Australian Journal of
Open-access, online, rapid taxonomy
Guidance for Reviewers
Australian Journal of Taxonomy accepts papers describing new Australian taxa of plants, animals, fungi and other organisms, or dealing with associated nomenclatural acts. It is ideal for single-taxon or miscellany papers, and for small taxonomic revisions.
As a valued reviewer, your task is to ensure that the paper is taxonomically adequate for its purpose, is well-written in clear, concise, unambiguous English, and demonstrates taxonomic due diligence and subject knowledge on the part of the author(s).
We also request that you check nomenclatural novelties and acts for compliance with relevant Codes of nomenclature, to the best of your ability.
It is important to recognise that you may not have direct knowledge of the taxa dealt with in a paper assigned to you for reviewing; in most circumstances this should not preclude you from reviewing it. The aim of the paper should be to convince you, as a reader with adequate subject knowledge, that the authors have made a valid case for the taxonomy presented and that it is justified and likely to be correct. Papers that are taxonomically weak and do not convince you should be rejected.
An important core principle of Australian Journal of Taxonomy is that papers should be high quality and taxonomically adequate, without being taxonomically excessive. Please do not require an author to include content (particularly descriptive content for taxa) solely because it has become traditional in a taxonomic group. Publishing new taxa in some groups has become excessively burdensome, with conventional expectations that add substantial work but little value in the way of rigour or quality. Authors, reviewers and editors of Australian Journal of Taxonomy are asked at all times to find the right balance between excessive and inadequate detail.
Your task as a reviewer is to concentrate on the adequacy of the content of the paper, and to deal with language and style issues only when they impact on its adequacy or create ambiguity. Please feel free to suggest improvements to a paper's language, but do not do this at the expense of assessing its content adequacy.
Australian Journal of Taxonomy is a lightly styled journal, meaning that it does not impose a prescriptive common style on all papers. Each paper, however, should be internally consistent in style, and the style of elements such as references, taxonomic synonymies, specimen citations etc. should be conventional and suitable. Please point out issues in a paper that fail these criteria, but do not make or suggest minor stylistic corrections that create work for you, the editor and author(s) but add little value to the paper.