Global Change Biology

Cover image for Vol. 21 Issue 4

Edited by: Steve Long

Impact Factor: 8.224

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2013: 1/42 (Biodiversity Conservation); 4/216 (Environmental Sciences); 6/141 (Ecology)

Online ISSN: 1365-2486

Associated Title(s): GCB Bioenergy

Author Guidelines

Editorial Office contact details:

Global Change Biology
University of Illinois
121F Institute for Genomic Biology
1206 West Gregory Drive
Urbana, IL 61801-3838
Tel. +1-217-333-9651 or +217-300-9011
Fax +1-217-244-3637

Online manuscript submission

Submit your manuscript electronically to Global Change Biology through ScholarOne Manuscripts:

Overview of the Editorial Process

All submitted manuscripts will be processed through plagiarism detection software. In submitting your manuscript you accept that it may be screened against previously published literature. Plagiarized manuscripts will be rejected immediately.

GCB is committed to rapid evaluation and publication of submitted papers. To this end, we strive to return the Editor's decision and reviewer comments within 60 days of submission and to publish papers online within 30 days of receipt of the final version of the manuscript and all necessary files and forms.

In order to achieve this, manuscript review is based on a two-stage process.

  • During the first stage, manuscripts are assigned to appropriate members of the Editorial Board who determine if the manuscript should be sent for peer-review. This decision is based on the submission questions and abstract.  In 2014, the average time for this stage was 6 days and 56% of manuscript progressed to the second stage.  
  • During second stage, manuscripts are assessed by two or three independent reviewers. The final decision is made by the Subject Editor. In 2014, the average time for stage two was 36 days and 21% of submitted manuscripts were accepted for publication.
  • A decision letter will be emailed to the corresponding author once the Subject Editor has made his or her decision.
  • If at any time during the review process the corresponding author has a question regarding the status a manuscript or the nature of the peer review process, he or she should contact the Editorial Office.

Accepted articles will appear online with a DOI 2 weeks after the final version of the manuscript and all necessary files and forms are received by the Editorial Office. The typesetter will notify the corresponding author via e-mail to electronically retrieve page proofs 4-6 weeks after the final files are received by the Editorial Office. After the proofs are corrected, the article will appear on EarlyView until it is assigned to an issue.

Types of papers

Global Change Biology will consider the following manuscript types:

Original Research
Primary Research Articles present the results of a completed research project and are up to 8000 words in length. Word limits apply to the main body of the text (Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion, and Acknowledgements). Formatting is standard (see Formatting Instructions, below). These are peer reviewed. Decisions are made by the Editors.

Technical Advances present exciting new research tools, methods, and techniques, including new modeling approaches, and should include a detailed description of the methodological design and discussion of how this technique improves the study of global change biology. GCB has a wide readership; accordingly the technical advance must be broadly applicable. Papers describing methods that apply to one species or system are unlikely to meet our criteria unless authors are able to show that their methods can be generalized. The abstract must be less than 150 words and the main body word limit is 4000 words (Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results & Discussion, and Acknowledgements). Formatting is standard (see Formatting Instructions, below) except that Results and Discussion may be combined. These are peer reviewed. Decisions are made by the Editors.

Comment and Review
Research Reviews examine a defined specialist subject that is of topical interest. Reviews should begin with an abstract and an introduction, followed by up to 10 headings following a logically developed plan, and end with a Conclusion, tables, figure captions and figures. Reviews should be no more than 8000 words (count includes Abstract, Introduction, body, Conclusions and Acknowledgements). These are peer reviewed. Decisions are made by the Editors.

Opinions are usually a review or re-analysis that challenges prevailing views on a topical issue. These may include emerging frameworks arising from a synthesis of recent research, alternative interpretations of a field of research, controversial perspectives on current areas of research of high interest, or reason the need for a new direction in research. This list is not exclusive and the Editors are interested to hear of other ideas. While this category of article is designed to allow expression of viewpoints that may run counter to established viewpoints, articles must be anchored in sound reasoning developed from the peer-reviewed literature. The article must be sufficiently complete to convince reviewers of the value of the contribution. Articles that are essentially reviewing a topic, a statement of opinion not reasoned from the peer-reviewed literature, arguing for redirection of government funding for research and those primarily discussing the authors’ own work will not be considered. Opinions articles should begin with an Abstract and Introduction, followed by a body with up to 6 headings, and end with a Conclusion, tables, figure captions and figures. Opinion articles should be no more than 5000 words and have no more than 8 tables and figures. These are peer reviewed. Decisions are made by the Editors. Authors interested in submitting an Opinion should first send a one-paragraph proposal (300 words) to the Editorial Office.

