Instructions for authors


The interdisciplinary journal Natures Sciences Sociétés publishes original material in French and English. The journal accepts different kinds of material, the objective being to identify topical issues in a spirit of dialogue, monitoring and controversy, and to clarify problem statements while respecting their complexity, on the basis of rigorous scientific information and arguments. These contributions are assigned to the different sections.

Scientific articles. These may concern either research results, syntheses on a particular topic (methods, approaches, scientific discipline), epistemological reflections or a scientific analysis deriving from societal questions. The manuscript structure and length may vary depending on the length of the analysis. It should, however, not exceed a total of 45,000 characters (including footnotes, abstracts, keywords and bibliographic references).

The Section Research News is dedicated to scientific activities - research or teaching programmes, calls for tender, research units or bodies, on-going research programmes - and their discussion. Papers in this section should not exceed 30,000 characters.

The Section Focus presents exploratory studies which open up perspectives or research orientations, experience feedback on research practices (interviews or statements) as well as personal contributions to societal debates (25,000 to 30,000 characters).

The Section Opinions is dedicated to personal viewpoints on live scientific topics relating to societal issues (15,000 characters).

The Section Events and Books includes:

  • Conferences, workshops and documents: analytical reports on scientific events and analyses of documents (12,000 characters max. )
  • Book discussion: book reviews, critical analyses that may generate contradictory opinions (12,000 characters max.)

As a debating platform, the journal also encourages the publication of responses to papers published in its different sections. Such comments should not exceed 10,000 characters.

Each submission must be accompanied by a covering letter (1 page maximum) in which:

  • highlight the strengths and originality of the article submitted ;
  • explain why you have chosen the journal and the section you have chosen, in the light of the journal's objectives (see "Objectives and subject areas" on the website);
  • you will certify the originality of the content and the agreement of all the authors on the content of the article and the submission;
  • Finally, you will declare on your honour that there is no conflict of interest (financial, commercial, contractual, patents, etc.).

Rules for submitting manuscripts

Mansucripts in all Sections should include:

  • an informative title in French and English;
  • the author's or authors' first and last names, the discipline and/or function, institutional affiliation, postal code, city, country;
  • the corresponding author's name and e-mail address.
  • the number of characters, spaces included, of the paper including abstracts, footnotes, bibliography and figure or table legends if required.

Contributions to the Section Research News should additionally provide:

  • an abstract in French and English. If the paper is in French, the French abstract should not exceed 900 characters, whereas the English abstract should be more informative (1,500 signs), and the reverse if the paper is in English.
  • A footnote (signaled in the introduction) should inform readers about the background of the research. The author(s) should also specify whether the work has already been presented at a conference or workshop and in if so give the relevant references.
  • Five keywords in French and English: two keywords referring to the journal's domains or themes (see list below), and three free keywords (e.g. main discipline [or interdisciplinarity], environment concerned, method, geographic area).
agriculturesustainable development
technologiesnatural resources
seainstitutional framework
educationclimate change

Presentations should observe the following order: title, author(s) references, abstract in the paper's language, title and long abstract in English or French (depending on paper language), keywords (French and English), text, acknowledgements, bibliographic references, illustrations (boxes, figures and tables with their relevant legends), each illustration to be placed on a separate page.

Manuscripts are to be typed with 1.5 spacing and a wide left margin. All pages to be numbered. Text of intended boxes (e.g. historical background of topic addressed; clarification of particular notions; commented general statistics, definitions, explanations, methodological clarification) should be placed outside the body of text and given at the end of the manuscript, each on a separate page. The author should take care that the length of box texts is compatible with the total length of text.

Some presentation rules

  • Do not number headings and subheadings. Identify clearly the different heading levels: bold, italics, different typeface sizes.
  • Capital letters should be accentuated, É, È, À, etc.
  • Never use underlining or bold in the text body. Italics should be restricted to Latin or foreign expressions with the exception of words or expressions in common use (e.g. a priori, marketing, etc.) and to titles of books, newspapers, journals, literary works, etc. quoted in text.
  • Acronyms are capitalized with no period between capitals: CNRS, IRD, etc. However when an acronym reads as a word and is currently used and familiar to NSS readers, the first letter only is capitalized: Unesco, Inra, Cemagref, Cirad, etc. All acronyms are to be given in full when first mentioned.
  • Short quotations should be introduced between quotation marks in the body of text. Quotations exceeding 5 lines should be typed in an indented block between quotation marks with spacing before and after. Use three dots between brackets for material omitted.
  • Footnote references are to be included in superscript in body of text and numbered consecutively. They are placed at the bottom of the relevant page and should not exceed 500 characters, spaces included.

