The South African Journal of Science considers articles from any field on the understanding that they are the original work of the authors named, that they are being offered only to the South African Journal of Science and that the content is relevant to and for Africa.
Submission of manuscripts for consideration
Fees: There are no submission fees or article–processing charges.
Readability: As the journal has a multidisciplinary focus, manuscripts must be written in a manner and style that is intelligible to specialists and non–specialists alike. Articles are judged by reviewers at the discretion of the editors. Contributions should therefore be written clearly and simply so that they are accessible to readers in other disciplines and those for whom English is not a first language.
Plagiarism: Plagiarism is when you use someone else’s work (book, article, website, etc.) or idea without acknowledging them as the source, whether it be copied verbatim or paraphrased. Manuscripts submitted online will be screened for potential plagiarism before peer review using similarity detection software. All cases of suspected or alleged plagiarism are considered very seriously in accordance with the journal’s Plagiarism Policy.
Permissions: Permission must be obtained from the copyright owner for the use of quotations, illustrations, tables and other materials taken from previously published works that are not in the public domain. The author is responsible for the payment of any copyright fee(s) if these have not been waived. The letters of permission must accompany the manuscript. The original source(s) must be mentioned in the figure legend or as a footnote to a table.
Ethical guidelines: Submissions involving research conducted on human or non–human vertebrates must meet the highest standards regarding both the ethical consideration given and reporting of the procedures followed. Full details are necessary so that a non–specialist reader can appreciate the need for the research undertaken.
Deposition of new sequences and structures: The reporting of new or not previously reported structures or sequences (such as chemical and crystallographic structures, synthetic compounds, genes and proteins) must include the accession numbers of the relevant database in which they have been deposited. Details of the synthesis of new structures and compounds must also be given.
Authorship: Authorship of a manuscript should be agreed upon by authors prior to submission. Generally, a person attributed as an author should have contributed to (1) the conception and design of the study and data collection or data analysis; (2) writing or revising the manuscript; and (3) final approval of the version to be published. The corresponding author is responsible for ensuring that all listed authors have agreed to: (1) the authorship as listed and in the order given by the submitting author; (2) the content of the manuscript; and (3) its submission to the journal. All authors are required to sign the Publishing Agreement before submission. Any requests for changes in authorship prior to publication should be accompanied by a new Publishing Agreement.
Author contributions will be requested during the submission process and will appear in published articles. The submitting author will be required to indicate the contribution of each author along the lines of: conceptualisation; methodology; data collection; sample analysis; data analysis; validation; data curation; writing – the initial draft; writing – revisions; student supervision; project leadership; project management; and funding acquisition. For a brief description of each contribution please click here.
Reviewers: Authors will be required during submission to suggest three potential reviewers to evaluate their work. The names and full contact details (including email) of the suggested reviewers must be provided. Suggested reviewers should not be people with whom the authors have recently collaborated or published. Authors may also indicate if they oppose any potential reviewers. The final selection of reviewers is, however, at the discretion of the editors. Please see Peer–review Process for more information on the peer–review process.
Cover letter: The cover letter should outline the study and the article’s relevance to the broad readership of the South African Journal of Science. The cover letter should identify the author to whom all correspondence should be addressed and detail any conflicts of interest. Details of the significance of the findings can also be provided.
The significance of the main findings or conclusions should be summarised and listed in a required step during the submission process [a minimum of two and maximum of five should be given]. The significance of the findings should not be a summary of the results, but should reflect the contribution the results make to the field, and how the results are applicable in their respective field and in other fields. The points of significance should start with general contributions and proceed with more specific contributions. The significance of the findings will be published with the aim of promoting greater interest not only from readers in the field but also from a wider readership. The points of significance should therefore be written for a non–specialist.
Title page: The title page must include the title of the article (a maximum of 95 characters including spaces); a running head (a shortened version of the title, 65 characters or less); five keywords; the authors’ names, affiliations and ORCIDs; and the name and email of the corresponding author. The title page must be submitted as a separate document during the submission process [select Title Page as the file format when uploading the file during submission].
Acknowledgements: Any significant help received in conceiving, designing or carrying out the work, as well as provision of a service or material must be acknowledged. Authors should always acknowledge outside reviewers of their drafts. The Acknowledgements must be submitted as a separate document during the submission process [select Acknowledgements as the file format when uploading the file during submission].
Funding: Authors should acknowledge all sources of funding that supported their research. In addition to including funding sources in their Acknowledgements, authors will be able to select or add funding bodies under the Funding field during the submission process.
Abstract/summary paragraph: Articles and letters must begin with a summary paragraph (of up to 250 words) aimed at readers in other disciplines. The paragraph should start with 2–3 sentences that provide an introduction to the field and the particular problem investigated, followed by a one–sentence statement of your main findings (or conclusions, in the case of a Review Article), and a further 2–3 sentences placing these findings/conclusions in a general context so that readers are made aware of the implications of the findings. Summary paragraphs typically do not include references, but if a reference is essential, the full reference must be given.
References: The reference list should begin on a separate page. The number of references is limited to 30 for Research Letters, 60 for Research Articles and 80 for Review Articles.
