Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Cover image for Vol. 95 Issue 51

Online ISSN: 2324-9250

Writing for Eos


Authors should carefully read the detailed guidelines that follow. Authors who follow the requirements provided here may find that their material is considered more favorably in the review process and, if accepted, is published more quickly.

Authors should not assume that every reader is familiar with the manuscript’s topic; therefore, manuscripts need to provide a good framework and background. All items suitable for publication in Eos must be written to inform the reader immediately of the most important aspects of the information being presented. Unlike the typical research article, which builds to its conclusion, a well-written item in Eos begins with the conclusions and provides details later. Specialists and nonspecialists alike should not need to read to the end of an item in Eos to discover what is new, interesting, and important.

The writing style should be brisk and readable. A short, fast-paced item will be read and remembered while a lengthy one may not be.

Eos staff will work with authors of accepted contributions to ensure that the writing standards for the newspaper are met. This entails much more vigorous editing after acceptance than is typical for journals.

Authors should:

  • avoid using specialized terminology and eschew jargon. Terms that are not common to all of the disciplines AGU embraces should be explained or defined;
  • state clearly and succinctly in the first or second paragraph the significance of the topic: Why is the subject of this manuscript important?;
  • avoid using mathematics. If equations are necessary for a deeper understanding of the topic, authors should include a brief explanation in parallel for the casual reader;
  • keep references to a minimum, using only those that will help point the interested reader to more information or information that the author has relied on heavily. Eos is not a research journal, and therefore it is not necessary to document meticulously all sources;
  • write figure captions that are brief, clear, and in complete sentences;
  • provide a newspaper-style headline that is brief, focuses on the most important aspect of the article, and includes a verb but no acronym or abbreviation; and
  • spell out all acronyms and abbreviations the first time they are used.

Most frequent editing and style changes include:

  • developing catchy introductory paragraphs for features, brief reports, and news;
  • providing more emphasis to the news and substance of a manuscript;
  • adding a concluding section;
  • making sure a figure caption clearly explains the figure;
  • defining abbreviations and acronyms at first use;
  • removing special typefaces (i.e., italics, boldface) used for emphasis;
  • adding serial commas before conjunctions;
  • changing to day-month-year format: 25 January 2003;
  • adding full ranges for years: 1989–1990;
  • removing commas in numbers less than 10,000 (e.g., 7213);
  • incorporating/abbreviating/etc., introductory “abstracts”;
  • adding age ranges for geologic periods, etc.;
  • adding subheadings;
  • making headlines fit and be “newsy”;
  • reducing the length of paragraphs;
  • removing first-person pronouns from features, brief reports, meeting reports, and news; and
  • changing to American spellings.

Authorship: Authors must be only those who actually write the manuscript. Authorship should not include those who were not involved in the actual writing of the manuscript, regardless of their participation in a project, program, research, etc. Project team names cannot be listed as authors.

Length Limits: Because of the space constraints of Eos, length limits have been established for all manuscript categories (see below). Length limits are expressed in word equivalents, counting text, references, figure captions, author byline, and affiliation; each figure or table counts as the equivalent of 400 words. One figure may have multiple panels but must be legible when reduced to a width of 4.75 inches (12.1 cm) and a height of 4.5 inches (11.4 cm). To gauge the length standard for different types of contributions, authors should consider that a full 4-column page in the Eos newspaper format is equivalent to about 2800 words. Please submit manuscripts with double spacing; please include page and line numbers.

Online Supplements: Eos makes liberal use of online supplements to include more items than are possible within the space constraints of the print version of the newspaper. Supplements might include material that expands on particular points or details that are likely to be primarily of interest to specialists in a field. Online supplements can also be used to publish dynamic content that augments what can be published in the print version.

An online supplement is stored with Eos online issues. Items accepted for publication as an online supplement to Eos must be provided for consideration along with the content submitted for the newspaper. The Eos online supplement cannot be used to archive data, models, methods, or computer programs.

The length limitations for a supplement can be found where the standards for the various categories of Eos content are given. Material for a supplement to Eos is subject to the same dual publication restrictions as for all other AGU publications. Online supplements are generally not copyedited.

Basic Style: Eos follows the same house style as AGU journals (see the AGU Author Guide). It is based on the Chicago Manual of Style and Words Into Type. Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Webster’s New Third International Dictionary (and its Addendum), and the Glossary of Geology are used for hyphenation and spelling. AGU uses an open punctuation style, i.e., only as much punctuation as necessary for clarity. Units of measure must be metric; SI units are strongly encouraged.

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