Reports are expert scientific reports which outline the direction of a relevant research area, integrated experimental network, etc. Reports should begin with an abstract and introduction, followed by up to 20 headings, and end with a Conclusion and/or Recommendations, table, figure captions and figures. Reports should be no more than 8000 words (count includes Introduction, body, Conclusions and Acknowledgements). These are peer reviewed at the Editor’s discretion. Decisions are made by the Editors. Authors interested in submitting a Report should first send a one-paragraph proposal (300 words) to the Editorial Office.

Editorial and Front Material
Editorials are a commentary from an Editor or Guest Editor on an important development in the Journal or background to a SI or VSI. They have the following sections: body, references, tables, figure captions and figures. They should include no more than 2 tables and figures, 10 references, and be no more than 500 words. These are not peer reviewed. Decisions are made by the Editors. Editorials may be submitted by invitation only.

Editorial Commentaries are a discussion of recent exciting research or in-depth analysis of topic issues including meetings. Opinions are welcome as long as they are factually based. Commentaries only have the following sections: body, references, tables, figure captions and figures. They should include no more than 2 tables and figures and 10 references, and be no more than 1000 words (count includes body and Acknowledgements). These are not peer reviewed. Decisions are made by the Editors.

Letters to the Editor are a short discussion of articles recently published articles or topical issues presenting an alternative or well-reasoned challenge to an article of relevance to the journal. Opinions are welcome as long as they are factually based. Letters only have the following sections: body, reference, tables, figure captions and figures. They should include no more than 2 tables and figures and 10 references, and be no more than 800 words (count includes body and Acknowledgements). If a letter is accepted for publication it will be provided to the authors of the original article (when appropriate) so that they may have an opportunity to provide a Response to the Editor. These are not peer reviewed. Decisions are made by the Editors.

Response to the Editor is a response to a Letter to the Editor. Opinions are welcome as long as they are factually based. Responses only have the following sections: body, reference, tables, figure captions and figures. They should include no more than 2 tables and figures and 10 references, and be no more than 500 words (count includes body and Acknowledgements). These are not peer reviewed. Decisions are made by the Editors.

Pre-submission English-language editing

Authors for whom English is a second language may choose to have their manuscript professionally edited before submission to improve its grammar, spelling, punctuation, and clarity. Visit Wiley-Blackwell's site to learn about the options. All services are paid for and arranged by the author, and use of one of these services does not guarantee acceptance or preference for publication.

Conflict of Interest

Wiley-Blackwell requires that all authors disclose any potential sources of conflict of interest. Any interest or relationship, financial or otherwise, that might be perceived as influencing an author’s objectivity is considered a potential source of conflict of interest. These must be disclosed when directly relevant or indirectly related to the work that the authors describe in their manuscript. Potential sources of conflict of interest include but are not limited to patent or stock ownership, membership of a company board of directors, membership of an advisory board or committee for a company, and consultancy for or receipt of speaker’s fees from a company. The existence of a conflict of interest does not preclude publication in this journal. It is the responsibility of the corresponding author to review this policy with all authors and to collectively list in the manuscript (under the Acknowledgments section), and in the online submission system ALL pertinent commercial and other relationships. Corresponding authors will be asked to confirm whether or not a conflict of interest exists as part of the submission process.

Ethics of Experimentation

The Journal will only accept manuscripts in which there is evidence of the ethical use of animals or harmful substances. The care and use of experimental animals must comply with all relevant local animal welfare laws, guidelines and policies, and a statement of such compliance should be provided to the Journal Editor. Where possible, alternative procedures that replace the use of animals, either partially or completely, for example in vitro biological systems, should be used. Where this is not possible, the minimum number of animals should be used and pain and suffering reduced, consistent with attaining the scientific objectives of the study. All reasonable steps must be taken to ensure the humane treatment of animals, so as to minimize discomfort, distress and pain. Animals in pain or moribund should be painlessly killed according to local euthanasia regulations. The journal encourages corresponding authors of manuscripts involving animal research to refer to the ARRIVE guidelines ( before submission of a manuscript.

Human Investigations

Manuscripts reporting data obtained from research conducted in human subjects must include assurance that informed consent was obtained from each patient. In addition, the manuscript must include assurance that the study protocol conformed to the ethical guidelines of the 1975 Declaration of Helsinki as reflected in approval by the institution's human research review committee. A statement to this effect must be provided within the Methods section.

