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Evolution Letters

Vol 1 (6 Issues in 2017)
Editor-in-Chief: Jon Slate, University of Sheffield, UK
Online ISSN: 2056-3744
Evolution Letters (EVL3) cover image


Evolution Letters publishes cutting-edge new research in all areas of Evolutionary Biology. Papers should demand rapid publication because they substantially advance the field, are of outstanding clarity and originality, or are of broad interest. Papers that introduce new analytical or methodological frameworks that are likely to be highly influential will also be considered. Opinion and commentary articles on new developments or emerging themes are also encouraged. Traditional reviews will not be considered, as plenty of appropriate forums for these already exist. The Editor-in-Chief and Editorial Board welcome enquiries about other forms of article. Evolution Letters is jointly owned by the European Society of Evolutionary Biology (ESEB) and the Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE). Profits from the journal are invested back into the two societies. The journal is online only and entirely open access. The journal has a flexible approach to the format of manuscripts on submission, and will only ask authors to adhere to a house style (see Instructions for Authors) once the manuscript is accepted for publication.

1. Types of Articles


These form the bulk of papers in the journal. Letters should be original pieces of research that have the potential to substantially move the field forwards. We welcome both empirical and theoretical studies, and we cover all areas of evolutionary biology, including those that use genomics and related technologies to address evolutionary questions. Letters should be succinct: no longer than is needed for the clear presentation and interpretation of the work reported. As a guide, we expect a typical paper to be approximately 5000 words, excluding references and display items. They generally contain brief Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion sections. Authors may merge the Results and Discussion section, so long as a clear distinction is maintained between observations and interpretations. We encourage authors to use subheadings within these sections if it will make the paper more readable. At the end of the paper there should be Author Contributions and Acknowledgements sections, and information on Data Deposition. We require all authors to include an Impact Summary statement, which will be used to solicit media and public interest in the research.

Comments and Opinion

Evolutionary Biology is a rapidly moving field, and new ideas, tools or arguments frequently appear. Comments and Opinion articles are a forum for highlighting very timely new research ideas and bringing them to the attention of the evolutionary community. Examples include: (i) a comment on a recent new piece of research, published in this journal or elsewhere, that is likely to have a wide impact in how researchers conduct their research; (ii) a critical reasoning that an idea, technique or tool that has become widely adopted by researchers in the field is flawed or problematic; (iii) an argument that evolutionary biologists are ignoring an opportunity provided by approaches that are either routine or have been developed recently by researchers in other disciplines. Comments and Opinion articles should be no more than 2500 words long, excluding references. Authors should first consult with the Editor-in-Chief if they think their piece will be substantially longer.

2. Submission of Manuscripts

Manuscripts must be submitted via the Evolution Letters ScholarOne Manuscripts site. Figures and tables may be submitted in a single file with the main text, or as separate files. Submissions should include a separate Impact Summary paragraph, written in accessible language, explaining the work and why it makes an important contribution to the understanding of Evolutionary Biology. Submissions can be made as Word (.doc, .docx) or as PDF files. On submission, a PDF proof containing the text, tables and figures will be generated automatically; this file will be available to reviewers and Associate Editors.

Authors are encouraged to provide a list of recommended Associate Editors and reviewers. While we cannot promise that their preferred Associate Editor will handle the manuscript (we have to balance workloads), we will do our best to accommodate author requests. Authors may also suggest non-preferred reviewers, although it will be helpful if they outline in a cover letter why they have asked us to exclude particular individuals. We reserve the right to seek that person’s opinion if we are confident that they can provide unbiased advice and are the most appropriately qualified person to review the work.

3. Policy on cascading manuscripts from other journals

Manuscripts previously submitted elsewhere

We appreciate that authors can spend a lot of time and effort getting their work published once it is completed. In particular, it can be greatly frustrating to: (i) go through the time-consuming peer review process at multiple journals, and (ii) spend time reformatting the manuscript every time the work is submitted to a new journal. In recognition of this, we are happy to accommodate authors who wish to have previous editorial reviews included in the review process for Evolution Letters. Manuscripts that have been submitted and reviewed but not accepted for publication elsewhere can be submitted in the format that was required by the previous destination journal. In order to make decision making on these cascaded articles easier, we ask the authors to provide a cover letter which contains:

  1. The previous destination journal,
  2. The manuscript number/ID,
  3. The complete correspondence with the journal, including all decision letters and reviewer comments in their entirety. The cover letter must include a statement to the effect that all correspondence is included,
  4. Details on what the authors have done in response to comments made by editors and reviewers.

We reserve the right to correspond with the earlier journal about the article, and we may also solicit the opinion of further reviewers. On acceptance of cascaded manuscripts, we require that authors format the work in Evolution Letters style.

Manuscripts received from preprint servers

Evolution Letters welcomes manuscripts that have already been uploaded to bioRxiv or other preprint servers.
There is usually no need to reformat the article on submission to Evolution Letters, although reformatting may be required on acceptance of the manuscript.

Manuscripts received from review services

Evolution Letters is also happy to receive referred articles from independent review services. In this scenario, we receive the manuscript, the reviews and an editorial recommendation, and make a decision based on that information. We may seek further reviews, although this will not usually be necessary. If the manuscript is potentially acceptable, we will ask the authors to revise it. If it is rejected, then the review service may transfer the paper and reviews to another journal. The process reduces workloads for authors and for the wider community (as reviews are transferred between journals when manuscripts are cascaded).

4. Manuscript Handling Process

Received manuscripts will initially be handled by the Editor-in-Chief, who will assign them to an Associate Editor within 2 days of receipt. Some submissions will be rejected at this stage if the EiC feels the manuscript does not fit the scope of the journal or if the work is considered to be of insufficient novelty or impact for publication in Evolution Letters.

