Information for our contributors
California Agriculture is a peer-reviewed journal reporting research, reviews and news in agricultural, natural and human resources. The authors are primarily, but not exclusively, faculty from the University of California and its Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. It is published four to six times a year.
The first issue of California Agriculture was published in December 1946, making it one of the oldest continuously published land-grant university research publications in the country. It is also the largest circulation publication of its kind (currently about 14,000 domestic and 1,700 foreign subscribers).
All published, signed papers are peer reviewed.
Research articles are ideally about 3,500 words including tables and figures, or four to six journal pages. Research articles are expected to contain new and timely data representing a significant advance in one field; they may synthesize results from related experiments, presenting them in terms meaningful to both an interdisciplinary audience and educated lay readers. On occasion, research articles interpret or analyze major findings that the author is concurrently publishing in a scholarly or technical journal.
Reviews are generally 3,500 words and analyze recent developments in research that significantly impact agricultural, natural or human resources in California. Readers should be able to learn what has been firmly established and what are unresolved questions or future directions for research. Reviews may discuss research developments in the context of public policy debates and identify priorities for research efforts and funding. Reviews are documented by literature citations.
Perspectives appearing in the research section are review articles that interpret and analyze recent developments in research and public policy and express an opinion concerning the resulting impact on California's agricultural, natural and human resources.
New pests and diseases are shorter review articles describing new pests and diseases of statewide significance. They are generally 2,500 to 3,000 words. Authors are expected to describe the host range, geographic range and important biological characteristics of the pest, citing the relevant literature. Articles must contain California data, although it may be preliminary, and describe expected impacts of the pest in California.
Special issues or sections typically include both reviews and research articles on subjects that have stimulated significant research and/or extension efforts at UC, and which have interest for a wide cross-section of the audience. The editor or faculty guest editors solicit most articles for special issues, but suggestions for coverage are welcome. Both solicited and unsolicited articles undergo peer review. For special section guidelines please e-mail email@example.com.
Sidebars are published in the text of signed manuscripts and illustrate or offer expanded discussion of a single aspect of the accompanying article. They are typically 600 to 1,000 words. Because of the brevity of sidebars, conclusions drawn and assertions made must either be supported by the accompanying manuscript or by literature citations listed at the sidebar's conclusion. Like all signed papers, faculty-authored sidebars must undergo peer review, but they are evaluated for accuracy and balance rather than for formal presentation of scientific data.
News sections of the journal
All items in the news section at the front of the magazine are developed in-house, based on UC research and extension activity. Faculty sources review these items for accuracy and balance of presentation. However, they are not peer-reviewed articles, nor do faculty authors sign them. They include Science briefs, Outreach news, Letters to the editor, Research updates and Progress reports. Suggestions for coverage are welcome.
All manuscripts submitted for publication in California Agriculture must undergo anonymous peer review before they can be accepted. We have a double-blind review policy, in which neither authors nor reviewers are identified to each other. Associate Editors, who oversee review, are known to all parties. We forward each submission to the appropriate Associate Editor, who makes an initial determination of its (1) scientific soundness and (2) suitability for the California Agriculture audience.
The Associate Editor then nominates at least three qualified reviewers who are recognized leaders in the relevant disciplines. Reviewers are often from UC, but may also be appointed from other institutions and locations. If the first two reviews are affirmative, the article is accepted. If one is negative, we send the manuscript to a third reviewer. The Associate Editor, in consultation with the Executive Editor, makes the final decision on the disposition of the manuscript.
In the last 3 years, the rejection rate has run from 20% to 25%. Although most manuscripts make it through review, very few manuscripts get through review “clean.” Associate Editors alone send back 7% to 10% for revision prior to peer review. As a rule, reviewers also require some revision before acceptance.
California Agriculture is edited to reach a diverse, well-educated audience. Based on a 2003 reader survey to which 66% of our subscribers responded, 33% work in agriculture (25% in production or processing, 8% in agribusiness), and 31% are either faculty members at universities or research scientists. One-fifth or 19% work in government agencies or are elected office-holders. Of respondents, 87% are college graduates and 55% hold advanced degrees.
Submitting the manuscript
Please use the checklist below to properly submit your manuscript to California Agriculture. You will receive an acknowledgment of receipt. With your permission, California Agriculture now sends manuscripts for peer review in electronic format. We will e-mail the manuscript to the appropriate Associate Editor, and based on his or her recommendations, will e-mail it to two reviewers.
Checklist for submission
We prefer manuscripts and cover letters submitted via e-mail in Microsoft Word attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. We will send a PDF version of the manuscript to the Associate Editor and peer reviewers.
If you do not agree to the electronic transferal of your manuscript, we will send out hard copies. If you prefer to submit by mail, send the cover letter and three copies of the manuscript to: Editor, California Agriculture, 1111 Franklin St., 6th Floor, Oakland, CA 94607-5200.
In preparing the manuscript, please:
Double-space the whole manuscript, and include all tables, figures and captions.
Use a 12-point font, such as Palatino or Times New Roman.
Leave margins that are a minimum of 1 inch.
Include line numbering (per page) and page numbers.
Include figures and tables at the end of the manuscript; do not embed them in the text.
Digital images or color slides may be submitted at this time or when the manuscript has been accepted for publication.
The cover letter should include:
The names, addresses, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers of all authors.
The headline (title) of the paper and a statement of its main point.
The total number of words (including text, references, and figure and table legends) in the manuscript.
A statement that the material has not been published and is not under consideration for publication elsewhere.
A statement specifying when data was collected; and if the final data was collected more the 3 years before submission, why they are timely and relevant.
A statement that you permit the electronic transferal of your manuscript to the peer reviewers and Associate Editor.
A list of photographic illustrations, either available or suggested.
After we hear from the reviewers (ideally within 3 weeks), we will send you their recommendations and comments, and the Associate Editor's instructions. If the manuscript has been accepted for publication, you will be asked to revise it in response to the reviewers' and Associate Editor's suggestions.
Once the Associate Editor accepts the revised manuscript, we will ask for the final version in electronic form. The author will receive edited galleys — usually with numerous queries — for correction and approval before publication.
California Agriculture prints high-quality color images with all articles, primarily using art supplied by the author. Digitized images, whether scanned from conventional prints or captured with a digital camera, must provide the resolution needed for our purposes. We prefer digital images at least 300 dpi at 4″ × 6″ and saved as a TIFF or high-resolution JPEG file. Or, you may submit 35 mm color slides, preferably good-quality originals. As a last resort, we can use good-quality color prints. We will return your slides or prints after publication.
For more information about submitting images to California Agriculture, contact Davis Krauter at (510) 987-0046 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Matters of style
Refer to a recent issue and the full Writing Guidelines for matters of style. Below are some special requests and notes.
Abbreviations, symbols and acronyms
Abbreviations should be defined the first time they are used.
We prefer the common name, with trade name the first time in parentheses (no trademark symbol necessary).
Literature citations and references
California Agriculture publishes citations and references in the interests of good scholarship and proper factual documentation. We ask authors to limit their lists to key sources of documentation and to about 20 maximum. California Agriculture does not use footnotes.
We publish results either in standard English measure or in English measure followed by metrics in parentheses.
It is appropriate to give the scientific name (with or without author) the first time mentioned, but avoid putting it in the headline or first sentence of the article. After the scientific name is given once, use the common name.