Submission Guidelines

Length: Because we are a web-based journal, length is very flexible. In general, articles of about 2,000 words seem to work well for the columns; however, if you need more space to describe your ideas, feel free to write a longer article.  Refereed articles tend to range from 4,000-8,000 words, but there are no strict limits. 

Format: Please see the guidelines below for the format for citations and bibliographies. 

Images: We prefer JPEG or PNG image files, submitted as part of your manuscript (i.e., not as separate files or at the end of a document), although we may request separate image files later on in the editorial process. If you did not create the graphic or illustration yourself, include written copyright permission for reproduction of the illustrations from the copyright holder.

Layout of Article:

Author(s) including title(s), institution(s), and e-mail address(es)
Body of Paper


ISTL uses the CSE format. See this guide from the University of Wisconsin for examples.

References should be cited in the text in the following form:

Smith (2002)
Smith (2002a,b)
Smith (2002, 2005)
Smith and  Jones (2005)
(Smith & Jones 2008)
(Smith 2009)
(Smith 2005; Jones 2008)
(Smith et al. 2010) for more than two authors
  • Inline references should come at the end of a sentence, before the period. Avoid repeating the same inline reference in one section of text.
  • Page numbers are not used in inline references, even for direct quotations.
  • Include DOIs (preferred) or URLs in the References list wherever possible.

At the end of the paper references should be listed alphabetically in the section entitled References in the following standard form, giving journal titles in full. Please italicize titles of books and journals. Include DOIs whenever possible.

McCormac, J.S. & Kennedy, G. 2004. Birds of Ohio. Auburn (WA): Lone Pine.

Book Chapter:
McDaniel, T.K. & Valdivia, R.H. 2005. New tools for virulence gene discovery. In: Cossart, P. et al., editors. Cellular microbiology. 2nd ed. Washington (DC): ASM Press. p. 473-488.

Markham, J.W. & Hagmeier, E. 1982. Observations on the effects of germanium dioxide on the growth of macro-algae and diatoms. Phycologia 21(2):125-131.

Online Articles:
Leng F., Amado, L. & McMacken, R. 2004. Coupling DNA supercoiling to transcription in defined protein systems. Journal of Biological Chemistry [Internet].  279(46):47564-47571. Available from:

Online Articles with a DOI
Gunapala, N. 2014. Meeting the needs of the "invisible university:" identifying information needs of postdoctoral scholars in the sciences. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship. 77. DOI: 10.5062/F4B8563P.

Web Pages (no author listed):
ASAP: systematic annotation package for community analysis of genomes [Internet]. Madison (WI): University of Wisconsin-Madison; c2013 [cited 2013 Sep 12]. Available from