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Guidelines for Authors
Guidelines for Reviewers
Online submission

Author guidelines and instructions for peer-reviewed papers in MountainAgenda

Content and target audience
Authorship and responsibility
Preparing your submission
Technical guidelines

The purpose of papers in MountainAgenda is to present "target knowledge," ie knowledge about what are the "right" things that need to be achieved when targeting sustainable development; stakeholders negotiate and define this on the basis of systems knowledge. Articles should therefore offer well-referenced overviews of the state of the art in mountain research, mountain development, or mountain policy and conclude with agendas for future research, development, or policy in the area reviewed. Moreover, these agendas should be guided explicitly by the values of sustainable development. MountainAgenda articles are usually written by a renowned expert in the field or by several experts in a number of different disciplines or sectors who have conducted an in-depth reflection on important issues debated at major conferences and workshops, in electronic forums, in research groups, etc. MountainAgenda articles can—but need not—address themes announced on MRD's website.

Papers should

  • Focus on an issue of relevance to sustainable development in mountains;
  • Present a sound state of the art in the area discussed, which can be a research field, policy debate, or development issue of national to global significance;
  • Present an agenda that draws on the insights gained in the overview and is the result of a (common) reflection on the values of sustainable development in the area discussed.

Review criteria

  • Is the topic relevant to sustainable development in mountains?
  • Is the state of the art on the topic up to date, comprehensive, and relevant to the issues discussed?
  • Are the issues identified in the review of immediate interest and urgent enough to justify the formulation of an agenda?
  • Are the arguments leading to the agenda well-substantiated and convincing?

MountainAgenda articles are reviewed by the Editors and a member of the International Editorial Board or an expert designated by them. The review process is open: in shaping target knowledge, values are explicitly at stake, hence authors and reviewers should have the possibility to engage in a discussion about these values.

Target audience
Depending on the aim of the agenda presented, papers address a scientific, development, or policy community, or a mixed audience.


Authorship and responsibility
All contributors to MRD must assume full responsibility for the contents and opinions expressed in their writings. Before submission of a manuscript, the corresponding author must ensure that all co-authors have seen the version of the paper that will be uploaded.

Contributors must also assume responsibility for checking the accuracy of all numerical material and references as well as non-English quotations and names. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Should the Editors find out that significant parts of a paper submitted to MRD have been published elsewhere prior to publication in MRD, even though the author confirmed that this is not the case, the paper will be rejected and the author will be charged for the costs of processing the paper through peer review.


Preparing your submission
Manuscripts submitted to Mountain Research and Development must be divided into separate files to allow processing by our software. Submissions that do not conform with the following instructions and technical guidelines will be returned to authors. Please prepare the following files before you start the online submission process, and make sure that they conform with the technical guidelines given further below:

Body text

  • Formatted text, no figures or tables
  • Maximum length = 25,000 characters including spaces (not counting list of references)
  • Contains the body text of your paper, from introduction to conclusions; the list of references; a list of captions for figures and tables, without any information about the authors of the figures and tables
  • Authors must supply latitude and longitude coordinates for the regions referred to in a paper
  • No footnotes, no endnotes
  • Equations must be numbered and placed directly in the text
  • Figures, tables, and boxes must be referred to in the text, in numerical order
  • In-text referencing must follow the MRD guidelines for references (see technical guidelines)
  • References should be listed at the end of the paper without numbering, alphabetically by author, giving the complete unabbreviated source citation; format, style, and manner of referencing must follow the MRD guidelines for references (see technical guidelines)
  • After the References, list captions of figures in numerical order, followed by captions of tables in numerical order
  • IMPORTANT: Make sure that this file does not contain any author information, acknowledgments, or figure credits; anonymize self-references if they are obvious (this is important in order to keep the review process anonymous)
  • Upload as “Manuscript” type file; this will be included in the PDF for reviewers

Cover letter

  • Contains acknowledgments (if applicable) and information about the authors of the figures (eg Figure 1 “Photo by Mickey Mouse” or “Map by Donald Duck”)
  • Upload as “Cover Letter/Acknowledgments” type file; will not be included in the PDF for reviewers


