Information For Authors

Web-Based Electronic Manuscript Submission and Peer Review

We invite all authors to submit online any new manuscripts that are to be considered for publication. Please enter the following URL:

Astrobiology brings together research scientists from around the world to test hypotheses and methodologies, and advance theories with regard to the origins of life, the search for life, our understanding of the distribution and evolution of life, and the ways in which life interacts with its environment. Topics included in this multidisciplinary science are discussed in articles by Morrison (2001) in Astrobiology Volume 1, Issue 1, Des Marais et al. (2003) in Astrobiology Volume 3, Issue 2, and Des Marais et al. (2008) in Astrobiology Volume 8, Issue 4, available at Astrobiology also welcomes research articles in fundamental space biology, that is, articles that discuss the responses of terrestrial life when exposed to conditions (such as microgravity and enhanced radiation) that would apply beyond Earth. Such research is basic to understanding the ability of Earth life to move beyond its planet of origin.

Original scientific contributions that further an understanding of any aspect of astrobiology and space biology, including relevant observational, experimental, and theoretical investigations, will be considered for publication. Astrobiology publishes Research Articles, Reviews, invited Mini-Reviews, Rapid Communications, Hypothesis and Education Articles, and News and Views contributions.

The corresponding author is responsible for communicating with coauthors to make sure they have completed the online copyright form. Authors not permitted to release copyright must still return the form acknowledging the statement of the reason for not releasing the copyright.


Authorship* should be determined at the time of submission. Ensure the author listing is complete and all names are spelled correctly.  According to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICJME), authorship is based on the following criteria:

  1. Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
  2. Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
  3. Final approval of the version to be published; AND
  4. Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

Corresponding Author:  It is the Journal’s policy that a submission carries only ONE corresponding author.  This designation should be determined at the time of submission.  All communications, except for individual copyright forms, will be managed through the corresponding author.

 Acknowledgment of Non-Qualifying Contributors

Contributors who do not meet all four (4) of the above criteria for authorship should not be listed as authors, but they may be recognized in an Acknowledgment section. Some examples of activities that alone (without other contributions) do not qualify for authorship are: 

  • Acquisition of funding;
  • General supervision of a research group or general administrative support;
  • Writing assistance, technical editing, language editing, and proofreading.

Those whose contributions do not justify authorship may be acknowledged individually or together as a group under the heading, Acknowledgments, and should be included in at the end of the manuscript before the Author Disclosure Statement(s).

Submitting Author/Agent:  It is incumbent upon the submitting author/agent to ensure the inclusion and accuracy of all contributing authors’ names, valid email addresses, and affiliations upon original submission of the paper. Once a paper is accepted for publication, changes in authorship are generally not permitted.  Changes in authorship after publication are strictly prohibited.


Please submit all manuscripts using the following URL:

The review process for all manuscripts will be initiated when authors submit (a) a “.doc” or a “.rtf” or LaTeX file that contains the manuscript, references, tables, and figure legends, and (b) a single high-resolution “.tif” or “.eps” file of each figure. (Note that LaTeX cannot be used for printing if the article is accepted—see detailed note about LaTeX below.) Guidelines for preparing the various components of the contribution, including the preparation of high-resolution digital figure files, are provided below. Incomplete or improperly formatted contributions will be returned to the authors unread.

Manuscripts are judged on the basis of significance, originality, quality and clarity of presentation, and appropriateness of the subject matter. The decision regarding publication is the responsibility of the Editors, based on the recommendations of the Referees, Editorial Board Members, and Guest Editors.

Manuscripts. Manuscripts should be double-spaced and formatted for US Letter (8.5 x 11 inches) page size with 1.5-inch margins on top, bottom, and sides. Times or Times New Roman (12 point) is the preferred font. Manuscript pages should be numbered consecutively.

