Author Guidelines

WSU Extension has established criteria for manuscripts submitted for publishing. The correct style and form of the publication is crucial to getting published in a timely manner.

As you prepare to write your manuscript, please review the publication types supported by WSU Extension and select the most appropriate category for your manuscript.

Below are some basic submission guidelines for your manuscript. More detailed information can be found in the Style Guide.

Submission of Written Materials

Submit text in a Microsoft Word file only.

Please use minimal formatting and reduce risk of software transformation errors by following these specifications:

  • Include a short “brief” (fewer than 500 words) at the beginning of the manuscript.
  • Left justify (“ragged right”) text, with 1-inch margins.
  • Double space lines of regular text.
  • Use tabs to indent items in a vertical list.
  • Please embed graphics, charts, images, and non-text elements into your document for the peer reviewer(s) to see. Be sure to COMPRESS the images to the lowest resolution possible.
  • All graphics must be uploaded separately to FastTrack in their native file format (.eps, .tiff, .jpg, etc.), as separate, high resolution images, before any final, peer-reviewed manuscript can go to editing. They must be uploaded to FastTrack under the same submission ID as the final manuscript.
  • All figures in a manuscript must be numbered sequentially and referenced (that is, mentioned) in the running text. All figures must also have a caption. Figures include all types of illustration including photos, line drawings, and graphs.
  • All tables in a manuscript must be numbered sequentially in the manuscript and be referenced in the running text. (Tables are to be numbered separately from figures.) Each table also must have a title.
  • Use only standard abbreviations as described in the Chicago Manual of Style.
  • Use a serial comma: In a series of more than 2 items, place a comma before the final “and” or “or.”
  • Indicate in a note to the editor any special characters that a computer might not print.
  • Check all cited material against the original source, and verify all cross-references for both content and citation. Make sure every item in a reference list is mentioned in the running text, and make sure that every in-text citation has a corresponding entry in the reference list.

Pre-Review of Manuscripts in FastTrack

Before being accepted for peer review, a manuscript must be complete and free of basic defects. Extension editors will conduct pre‐reviews of incoming manuscripts uploaded to FastTrack. This review occurs before the peer review.

Please see Pre‐review Criteria to understand what the pre-review is analyzing. At a minimum, the manuscript must meet the basic conditions outlined above.

Reference Lists

Sources must be cited. WSU Extension will not publish papers that do not cite sources appropriately and where needed.

WSU Extension publications use the author-date system of references. This system requires:

  • brief in-text citations ([author last name] [date]), and
  • a complete list of the materials cited (an alphabetical reference list).

An in-text citation includes the authors’ last names and the year of the publication cited, usually in parentheses at the end of the sentence being referenced. See examples below.

In-text citation examples:

Cool soils are a problem especially in northern latitudes (like the Columbia Basin) where research has shown the most consistent benefits of practices that lead to warmer soils (Archer and Reicosky 2009).

Rotations with more diversity can also reduce economic risk (Francis and Clegg 1990) … better than less diverse rotations.

Please see Moyer and Henick-Kling (2014) for guidance specific to Washington vineyards.

Recipes for fruit spreads made with gelatin can be found in the Complete Guide to Home Canning (USDA 2009).

Reference list entry examples:

Archer, D.W., and D.C. Reicosky. 2009. Economic Performance of Alternative Tillage Systems in the Northern Corn Belt. Agronomy Journal 101 (2): 296. doi: 10.2134/agronj2008.0090x.

Francis, C. A. and M. D Clegg. 1990. Crop Rotations in Sustainable Production Systems. P. 116 in Sustainable Agriculture Systems, C.A. Edwards, R. Lal, P. Madden, R.H. Miller and G. House, eds. Ankeny, Iowa: Soil Conservation Society of America.

Moyer, M. and T. Henick-Kling. 2014. Growing Wine Grapes in Maritime Western Washington. Washington State University Extension Publication EM068e.

U.S.D.A. National Center for Home Food Preservation. 2009. Complete Guide to Home Canning, 2009 Revision. United States Department of Agriculture Publication.

Graphic and Photographic Images

Please embed your graphics, charts, images, and non-text elements into your initial manuscript for the reviewers to see. However, upon acceptance of the manuscript after peer review, all graphics must be separately uploaded, in their native file format, to FastTrack under the same Submission ID as the manuscript.

Submit photos and graphics as separate, high resolution electronic files in .gif, .jpg, .eps, .tif, .ai, or .png formats. Graphics and photo files should have resolutions of 300 dpi or greater. The image size should be as large, or larger than it is expected to be in the final document. Graphics should be in the colors desired in the final document. If images are to be black and white, provide them as such. Color photos, graphics, tables, charts, etc., must be CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) format.

Do not add text such as captions, names of people, etc. into image files. Please send figure numbers and captions in a separate Word document.

If you have questions, please contact Lagene Taylor at 509-335-2823 or


Copyright protects intellectual property, within the limits prescribed by a particular nation or international law. Copyrights apply to art (including photos, illustrations, charts, and graphs), music, plays, movies, literature, and scholarly works.

A work is copyrighted automatically when it is created (that is, “fixed in a tangible medium” which includes saving to a hard drive) and requires no registration or other formality. Copyright protection is intended to prevent others from copying the work without the copyright owner’s permission.

Copyright infringement is illegal and can put the author and WSU at risk. CAHNRS Communications strictly adheres to copyright rules and regulations and will not publish any material that does not meet these requirements.

Please review the WSU copyright information page.
A list of online resources for finding and using images can be found on our Image Resources page.

Other items to consider for your manuscript:

  • Would a table of contents be helpful?
  • Should a glossary be included? If so, provide words and definitions, and bold glossary terms at their first instance in the running text.
  • Is an index necessary? If so, provide a list of key words to use in the index.