Instructions for Authors

1. Compile the electronic version of your manuscript according to the formatting instructions below.

2. Gather the following information which will be necessary to complete your submission:

Contact information for all authors

  • First name, middle initial and last name
  • Postal address
  • E-mail address

Name and e-mail address of 3-5 suggested reviewers. While these selections may be taken into account, the final selection is subject to the Editor's discretion. These suggestions must be without a conflict of interest with the authors including former or current coauthors (within the past 4 years), students, mentors and members of the same academic institution. Authors may also indicate up to three non-preferred referees.

Answers to the following questions (max 50 words per answer). Please take time to prepare your answers to these questions; this information may be used to determine if the manuscript should progress to stage two of the review process.

  • What is the scientific question you are addressing?
  • What is/are the key finding(s) that answers this question?
  • What are the three most recently published papers that are relevant to this question?
  • Why is this work important and timely?
  • Does your paper falls within the scope of GCB; what biological AND global change aspects does it address?
  • Provide information about suggested and non-preferred reviewers including their area of research and how it relates to your paper. Also provide justification for why you do not prefer certain reviewers.
  • Provide justification for any non-conformance to author guidelines and/or formatting

3. Use the submission check list as a guide to ensure that files are correctly prepared for submission.

4. Submit your manuscript electronically through the Global Change Biology ScholarOne Manuscripts site. Enter the Author Center and click 'Click here to submit a new manuscript'. The instructions at the top of the screens will guide you through the submission process.

Formatting Instructions

Manuscripts may be submitted in the following file formats: Microsoft Word or Corel WordPerfect, Rich Text Format or Post Script (NOT a pdf).

All pages should be numbered consecutively, starting with 1 for the title page and including those containing acknowledgements, references, tables and figure captions. Manuscripts must be page size letter (8.5 x 11 inch) or A4 (210 x 297 mm) with margins of at least 2.5 cm. Lines must be numbered and double-spaced, and text must be in Times New Roman font, 12 point. English spelling should conform to The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English. Both American and British English are acceptable, but must be consistent. Do not include section numbers or suggestions for the placement of tables and figures in the text.


Primary Research Articles should be arranged as follows, with each section beginning on a separate page. Manuscripts in other categories should be modified appropriately.

1. Title page
      i. Title: this should be concise and informative            
      ii. Running head: a shortened title with no more than 45 characters, including spaces
      iii. List of authors
      iv. Institute or laboratory of origin: Where authors have different addresses, use numbered superscripts to refer to each address provided
      v. Corresponding author: include their telephone, fax and email details
      vi. Keywords: 6 – 10 key words or short phrases to enable retrieval and indexing by searching techniques. Authors are encouraged to include scientific names, common names, and pseudonyms that are not mentioned in the title.
      vii. Type of Paper

2. Abstract
This should provide a concise statement of the motivation for the work done, the scope of the work and the principal findings. The abstract should be less than 300 words. Commentaries and Letters do not contain abstracts.

3. Introduction
This should argue the case for your study, outlining only essential background, but should not include either the findings or the conclusions. It should not be a review of the subject area, but should finish with a clear statement of the question being addressed.

4. Materials and methods
This should allow replication of all experiments described and demonstrate the validity of those experiments for the research being conducted.

5. Results
This should not include material appropriate to the Discussion section. Reviews, Commentaries and Letters do not have Results sections.

6. Discussion
This should highlight the significance of the results and place them in the context of other work. It should not introduce new material, be over-speculative, reiterate the results, or exceed 20% of the total length. The Results and Discussion sections may be combined for Technical Advances papers. A Conclusion replaces the Results and Discussion section for Reviews.

7. Conclusions
Only Reviews may have conclusions sections. All other article types should incorporate any conclusions into the Discussion section, and should not include a “Conclusions” subheading.

8. Acknowledgements

9. References
The reference list should be in alphabetical order and include the full title with the name of the journal given in full. The number of references is limited for Commentaries and Letters (max 10). When there are eight or more authors, only the first three should be listed, followed by "et al.". For example:

Thackeray SJ, Sparks TH, Frederiksen M et al. (2010) Trophic level asynchrony in rates of phenological change for marine, freshwater and terrestrial environments. Global Change Biology, 16, 3304–3313.

