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International Seed Testing Association
International Seed Testing Association
Richtiarkade 18
8304 Wallisellen, CH
+41 44 838 60 00
International Seed Testing Association

SST Instructions to Contributors


Seed Science and Technology (SST) publishes original papers in all areas of seed quality and physiology as related to seed production, harvest, processing, sampling, storage, genetic conservation, habitat regeneration, distribution and testing.

Procedure for the submission of papers

Manuscripts must be written in English, using United Kingdom grammar and spelling. The language should be clear and to the point. If you are not a native English speaker, you should consult an expert or use a professional scientific editing service to ensure that the language is correct. Manuscripts should be submitted online by the corresponding author: register here and follow the instructions for submission. The status of submissions can be tracked by logging into the system.  

For accepted papers, proofs will be e-mailed to the authors for corrections. These should be restricted to desktop publisher’s errors. Other substantial alterations can be undertaken only at the author’s expense. Corrections must be sent to the editor within ten days. When the proofs are ready, an open access charge of Swiss Francs CHF 1250 for a full-length paper or CHF 625 for a research note must be paid. ISTA members do not have to pay these charges. Papers will only be published online when payment has been received. The lead author will receive a PDF file of the final paper.

Suitable file formats 

Manuscripts should be submitted in MS Office (Word). Figures (graphs and charts) should be created in MS Office (Word Chart, PowerPoint, or Excel) and submitted as editable files. Other file formats acceptable for figures are PDF and EPS with a resolution of 300dpi. Photos should be submitted as TIFF, JPG, PDF, or EPS with a resolution of 300dpi.

Instructions for full length papers 

Manuscripts should be written using double-line spacing, size 12pt Times New Roman or similar font. All pages must be numbered consecutively and line numbers shown. A shortened version of the title, for use as a running heading, must be inserted in the top right-hand corner of the first page. The title should be concise but informative, containing keywords that describe the subject matter for use in abstracting systems. The name of the author(s) and the full postal address of the institution where the work was carried out should follow the title. Authors are asked to give an e-mail address in parentheses after the postal address. An Abstract indicating the scope and conclusions of the paper in not more than 200 words, should be typed immediately below this, followed by up to 7 Keywords listed in alphabetical order. Papers describing experimental work should have the subject matter grouped under six main headings: Introduction, Materials, and Methods, Results, Discussion, Acknowledgements, and References. Main headings are printed in heavy type, and secondary headings are in italics. Abbreviations should be defined the first time they are used, although initial letters, without punctuation, may be used for easily recognised organisations or countries (for example ISTA, USA, FAO).  

Capital letters and Roman numerals should be used in both headings and text only when essential (figure 2, not Fig. II or Figure II).
Measurements should be expressed metrically, whenever possible following the Système international d’unités (SI) (

Numbers from one to nine should be spelled out (nine hours, three months), except when occurring in a series of numbers or in conjunction with a specific recognised unit of measurement (8 mm, 5 g m-2). According to SI, there is a space between number and unit symbol representing a multiplication sign. Deviating from this and in compliance with English spelling rules, the percentage symbol follows a number without a space (7%). ‘Percentage’ should be written in full when used as a noun (percentage germination, not per cent germination or % germination).

Species should be described by their scientific (‘Latin’) names; at the first mention in the main text the full binomial and authority must be given, but subsequently the genus should be abbreviated to its initial letter and the authority omitted. Authorities are not quoted after Latin names in the title or abstract. When a name has been stabilised by ISTA in the ISTA List of Stabilised Plant Names, synonyms must not be used. 

References in the text should be cited by author’s surname and year of publication in brackets after the statement they support. If there are more than two authors, citations should quote the surname of the first author and the words 'et al.'. All names should be included in the list of references. At the end of the paper, references should be listed alphabetically in the form: Name, Initials (year). Article title. Title of Journalvolume number, first and last page numbers, and DOI, where available. The titles of periodicals should be written without abbreviation. Titles of books must also be given in full, together with the publisher’s name. When citing a website, use: Author (year). Title of Website, URL. Accessed date.

The following are correct:

  • Author, A.B., Author, C.D. and Author, E.F. (2014). Title of article. Journal Title in Full, 00, 123–456.
  • Author, A.B., Author, C.D. and Author, E.F. (2014). Title of article. Journal Title in Full, 00, article xxxxx.
  • Author, G.H. and Author, I.J. (2014). Title in another language. [Title in English]. Journal Title in Full, 1, 12–34.
    (When a cited paper has been published in another language, the title may be translated.)
  • Author, A.B. and Author, C.D. (2014). Chapter in book. In Book Title (eds. E.F. Editor and G.H. Editor), vol. 3, pp. 123–456, Publisher.
  • Author, A.B., Author, C.D. and Author, E.F. (2022). Book Title (7th ed.), Publisher. https://...
  • ISTA (1999). International Rules for Seed Testing. Seed Science and Technology, 27, Supplement.
  • SER, INSR, RBGK (2023). Seed Information Database (SID), Accessed 1 March 2023.

Tables and figure captions should be typed on separate sheets from the main text and numbered in separate series. Consideration should be given as to whether data is presented in tabular or graphical form; analysis of variance tables should not be submitted. Tables and figures should be submitted as separate files, not embedded in the main text. The use of colour for figures is encouraged, especially where it contributes to the clarity of the data presented.

Special instructions for short reports (research notes) 

Research Notes’ are appropriate for the reporting of research which might not justify a full-length paper but which nevertheless contains important information of potentially practical importance. For example, whilst a study of novel dormancy-breaking treatments in a series of closely related species might justify a single full-length paper describing the principles and experimental basis of the work, a ‘Research Note’ might report data for one particular species of economic importance.  

Research Notes’ may also be appropriate in the case of early but scientifically rigorous experiments in a novel area, where a full-length paper is not yet justified but the data warrant immediate publication because of their novelty and importance.  

The format for ‘Research Notes’ is as for full-length papers except for the following conditions: (1) They should be a maximum of 2000 words of text plus a maximum of two figures, tables or photographs. (2) The section headings will be: Abstract, Keywords, Experimental and Discussion (one section), Acknowledgements and References. The Experimental and Discussion section will be included as a single narrative text those elements that are normally separated in full-length papers as ‘Introduction’, ‘Materials and Methods’, ‘Results’ and ‘Discussion’.

Review articles

Reviews of interest to those working in the seed sector are welcomed. The content of reviews should have a strong technical base but papers dealing with the economic, infrastructural or legal aspects of seeds in combination with technical aspects are also published.


Submission of a manuscript implies that the work described is approved by all co-authors and has not been submitted or published elsewhere, except in the form of poster, an abstract or a thesis.  

Articles are published open access in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial.  

Contact Information

For matters that does not concern submitted papers, please e-mail the Chief Editor.

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