Manuscripts should be organized as follows: On the first page give the title of the article, the full names and institutional affiliations of all authors, the name (with complete address, phone and fax numbers, and e-mail address) to whom correspondence should be directed, and a running title of no more than 40 characters (including spaces). Supply an Abstract of about 200 words, stating the aims, results, and conclusions drawn from the study, and 3–6 keywords or phrases. The Abstract page should be followed by the remainder of the manuscript organized with headings to distinguish the Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusions and/or Implications, Acknowledgments, References, Tables, Figure Legends, and Figures. Results and Discussion should be separate manuscript sections.

Manuscript keywords (search terms): On the title page of the manuscript, include a minimum of three (3), maximum of six (6), search terms that will aid in the discoverability of the article in indexing services and search engines.  These terms may or may not be different from the terms you selected for the peer review process and areas of expertise.  You will be asked to retype these search terms in the submission form when uploading your manuscript.  These keywords will be included in the published article.  If the search terms entered do not match the manuscript, the manuscript will serve as the default.

Keywords (Areas of Expertise)

To facilitate the peer review process, select 4-6 keywords from the drop-down list of pre-selected terms when submitting your manuscript.   These keywords will assist in the selection of skilled reviewers in the field for the purposes of peer review.


Tables should be prepared in Word.  Present each table with its caption on a separate page of the manuscript. Use Arabic numerals to number tables. Information given in the text should not be repeated in tables unless advised by the editors. Tables should not be used for data that can be given in the text in one or two sentences. Tables must be numbered in the order cited in the text. The typesetter will determine the final format of manuscript tables. 

Disclosure statement. Immediately following the Acknowledgments section, include a section entitled “Author Disclosure Statement.”

In this portion of the article, authors must disclose any commercial associations that might create a conflict of interest in connection with submitted manuscripts. This statement should include appropriate information for EACH author, thereby representing that competing financial interests of all authors have been appropriately disclosed according to the policy of the Journal. It is important that all conflicts of interest, whether they are actual or potential, be disclosed. This information will not influence the editorial decision.

Please see the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals at for further guidance.

If no conflicts exist, the authors must state “No competing financial interests exist.”

It is recommended that authors review the style and clarity of their manuscript with colleagues before submission to ensure its consideration for publication and avoid delay in review and publication processing. Manuscripts may be edited if needed to ensure clear grammatical English usage. The editors welcome suggestions concerning potential reviewers that serve on the Editorial Board of Astrobiology as well as those from the international scientific community.

News and Views

The News and Views section of the journal may contain: reports and discussion of active mission findings, reader’s comments and author’s replies regarding published contributions, reader’s letters and author’s response with regard to discussion and debate about issues published in the Reviews and Mini-Reviews, and other news of interest—such as White Papers for Sponsoring Funding Agencies—to the general astrobiology readership. Authors, Referees, or Reviewers may submit comments with regard to articles that will or have been published. Such comments should be written only to clarify matters of scientific content. Authors of the articles under discussion will be invited to write a brief reply. Both comments and replies are subject to review. The commentor and replier will have the opportunity to see each other’s final manuscripts to ensure that only one round of comments will appear in the Journal. Comments and replies should be sent directly to the Editorial Office.

Research Articles and Rapid Communications, Hypothesis, Forum, and Education Articles

Research Articles should describe results of observational, experimental, and computational approaches related to astrobiology. Articles that describe rigorous tests of mission-relevant (e.g., field, laboratory, orbital, spectral) life-detection instruments are encouraged. A Rapid Communication for rapid publication (~4 months) should communicate timely scientific or methodological information in the field. Page limits are not imposed on Research Articles, though authors are encouraged to submit manuscripts no longer than 15 journal pages. A Rapid Communication should be four journal pages (about 2,000 words), including Tables and Figures.

