Functional Plant Biology Functional Plant Biology Society
Plant function and evolutionary biology

Author Instructions

All manuscripts should be submitted via ScholarOne Manuscripts.

Publishing Policies
Functional Plant Biology insists on high standards of ethical behaviour throughout the publication process. Our journal editors work within the guidelines of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). Further information on our policies can be found at

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Peer review
Functional Plant Biology is a peer-reviewed journal that uses a single-blind peer-review. The Editor-in-Chief is responsible to maintain high-quality peer-review of papers submitted to the journal and work together with the Associate Editors and Editorial Advisory Board to ensure a thorough and fair peer-review and the highest scientific publishing standards. All submissions undergo preliminary assessment by the Editor-in-Chief, who may reject a paper before peer review when it is outside the journal’s scope or is of insufficient quality. Associate Editors select reviewers and after at least two review reports are received, they make the decision whether to accept/reject or send a manuscript for revision. The final decision is made by the Associate Editor.

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The conditions around authorship for Functional Plant Biology should follow the recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), for more information see

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Journal policy
Functional Plant Biology publishes original research papers, critical review articles, and perspectives; it does not publish technical and research notes, or short communications. Review articles should indicate fruitful areas of further research. Perspectives provide a means for authors to explore contemporary issues with more freedom than in the conventional review paper. If you are interested in preparing a Review article or Perspective, please discuss the subject matter with the Editor-in-Chief or the appropriate Associate Editor.

All papers are peer-reviewed. Submission of a paper is taken to mean that the results reported have not been published and are not being considered for publication elsewhere. The journal assumes that all authors of a multi-authored paper agree to its submission. The journal will use its best endeavours to ensure that work published is that of the named authors except where acknowledged. The journal takes no responsibility for fraud or inaccuracy on the part of its contributors.

There are no page charges, or charges for colour illustrations published on-line and in the PDF. Colour charges are incurred only if you want colour in the print version of the journal, and are ~ $300 per page. The exact cost will depend on the number of images and their placement, and can be discussed with the journal’s Production Editor after your manuscript has been accepted for publication.

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Editorial procedures for Comments
Comments on recently published papers will be published in a special section of the Journal as soon as practicable after receiving the comments. Comments must be concise, impersonal and contribute to knowledge in order to be acceptable. Each comment should have a short abstract which may contain a few dot points. The total length of the Comment should not exceed 3000 words. In this way we can encourage informed debate on topics raised in articles published in Functional Plant Biology. The procedures for handling them will be as follows:

  1. On receipt of a Comment, the Editor-in-Chief or Associate Editor will arrange for two referees, who will be provided with a PDF file of the published paper on which the Comment is based. All reviewers´ reports and correspondence will be confidential.
  2. The Editor will consider the referees´ assessments and decide whether the Comment should be accepted, modified or rejected.
  3. If the Comment is negative, or is critical of the methods used or interpretation of data published, it will also be sent to the corresponding author of the original paper inviting a short reply. This should be less than one published page (about 300-500 words). If the corresponding author of the original paper declines to reply, one or more of the senior authors will be approached. If there is still no reply then the Comment will be published on its own. Authors will have about 4 weeks in which to respond.
  4. If the authors provide a reply, then the Editor will arrange for it to be reviewed by at least one referee. Again, the Editor will decide whether the reply should be accepted, modified or rejected.
  5. If the reply is accepted, then both the Comment and the Reply will be published in the next available issue of the Journal under a special section labeled ´Comment and Reply´.

Both the original Comment and the Reply should be supported by appropriate references and both will contribute to our Impact Factor.

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General presentation guidelines
Manuscripts should be concise and use simple language. Research articles should be about 6000-8000 words, with 6-8 display items (Figures or Tables) and a modest citation list (~25 references). Review papers may be longer (~8000-10,000 words with ~50 references) but will have fewer display items. Associate Editors can provide advice about reducing excessive length while the manuscript is being revised. Extra material may be submitted as supplementary files, which will appear automatically to readers of the article online via a link on the page. These may take the form of large tables, figures, confocal stacks, and videos.

Summary Text for the Table of Contents. This is a three-sentence paragraph of 50 to 80 words written for interested non-experts, such as journalists, teachers, government workers, etc. The text should be free from scientific jargon, and written at the level of an article in a science magazine. Your first sentence should engage the reader, convincing them that this is an important area. The second sentence should introduce the problem addressed in the paper, and state your main discovery. The final sentence should describe how the results fit into the bigger picture (i.e. implications or impact of the discovery).