George DG, Hewitt DP (1998) The influence of year-to-year changes in position of the Atlantic Gulf Stream on the biomass of zooplankton in Windermere North Basin, UK. In: Management of Lakes and Reservoirs During Global Climate Change (eds George DG, Jones JG, Puncochar P, Reynolds CS, Sutcliffe DW), pp. 223–244, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.

IPCC (2007) Summary for policymakers. In: Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (eds Parry ML, Canziani OF, Palutikof JP, Van der Linden PJ, Hanson CE), PP. 81–82. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Rotter RP (1993) Simulation of the biophysical limitations to maize production under rainfed conditions in Kenya: evaluation and application of the model WOFOST. PhD Thesis. University of Trier, Germany.

When there are more than two authors, use the first author followed by "et al.". Use commas between the author and date of publication, and to separate different publications by the same author. Semicolons separate citations of different authors. Cite two or more publications by different authors in chronological sequence, from the earliest to latest. For example:

(Cramer et al., 2012)
(Shanley & Chalmers, 2012; Marchard, 2013)
(Lindroth et al., 2012, 2013)
(Duran et al., 2012; Robertson et al., 2013)

We recommend to visit the following hyperlink for reference management and formatting.

10. Supporting Information captions
Short caption for each supporting information file.

11. Data Accessibility Required for DNA sequence, microsatellite, SNP, microarray, and Next Generation Sequencing data. For example: - DNA sequences: Genbank accessions F234391-F234402; NCBI SRA: SRX0110215- Final DNA sequence assembly uploaded as online Supporting Information- Climate data and MaxEnt input files: Dryad doi:10.5521/dryad.12311- Sampling locations, morphological data and microsatellite genotypes: Dryad doi:10.5521/dryad.1231

12. Tables
Each table should be on a separate page, numbered, and accompanied by an explanatory caption. Each table must be referred to in the text. Tables must be in editable Word or Excel format (NOT embedded in picture format). Data must not be presented in both tabular and graphical form. The number of tables and figures for Commentaries and Letters is limited to two.

13. Figure captions
Figure captions should be listed one after the other, as part of the text document, separate from the figure files. Do not include captions below the figures. Enough detail should be given so that the figure can be understood without reference to the text. In the full-text online edition of the journal, figure captions may be truncated in abbreviated links to the full screen version. Therefore, the first 100 characters of any caption should inform the reader of key aspects of the figure. If you wish to publish figures in color online and grayscale in print, figure captions should be appropriate for both color and grayscale versions; do not refer to colors in the figure.

14. Figures
All figures should be uploaded as separate files, with the figure number incorporated in the file name. Graphics/figures of accepted manuscripts must be 300dpi or above and in pdf, tiff or eps format. Figures should be cropped or scaled to the size intended for publication. Most figures should fit within a single (80 mm) or double column width (169 mm). Figure panels should be labeled with lower case, bold letters in parentheses (e.g. (a), (b)) and referred to in the text in the form Fig. 1a, Fig. 1a,b.

Figures may be published (1) in color both in the online journal and in the printed journal, (2) in color online and grayscale in print, or (3) in grayscale both in the online journal and in the printed journal. Online color is free; authors will be charged for color in print (currently £150 for the first figure, £50 thereafter). The Color Work Agreement Form should be completed in all instances where authors require color, whether in print or online. The form is not required for color figures that are part of online Supporting Information. If you wish to publish figures in color online and grayscale in print, you are responsible for ensuring that color figures are understandable when converted to grayscale and that text references and captions and figure legends are appropriate for both online and print versions.

Diagrams and graphs should appear on a white background, with black axis lines 0.25 mm thick enclosing the graph. Axes should be clearly marked with units in parentheses after the axis title. Scale/tick marks on graphs should be inside the axes. Only 5-7 ticks should be labeled per axis. Font should be black, Times, Times New Roman, Arial or Helvetica type, and 8-11 pt when scaled to print size.

The preferred symbols are open and closed circles, squares, triangles. Symbols should be 3 mm across. Data lines should be 0.5 mm thick. The same symbol and color should be used for the same entity in different figures. Legends may be used and should be overlayed on the graph when possible. The legend should have a white background and no outline. Please consult the submission checklist or Wiley-Blackwell's Illustration Guidelines ( for more information.