Hypothesis Articles should communicate succinctly the basis of the author’s hypothesis to encourage discussion and creative hypothesis testing by members of the scientific community. The hypothesis must be reasonably testable. In particular, philosophical and semantic discussions, speculations on the sociology of aliens, and the ramifications for life, if the laws of physics differed from the observed ones, are beyond the scope of the Journal. Astrobiology is an inappropriate venue for new physics/biology/chemistry, that is, modifications to widely accepted fundamental laws of physics/biology/chemistry. Though page limits are not imposed, authors are encouraged to submit manuscripts no longer than 3,000 words. Hypothesis Articles should include an Abstract (about 200 words), Acknowledgments, References, Tables, Figure Legends, and Figures. Authors should contact the Hypothesis Article/Senior Editor Norman Sleep ( for questions regarding the appropriateness of their article’s topic.

Forum Articles are essays about policy issues related to astrobiology science and missions. Examples of policy issues include planetary protection, priorities between missions, protocol for announcing a positive response to a SETI signal, encouraging participation of women and minorities, etc. In unusual cases, a short commentary on a previous Forum Article and the original authors’ reply will be published. Authors should contact the Forum Article/Senior Editor Chris McKay ( for questions regarding the appropriateness of their article's topic.

Education Articles should communicate topics of interest to scientists involved in education, outreach, and training components of astrobiological research. 

Reviews and Invited Mini-Reviews

Authors interested in contributing Reviews and Mini-Reviews should contact Review Article/Senior Editor Lewis Dartnell  Such articles should not merely reiterate previously published data. Reviews should be a selective, though balanced, representative compilation of previously published information assembled for the purpose of analyzing and reinterpreting it to reveal new insights and advance science. Reviews should be no longer than 5,000 words. Reviews are subject to the same review procedures as Research Articles.

Mini-Reviews are generally invited by the editors, but unsolicited manuscripts will be considered.

Book Reviews

Book Reviews are generally invited by the editors, but unsolicited reviews will be considered. Ideas for books to be reviewed are welcome and should be sent to Book Review/ Senior Editor Russell Shapiro ( Book Reviews should be less than 1,500 words in length.

Letters to the Editor(s):

Letters to the Editor(s) are welcomed, but with a 500 word limit and no more than one (1) table OR figure, and with a maximum of four (4) references. 


An EndNote Bibliographic Output Style is available for Astrobiology. If you have access to the software in your library you can access this style:

EndNote for Windows and Macintosh is a valuable all-in-one tool used by researchers, scholarly writers, and students to search online bibliographic databases, organize their references, and create bibliographies instantly. For more information or for assistance with EndNote, please visit

All references should be cited by author(s) and date within the text [for example: The initial interpretations of the ALH84001 meteorite included nanometer-scale morphological features likened to the remains of nanobacteria (McKay et al., 1996).]. If three or more authors are involved, use an italicized “et al.” notation after the first author’s name [for example: (Cady et al., 2003)]. If more than one article by the same author(s) in the same year is cited, use a lowercase letter designation to indicate the individual article [for example: (Smith, 1984a)]. Use the same designation in the reference list. Multiple citations in a parenthetical list should be separated by semicolons and ordered by date, oldest first. Multiple citations with the same date should be ordered alphabetically by first author. The reference list should be double-spaced and in alphabetical order at the end of the article. Each reference should include a complete list of authors and the complete title of the cited article. Examples that could appear in a reference section include:

Bieber, J.W., Cane, H., Evenson, P., Pyle, R., and Richardson, I. (1999) Energetic particle flow near CME shocks and ejecta. In Solar Wind Nine: Proceedings of the 9th International Solar Wind Conference, AIP Conference Proceedings 471, edited by S.R. Habbal, R. Esser, and J.V. Hollweg, American Institute of Physics, Melville, NY, pp 137–140.

 Cady, S.L. (2001) Formation and preservation of bona fide microfossils. In Signs of Life: A Report Based on the April 2000 Workshop on Life Detection Techniques, Committee on the Origins and Evolution of Life, National Research Council, National Academies Press, Washington DC, pp 149–155.

