Writing Instructions about Books

Writing Instructions about Scientific book / book chapter or related material


Please follow writing instructions very carefully, check grammar and style the Book policy before final submission (policy).


Follow these guidelines to submite book / book chapter or related material:


Conciseness and Clarity

Keep sentences short and understandable. Use common terminology whenever possible. Avoid using idioms, slang, jargon, nicknames, abbreviations, and acronyms. If you do use terminology that might be new or confusing, then clearly define each term when it first appears in the instructions.



The book / book chapter or related material should be typeset using 1.5 line spacing and 12 font size on one side of A4 size or 8½” × 11″ paper. All margins (left, right, top and bottom) should be 2.5 cm. Please do not underline headings. Underlining should be used to indicate italicised words. Use of italics in the book / book chapter or related material  should be restricted to genera and species names, and chemical descriptors (e.g. cis, trans). Footnotes should be kept to the minimum and indicated by * or †. Do not use full stops after abbreviations unless they are essential for clarity. Abbreviations of chemical and other names/ titles should be defined in first instance, unless the abbreviations are commonly used and internationally accepted.


Units and nomenclature

Use SI units should be used. For example, use the form g kg-1 (not %) to specify content, composition or concentration. Use % only to express proportional change. Note that the form g 100g-1 etc is not correct. Avoid use of g per 100g,; instead use g kg-1. Fertilizer rate should be presented in terms of element applied. Further information on ISO recommendations can be obtained from the following publication issued by the British Standards Institution, London: Specification for SI units and recommendations for the use of their multiples and of certain other units, BS 5555:1993 ISO 1000:1992.



Write all symbols, formula and equations carefully. Unusual symbols (including Greek lettering) should be defined in words on the left margin at the first instance.



Write authors names (with authority) of plants, animals, microorganisms, with full generic name at the first instance, for example, Myzus persicae (Sulzer). Thereafter, abbreviated name may be used, e.g. M. persicae . Write authors name in full (without authority) when they are used in headings of sections, tables, figures and key words. Cultivars should be specified where it is appropriate.


Chemical nomenclature

Use current systematic IUPAC nomenclature.



The main body of the book / book chapter or related material  should be divided into unnumbered sections and each given an appropriate heading. The main headings should be on the left and over the text (11 fonts, bold).

Title: This should be concise, short, specific and explain the nature of the work. Use 14 fonts, bold, e.g.” Food consumption in Finland”)

Author(s) and/or editor(s) – Please include the names and background of the author(s) or the editor(s) and, if known, intended contributor(s). A brief curriculum vitae for each author/editor is welcome



The summary must be informative or concise, giving an overview and essential information such as the purpose of the work; the results obtained, statistical significance and inference/ conclusion without reference. It normally should not exceed 2000 words. Authors should remember that the summary is often the only portion of a electronic book / book chapter. Hence use of unusual acronyms or abbreviations should be avoided .



Include a clear description of aims of the investigation (without summarizing the work itself) and a brief statement of previous relevant work with references. Authors should identify research gap by critical review of previous works and set objectives for the book.



Clearly state, in sufficient details to permit works to be repeated, the materials and methods used. Only new techniques and modifications to known methods need to be described in detail, but known methods must have adequate references. Include the name, postal town, code and country of the supplier or manufacturer of any chemical or apparatus not in common use. Give the statistical design (including replication) of each experiment where appropriate.



This section is obviously the most important part of an instructions set since it is the actual steps that the reader will follow to complete the task at hand. There are many ways to format the procedures, but most are done with numbered lists. The following are things you should do to make the steps clear and concise:

  • Write each step with concise wording so it is easily understood and completed.

  • Techniques:

  • Give readers enough information to perform the step, avoid redundancy.

  • Put the steps in a list. Numbering often works the best.

  • Highlight key words.

  • Make sure the reader can locate steps quickly and easily.

  • Techniques:

  • Number steps.

  • Skip lines between steps.

  • Make actions stand out from the rest of the text.

  • Tell the reader what to do if they make a mistake. Not knowing what to do will cause frustration and the reader may give up on the task.


