Guide for Authors

Revised 30 June 2016


Eos is the leading source for trustworthy news and perspectives about the Earth and space sciences and their impact. Eos seeks to forge strong interdisciplinary ties among all Earth and space scientists and those in allied fields.

Eos publishes on timely news, feature articles, project updates, Opinions, meeting summaries, and other material of interest to the full range of Earth and space scientists. Such items concisely analyze or synthesize scientific activities, significant geophysical events, major scientific discoveries, or current scientific controversies and place them in perspective for readers.

Eos does not publish original research results; authors may want to consider submitting such materials to AGU journals.

Eos is expected to

  • be newsworthy and relevant
  • be thought-provoking and interesting to read
  • keep readers informed about developments in their own and other fields
  • be of interest to a broad swath of Earth and space scientists and those who want to learn more about these sciences

Eos is an online news and information source, not a research journal. Articles in Eos require a writing style that is news oriented and accessible to a broad audience. When preparing an article for Eos, the author must keep in mind that readers are not necessarily familiar with the article’s topic.

Eos does not consider or accept articles that have previously been published or that are being considered by other publications. See AGU’s dual-publication policy.

Selections from are published in the Eos print magazine, which is published twice each month, on the 1st and 15th of the month (with the exception of only one issue in January 2015). The print magazine is distributed to AGU members, and the magazine PDF is freely available online on For more information about receiving the magazine, contact [email protected]

 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 scientific and editorial review process and, if accepted, is published more quickly.

Authors should not assume that every reader is familiar with the article’s topic; therefore, articles 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 on 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 article will be read and remembered, whereas a lengthy one may not be.

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

Authors should note the following guidelines:

  • Avoid using specialized terminology and eschew jargon. Terms that are not common to all of Earth and space science disciplines 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 article important?
  • Avoid including 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.
  • Provide at least one engaging image for all submissions, including Opinions and meeting reports. Include a caption and credit or byline for each image.
  • 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.
  • Spell out all acronyms and abbreviations the first time they are used in the text.

Most frequent editing and style changes include

  • developing catchy introductory paragraphs for features, project updates (formerly called brief reports), and news articles
  • adding subheadings to guide readers and break up text
  • 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 (e.g., 5 March 2015)
  • adding full ranges for years: 2010–2014
  • removing commas in numbers less than 10,000 (e.g., 7213)
  • incorporating/abbreviating introductory “abstracts”
  • adding age ranges for geologic periods
  • making headlines fit into limited space and ensuring that they are “newsy”
  • reducing the length of paragraphs
  • ensuring that first-person pronouns in features, project updates, and meeting reports clearly refer to either the authors or the science community but not to both
  • changing to American spellings

Authorship: Authors listed in the byline 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 and Manuscript Requirements: Length limits have been established for all manuscript categories (see below). Length limits are expressed in word count, counting text and references. Images, figures and captions no longer count toward the length. Please submit articles with at least 11-point type, double spacing; please include line and page numbers.

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.

Categories for Contributions

Eos editors will consider for publication the following types of contributions:

Feature Articles offer readers in all Earth and space science disciplines a solid overview of a defined topic. Much like a white paper, a good feature article places its topic in a broad context; describes the work in a way that scientists across all disciplines can understand and appreciate the work; acknowledges the breadth of findings; and gives readers a sense of the history, challenges, and opportunities related to the topic discussed. (Think of writing it as if you were describing your work over a nice dinner with a colleague who is not in your field—someone who’s smart and interested in the topic but would likely not know a lot about the context.)

A feature article does not focus on a single program, project, meeting, or research experiment. Rather, it uses several case studies or examples to describe the topic. Some articles may be tutorial in nature. All features must be broad enough to be of interest to individuals in more than one sphere of scientific interest.

The introductory paragraphs should provide a framework for all readers. In doing so, these paragraphs should address why the topic is important (even though it may seem self-evident). In particular, the first paragraph should entice all readers to continue reading.

Unlike typical research articles, which build to the conclusion, a well-written article in Eos begins with the conclusions and provides details later. Specialists and nonspecialists alike should not need to read to the end to discover what is new, interesting, and important. Whenever possible, the article weaves together science and policy issues related to the topic and acknowledges alternate findings. The writing style should be brisk and readable.

The concluding section addresses what has been learned and how it can be applied as well as potential future directions. Scientific controversies and cutting-edge challenges are of special interest as potential feature articles, and we encourage authors to discuss the policy implications of their research.

Articles that offer opinions and calls for action are Opinion (formerly called Forum) pieces, not feature articles. A feature article, as with all Eos articles, must not present unpublished data or results; Eos is not appropriate for first publication of research findings.

Maximum length: 2500 words. Include a least one image or figure, especially one that will entice readers to the feature. Images, figures, and captions are not counted in the length.

Project Updates (formerly Brief Reports) offer updates or status reports on programs, projects, or research experiments. Suitable subjects for project updates include the significance of new major scientific programs or projects, recent geophysical phenomena, longer historical notes, vignettes of key Earth and space scientists, or discussions of applications of useful new software or publicly available data collections.

Again, Eos does not publish original research results. Authorship is limited to those who actually write the manuscript and should not include those whose role was solely that as a participant in the project, program, or research. “Project teams” cannot be listed as authors.

Maximum length: 1500 words. Must have a least one image or figure, especially one that will entice readers to the project update. Images, figures, and captions are not counted in the length.

Meeting Reports very briefly summarize the scientific highlights of recent meetings relevant to Eos readers. Their purpose is to inform interested members about key developments in other areas of research and of new and persistent challenges. The highlights should be presented in a context that shows the importance of the results for improving readers’ understanding of the scientific area or application.

