:

Funding sources should be acknowledged at the end of the manuscript. Persons who contributed to the work but are not included in the authorship should be listed with a short description of their contribution.

3.5.7. References and Citations:

A complete reference should give the reader enough information to find the relevant article. Authors should pay particular attention to spelling, capitalization and punctuation. Please use the format of citing references according to the 7th edition of APA standards. References prepared with a bibliography software package are recommended, such as EndNote, Reference Manager or Zotero.

  • In-text citations: In the text, exact quotations from other sources should be in quotation marks “...”. The short references within the text are given in round brackets as follow:
    • Use only the surname of the author followed by a comma and the year of publication. (Ledwell et al., 1983).
    • When referring to multiple sources within parentheses, the authors are ordered alphabetically not by year, with semicolons in between. (Annan, 2010; Batson-George, 2008; Long, 2007).
    • If multiple works are cited by the same author in the same parenthetical citation, give the author’s name only once and follow with dates. No date citations go first, then years, then in-press citations. (Smith, n.d., 1995, 2002, in press)
    • For identical authors in the same year, use letters with the year (Smith and Jones 2009a, 2009b). No distinction is made between books, journal articles, internet documents.
    • References to published meetings abstracts should be kept to the minimum.
    • References to unpublished data, submitted work, unpublished conference presentations, or personal communications, patent applications and patents pending, computer software, databases and websites should be referred to as such only in the body of the text. Obtain written permission from the appropriate people to cite unpublished data and personal communications and be prepared to show such letters to the editor.

The examples are as follows:

(Smith, unpublished data) ; (Smith and Brown, submitted for publication); (Smith, personal communication); (Smith and Brown, presented at the 4th Symposium on Food Microbiology, Overton, IL, 13 -15 June 1989); (Odell, April 1970, Process for batch culturing, U.S. patent 484,363,770); (Smith, 20 June 1999, Australian Patent Office); ... from the GenBank database ( ; ... using ABC software (version 2.2; Department of Microbiology, State University, http://www.stu.micro).

  • Reference list: include only the sources which have been used during the preparation of an article. In accordance with the ethics of scientific publications. The auto-citation should not exceed 30%of the total number of citations.
    • The references are listed alphabetically by the author at the end of the article. Multiple works by the same author are listed alphabetically by title and then chronologically.
    • Accepted references include peer-reviewed articles, published or accepted ('in press') manuscripts, validated and published PhD theses, books, book chapters and official reports presenting certified data.

Examples of common bibliographic formats:

- Journal Article:

Format: Author, A., Author, B., & Author, C. (Year of publication). Title of article. Journal Title, Volume (issue number), page numbers. DOI or URL

Example: Ghozzi, K., Giangaspero, A., &Babba, H. (2018). Détection des parasites entériques (Giardia duodenalis, Toxoplasma gondii) dans les mollusques bivalves du littoral tunisien. INSTM Bulletin, 45 (sp), 27-31.

Note: Conference proceedings published in a journal follow the same format as journal articles.

- Book:

Format: Author, A., & Author, B. (Year of publication). Book Title. (edition). (Volumes).Publisher. DOI or URL.

Example: Chouba, L. (2018). La qualité chimique du littoral tunisien: tendance des métaux traces. Universitaires Européennes.

- Thesis:

Format: Author, A (Date of Completion). Title of Thesis. [Level of Thesis, Degree-Granting University]. Database or Repository. URL.

Example: Ben Ismail, S. (2014). Étude de la dynamique dans la Méditerranée Centrale. [Doctoral dissertation, University of Tunis El Manar, Faculté des Sciences de Tunis, Tunisie]. IOC-UNESCO OceanDocs repository.

- Report:

Format: Agency / author.(date). Title (Series. report number). Publisher. URL

Example: Sharp, G.D. (2003). Future climate change and regional fisheries: a collaborative analysis. (FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. No. 452). FAO.

- Conference presentation:

Format: Author, A., & Author, B. (full dates of the conference). Title [Paper presentation or Poster session]. Name of the conference or meeting and its location.

Example: Gazo M., Fernandez-Contreras M. M., Brotons J. M. & Aguilar A. (6-10 May 2001). Interactions between bottlenose dolphins and artisanal fisheries in the Balearic Islands: may acoustic devices be a solution to the problem? [Conference presentation].     European research on cetaceans: 15th annual conference of the European Cetacean Society, Rome, Italy.