Style of footnote references and of list of bibliographic references (Sections Articles, Research News and Focus)

All bibliographic references in the Literature list at the end of the paper must be cited in parentheses in the body of text: name of author(s) and publication date: (Author, 1997); (Author and Author, 1997); (Author et al., 1997) [use et al. where there are more than 2 authors]; (Author, 1996, Author, 1997). When the name of the reference author is quoted in the text body, only the publication year is given in parentheses: " According to X (1997)... ". References in the Bibliographic List are given in alphabetical order in the following format (please observe order and punctuation):

Journal Article

Cerf, M., 1996. Approches cognitives des pratiques agricoles: intérêts et limites pour les agronomes, Natures Sciences Sociétés, 4, 4, 327-339.

Book Chapter

Fabbe-Costes, N., 1997. Les multiples rôles du système d'information et de communication dans l'action stratégique, in Avenier, M.-J. (Ed.), La Stratégie « chemin faisant », Paris, Economica, 251-270.


Reix, R., 1996. Systèmes d'information et management des organisations, Paris, Vuibert.

Thesis, DEA and Report

Ognov, A., 2000. Systèmes d'information et traçabilité dans les exploitations agricoles : éléments de diagnostic. Mémoire de Diplôme d'agronomie approfondi, INA P-G, Paris.

Where an article or document can be downloaded or consulted on the Internet, indicate the relevant URL in parentheses at the end of the reference.

Please specify the DOI of a bibliographic reference where available:
Schneider, S.H., 1989. The greenhouse effect: Science and policy, Science, 243, 4892, 771-781, doi: 10.1126/science.243.4892.771.


Place illustrations (Tables, Graphs, Figures, Photographs) at the end of text, each on a separate page. These shall be numbered using Arabic numbers and accompanied by a short legend in French. They must be cited in the text body (Box, Table, Fig.). A list of of illustrations with their legends shall be placed at the end of text. Graphs and figures must be submitted in separate electronic file in .EPS, .PS, .PPT or .TIFF format with a minimum resolution of 300 dpi, and photographs in .JEPG format with a minimum resolution of 300 dpi. Since figures in the journal are mostly presented on a single 80 mm wide column - exceptionally 170 mm width - font point size used in the original A4 format must be big enough so that the lettering can be read after it is reduced to column width.

Colour illustrations1 are published in black and white in the printed version. Take care that they are legible (choice of lineart for graphs, brightness and contrast for photos). Reproduction of photos or colour figures in the printed version, if required, is at author's cost (estimate available on request from the publisher).

All illustrations must be high quality for direct reproduction. They will not be edited by the publisher.

It is the author's responsibility to seek permission to reproduce any material already published (photos, figures, tables) from the publishers and the authors concerned. The source must be mentioned.

File format

Manuscript submission. Authors must submit their manuscript by e-mail to the Editorial Office (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) in Word or RTF format accompanied by separate original files for illustrations. Figures must also be included in body of text.

Once corrections have been introduced according to the Editorial Committee's requests and final acceptance of article, the author must send the finalized version of his/her article in Word or RTF format (with figures and illustrations inserted at the end of text) by electronic mail to the Editorial Bureau. Illustrations (figures, graphs, tables, photographs...) must be provided in .EPS, .TIFF, or .JPEG format.


Proofs will be sent by electronic mail to the reference author by the publisher accompanied by a transfer of rights form and a form for requesting additional printed off-prints.

Corrections are to be sent back to the publisher according to instructions given and within the time limit indicated. The transfer of rights form shall also be returned completed and signed. No article will be published by the journal without the author's signature on this document.

As soon as the paper is published in the journal, the reference author shall receive a PDF file of the article in way of off-print.

1 Images remain in colour in the electronic version.