The online account may include a URL for a longer report published elsewhere. Authors should limit themselves to selecting only the most important aspects of the meeting and report them in a simple narrative style. Authorship is limited to no more than three individuals who have actively contributed to the writing of the report. To be considered for Eos, meeting reports must be submitted within 2 months of the meeting.

Maximum length: 500 words. Please submit a substantive figure and caption about the topic that will entice readers to the meeting report. Images, figures, and captions are not counted in the length.

Meeting Announcements should be submitted via the AGU GeoCalendar.

The Milestones column tells readers about significant awards, personnel changes, and news about Earth and space scientists and those in allied fields. To submit an item for this column, send an email to [email protected] Items should be no longer than 100 words and will be edited to fit format and style. Awards cited will meet the following criteria: significance of the award and awarding institution or organization and recognition of noteworthy scientific and policy achievements that are consistent with AGU’s core guiding values. Inclusion is subject to the discretion of the Eos editorial staff.

Eos lists in the In Memoriam column a short notice of the death of AGU members and prominent Earth and space scientists. To alert AGU about the death of a member, contact Member Services at [email protected] To inquire about the possibility of a longer tribute, contact the editor in chief at [email protected]

Tributes to deceased Earth and space scientists are by invitation only. To suggest that a tribute be considered, send an email to [email protected] with a short statement about the deceased’s contributions to the science and to AGU. The discipline-appropriate president or president-elect of the section or focus group or equivalent, history editorial advisory board member, and the Eos editor in chief decide if a full tribute will be invited. The annual number of tributes from any given section or discipline group is limited to 0.1% percent, akin to the percentage for Fellows.

Maximum length: 1000 words plus photograph of the deceased.

Opinion (formerly Forum and Letters to the Editor) contains thought-provoking contributions expected to stimulate further discussion. Appropriate Opinion topics include current or proposed science policy, discussion related to current research in the Earth and space sciences (especially scientific controversies), the relationship of our science to society, or practices that affect our fields, science in general, or AGU as an organization. Commentary solely on the science reported in research journals is not appropriate.

Maximum length: 1500 words. Should include one image or figure, especially one that will entice readers to read the Opinion piece.

Comments (formerly Letters to the Editor) may be posted by readers on at the end of any given published article via the DISQUS portal. Comments must adhere to our commenting policy.

Maximum length: 200 words per entry.

Historical Notes offer insights into how historic scientific work influences, affects, or offers perspective on current science. These brief pieces can also highlight how past scientific work has become more relevant now or describe a curious twist on past research or observations.

Maximum length: 500 words; include at least one image or figure.

Reviews of books, software, and non-AGU-affiliated websites are considered for publication in Eos. A good book review for Eos should put the topic into context for all readers and thereby expand everyone’s understanding of the subject. It should comment on how well the book achieves the goals intended by its authors and evaluate its contribution to the literature. It should not be a précis of each chapter or a promotional piece. Authors are encouraged to follow the approach of book reviews found in world-class newspapers and magazines.

Software considered for review may be available either commercially or noncommercially. Websites that will be considered for review in Eos include those that are of significant interest to members and/or teachers of Earth and space sciences at any level. Sites specifically aimed at the public will also be considered. Reviews of software and websites should follow the guidelines for book reviews. Website reviews should also include something about the level of knowledge the user must have to make best use of the information on the site.

The primary standard for all material that will be considered for review is interest for the entire readership. All reviews are by invitation from the Eos editors; unsolicited reviews will not be considered.

Maximum length for any review; include at least one image or figure.

GeoFIZZ manuscripts are tidbits devoted to the lighter side of Earth and space science. These short narratives, illustrations, or cartoons take a look at a broad issue in the Earth and space sciences from a light or unusual perspective; these items often help the members of AGU to laugh at themselves.

Maximum length for narratives: 700 words plus one figure, especially one that will entice readers to read the GeoFIZZ piece.

News Items, written by Eos staff or freelance science writers, briefly report on recent geophysical phenomena, exciting new research findings, and science policy.

How to Submit to Eos

Eos editors welcome contributions from authors throughout the world. The decision to accept a contribution for publication is guided by the standards described in these guidelines. In making the decision about the publication of a manuscript, the editor may or may not ask reviewers to provide a scientific review. Unlike the full peer review that is traditional for journals, this scientific review is not verifying scientific method or research results; rather, it is assessing accuracy of the information, balance, and good communication of information critical to the understanding of the topic.

Eos submissions from the scientific community should be made through the GEMS online interface. If you have submitted manuscripts to any AGU journal, your log-in information is the same for Eos. First-time authors will be asked to register. This one-time registration is good for all AGU publications for the purposes of submission as well as review. Hot links throughout the online process guide authors through the process. Questions or requests for additional assistance can be directed to [email protected].

Freelance science writers should inquire about submitting news or feature pieces by writing to [email protected].

Acceptable file formats for submitting text are Word (preferred) or pdf.

For Eos figures, authors should follow the guidelines for preparing graphics for AGU research journals, keeping in mind readability, the figure’s contribution to the overall understanding of the topic, and the idea that images for the Web should be engaging and uncluttered. Video and audio clips are welcome. Figures and tables are reviewed along with the manuscripts.

There is no charge for publishing a manuscript in Eos.

Before publication, authors must complete the following forms:

If you have any questions about copyright, see Copyright Transfer and Open Access Information. If you are submitting your article via GEMS, the copyright and open-access license forms are available electronically and part of the submission process.