Final Manuscript Preparation Guidelines for OUR Journal: ODU Undergraduate Research Journal

Formatting Requirements

  • In general, write using a format appropriate to your discipline. Original research articles in the life sciences should include Abstract, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, and Discussion sections, as well as a Literature cited (Bibliography) section at the end of the document. An Acknowledgment section may be included at the author's discretion.
  • Do not include a title page.
  • Include a list of authors, with a superscripted asterisk designating the corresponding undergraduate author. A faculty research mentor must be included in the author list. Denote the research mentor with a superscripted † symbol.
  • Do not include page numbers, headers, or footers. These will be added by the editors.
  • Submit your manuscript, including tables, figures, appendices, etc., as a single file in Microsoft Word or PDF format.
  • Page size should be 8.5 x 11-inches.
  • All margins (left, right, top and bottom) should be 1 inch (2.54 cm), including your tables and figures.
  • Double space all text.
  • Use a single column layout with left margin justified.
  • Font:
    1. Main Body—12 pt. Times New Roman or the closest comparable font available
    2. Footnotes—10 pt. Times New Roman or the closest comparable font available
  • Figures and Tables are to be embedded within documents as near as possible to the point at which they are referenced in the text. All figures should be generated from a minimum of 300ppi native resolution, and non-compressed formatting (e.g. .tiff, .pdf) should be used to transfer figures into Word or PDF documents.
  • Copyedit your manuscript. Final manuscripts with large numbers of grammatical, syntax, and spelling errors may be returned to authors for further revision.
  • When possible, there should be no pages where more than a quarter of the page is empty space.

Additional Recommendations

Indenting, Line Spacing, and Justification

Indent all paragraphs. An indent should be at least 2 em-spaces.

Do not insert extra space between paragraphs of text with the exception of long quotations, theorems, propositions, special remarks, etc. These should be set off from the surrounding text by additional space above and below.

Do not "widow" or "orphan" text (i.e., ending a page with the first line of a paragraph or beginning a page with the last line of a paragraph).

All text should be left-justified (i.e., flush with the left margin—except where indented).

Language & Grammar

All submissions must be in English. Except for common foreign words and phrases, the use of foreign words and phrases should be avoided.

Authors should use proper, standard English grammar. The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White (now in its fourth edition) is the "standard" guide, but other excellent guides (e.g., The Chicago Manual of Style, University of Chicago Press) exist as well.

Article Length

Because this journal publishes electronically, page limits are not as relevant as they are in the world of print publications. We are happy, therefore, to let authors take advantage of this greater "bandwidth" to include material that they might otherwise have to cut to get into a print journal. This said, authors should exercise some discretion with respect to length. In general, manuscripts should be limited to a maximum of 30 pages of text, exclusive of tables and figures.

Colored text

Set the font color to black for the majority of the text. We encourage authors to take advantage of the ability to use color in the production of figures, maps, etc., however, you need to appreciate that this will cause some of your readers problems when they print the document on a black & white printer. For this reason, you are advised to avoid the use of colors in situations where their translation to black and white would render the material illegible or incomprehensible.

Please ensure that there are no colored mark-ups or comments in the final version, unless they are meant to be part of the final text. (You may need to "accept all changes" in track changes or set your document to "normal" in final markup.)

Emphasized text

Whenever possible use italics to indicate text you wish to emphasize rather than underlining it. The use of color to emphasize text is strongly discouraged.

Font faces

Except, possibly, where special symbols are needed, use Times or the closest comparable font available. If you desire a second font, for instance for headings, use a sans serif font (e.g., Arial).

Font size

The main body of text should be set in 12pt. Avoid the use of fonts smaller than 6pt.

Foreign terms

Whenever possible, foreign terms should be set in italics rather than underlined. Italicize all scientific names.


Headings (e.g., start of sections) should be distinguished from the main body text by using small caps. Use the same font face for all headings and indicate the hierarchy by reducing the font size. There should be space above and below headings.

Main text

The font for the main body of text must be black and, if at all possible, in Times New Roman or closest comparable font available.


Whenever possible, titles of books, movies, etc., should be set in italics rather than underlined.


Footnotes should appear at the bottom of the page on which they are referenced rather than at the end of the paper. Footnotes should be in 10 pt. Times or closest comparable font available, they should be single spaced, and there should be a footnote separator rule (line). Footnote numbers or symbols in the text must follow, rather than precede, punctuation. Excessively long footnotes are probably better handled in an appendix. All footnotes should be left justified, unless this creates awkward spacing.

Tables and Figures

To the extent possible, tables and figures should appear in the document near where they are referenced in the text. Large tables or figures should be put on pages by themselves. Avoid the use of overly small type in tables. In no case should tables or figures be in a separate document or file. All tables and figures must fit within 1" margins on all sides (top, bottom, left and right) in both portrait and landscape view.


Roman letters used in mathematical expressions as variables should be italicized. Roman letters used as part of multi-letter function names should not be italicized. Whenever possible, subscripts and superscripts should be a smaller font size than the main text.

Short mathematical expressions should be typed inline. Longer expressions should appear as display math. Also expressions using many different levels (e.g., such as the fractions) should be set as display math. Important definitions or concepts can also be set off as display math.

Equations should be numbered sequentially. Whether equation numbers are on the right or left is the choice of the author(s). However, you are expected to be consistent in this.

Symbols and notation in unusual fonts should be avoided. This will not only enhance the clarity of the manuscript, but it will also help insure that it displays correctly on the reader's screen and prints correctly on her printer. When proofing your document under PDF pay particular attention to the rendering of the mathematics, especially symbols and notation drawn from other than standard fonts.


It is the author's obligation to provide complete references with the necessary information. After the last sentence of your submission, please insert a line break—not a page break—and begin your references on the same page, if possible. References should appear right after the end of the document, beginning on the last page if possible. References should have margins that are left justified.

In-text citations and bibliographies are to be formatted using generic Author-Date style as may be found in Endnote. Use of Endnote or other reference manager software to organize and format references is strongly encouraged.

Prior to submission, ensure that all references in the bibliography are cited in-text, and vice versa. All formatting guidelines for references should be strictly followed (see examples below). Improperly cited articles or articles with improperly formatted references will be returned to authors without review.

Reference types and examples

Journal Article

Goncalves, D. D., T. Carreira, M. Nunes, A. Benitez, F. M. Lopes-Mori, O. Vidotto, J. C. de Freitas and M. L. Vieira (2013). "First record of Borrelia burgdorferi B31 strain in Dermacentor nitens ticks in the northern region of Parana (Brazil)." Braz J Microbiol 44(3): 883-887.

Book Chapter

Noga, E. J. (2000). Fish Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment. Ames, Iowa, Iowa State University Press.

Edited Book

Hudson, P. J., A. P. Dobson and D. Newborne (1985). Cyclic and non-cyclic populations of red grouse: a role for parasitism? Ecology and Genetics of Host-parasite Interactions. D. Rollinson and R. M. Anderson. London, Academic Press: 77-90.

In-text citations

Give in-text citations for all references in bibliography according to the following examples:

  • The sky is blue (Smith, 2009).

  • The sky is blue (Jones et al., 2013).

  • Jones et al. (2013) demonstrated the blueness of the sky.