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Manuscript Preparation

(Samples excerpted from the IRRI style guide)

Title, author and abstract

The first page contains the title of the work, names of authors and their current
affiliation, and the abstract.
• Make the title self-explanatory and concise.
• Provide a complete mailing address. Do not use acronyms.
• All manuscripts should have an abstract. An abstract should be single
paragraph of not more than 200 words, with no figures, tables, references, or
footnotes. It must highlight the subject, methodology and significant results.





Funded partly by the National Research Council of the Philippines and the Institute of
Chemistry, College of Arts and Sciences, University of the Philippines Los Baños
Professor and 2University Research Associate, Institute of Chemistry, College of Arts and
Sciences, University of the Philippines Los Baños, 4031 College, Laguna, Philippines

(The Philippine Agricultural Scientist, Vol. 85 No. 2, June 2002)

Manuscript Preparation
(Samples excerpted from the IRRI style guide)

• Number tables consecutively within each chapter, section, or unit that may be
required to stand alone.
• Write titles so they describe content, but do not discuss implications. If
appropriate, include the country and year in which the data were collected.
Capitalize the first letter of the title and place a period at the end.
• Capitalize the first letter of column and row headings.
• Double space all materials in the table. Use tabs and not the space bar to
separate columns.
• In a column, align numbers on the decimal point.
• Use superscript lowercase letters as footnote symbols. Place them in the order
the table would be read: left to right then top to bottom.
• Define abbreviations, symbols, and other keys in footnotes. Do not italicize
footnotes in the table.

• Number figures in order.
• Captions should describe content but not discuss implications. The caption is
capitalized in sentence style with a period at the end.
• Avoid more than four curves per graph.
• Include a legend and define symbols, abbreviations, and keys in figures.
• If a source must be identified, it is set in parentheses as the last element of the
• If a figure has been referred to once, succeeding references to it should be “see
• Use “Figure” in the text and “Fig.” in the caption and in parentheses within the

• Photographs are treated as figures. Provide black-and-white or color high-
contrast, glossy prints or colored slides.
• Identify photos by marking name, division/center/unit, figure number, etc., on
the back.

• Use an appendix only when sections dealing with aspects of the article’s subject
may be needed by some readers, but are too long and detailed to be put in the
• An appendix should have a specific title and not simply be referred to as
“Appendix.” For example: Appendix I. List of participants.


 Proper punctuation helps achieve coherence & clarity in writing.

 Wrong punctuation can transform the meaning of a sentence. Stay away

from excessive punctuation, but not at the expense of clarity.

 Separates a complete thought from a following explanatory material such as
a list, a complex explanation, or a long quote.
 Do not use a colon to separate the verb and its object or complement.

Incorrect – The rice varieties were: IR8, IR26…
Correct – The rice varieties were as follows: IR8, IR26…

 Use a semicolon to separate (and link) two independent clauses:

EX: Annual application of milk vetch over time increases soil organic matter and
rice yields; excessive application causes rice root injury and soil mineral
 Use a semicolon to separate elements of a complex series only when
commas are needed within the elements:

EX: Work began in the rainfed area of Bhogra village; in the irrigated lighter soil
area in Laskarchala village; in the low-irrigated, medium rice land in Salna
village; and in the deepwater area in Harunbari Village.

 Place a comma before and and or in a simple series:

EX: …temperature, soil reaction, moisture, and aeration.

 Use a comma to set off an introductory phrase or clause from the main

EX: To counter the agricultural depression in 1931, the government

recommended green manure.
 In a compound sentence, situate a comma before a coordinating
conjunction (and, but, or, nor)

EX: These materials are ready for testing, but they may be suitable only for
soils in which leaching is not a problem.


 Do not use a period with country abbreviations or with acronyms: IRRI, USA,
 Do not use periods after abbreviations of units of measure: ha, yr, g, mm.

 Use 1., 2., 3., etc., when numbering a series separated from the text. Use
(1), (2), etc., or (a), (b), etc., when numbering a series within the text.

EX: The preconditions for farmer demand are (1) increased dryer efficiency, (2)
low cost, and (3) fuel availability.