  • Submit each figure in a separate file and include the figure number in the file name according to the list of captions provided in the body text (eg Figure_1.jpg)
  • Possible file formats: .JPG, .EPS, .PSD, .TIF, .PDF, .XLS, .PPT
  • The preferred format for any figure that includes text is a vectorized file, with text as font; note that once your paper is accepted for publication, you will be asked to provide high resolution versions of photos and bitmaps, and vectorized versions of all other types of files (see technical guidelines for details and an explanation of “vectorized,” “bitmapped,” and “text as font”)
  • Do not include caption or any information about the author of the figure in the figure file
  • Figures will be published in grayscale in MountainAgenda papers
  • Your submission may have no more than 5 figures (including photos, diagrams, maps)
  • You cannot upload files larger than 10 MB; if one or several of your figures are over 10 MB in size, please contact the journal office (mrd-journal[at]peertrack.net)
  • Upload as “Figure” type file; “Figure” type files will be included in the PDF for reviewers

Tables and Boxes

  • Submit each table and box in a separate file and include the table or box number in the file name according to the list captions provided in the body text (eg Table_1.doc or Box_2.doc)
  • Formatted text, no figures
  • In tables, do not include caption
  • In boxes, include caption in a title bar (topmost line across entire box)
  • Tables and boxes must conform with the technical guidelines
  • Your submission may have no more than 5 tables or boxes in total
  • Upload as “Table/Box” type file; “Table/Box” type files will be included in the PDF for reviewers
  • Very large tables and long lists should be submitted as “Supplemental Material” (see below)

Supplemental material

  • Typically, supplemental material will contain long lists or large tables of material sometimes required by reviewers but not publishable in the normal article layout
  • Please do not submit supplemental material unless this is absolutely necessary; the Editors reserve the right to decide whether to publish such material
  • Supplemental material will be published separately, formatted as you deliver it, under a separate DOI
  • Supplemental material must be referred to in the body text (see technical guidelines)
  • IMPORTANT: Make sure these files do not contain any author information
  • Submit as “Supplemental Material” type file; will be included in the PDF for reviewers

In addition, we recommend that you prepare a word processing file containing specific parts of your submission that you will be requested to enter during online submission. This file should not be uploaded as part of your submission. However, it will allow you to easily copy and paste the requested bits of text into the online submission form where requested. Note that formatting will be lost. This file (called “submission file” below) should contain the following elements:

  • Title and short title (the short title is optional)
  • Names and affiliations (Department, Institution, Address, Postal Code, City, Country) of all co-authors
  • Abstract (150–300 words, one paragraph only)
  • 5-8 keywords (Keyword 1; keyword 2; keyword 3; keyword 4; keyword 5); up to 12 keywords can be entered if necessary


Technical guidelines
Please note that manuscripts which do not conform to these technical guidelines will be returned to authors.

Authors are expected to submit articles in clear and concise English.

Structuring your body text
Please use headings to structure your body text. You may use three levels of headings. You may want to number them to make sure the structure is clear. The numbers will not be included if your paper is published, but they will make it clear for the typesetters which level of headings to use. Example:

<#1> The research project: a multipurpose monitoring system
<#2> Framework for sustainable tourism development
<#3> Frame of reference: Within the context of this paper, …

Spelling and other style details

  • Use American English spelling
  • Use italics for foreign words; example: ... traditional mountain irrigation system (bisse); bisses were used for...
  • Use English version of cities and other place names if they exist (eg Lucerne, not Luzern); where the form officially used in the country under discussion differs from the commonly known name or the English-language name, the other name should be added in parentheses
  • As a rule, spell out all abbreviations when they first occur in your manuscript; example: This geographic information system (GIS) is highly complex...
  • All numerical units should conform as closely as possible to the International System of Units (SI)
  • Use the metric system for all measurements
  • The monetary unit should be US$; if you refer to other currencies, please indicate the US$ equivalent between brackets or provide the conversion rate
  • Use italics in the following way for Latin names of species: Genus species, then G. species; Chattonella antique (Hada) Ono; Chattonella species or Chattonella sp or Chattonella spp

Using reference management software
If you use reference management software such as Zotero or EndNote, use the "Council of Science Editors (author-date)" or "CSE Style Manual N-Y" style to format your references. Otherwise follow the detailed instructions below.

In-text references
Use author–year style in chronological, then alphabetical, order. Use “et al” with three or more authors. Use colon and number to indicate page reference.