Testing and Verification

We all know that instructions are difficult to write and that sometimes it sounds good on book / book chapter or related material, but when you actually attempt to put the instructions to use, you might find that your wording makes no sense to others. Remember what might be common or obvious to you might baffle your readers, so know your audience. In addition to testing your instructions on yourself, have someone who knows nothing about your product test it. This is called a usability study. Take notes on what worked and what didn't and then revise your instructions accordingly. In the long run the more people that test your instructions, the more effective the final set will be.

The following sections are descriptions of the different parts of the general superstructure of a set of instructions. What sections to include will vary based on the complexity of the instructions. Your document may contain any of the following sections:


Present data concisely, using tables or illustrations for clarity; do not repeat or list the results in the text. State clearly the form of the experimental error and statistical significance of results. Do not overstate the precision of the measurements. Histograms or bar charts, unless prepared carefully, are inferior to tables. Only in exceptional circumstances both tables and illustrations on the same dataset are accepted. The results and discussion, sections may be combined when appropriate.


This section should be concise which should delve into scientific interpretation of results. Repetition of results should be avoided. A combined results and discussion section sometimes simplifies the presentation.


This section should include the most important conclusions and recommendations, if any. It is expected that authors should give clear interpretation and relevance; no repetition of the previous sections. The discussion and conclusions sections cannot be merged.



These should include the assistance, help, cooperation by person, organization or financial help while conducting experiments, any technical, writing and general support that made the work a reality, but unqualified to be listed as co-authors. Funding bodies should be acknowledged. Keep the content to the absolute minimum.



Please avoid self-citation.

Check carefully the accuracy and follow journal style; refer unpublished work only in the text (William M N unpublished), (Brown C D pers comm.). Indicate literature references at the appropriate place in the text using superscript numbers in the order in which they appear and a full numerical list must appear at the end of the paper, giving all authors with initials after the respective surname. Ensure that all references in the list are cited in the text and vice-version . Give the date and full title of the chapter in the language in which it appeared or an accurate English translation. Abbreviate all journal titles as in Chemical Abstracts or Biological Abstracts and the annual BIOSIS List of Serials, without using full stops after abbreviation. If the journal is not included, give its title in full. Volume numbers should be in bold print.


The International System of Units (SI) should be used. Accepted common names of the active ingredients of chemical formulations should be used in preference to trade names, and confirmed to internationally recognised codes of nomenclature. Generic and specific Latin names should be typed in italics.


Pictures speak louder than words. Adding graphics to convey your thoughts may be more effective than the words themselves. It adds an extra level of understanding and allows the reader to skim or troubleshoot if problems occur. Pictures add an additional dimension that will allow your reader to visualize the end product. Also, when using graphics you should be mindful of those visual learners, and adapt the graphics.

Although pictures are great, you must be cautious not to include photographs or illustrations that are confusing or not associated with the actual written instructions. Also, when taking pictures, ensure that the area is well lit and the pictures are clear and bright. Dark or fuzzy pictures are often difficult to follow. Take care to photograph the subject in the same orientation each time to avoid confusion and consider using a tripod.

Size is also important when using images in instructions. A picture that is too small to see is just as useless as a blurry image.

To be powerful and understandable, your text and graphic for each step should clearly correlate to that step of the instructions.



Tables containing numerical data should be kept at the minimum and should only include essential information (with the level of significance). All tables, graphs or photograph must be inserted in the body of the text. Each table should have a concise self-explanatory title, and abbreviations used should be defined directly below the tables. Full stops, but not commas, should be used as decimal points. When preparing tables with a word processor, please note that the tabulation key, and not the space bar, should be used to line up the columns. Table format can be used.


Figures (drawings and photographs)

Figures should be selected by considering the printed page format and allowing for the effect of potential (less than 33%) reduction in size. Alphabetical or numerical characters should be at least 1.5 mm high in print. The figures should be consecutively numbered in Arabic numerals, and their position should be indicated in the margin. All figure legends should be printed on the same sheet for each figure. Drawings reproduced with a high quality laser printer are preferred. Photographs, if used, should be of good resolution and printed on glossy paper. Please do not use any scanned illustrations. Use 300 dpi to 600 dpi when scanning your photographs or figures/ maps to avoid bad printing quality. File size should be kept at the minimum possible.