Associate Editors will seek reviewers’ comments and once we receive a sufficient number of reviews (usually 2-3) the AE will make an initial decision. Final decisions are made by the EiC, in consultation with the AE handling the manuscript.

5. Author Contributions

All Letters should contain an Author Contributions paragraph explaining what role each author performed in the work. This section should come immediately before the Acknowledgements section (if present). Comments and Opinions articles need not contain an Author Contribution paragraph, unless the work contains some form of analysis.

6. Data Deposition

As with all other journals owned by SSE and ESEB, we require our authors to make all of their data publically available at or before the time of publication. Data should be deposited in an appropriate archive such as Dryad, GenBank, TreeBASE or other appropriate long-term storage option. At the very least, it should be possible for other researchers to reproduce all of the findings in the paper. We also encourage authors to make their code available. Authors may choose to embargo their data for up to one year after the paper first appears online, if the chosen archive has the technology to facilitate delayed access to the data. Under rare circumstances it may be possible to grant a longer embargo; for example if human subject data have been utilised. Authors should contact the Editor-in- Chief to discuss how to proceed.

All Letters should contain a Data Accessibility section, after the Author Contributions section.

Occasionally, we may receive manuscripts that re-analyse deposited data from earlier Evolution Letters papers. Under such scenarios we encourage authors to engage with the original authors before submitting a manuscript to us.

7. Cover Letter

All submissions should include a Cover Letter explaining why the authors think their work is at the cutting-edge of Evolutionary research and why it warrants rapid publication in Evolution Letters. We are looking for manuscripts that make the most important contributions to the field and that lend themselves to a succinct style. The Cover Letter should also include suggested Associate Editors and Reviewers and any possible conflicts of interest. If the submitted work is a manuscript that has been reviewed elsewhere, and the authors are including the reviews and editorial decision letter from the earlier journal, then the Cover Letter should include a statement that all correspondence from the earlier journal have been submitted as supplementary files. We require all authors to include a declaration in their Cover Letter that the manuscript is their own original work and that it has not been published, nor is under consideration to be published, elsewhere.

8. Supplementary Information

Because our articles are typically short (5000 words), we encourage authors to provide additional details about their work as Supplementary Information. The main text must be able to stand alone as a complete piece of work. All material in Supplementary Information should be referred to in the main text, and it will be reviewed. Supplementary Information material should expand upon, rather than be an essential part of, the work presented in the main text. Authors may upload Supplementary Information as a separate file or appended to the end of the main file when they submit their work. As well as text, figures or tables, Supplementary Information can include datasets (although not as an alternative to a public archive), video or audio files, or any contribution that enhances the main text.

Full instructions on the preparation of supporting information is available at: http://authorservices.wiley.com/bauthor/suppmat.asp.< /p>

9. Impact Summary

Evolution Letters is keen to promote its articles to as wide an audience as possible. Therefore, we ask all authors to provide an ‘Impact Summary’ of their work. This should be an approximately 300 word summary, explaining why the article makes an important contribution to Evolutionary Biology. It should be accessible to a wide audience, e.g. journalists, non-expert public interested in evolution, school science teachers. The Impact Statement will be published alongside the main paper, and will be directly accessible from Tables of Contents.

10. Front Cover Images

On acceptance of their manuscript, we encourage authors to submit suitable images for the Evolution Letters cover. These may be photographs of study organisms or sites, or other types of figure/diagram that capture an important feature of the research. Composite images are also an option. An informative legend (max 75 words) should be included along with appropriate photo credits. Permission for use must be obtained if the image was not created by one of the authors. Resolution should be 300 dpi.

11. Society Information

Evolution Letters is jointly owned by the European Society of Evolutionary Biology (ESEB) and the Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE). Members of either Society receive a substantial discount on Evolution Letters article processing charges. A further, more modest, discount is available to members of both societies. Members of one society will still save money by joining the second society prior to publication of their article.


The ESEB is an academic society that brings together evolutionary biologists from Europe and the rest of the world - researchers, academic teachers, students, as well as journalists and other persons interested in evolution. By joining, you become part of this academic community. Endorsement and logistic support of the ESEB is particularly important for local evolutionary biologists in countries with little tradition and few researchers in evolution.

Benefits of membership include:

  • A personal subscription the Society's journal, the Journal of Evolutionary Biology
  • A discount on processing fees if publishing Open Access in JEB
  • 25 % discount on all books published by Wiley-Blackwell and other promotional offers
  • Substantially reduced registration fees to the biennial ESEB Congress
  • Travel grants to support congress participation of student members from economically disadvantaged countries
  • Support for young researchers, e.g. by sponsoring the annual meeting of PhD students in evolutionary biology
  • Awards: the John Maynard Smith Prize to outstanding young evolutionary biologists
  • Support for outreach initiatives aiming at popularizing evolutionary biology to general public and countering creationism


The Society for the Study of EvolutionTM was founded in March, 1946.The objectives of the Society for the Study of EvolutionTM are the promotion of the study of organic evolution and the integration of the various fields of science concerned with evolution.

Benefits of membership include:

  • 12 issues of Evolution: International Journal of Organic Evolution
  • Free print and online access, including online access to all available back volumes for as long as membership is maintained
  • Awards: Each year the SSE grants prestigious awards to students and scientists, including numerous travel awards to its annual meetings
  • Affordable Membership: Among the most affordable of all scientific societies, with major discounts for students and educators
  • Email notification as each issue of Evolution publishes
  • Discounted Open Access publication rate
  • 25% Discount on Wiley-Blackwell publications

To join, click here.

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