Author Guidelines

Objective of Oceanography

Oceanography is an open-access journal that publishes peer-reviewed articles that chronicle all aspects of ocean science and its applications. The journal presents significant research, noteworthy achievements, exciting new technology, and articles that address public policy and education and how they are affected by science and technology. The overall goal of Oceanography is cross-disciplinary communication in the ocean sciences.

All authors, reviewers, and guest editors are urged to review The Oceanography Society's Policy on Publication available here. The full TOS Policy on Professional Integrity, Ethics, and Conduct and Guidelines on Implementation is available here


Initial Submissions

Submissions for review must be provided electronically in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format. Text should be double spaced, with line numbers continuous throughout, and include:

  • Manuscript title
  • e-mail and mailing address of the lead author
  • Name, title (e.g., Associate Professor, Research Scientist, PhD Candidate), and affiliation (including city, state, and country)
  • ORCID numbers of authors (preferred, not required) 

Acknowledgements, callouts, references, tables, and figures should follow the stylistic conventions defined in the Oceanography Style Guide (47 KB pdf). The Oceanography reference style is also available for download for use in EndNote

Please submit manuscripts via email to the Editor, Dr. Ellen S. Kappel, at If a manuscript has been invited and is being submitted as part of a special issue section, it should be sent to one of the guest editors for that issue. 

Unsolicited manuscripts will be reviewed for style, relevance to The Oceanography Society's mission, content, and quality by the Editor or Associate Editors upon receipt. All manuscripts will be given unbiased consideration by the editors. If the manuscript passes initial internal review, a minimum of two external reviewers will be sought. We endeavor to complete the peer review within six weeks of manuscript submittal.

Upon acceptance of a manuscript for publication, the Editor reserves the right to request the author to submit the final text and graphics files in publishing-compatible electronic formats.


Language Style

Submitted manuscripts should be of broad interest to our readership. The desired writing style is less technical and more compact than that typically used in scientific papers. Strive for clarity and simplicity. Target your article to graduate students, professional oceanographers of all traditional disciplines, and other scientifically literate audiences. Avoid technical or mathematical jargon. Write captions so that readers can get the main points of the manuscript by perusing them.


Product Reviews

Reviews are solicited for marine-related scientific materials (e.g., books, video, software, databases, equipment), and also for marine-related published materials with a potentially wider appeal (e.g., novels, biographies, historical anecdotes). Reviewers should keep in mind that a well-written review helps readers decide whether or not it is worth their time to obtain the product. The reader of a review expects basic information about the content, organization or application of the product, as well as a subjective opinion about the product's quality.


Breaking Waves

The purpose of the Breaking Waves section is to provide an outlet for short papers that describe novel approaches to multidisciplinary problems in oceanography. These provocative papers will present findings that are synthetic by design, and have the potential to move the field of oceanography forward or in new directions.

Papers should be written in a style that is both concise and accessible to a broad readership. While these papers should be thought-provoking for the professional oceanographer, they should also be written in a manner that is engaging for the educated non-professional. As in other sections of Oceanography, we encourage the use of color photographs and figures to help illustrate a paper's main points and add to its aesthetic appeal. Consistent with our effort to publish papers on rapidly advancing topics in oceanography, all submissions to the Breaking Waves section will be given a special fast-track in the peer-review and publishing process. Our goal will be to publish papers no more than two issues (i.e., six months) after their submission.

The Associate Editor overseeing Breaking Waves is Ian Brosnan (, NASA Ames Research Center. Authors should submit a brief email to the Associate Editor that outlines their ideas for papers prior to actual manuscript preparation. This step will insure that authors receive appropriate feedback prior to investing their time and energy in preparing manuscripts that may be unsuitable for publication in this forum. Correspondence with the Associate Editor and submission of manuscripts should be done electronically whenever possible. File formats for text, figures, and photographs must be consistent with existing style guidelines for Oceanography.


Publication Charges

A flat fee of $500 will be charged to offset the costs of publishing articles that are not part of the invited special issue section. There is no charge for short news articles, book reviews, and The Oceanography Classroom columns. Payment information (Credit Card number or Purchase Order number) must be provided at the time the article is accepted for publication. Authors can request a waiver from TOS (email to for all or part of the publication fee if they document their inability to cover the expense.


Approximate Length Limitations

Feature Articles (including Breaking Waves submisssions)

  • Length: Up to 12 magazine pages
  • Text (no more than 7,000 words) including:
    > Author information
    > Abstract (not to exceed approximately 200 words)
    > Acknowledgements (including relevant grant numbers)
    > References
    > Figure captions
  • Figures
    > Maximum of 7 figures, including tables
    > Graphic (preferably a high-resolution photo of related fieldwork) for title page background
  • Supplementary materials
    > Additional figures and data tables will be accepted if directly relevant to the article but cannot be accommodated in the print version. 
    > Audio and video clips and animations that are called out in the article and that enhance understanding of the article are also acceptable supplementary materials.
    > References cited in supplementary materials should be included in the reference list in the print article.
    > Supplementary materials should be submitted as part of the article for peer review. If accepted, the materials would be made available on the article's Oceanography abstract page. 

Commentaries, Meeting Reports, and Ocean Education and Ocean Policy Articles

  • Length: Up to 6 magazine pages
  • Text (no more than 3,500 words) including:
    > Author information
    > Acknowledgements (including relevant grant numbers)
    > References
    > Figure captions
    > Meeting reports should describe goals, activities, and accomplishments,
       not agendas, programs, and attendance.
  • Figures
    > Maximum of 3 figures
  • Supplementary materials
    > See above for what qualifies as supplementary materials.