- Webpage on a Website:

Format: Name of the organization. (accessed on Day Month Year). Title of the webpage. Name of the website. URL

Example: Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (17 December 2020).Toxic algal blooms cause more economic damage to aquaculture than any greater storm.

For guidance on formatting not listed here, see the APA Style.

3.5.8. Figures and Tables:

All relevant photographs, graphs, schemes, maps and diagrams should be named as Figure.

Positioning Figures and Tables: Insert figures and tables after they are cited in the text. Use “Figure 1”and “Table 1” in bold fonts. Figure captions should be below the figures; table heads should appear above the tables. 

Figure Labels: Use 9 point Arial for Figure labels. Use words rather than symbols or abbreviations when writing Figure axis labels to avoid confusing the reader. If units are included in the label, present them within parentheses. Do not label axes only with units. In the example, write “Magnetization (A/m)” or “Magnetization (A·m–1)”, not just “A/m”. Do not label axes with a ratio of quantities and units. For example, write “Temperature (K)”, not “Temperature/K”.

Figures should not duplicate information found in tables. Figures are provided in TIF, BMP, JPG formats with a resolution of at least 300 dpi. Authors are encouraged to provide figures in color. Multi-part figures should be labeled with uppercase letters (A, B, etc.), Arial 9 pt. Inside the figures, Arial 9 pt font is recommended. 

All figures should be numbered with the author’s surname and/or the title of the article included. The figure files must be named, for example: Amara1.tif, Amara_2.tif, etc., organized in the Amara_Figures folder. Each figure should be referenced in the article. For contributions referring to photographs taken from social media and citizen science platforms, authors should provide proof that the information/photo provider has been contacted and granted permission.

3.5.9. Appendices:

Online Supplementary Material may be used to enhance a publication and increase its visibility on the Web. All material that is essential to the understanding of an article should be included in the article itself. Closely related material that enhance understanding of an article and increase its visibility may be placed in an appendix.

Other material (directly relevant but not essential to the conclusions of the paper) should be cited in the main text, named clearly and submitted in a separate file with the original manuscript and with all subsequent submissions. In the appendixes, Figures, Tables, etc. should be labeled starting with ‘A’, e.g., Figure A1, Figure A2, etc.

Supplementary files will undergo editorial review and the Editor(s) reserve(s) the right to limit the scope and length of supplementary material. For ease of reader access, files less than 10 MB are recommended. Acceptable files and formats are Word or PDF files, and multimedia files (MPEG, AVI, or QuickTime formats).

3.5.10. Multimedia:

Authors are encouraged to submit multimedia files with their manuscripts (e.g., video footage, audio clips, data sets, and enhanced figures). Digital files in EPS and TIFF formats are preferred for images (optimal resolution for line artwork is 800 dpi and for halftones is 300 dpi). The acceptable video formats are: MPEG and QuickTime

4. How to Submit ?

4.1. Microsoft Word template: 

Microsoft Word template is recommended for manuscript preparation.

4.2. Submission Checklist: 

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the items of the submission checklist, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.

4.3. Online Submission

All manuscripts and related materials should be submitted to INSTM Bulletin: Marine and Freshwater Sciences. You may access the manuscript submission page through this link.

4.3.1. Create an Account: authors must create a Login Account prior to submission. You can create an account at the submission site by clicking on the “Register” button. Please check whether you already have an account in the system before trying to create a new one.

4.3.2. Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID): ORCID IDs from corresponding authors are now part of the submission process of this Bulletin. If you already have an ORCID identifier you will be asked to associate it to your submission during the online submission process. We also strongly encourage all co-authors to link their ORCID ID to their accounts in our online platform. Your ORCID ID will become part of your accepted publication’s metadata, making your work attributable to you and only you. If you do not already have an ORCID iD please follow this link to create one. It takes seconds to do.

4.3.3. Submission Process: Submission to the INSTM Bulletin: Marine and Freshwater Sciences is totally online. Submission instructions on the web site should be followed and then let the system guide you through the submission process. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the Secretary. In case of any problems please contact the Chief Editor.

To ensure the integrity of the blind peer-review for submission, every effort should be made to prevent the identities of the authors and reviewers from being known to each other. This involves the authors, editors, and reviewers (who upload documents as part of their review) checking to see if the following steps have been taken with regard to the text and the file properties:

  •  The authors of the document have deleted their names from the text, with "Author" and year used in the references and footnotes, instead of the authors' name, article title, etc.
  • The authors of the document have removed personal information from the file properties.