The Abstract should be fewer than 200 words. The Introduction should present the reason for the work and its essential background. The Methods should contain sufficient experimental detail to enable the work to be repeated. The Results section should be separate from the Discussion. The Results section should present and elaborate on the results. Quantitative information should be given as data not as photographs only. The Discussion should set the results in the context of the international literature, and explain the significance of the results.

Place tables and figures after the text and references, and number all pages of the manuscript consecutively. Start each table and figure on a new page. It is helpful to reviewers to place each figure caption on the same page as the figure.

Please refer to the sample issue, to note details of layout.

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Conflicts of Interest
A ´Conflicts of Interest´ section should be included at the end of the manuscript. It should identify any financial or non-financial (political, personal, professional) interests/relationships that may be interpreted to have influenced the manuscript. If there is no conflict of interest, please include the statement "The authors declare no conflicts of interest".

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At the end of the paper, list references in alphabetical order. Do not add the DOI; this is added by the Production Editor after acceptance. Do not include papers that have not been accepted for publication; cite them either as ´unpublished data´ or ´pers. comm.´ if they must be included at all. Authors must provide written proof of acceptance for any papers cited as ´in press´.

In the Reference list, use italic type for the journal name and use bold type for the journal volume number. Give full journal and book titles, and provide first and last page numbers for all entries.

In the text, use ´and´ to link the names of two co-authors in the text, and use ´et al.´ where there are more than two. Do not use a comma between the author´s name and the date. Italicise a, b, c etc. where several references are the same year. Where giving two or more references together, list them in chronological order separated by semi-colons.

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Please use Table Formatting (i.e. use table cells); do not use tabs, spaces or hard returns when setting up columns. Place each table on a new page, using a Page Break command.

Avoid footnotes where possible; use them only to refer to specific data points in the body of the table. Use A and B etc. for footnotes; use * , **, *** only to define probability levels.

Insert horizontal rules above and below the column headings and across the bottom of the table; do not use vertical rules. The first letter only of headings of rows and columns should be capitalised. Include the symbols for the units of measurement in parentheses below the column heading. Use standard SI prefixes with units in the column headings.

Avoid an excessive number of digits in the body of the table. The number of numerals should be appropriate to the statistical significance of the data. For example a value of 23.72 ± 5.24 (mean ± standard error) contains meaningless numerals. The value should be presented as 24 ± 5.

DNA sequences and primers should be specified in the following manner, using the ´(prime) sign in preference to a ´ (single quotation mark):

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Prepare figures with symbols and letters appropriate for the size reduction intended. Prepare the shape of the figure appropriately for a single column or two-column spread. Make simple figures square or portrait, so they will not be so much reduced when fitting to a single column.

Labelling must be in Helvetica or Arial type 1 font. Refer to sample issue of Functional Plant Biology. Thickness of all lines in line diagrams must be no less than 1 point. Use clearly distinct levels of greyscale shading (not cross-hatching) in bar graphs.

Legends to figure axes should state the quantity being measured and be followed by the appropriate SI units in parentheses.The following symbols are readily available and should be used: . The symbols + or x should be avoided.

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Use the SI system where appropriate, especially for exact measurement of physical quantities. However, non-SI units such as day and year are acceptable. Use L for litre (hence mL, µL, etc.); abbreviate hour(s) as h, minute(s) as min, second(s) as s, e.g. 4 h, 5 min, 3 s.

Use the negative index system, e.g. g m-2, kg ha-1, mol m-2 s-1.

Spell out numbers lower than 10 unless accompanied by a unit, e.g. 2 mm, 15 mm, two plants, 15 plants, but 2 out of 15 plants. Do not leave a space between a numeral and %, ‰ or oC.

When using non-standard abbreviations, define the abbreviation where it first occurs in the text.

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Preparation of manuscript for submission
Format your manuscript with 1.5-line spacing throughout, using Times New Roman 12 font. Word for Windows is preferred, but most packages (e.g. other versions of Word or WordPerfect) are acceptable. If you have none of these, please submit an RTF (Rich Text Format) file.

Pages must be numbered; line numbering will also assist reviewers.

Present the work concisely and clearly in English. If English is not your native language, we recommend that you ask a native English speaker to read over your manuscript before submitting, or employ a professional science editor.

Make the title informative. If you include a botanical name in the title, omit the authority, but include it in the Abstract and at first mention in the text. Please also supply an abridged title, for use as a running head that does not exceed 50 characters (including spaces) in length.

List full first name, initial and surnames for all authors, and a current institutional mailing address for each. The corresponding author should be indicated, and their email address given.

The abstract should be fewer than 200 words. Any references should be listed in full (authors, journal, volume and page numbers). Scientific names of plants should be accompanied by their authority.