News Articles, Book Reviews, The Oceanography Classroom

  • Length: Up to 3 magazine pages
  • Text (no more than 1,500 words) including:
    > Author information
    > Acknowledgements (including relevant grant numbers)
    > References
    > Figure captions
  • Figures
    > Maximum of 2 figures

Hands-On Oceanography

  • Text (no more than 3,500 words), with suggested subheadings:
    > Purpose of activity
    > Audience
    > Background
    > Research question
    > Materials
    > Activity
    > Possible modifications to activity
    > References and/or Additional Resources
    NOTE: Please be sure to include an estimate of the amount of time needed to complete the lab.
  • Figures
    > Maximum 4 figures
    NOTE: Authors are encouraged to include photos of materials,
    experimental setup, and students conducting activity
  • Supplementary materials
    > Supplementary materials such as student lab exercises, data tables, and demonstration videos are encouraged.

DIY Oceanography

  • Text (no more than 3,500 words), with suggested subheadings:
    > Purpose of instrument/sensor/gizmo/device/software
    > Background
    > Materials and costs
    > Assembly steps
    > Code (should be posted where publicly available)
    > Field application example, if available
    > Possible modifications to instrument and/or possible future development (if appropriate)
    > References and/or Additional Resources
    NOTE: Please be sure to include an estimate of the amount of time/funds/skills needed to complete the instrument.
  • Figures
    > Maximum 4 figures
    NOTE: Authors are encouraged to include photos of materials, assembly, and fieldwork. Videos can be included as supplementary materials.
  • Submissions should be sent to Melissa Omand ( or Emmanuel Boss (, guest editors for this section.


Submitting Final Files

Upon acceptance of a manuscript for publication, arrangements for file transfer will be made with the author. The use of Dropbox, Google Drive, SugarSync, or other forms of file sharing is preferred. Posting large files to the author's institutional ftp site is also acceptable.


File Formats

Text | Text (including references and captions) should be submitted in .doc, .docx, txt, or .rtf format. We cannot accept LaTeX files. Tables and graphics must be submitted as separate files as indicated below.

Tables | Table files should contain only the body of the table. Accepted file formats include .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, and .csv.

Graphics | Each figure must be submitted as a separate file. Acceptable file formats include the following:

      > Fonts must be embedded or changed to outlines
      > Any embedded rasterized artwork must be at least 300 dpi resolution at print size

      > Fonts must be embedded
      > Any embedded rasterized artwork must be at least 300 dpi resolution at print size

      tiff, jpg, or png
      > At least 300 dpi resolution at print size

If there is a problem with any graphic, we will contact you for a revised electronic graphic file. The Editor reserves the right to reject poor-quality graphics. Graphics embedded in Microsoft Word are not acceptable.


File Naming Guidelines

When naming a file, use the lead author's last name and then some short descriptive information. For example:

• lastname_ms.docx (for a manuscript text file)
• lastname_t1.docx (for a table 1 text file)
• lastname_f1.tif (for a figure 1 tif file)
• lastname_f2.eps (for a figure 2 eps file)

Use lower case letters when naming files and always include the file extension (for example, .eps, .tif, .docx).


Cover Art

Any person may submit cover material to be considered for use on the front or back covers. Cover material must be pertinent and complementary to the articles within the issue. In some relevant cases, cover figures with extended captions will be considered for publication without an accompanying article. Cover images must be oriented vertically and submitted with adequate resolution for enlargement and reproduction.

If you are supplying art for the cover of Oceanography, please make certain that the image is 600 dpi at the size you would like it to appear on the cover. Our magazine size is 8.5 x 11 inches. Full page artwork should be 8.75 x 11.5 inches to allow for trimming (outer 1/4 inch of graphic will be trimmed away). If the image will wrap around the back cover, the image should be is 17.75 x 11.5 inches (1/4 inch in the middle of the image will be the magazine spine; 1/4 inch around the edges will be trimmed away).

See File Formats above for more information on submitting graphics.


Graphics Permissions

Authors are responsible for obtaining copyright permission from other publishers for any figures/images they submit to Oceanography. Most publishing companies and journals have instructions on how to obtain copyright permission on their websites. Please send a copy of the letter(s) granting permission via email, fax, or regular mail to:

Vicky Cullen
Oceanography Assistant Editor
PO Box 687
West Falmouth, MA 02574 USA


Proof Review

Proofs are distributed as low-resolution documents in portable document format (PDF) by email to the lead author (unless delegated to another representative of the lead author) only once during production of the journal. The lead author is responsible for returning proof corrections via email to Dr. Ellen Kappel, Editor, at, according to the deadline specified in the proof letter.


Offprints, PDFs, and Copies

Low-resolution PDFs of each article will be available from the Oceanography Archive immediately upon issue publication.

The following are offered to the lead author for purchase:
• Article offprints
• Articles as high-resolution PDF files
• Additional copies of Oceanography

Information on ordering will be emailed to lead authors when the issue goes to print. Contact if you have any questions.


License to Publish and US Government Certification

Upon submission of your manuscript to Oceanography, all authors must sign and return the appropriate agreement via email or regular mail to:

Vicky Cullen
Oceanography Assistant Editor
PO Box 687
West Falmouth, MA 02574 USA

Authors can sign and send forms individually. If you have any questions regarding the License to Publish form, contact the Assistant Editor. There are two different types of agreements:
• The certification form to be signed by US government employees only
• The license to publish form to be signed by all others

Oceanography makes articles available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).  For addiitonal information on content usage, please go to the Permissions page.