Cady, S.L. and Noffke, N. (2009) Geobiology: evidence for early life on Earth and the search for life on other planets. GSA Today 19:4–10.

Cady, S.L., Farmer, J.D., Grotzinger, J.P., Schopf, J.W., and Steele, A. (2003) Morphological biosignatures and the search for life on Mars. Astrobiology 3:351–368.

Gilmore, I., Hill, H.G.M., Pearson, V.K., Sephton, M.A., and Nuth, J.A. (2002) Production of high molecular weight organic compounds on the surfaces of amorphous iron silicate catalysts: implications for organic synthesis in the solar nebula [abstract 1613]. In 33rd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference Abstracts, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston.

Hode, T., Cady, S.L., von Dalwigk, I., and Kristiansson, P. (2009) Evidence of ancient microbial life in a large impact structure and its implications for astrobiology: a case study. In From Fossils to Astrobiology, Records of Life on Earth and Search for Extraterrestrial Biosignatures, edited by J. Seckbach and M. Walsh, Springer Science Series Volume 12: Cellular Origin, Life in Extreme Habitats and Astrobiology, pp 249–273.

MEPAG Goals Committee. (2010) Mars science goals, objectives, investigations, and priorities: 2010. Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG). Available online at

Parenteau, N.M. and Cady, S.L. (2010) Microbial biosignatures in iron-mineralized phototrophic mats at Chocolate Pots Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park, USA. Palaios 25:97–111.

Abbreviations of journal names should follow the style of MEDLINE.

If a work is in press, give the journal in which it is to be published along with the words “in press.” Work that has not yet been accepted for publication must be indicated in the article as a personal communication or as unpublished data.


Present each table with its caption on a separate page of the manuscript. Use Arabic numerals to number tables. Information given in the text should not be repeated in tables unless advised by the editors. Tables should not be used for data that can be given in the text in one or two sentences. Tables must be numbered in the order cited in the text. The typesetter will determine the final format of manuscript tables.


Figure legends should be supplied for each illustration. All figure legends should be numbered consecutively, typed double-spaced, and begun with a boldface FIG.1. (2, 3, etc), though the rest of the caption should be in regular type. If there are several images in the figure—a, b, c, etc.—these should be placed in parentheses and put in boldface on their first occurrence. Figures must be numbered in the order cited in the text. Figures will be reproduced in the journal at column (8 cm) or page (16.5 cm) width. Illustration text should be no smaller than 10 point Helvetica at column width.

High-resolution digital files of photographs or line art must be uploaded onto Manuscript Central. Each figure should be submitted as a separate file in “.tif” or “.eps” file format (byte order for Macintosh) at the final print size (8.5 or 16 cm width) and resolution (see below). Figure filenames must include the last name of the first author, figure number, and format extension (e.g., CadyFig1.tif). Figure resolution can be confirmed using Adobe Photoshop by opening the “tif” file, selecting image, image size, and print size. Authors should avoid artificially increasing the image resolution using Adobe Photoshop, which is possible by checking “resample image” when viewing the print size. Resolution and format requirements for images at the print size: line art (bar scales, schematic drawings, etc.) should be no less than 1,200 dpi; photographs no less than 300 dpi (same as ppi in Adobe Photoshop). Black and white (halftone) photographs should be saved as ‘‘grayscale’’ images, and color photographs as “cymk” images.

Figures/images should be presented according to these guidelines:

  • Do not include any illustrations as part of your text file.
  • Do not prepare any figures in Word as they are not workable.
  • Line illustrations must be submitted at 900 DPI.
  • Halftones and color photos should be submitted at 300 DPI.
  • Please submit only .TIFF or. EPS  files.
  • Color art must be saved as CMYK not RGB or INDEX. If RGB files are submitted, the files will be converted to CMYK and some slight color variation may occur.
  • PowerPoint or Excel files are not acceptable file types for uploading to Manuscript Central.