Please suggest 3-6 keywords, noting that all words in the title and abstract are already considered to be keywords. Keyword should list alternative spellings, e.g. defense for defence, aluminum for aluminium etc.

Include all tables and embedded figures at the end of the main document, and submit the whole as a single MSWord, RTF or PDF file. Word and RTF files will be converted to PDF before sending for review. Authors are encouraged to make a PDF file so that any translation problems with symbols or layout can be corrected before submission.

Only upon acceptance of the manuscript will you be asked to provide the original figure files and high resolution photograph.

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Submission procedure
To submit your paper, please use our online journal management system ScholarOne Manuscripts, which can be reached directly through this link or from the link on the journal´s homepage. If a first-time user, register via the ´Register here´ link, or use your existing username and password to log in. Then click on the ´Author Centre´ link and proceed. For papers arising from the work of Honours students, the corresponding author should be the supervisor of the student. This may also be appropriate for papers from PhD students.

During the submission process, you are required to include the names of three reviewers (with email addresses) who are expert in the area of your research and who could be asked to review your manuscript. Suggested referees should be independent. Authors should be aware that approaching suggested reviewers is at the discretion of the Editor. Intentionally falsifying reviewer details will result in rejection of a manuscript.

Authors of papers arising from theses or reports that are publicly available in an electronic format should clearly state this at the time of submission, and should supply the Editor with the relevant URL.

Authors are asked to declare any competing interests at the time of submission. A competing interest exists when professional judgement concerning a primary interest, such as the validity of research, may be influenced by a secondary interest, such as sponsorship or financial gain. Papers will not be rejected simply on the basis of competing interests, but the Journal may make a declaration that the author(s) has competing interests.

Authors should acknowledge in the manuscript all financial support for the work and other financial or personal connections to the work.  Articles will be published with statements declaring:

  • Authors’ conflicts of interest; and
  • Sources of support for the work, including sponsor names along with explanations of the role of those sources if any in study design; collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; writing of the report; the decision to submit the report for publication; or a statement declaring that the supporting source had no such involvement.

If the manuscripts are intended for a Special Issue you should select the appropriate Special Issue category during submission.

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Licence to publish
For details regarding copyright, please see Copyright/Licence to Publish.

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Open access
Authors may choose to publish their paper Open Access on payment of a publication fee. See Open Access for more details.

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Upon acceptance of manuscript
When asked to submit production files, please provide the Production Editor with the original figure files separately from the manuscript, and in highest resolution.

Ensure that figures are in their original file format (i.e. PhotoShop, Adobe Illustrator, Excel, CorelDraw, SigmaPlot, etc.) rather than embedded in a Word document or converted to a derived format. However, if your figures are in a format that we do not accept, high-quality high-resolution PostScript or PDF files are acceptable. Sending files in more than one format is fine; we will use the format that will reproduce the best.

Scanned photographs must be saved as .tif files; all supplied .tif files must be compatible with Adobe Photoshop, which is the preferred program. If figures are prepared in a ´paint´ program, line art should be saved at 600 dpi, and greyscale or colour images should be saved at 300 dpi. Electronic photographic work should be submitted at the intended print size (85 mm wide for one column and up to a page width of 175 mm) (on CD-ROM if necessary). These will be returned after use if requested at the time of submission.

Colour photographs will be accepted if they are essential but the cost of colour reproduction on the printed copy must be borne by the author. The Production Editor will provide an estimate of the cost with the page proofs. Colour figures must be supplied in CMYK, not RGB, format.

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Proofs and reprints
Approximately two weeks after the paper is accepted, the corresponding author will receive an edited Word document that has undergone formatting and copyediting. Questions from the production editor should be answered. Minor corrections can be made at this stage. The paper is then typeset, and page proofs sent to the corresponding author for checking prior to publication. At this stage only essential alterations and correction of typesetting errors may be undertaken. Excessive author alterations will be charged back to the author. Reprint order forms and prices are sent with the proofs and should be returned to the Production Editor with the proofs.

Upon publication, corresponding authors will be sent a free PDF of the paper. You may send copies of this PDF to individual colleagues for non-commercial purposes, print out and distribute copies to colleagues, or include the PDF in a course pack, subject to the usual copyright licensing agency arrangements.

We would also like to send your colleagues an alert to its publication + PDF. Our objectives for such action are to acknowledge authors, and stimulate the use and citations of the paper. This offer will be activated if you send a list of email addresses (i.e. up to 20 colleagues) to the Production Editor. This list will not be used for any other purpose other than to promote your research.

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General enquiries
Functional Plant Biology
CSIRO Publishing
Locked Bag 10
Clayton South VIC 3169
Telephone +[61 3] 9545 8531
Fax +[61 3] 9545 8578

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