15. Supporting information
Appendicies will not be published in print, but may be submitted as Supporting Information to be published in the online version of the article. These files are not included in the typeset manuscript, but are downloadable and fully searchable from the HTML version of the article. This material should be submitted with the original manuscript in order that it can be included in the review process. The conclusions of an Author's manuscripts should not depend on the material supplied in Supporting Information. Supporting information will be made available in exactly the same form as originally provided; it will not be copyedited or typeset. All supporting information must be referred to in the manuscript with a leading capital S (e.g., fig. S2 for the second supporting information figure). Authors should include a Supporting Information section after the references in the main article. This section consists of short captions for each supporting information file. Full captions should be included within the online supporting information file. Please see Wiley-Blackwell's Supporting Information Guidelines for more information.

16. Candidate cover image
Images suitable for the cover of the journal are particularly welcomed and should be accompanied by a suggested caption and photocredit (when appropriate). See Wiley-Blackwell's Graphics Resources for Authors for guidelines and tips.


Free access to the final PDF offprint of your article will be available via author services only. Please therefore sign up for author services if you would like to access your article PDF offprint and enjoy the many other benefits the service offers.

Printed copies can be obtained at additional cost to the author. Please click on the following link, to order online. Fill in the necessary details and ensure that you type information in all of the required fields. If you have queries about offprints, please email for details.

Colour Work Agreement

If you have submitted a manuscript that contains colour figures, it is the policy of the journal for authors to meet the full cost of colour reproduction (please see form for more details). Once completed, please return the form (hard copy with original signature) via regular mail to the address below:

Customer Services (OPI)
John Wiley & Sons Ltd, European Distribution Centre
New Era Estate
Oldlands Way
Bognor Regis
West Sussex
PO22 9NQ


OnlineOpen is available to authors of primary research articles who wish to make their article available to non-subscribers on publication, or whose funding agency requires grantees to archive the final version of their article. With OnlineOpen the author, the author's funding agency, or the author's institution pays a fee to ensure that the article is made available to non-subscribers upon publication via Wiley Online Library, as well as deposited in the funding agency's preferred archive. For the full list of terms and conditions, see

“If your paper is accepted, the author identified as the formal corresponding author for the paper will receive an email prompting them to login into Author Services; where via the Wiley Author Licensing Service (WALS) they will be able to complete the license agreement on behalf of all authors on the paper.

For authors signing the copyright transfer agreement

If the OnlineOpen option is not selected the corresponding author will be presented with the copyright transfer agreement (CTA) to sign. The terms and conditions of the CTA can be previewed in the samples associated with the Copyright FAQs below:

CTA Terms and Conditions

For authors choosing OnlineOpen

If the OnlineOpen option is selected the corresponding author will have a choice of the following Creative Commons License Open Access Agreements (OAA):

Creative Commons Attribution License OAA

Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License OAA

Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial -NoDerivs License OAA

To preview the terms and conditions of these open access agreements please visit the Copyright FAQs hosted on Wiley Author Services and visit

If you select the OnlineOpen option and your research is funded by The Wellcome Trust and members of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) you will be given the opportunity to publish your article under a CC-BY license supporting you in complying with Wellcome Trust and Research Councils UK requirements. For more information on this policy and the Journal’s compliant self-archiving policy pleasevisit:”

Online production tracking is now available for your article through Wiley-Blackwell's Author Services at Author services enables authors to track their article - once it has been accepted - through the production process to publication online and in print. Authors can check the status of their articles online and choose to receive automated e-mails at key stages of production. The author will receive an e-mail with a unique link that enables them to register and have their title automatically added to the system.

Referrals to the Open Access Journal "Ecology and Evolution"

This journal works together with Wiley’s Open Access Journal, Ecology and Evolution, to enable rapid publication of quality research that is unable to be accepted for publication by Global Change Biology. Authors will be offered the option of having the paper, along with any related reviews, automatically transferred for consideration by the Editor of Ecology and Evolution. Authors will not need to reformat or rewrite their manuscript at this stage, and publication decisions will be made a short time after the transfer takes place. The Editor of Ecology and Evolution will accept submissions that report well-conducted research which reaches the standard acceptance for publication. Accepted papers can be published rapidly, typically within 15 days of acceptance. Ecology and Evolution is a Wiley Open Access journal and article publication fees apply. More information can be found here.

Special issues

Our page budget does not allow for the publication of special issues. However, we will consider sponsored special issues with costs of publication covered by third party sponsors. All submissions to sponsored issues will undergo peer review and the final publication decision will be made by appropriate members of the editorial board. If you are interested in publishing a sponsored special issue please contact the Editorial Office.