  • Campbell (1993, 1995a, 1995b)
  • Ridal and Moore (2004)
  • (Phillips et al 1975)
  • (Stremlow 1998; Antrop 1999; Tress and Tress 2001; Backhaus et al 2007a, 2007b)
  • (see figures 4 and 5 in Keen et al 1971)
  • Campbell (1993: 55); (Campbell 1993: 55)

List of references
All literature cited in any part of your paper should be listed at the end of the body text file in a section entitled “REFERENCES,” without numbering, alphabetically by author and then chronologically, giving the complete unabbreviated source citation.

General rules:

  • If there are several works by the same author(s), they should be arranged chronologically by year of publication with oldest reference first; if several works by the same author were published in the same year, arrange them alphabetically and add a letter to the year of publication, eg 1999a, 1999b, etc
  • If a publication has more than 15 authors, list the first 15 authors, then use “et al”
  • Always provide city and country of publication, eg “Bern, Switzerland”; for places of publication in the USA, provide 2-letter postal code for the state, but not “USA,” eg Cold Spring Harbor, NY
  • Use English version of cities and other place names if they exist: Vienna, not Wien; Rome, not Roma
  • All items listed under REFERENCES must be publicly available, ie in a library or on the Internet; no “submitted,” “accepted,” or “forthcoming” material, personal communications, or unpublished data can be included; exception: unpublished articles can be listed if you provide an address at which a copy can be requested; ideally, this will be your own address; example: “available from corresponding author of this article”
  • “In press” items should include volume and year of publication
  • If you translate the title of a publication written in another language into English, indicate the original language in square brackets following the title (see examples below)

The format of references is different depending on the type of literature (eg journal article, book chapter, conference proceedings, etc); please see the following examples.

Journal article:

Antrop M. 1999. Background concepts for integrated landscape analysis. Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Environment 77:17–28.
Backhaus N, Reichler C, Stremlow M. 2007. Ein Landschaftsmodell für den Alpenraum: Erkenntnisse aus einem schweizerischen Forschungsprogramm. Histoire des Alpes—Storia delle Alpi—Geschichte der Alpen 12:307–321.
Grau HR, Aide TM. 2007. Are rural–urban migration and sustainable development compatible in mountain systems? Mountain Research and Development 27(2):119–123. http://dx.doi.org/10.1659/mrd.0906.
Semwal JK, Gaur RD, Purohit AN. 1981. Floristic pattern of an alpine zone, Tungnath, in Garhwal Himalaya. Acta Botanica Indica 9:110–114.
Zhou Y, Li H, Xu Q. 1999. Effect of Yunnan pine forest canopy on soil erosion [in Chinese with English abstract]. Journal of Mountain Science 17(4):324–328.

Journal article published online but not (yet) on paper:

Dang VH, Shively G. 2007. Coffee boom, coffee bust, and smallholder response in Vietnam's Central Highlands. Review of Development Economics, OnlineEarly, 4 September 2007. http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1111/j.1467-9361.2007.00391.x.
Owen LA, Kamp U, Khattak G, Harp E, Keefer DK, Bauer M. 2007. Landslides triggered by the October 8, 2005, Kashmir Earthquake. Geomorphology, Articles in Press, 10 May 2007. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2007.04.007.


Backhaus N, Reichler C, Stremlow M. 2007. Alpenlandschaften: Von der Vorstellung zur Handlung. Thematische Synthese zum Forschungsschwerpunkt I “Prozesse der Wahrnehmung” des NFP 48. Zurich, Switzerland: vdf.
Bätzing W. 2005. Bildatlas Alpen—Eine Kulturlandschaft im Porträt. Darmstadt, Germany: Primus-Verlag.
Jackson JB. 1994. A Sense of Place, a Sense of Time. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Small J, Whitherick M. 1991. A Modern Dictionary of Geography. 2nd edition (1st edition 1986). London, United Kingdom: Edward Arnold.
Zhu Z, Wen Q. 1992. Soil Nitrogen in China [in Chinese]. Nanjing, China: Jiangshu Science and Technology Press.

Book, organization as author:

UNDP [United Nations Development Program]. 1999. Human Development Report 1999. Globalization With a Human Face. New York: Oxford University Press.