The em dash ([–] with no space on either side) should be used in moderation; it is
most suitable for popular communication.
 Use an en dash to indicate range:
10-13 ha 6-15 yr 1988-2002
May-June 1995 41-52% pages 336-347
 Use an en dash (and not a spaced hyphen) to denote cropping pattern:

 Do not a use hyphen for “to” when the word “from” precedes the first of
two related figures or expressions:

from 7 to 11 ha, not from 7-11 ha

from May to July 1985, not from May-July 1985

 Similarly, do not use a hyphen for “and” when the word “between”
precedes the first of two related figures or expressions:

between April and October, not between April-October

Quotation marks
 Quotation marks are followed by the comma and period:

“I am happy to congratulate you and the IRRI staff on your well-deserved

recognition,” said Dr. Cantrell.
Dr. Mortimer said, “Yield losses vary with time of weed infestation.”

 Use quotation marks only for direct quotes. Print book titles or words
needing emphasis in italics. Do not emphasize words by placing them
within quotes.
 Use apostrophes in possessives, but not in personal pronoun possessives
like yours, ours, and its. Remember that it’s is a contraction for it is; its is
the possessive pronoun.

 Do not use apostrophes in dates: 1990s

Hyphenation and compounds

• Use a dictionary to determine appropriate hyphenation and compounding.

• Remove the hyphen when using prefixes such as non, un, post, and pre,
unless there might be confusion:

un-ionized instead of unionized

• Do not use hyphens in compound predicate adjectives, but do use hyphens in

their regular adjective forms:

He is up to date. He is an up-to-date person.

• Do not use a hyphen in a two-word unit modifier, the first element of which is an
adverb ending in –ly.

Japan is highly developed.

Japan is a highly developed country.\

• Use a hyphen with all adjectival elements of a series:

6-,8-, and 10-ha plots, not 6,8, and 10-ha plots

Abreviation and acronyms

• On the first use of a term or organization, spell it out and put the abbreviation
or acronym in parentheses immediately following:
dry season (DS)
University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB)

• Do not use the abbreviation or acronym if the term will not be used again.

• Do not spell out measurement units of the Systeme International dÚnites (SI)
and statistical symbols. No units of measurement following numerals should be
spelled out except “liter” (use abbreviations in text, tables, and figures), but
spell out units of measurement standing alone:
1 wk, but in about a wk
1 ha, but several hectares

• In tables, define in footnotes all abbreviations and acronyms (except units of

measurement) not defined in the associated text. In figures, define such
abbreviations and acronyms as part of captions. When the same abbreviations
and acronyms appear in successive tables or figures, define them only in the
beginning table or figure in the series.

• Do not use periods with abbreviations or acronyms unless they will be confused
with another word.
no. for number

• Abbreviate months and days of the week in tables and figures. Spell out in the

The field was seeded in January.

On 22 February, plants emerged. They died on 6 March 1995.

• Do not add “s” to units of measurement in order to make them plural:

230 ha, not 230 has

Writing Numbers

 Write out numbers below 10, except in a series containing some numbers lower
than 10:
…six parts, seven tractors, four cultivars
There were 4 plots in India, 8 in Thailand, and 12 in Indonesia.

 Express time, money, and measurement in numerals, even when the amount is
less than 10:
8 yr, 7%, 4 ha

 Write out all numbers beginning sentences:

Six insects were added to each cage.
Seventy-five percent of the yield was destroyed.

 When two numbers in a sequence might confuse the reader, spell out the first
On February 1, fifty 10-day-old seedlings were planted.

 Add a zero before the decimal for numbers less than one. Whenever whole
numbers and decimals are mixed in a column, use zeroes to align the decimal

 When fractions without a unit of measure are used in the text, spell them out.
But use numerals in tables and parentheses:

In two-thirds of the fields…

(1/3 of the framers…)

Scientific Names
 Phylum, class, order, and family are in Roman type and capitalized, e.g.,

 Use italics for genus, species, subspecies, variety and form: Nephotettix

 A genus repeated in subsequent reference can be abbreviated to the first letter

of the genus if there is no possibility of confusion: Cyperus difformis becomes C.