A Note about LaTeX. Though LaTeX files can be submitted to the Journal and sent out for review, we require the final manuscript be in the “.doc” format. Once a manuscript in LaTeX format has been recommended for publication, it will be the author’s responsibility to have that version of the manuscript converted, scanned, or retyped into MS Word as a “.doc” file so that it can be ready for production. Should the article contain complicated equations or formulas, the “.doc” version of the manuscript should be marked to show where they should be inserted and a hard copy list of all equations and formulas forwarded to the Editorial Office.

Color Figures

Color illustrations are welcome, but the author must subsidize the cost of color printing. The Publisher will provide the author with a cost estimate when the figures are received.  Please contact Author Benefits for more information.

Cover Art

Astrobiology individualizes each issue by featuring a distinctive cover. Authors and scientific illustrators are encouraged to submit for consideration low-resolution versions of their figures and artwork to S.L. Cady, e-mail: Figures chosen for publication must meet the guidelines for high-resolution manuscript figures, but with a print size of 21.528 cm. A figure caption that explains succinctly the content of the cover art and acknowledges the contributor must be provided at the time of submission.



 Patients and Study Participants

All manuscripts must comply with the privacy and confidentiality requirements outlined on the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals website. For more information, visit When articles include reports of studies on human subjects, state in the Methods section that an appropriate institutional review board or ethics committee approved the study. Authors who do not have formal ethics review committees should follow the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki. In the Methods section, state that informed consent was obtained from subjects (specify written or verbal).

The principal author must state that if animals were used experimentally, permission was obtained from the appropriate committee(s), and that the animals were treated humanely and the standards conformed to those of current ethical animal research practices.

In addition, text and photographs should not reveal any identifying information unless it is essenti al for scientific purposes (in which case, consent should be obtained). Masking the subjects’ eyes in photographs is often insufficient to protect their identity.


The author must obtain permission whenever it is required in conjunction with the reproduction of copyrighted material such as figures and tables. Written permission must be obtained by the author from the publisher of the journal or book concerned; and, if required by the original publisher, the figure or table legend should indicate the original publication. The publication from which the figure or table is taken must also be listed in the reference section. All permission listings must be obtained prior to typesetting the manuscript; they cannot be entered on proofs. Manuscripts submitted to this journal must not be under consideration elsewhere.


Astrobiology recognizes the growing popularity of community non-peer-reviewed preprint repositories such as bioRxiv, arXiv, ChemRxiv, PeerJ Preprints, etc. Deposition of a preprint on a preprint server will not impact consideration of any manuscript submitted to Astrobiology. The existence of a publicly available preprint should be declared upon submission.


Reprints may be ordered by following the special instructions that will accompany page proofs, and should be ordered at the time the corresponding author returns the corrected page proofs to the Publisher. Reprints ordered after an issue is printed will be charged at a substantially higher rate.


The Journal is published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., 140 Huguenot Street, New Rochelle, NY 10801-5215. Telephone: 914-740-2100; fax: 914-740-2101. E-mail: Online:

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Liebert Open Access

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Authors may archive their preprint manuscripts (version prior to peer review) at any time without restrictions. Authors may archive their postprint manuscripts (accepted version after peer review) in institutional repositories, preprint servers, and research networks after a 12 month embargo. The 12 month embargo period begins when the article is published online. Postprints must not be used for commercial purposes and acknowledgement must be given to the final publication, and publisher, by inserting the DOI number of the article in the following sentence: “Final publication is available from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers[insert DOI]”. Authors may archive on their personal website without an embargo provided their manuscript is updated with an acknowledgement to the publisher copyright and final published version.

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Publishing Open Access

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The views, opinions, findings, conclusions and recommendations set forth in any Journal article are solely those of the authors of those articles and do not necessarily reflect the views, policy or position of the Journal, its Publisher, its editorial staff or any affiliated Societies and should not be attributed to any of them.