Online supplementary material: Online supplementary material is material additional to but directly relevant to your article that cannot be included within the article for reasons of space or medium (such as videos). Various formats are allowed (e.g. Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, video files). The material is peer reviewed in conjunction with the article and must be submitted as supplementary material during online submission. Supplementary material must be numbered separately when referred to in the article (e.g. Supplementary table 1) and must conform with the journal’s formatting guidelines. Online supplementary material undergoes copy–editing but not layout and is published separately on the article page. As it is published separately, any references must be given in a self–contained reference list. Supplementary material should be limited to 10 figures/tables and 2000 words.
Data sets: Although only the deposition of some data – specifically new sequences and structures – is compulsory, we welcome and encourage the publication of the data set on which an article is based. Wherever possible, access to such data sets must be open.
The publication of data sets serves several objectives and these objectives should be kept in mind when depositing and referring to data. These objectives broadly follow the FAIR Guiding Principles of Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability and Reusability.
Data sets can take the form of computational or curated data or those produced through experimental or observational procedures and should be provided in the ‘rawest’ form that will permit reuse. Raw data should be treated as a data set and not as supplementary material. Data sets are citable sources. Published data sets must be cited within the manuscript (numbered as for figures and tables, e.g. Data set 1) and the citations must appear in the reference list. A description of the data set must be provided in the manuscript, which must include the format of the data and details of any software that is required to view the data. Authors choosing to publish their data sets after acceptance of a manuscript, must deposit their data in a reputable repository that follows the principles of data management and citation. The persistent link to the data set in the repository must be provided to the Editorial Office before publication of the article and will be published on the article landing page on the Journal website, ensuring that the data set is visible and accessible to readers.
The repository selected must: be actively managed; include quality control measures; enable unrestricted access to the data set (except for reasons of privacy); enable searching and retrieval of data sets; include a globally unique persistent ID (or DOI) which resolves to a publicly accessible landing page which is maintained even if the data are retracted; appropriately describe the data and include metadata; ensure data set persistence; include version control and ensure data set stability (which means that the specific version cited can be retrieved). If for good reason the data are removed from the repository after publication, the Editorial Office must be informed. The following is a list of recognised repositories for general data (please confirm suitability for your data type and adherence to best practice before choosing a repository): Dataverse; Dryad; Figshare; Open Science Framework (for open data); and Zenodo.
Format and preparation of manuscripts
General specifications of manuscripts
Format of text: Manuscripts should be typed in Arial font 11 point with one and a half line spacing. Please save manuscripts for upload in .DOC (not .DOCX) format. Please ensure authors’ names and affiliations and any acknowledgements are omitted [and provided on the title page] to facilitate the double–blind review process.
Unique fonts: If these are necessary, they should be embedded in the .DOC file in order to ensure they display correctly.
Layout: Start each paragraph at the margin (no tabs to indent first line). Include a line space between paragraphs to separate. Numbered paragraphs/sections are not permitted.
Heading style: First level headings: boldface, normal case, centred, on a separate line, 14pt. Second level headings: boldface, normal case, justified at left margin, on a separate line, 14pt. Third level headings: boldface, normal case, justified at left margin, on a separate line, 12pt. Fourth-level headings: underlined, not bold, normal case, justified at left margin, on a separate line, 12pt.
Spelling: Please use UK spelling and not US spelling. Use IUPAC nomenclature recommendations for chemical elements and compounds.
Quotations in the text: Single quotation marks are used for all quotations; to highlight a quote within a quote, please use double quotation marks. If citations are longer than 30 words, please do not use single quotation marks; rather indent the quotation and italicise it.
Footnotes may not be used in the text but may be used for Tables and Figures.
Tables and figures: There should be no more than 10 figures and tables in total per article. All captions must be provided together on a separate page at the end of the manuscript. Abbreviations/acronyms used in figures and tables must be explained in the heading/legend or footnote.
Equations: Use English Equation Editor if you have equations in your manuscript; other versions will not convert correctly.
Acronyms: If a phrase with an established acronym or abbreviation is used, and appears more than five times in your article, please include the acronym/abbreviation in brackets after first mention of the phrase, then use the acronym/abbreviation only. Please note that you should not define acronyms or abbreviations in any of your headings. If either has been used in your abstract/summary, you need to define them again on their first use within the main text. Abbreviations/acronyms used in figures and tables must be explained in the heading/legend or footnote.
Units: The use of units should conform to the SI convention and be abbreviated accordingly. Metric units and their international symbols are used throughout, as is the decimal point (not the decimal comma), and the 24–hour clock.
Spacing and punctuation: There should be one space (not two) between sentences; one space before unit terms (e.g. 5 kg, 5 mm, 5 mmol, 5 days, 5 °C); but no space before %. Thousands/millions are marked with a space, not a comma, from 10 000 (e.g. 10 000, 1 000 000 but 1000). Ranges are expressed with an extended hyphen, not with a short hyphen (e.g. 1990–2000).
Dates: Dates must be written as: 12 July 2012.
Submission of revised manuscripts
Manuscripts requiring major revisions should be resubmitted within 60 days following the decision and those requiring minor revisions should be resubmitted within 30 days. Resubmissions not received within these deadlines may be considered as new submissions.
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