Edited book:

Price M, Butt N, editors. 2000. Forests in Sustainable Mountain Development. A State of Knowledge Report for 2000 . IUFRO [International Union of Forest Research Organizations] Research Series 5. Oxon, NY: CAB International Publishing.

Chapter in edited book:

Meyer W, Turner II BL. 1999. The earth transformed: Trends, trajectories, and patterns. In: Johnston RJ, Taylor PJ, Watts MJ, editors. Geographies of Global Change. Remapping the World in the Late Twentieth Century. Oxford, United Kingdom: Blackwell, pp 302–317.

Thesis or dissertation:

Walz A. 2006. Land Use Modeling for an Integrated Approach to Regional Development in the Swiss Alps [PhD dissertation]. Zurich, Switzerland: University of Zurich.


Arriaga J de. 1968. Extirpacion de la idolatria del Piru [1st edition 1621]. In: Esteve Barba F, editor. Crónicas Peruanas de Interés indigena. Biblioteca de Autores Españoles 209. Madrid, Spain: Atlas, pp 191–277.

Conference Proceedings:

Abrol LP, Gupta RK. 1991. Managing salt affected soils and poor-quality irrigation waters for sustainable crop productivity. In: Elliott CR, Dumanski J, Pushparajah E, Latham M, Myers R, editors. Evaluation for Sustainable Land Management in the Developing World. IBSRAM [International Board for Soil Research and Management] Proceedings 12. Vol 2. Bangkok, Thailand: International Board for Soil Research and Management, pp 253–278.
Elliott CR, Dumanski J, Pushparajah E, Latham M, Myers R, editors. 1991. Evaluation for Sustainable Land Management in the Developing World. IBSRAM [International Board for Soil Research and Management] Proceedings 12. Vol 2. Bangkok, Thailand: International Board for Soil Research and Management.

Unpublished paper available from corresponding author of MRD article, ie you:

Zhao Q, Tang Z. 2002. Improving extension with participatory project management models in the Gannan Grassland and Animal Husbandry Department, Gansu. Unpublished paper presented at the ICIMOD Regional Strategy Workshop on the Changing Face of Pastoralism in the Hindu–Kush Himalaya Tibetan Plateau Highlands: Forging a Sustainable Path for the Future. Lhasa, China, 12–19 May. Available from corresponding author of this article.

“Gray literature” (includes technical reports, flyers, brochures etc that often have a very small print run and are not very widely distributed, ie poorly accessible):

Byers AC. 1997. Trip Report. Austrian Alpine Association, Innsbruck; Langtang Ecotourism Project, Nepal; NSF Workshop on Lansdscape / Landuse Change, Kathmandu, Nepal; Sikkim Biodiversity and Ecotourism Project, India, 10 May–15 April 1997. Franklin, WV: The Mountain Institute.

Articles in newspapers and periodicals:

[Anonymous]. 2005. Deforestation and floods: Not the root cause. Economist. 15 October 2005, pp 86–88.

Maps and statistics:

CSA [Central Statistical Authority]. 1995. Report on Population Size and Characteristics for Amhara Region, Vol 1, Part 1. Addis Abeba, Ethiopia: CSA.
EMA [Ethiopian Mapping Authority]. 1993. Map, series ETH 4, sheet 139 D3, 1st edition. Addis Abeba, Ethiopia: EMA.

Material available on the Internet:

Gurung J. 1999. Women, children and well-being in the mountains of the Hindu Kush Himalayan region. Unasylva 196, Vol 50(1). www.fao.org/docrep/x0963e/x0963e05.htm; accessed on 26 April 2002.
CapeNature. 2004. Rural community to benefit from the exportation of fynbos crops. CapeNature. www.capenature.org.za/index.php?fArticleId=398; accessed on 24 July 2007.
Wangdi K. 2005. Agro-pastoralism—Towards an efficient exploitation of fodder resources? Proceedings of the Fifth Meeting of the Temperate Asia Pasture and Fodder Network (TAPAFON). Held at Renewable Natural Resources Research Centre, Bajo, Wangdue, Bhutan, 29 April to 4 May 2002. www.fao.org/ag/AGP/AGPC/doc/Proceedings/Tapafon02/tapafon2.htm; accessed on 24 July 2007.
Chapman AD, Wieczorek J, editors. 2006. Guide to Best Practices for Georeferencing. Copenhagen, Denmark: Global Biodiversity Information Facility. www.gbif.org/prog/digit/Georeferencing; accessed on 5 January 2007.