Where possible, illustrations should be sent by airmail and submitted in electronic format (saved on CD along with the hard copy text) or sent in MS Word by email. In addition, save each figure as a separate file, in TIFF, JPEG or EPS format preferably; include source file. Write on the disk the software used. Use standard illustration packages in if MS Excel or MS PowerPoint is not used.
Line drawings and figures should be in a form suitable for direct reproduction, no larger than A4 or 8½” × 11″, in black ink, with stencilled lettering (avoid using dry transfer, typewritten or handwritten). Computer-drawn diagrams must be prepared on a high quality laser or ink jet printer or plotter, not on a dot matrix printer or equivalent.

Use only essential characters and insert those and any other symbols clearly; explain all symbols used, and where a key to symbol is required, please include this in the artwork itself, not in the figure legend. On graphs, include labels and units on axes. Present logarithmic scales with arithmetic numbering 0.1, 1, 10, 100 rather than -1, 0, 1, 2. Avoid unnecessary long axes that lead to huge blank spaces on the figure.


Line drawings or other figures should be compatible with same degree of reduction; all characters should be such that they are at least 1.5 mm in height after reduction. The type area of each page is 172 mm wide × 249 mm deep, in two columns each at 81 mm wide, and the characters should therefore be large enough to be legible after reduction. Photographs (halftones) should be supplied as glossy prints (four original prints of each) of good resolution photocopies are not acceptable. Do not allow them to be damaged by paper clips, folding etc. Some loss of clarity may occur during reproduction if these instructions are not followed.


Electrophoresis patterns

These are complex photographs, which often lack clarity and should not be included except for making particular emphasis. Adhere to the following principles gel electrophoresis, SDS gels, immuno-electrophoresis, isoelectric focusing etc. is essential,:

  1. a single zone requires only description in the text

  2. preferably claim homogeneity using a scan diagram

  3. preferably use a single gel to compare several tracks

  4. when scanned diagrams are used, accurate alignment is essential

Where photographs or scanned diagrams are used:

  1. number all zones and identify those common to more than one track

  2. give a molecular weight scale for SDS gels

  3. give experimental details and track identification in the legend


Chemical structures

Prepare these on a separate sheet as described for illustrations and number the individual formulae with Roman numerals (I, II). All bonds, charges and free radicals should be accurately positioned. Indicate aromatic and unsaturated heterocyclic systems using double bonds. Preferably use general structures, distinguishing related compounds by substituent R1, R2 etc.



  • Title

  • Author(s) and/or editor(s) – Please include the names and background of the author(s) or the editor(s) and, if known, intended contributor(s). A brief curriculum vitae for each author/editor is welcome.

  • Your intended audience and its needs – Tailoring content and features from the outset to address the needs of a particular audience will help to make it a success.

  • What problem does this product solve? – Clearly explain how this content will help readers. How will they use the content in their work? At what point in the researcher workflow does this help them solve a problem? What problems will this help them solve?

  • Competing resources – If competition to your proposed book exists, responding to the strengths and weaknesses of that competition in what you include will help us to position the book clearly for our reviewers and customers.

  • Table of contents – The table of contents should include part or section titles, Section/chapter titles, appendices, and anything else that is part of the book / book chapter or related material. List the title/sub_titles/ chapters in the sequence in which they will appear.

  • Sample chapter – Be prepared to produce a sample chapter (or part of a chapter), if asked, to show the level, approach and style of writing of the book.

  • Qualified reviewers – Include the names and email addresses of at least three qualified reviewers in your field. Be prepared to rework your outline at a later stage in the light of feedback you may get from us and from our reviewers.

  • Clarity and discoverability – Help our reviewers to understand your planned content — and later in the process, potential readers to discover your content - by choosing a working book title, keywords and chapter titles that clearly describe the material you are covering using the most relevant terms.

  • Optional: Multimedia content – Include any ideas about content beyond the book that can enhance the reader experience (i.e., video, audio, extended datasets, etc.). Please include how users would interact with this material, and whether it is essential to your project.