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Open-access, online, rapid taxonomy

Australian Journal of 



Guidance for Authors

Australian Journal of Taxonomy welcomes papers describing new Australian taxa of plants, animals, fungi and other organisms, and dealing with associated nomenclatural acts. It is ideal for single-taxon or miscellany papers, and for small taxonomic revisions.

Papers for Australian Journal of Taxonomy are readily authored online using the authoring form accessed via your Dashboard. Pro forma fields are available for the usual content of taxonomic papers, including images, plates and figures. If your paper includes taxonomic treatments you will use the Add a Taxon button in the Taxonomy section. Taxa are also edited using an online form, which will open in a new tab in your browser.

Be careful to save any changes you have made, both in the body of the paper and in any open taxa, before closing their tabs or the browser. You should save frequently to guard against computer crashes or network drop-outs.

General presentation. Papers should be written in concise, clear and unambiguous English. All material presented should be adequate but not excessive to establish the required taxonomy. Take care especially to ensure that descriptions are adequate but not excessively long or overly detailed.

A Help button alongside each section heading provides formatting and styling guides for the content for that section.

Title. The title should be self-explanatory and clearly indicative of the content in the paper. If possible, it should include some indication of the geographic scope of the work, such as 'New Western Australian species of...', 'Three new marine species of [taxonomic group] from Tasmania'. Include an appropriate higher-order taxon, often most appropriately in parenthesis, to indicate the taxonomic scope of the paper to informed readers.

Authors and affiliations. List all authors as indicated in the Help for the Author field, with numbered references to author institutions. All authors should have an ORCID id, which should be listed using the format shown in the help.

Abstract. The Abstract should be self-explanatory and indicate, in as few words as possible, the scope of the work and the principal taxonomic outcomes. Nomenclatural authorities should be given for all taxa mentioned, using sp. nov. or equivalent for new taxa established in the paper. All new taxa should be mentioned in the Abstract. Do not include references.

General text. General content before the taxonomy section may be structured into an Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results and Discussion as necessary. For simple papers describing one or more new species, however, a short Introduction establishing the context for the new species may be all that's necessary. Aim to keep the structure of the paper as simple as possible and appropriate.

General images. You may include up to five images with captions in the general text. The images will be presented in the paper at the end of the general section (before the Taxonomy section). Pay very close attention to the instructions for preparing and uploading images. In particular, if you have an image that is less than 950px wide, please pad it with whitepsace to 950 px wide. Failure to do this will result in the images rendering incorrectly on the page. Images that are greater than 950px wide will render correctly. Please, however, be reasonable with your images and don't upload unnecessarily large and high-resolution images. Ensure that images are clear, clean and uncluttered. Images may be collages, prepared off-line.

Tables. There is currently no provision for formatting tables for a paper. Any tables needed should be created in e.g. MS Word, Excel etc. and saved as an image. Again, it is important to ensure that table images are 950 px wide or they will not render correctly. A sans serif font will be easier to read.

Taxonomy section. A paper in Australian Journal of Taxonomy may include zero to many taxa; however, papers that deal with large numbers of taxa, such as large revisions, are likely to be better submitted to more traditional journals. Loading a preview of a paper with many taxa may be slow.

Taxonomic fields. As with the body of the paper, optional fields are available for most elements of a taxonomic treatment. The Notes field is free-form: you may include as many headings in this field as necessary to structure your content. Aim to keep the formatting of headers in Notes consistent with the formatting of the other field types.

Taxonomic images. As with the general images, you may include up to five images per taxon. Taxon images will be presented in the paper at the end of each taxon's section. As with general images, it is very important to ensure that all taxon images are exactly 950 px wide, using whitespace if necessary. Images may be collages, prepared off-line.

Image numbering: Please use a consistent system for numbering images. Images can be referred to as figures, with one or more figures per image, numbered consecutively in one series across general images and taxonomic images (Figure 1, Figures 2-10, Figure 11-12, etc.). Alternatively, each image can be referred to as a plate, containing one or more figures (Plate 1, Plate 2 comprising figures 2a, 2b and 2c, Plate 3, etc.) 

Image attribution: For general images and taxonomic images, where images contain one or more original images that require separate attribution from the authorship of the paper, this information can be included in the caption in the form: “Image credit fig. X: image creator attribution, image licence”, for example: “Image credit fig. 2: Casey Smith, CC BY 4.0”. 

DNA sequences. Authors are encouraged to refer to DNA sequence information in taxon treatments, both to diagnose taxa and to create reference sequences for barcode libraries. When relying on features of DNA sequences to diagnose novel taxa, authors should provide or refer to phylogenetic analyses of appropriate markers (phylogenetic trees can be included as images). Diagnostic features of the taxon in respect of DNA sequences should be indicated by mention of characteristic base pair positions (with comparison against other relevant taxa), rather than merely as number of unique positions or percent similarities. A DNA sequence alignment showing variable sites across individual collections of the taxa of interest is another appropriate method of showing characteristic base pairs (and can be included as an image).

References. Australian Journal of Taxonomy does not mandate a journal-wide referencing style. Use a format of your choice, but ensure that it is consistent, conventional and unambiguous. Standard reference templates can be inserted into the References field using the buttons below the field, and it will be both sensible and convenient to use these. Ensure that you use the same format throughout your paper, both in the References list and for within-text referencing.

Housekeeping notes. A field at the end of the main body of the paper and of each taxon treatment can be used for keeping housekeeping notes while drafting a manuscript. Ensure that this field is empty when you submit the final paper.

Submitting. You may save a paper as often as necessary (save often!) while drafting it. Once the paper and all its taxon treatments are complete, submit the paper by checking the Submit checkbox and clicking the Submit button. A check will be done when the checkbox is checked to ensure that the paper is ready for submission, with warnings flagged for your attention.

It will be extremely helpful to your assigned editor if you can indicate appropriate reviewers (please suggest at least two, preferably more).You may also indicate reviewers you would prefer not to be used. Note that all reviewer suggestions will be used for guidance only.

Reviewing. Papers will in general be reviewed by two independent reviewers. While the paper is in review you will not have access to edit it. Once the review is complete your Subject Editor will indicate, if the paper is acceptable for publication, that it is ready for you to deal with any review comments. Please address reviewer and editor comments and suggestions thoroughly; they almost always help improve a paper. 

Pre-publication check. Once you have dealt with reviewer and editor comments, suggestions and edits, your Subject Editor will check the paper to ensure it is ready for publication. You will be given the opportunity for a final check before the paper is formatted a pdf and published.

Your Dashboard. Your author's Dashboard will be your entry point into the pipeline from drafting to publication, and each step along the way.