Format requirements for figures
Figures in MountainAgenda must be in grayscale. The Editors reserve the right to decide on the need to use color for specific figures in the grayscale sections. An additional fee of US$ 20 per figure may have to be charged.

Size of figures:

  • Width: from 56 mm to 175 mm; exceptionally, the width can be larger, but not beyond 190 mm.
  • Height: maximum 213 mm

Standard font in figures:

  • Please use Arial, Arial Narrow, or another sans serif font, eg Helvetica, Univers, etc. Use of ESRI and other fonts for special characters is allowed.
  • Minimum font size for text in figures: 7 pt (5 pt is allowed, but only for text that contains information which is not vital, e.g. latitudes and longitudes in maps.)

File types:

  • The PeerTrack™ submission system accepts the following figure file types: .JPG, .EPS, .PSD, .TIF, .PDF, .XLS or .PPT.
  • For diagrams, maps, graphs, line drawings, and any figure that contains text, we recommend that you submit vectorized versions, with text as font, as this is what will be required at proof stage.
  • Photos and other bitmaps should be in high resolution (300 dpi, minimum size 10 x 15 cm).

“Text as font” means that everything you type can still be accessed as text and we can make last minute changes if we see that this is necessary (font size, font type, spelling mistakes, etc). If text is “bitmapped,” this is no longer possible. Moreover, bitmapped text means that we cannot enlarge the figure to the size we might need, since this usually leads to a loss of resolution and therefore results in a fuzzy or “pixelated” appearance of the text in the figure. Typically, when working from ArcView or another mapping software, you can keep text as font if you export to Adobe Illustrator (.AI), CorelDraw (.CDR) or .EMF (enhanced metafile) format (NOTE: these file formats can only be delivered once your paper has been accepted for publication; use one of the above-listed formats for your original submission). If you need to add text on a photo or other bitmapped original, use Adobe Photoshop (.PSD), as this software keeps text accessible in a separate layer.

Format requirements for tables
Please note that there is a maximum width and height of tables. The Editors reserve the right to publish large tables separately, as supplemental material. Such tables will not go through copy editing and layout. They will be published with a separate DOI.

Size of Tables:

  • Width: from 56 mm to maximum 175 mm
  • Height: maximum 213 mm


  • Text in tables must always be horizontal.
  • Column widths in the published table will be proportionally the same as the original column widths in the formatted text file you submit.
  • Show cell borders for all cells.
  • If cells are to be merged across columns or rows, they should be merged in the file you submit.
  • If you use abbreviations in the table, please spell them out in the caption.
  • Tables can contain footnotes, using uppercase letters and brackets.

Format requirements for boxes
Boxes have one column only. They have no captions: the title of the box in the title bar functions as a caption and is therefore preceded by “BOX 1:”, “BOX 2:”, etc; example:

BOX 1: Useful online resources on women, gender, and disaster management

Format requirements for supplemental material
Typically, supplemental material will contain long lists or large tables of material sometimes required by reviewers but not publishable in the normal article layout. Please do not submit supplemental material unless this is absolutely necessary. This material will not go through copy editing and layout. It will be published separately from your article, with a separate DOI, formatted as you deliver it. The Editors reserve the right to decide whether or not to publish such material. IMPORTANT: Make sure your supplemental material does not contain any author information, acknowledgments, or figure credits , as it will be included in the PDF sent to reviewers. If such information is needed in your supplemental material, please submit it in a separate “Cover Letter” type file.


  • Following the heading “Supplemental data,” provide a caption for your supplemental material, numbered APPENDIX S1, APPENDIX S2, etc; example:
    Supplemental data
    APPENDIX S1 Results of reptilian in ovo experimentation listed by year.

Supplemental material must be referred to in another part of your manuscript (body text, figure, table, box, or captions). Examples:

  • The details are given in Supplemental data, Appendix S1.
  • The study included detailed research on reptilian in ovo experimentation (Supplemental data, Appendix S1).

Online submission
Once you have prepared your submission according to the instructions and technical guidelines above, you can begin the online submission process.


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