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Australian Journal of 



Open-access, online, rapid taxonomy

AJT Policies

The prime goal of Australian Journal of Taxonomy is to facilitate the rapid, high-quality and efficient publication of new Australia taxa.

Ethical standards. The Australian Journal of Taxonomy and its editors will adhere to high standards of ethical behaviour at all times. Taxonomy Australia and Australian Journal of Taxonomy support in all their dealings the core practices and principles of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

Authoring. It will be the responsibility of a manuscript's corresponding author to ensure that all co-authors agree to a manuscript’s submission, revision and publication. If at any stage during the publication process it is found that co-authors did not agree to the paper’s submission or approve publication, the paper will be immediately withdrawn from consideration by the journal. If after publication it is found that co-authors did not agree to the paper’s submission, the submitting author will be sanctioned from future publication.

All authors of a publication must have contributed significantly to the paper’s conception, design, drafting or revision, or the acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data. 

The order of authors’ names should be an accurate reflection of their contribution. All contributors to a work who are not included as an author should be acknowledged.

Editors will not adjudicate authorship or acknowledgment disputes, but may reject a paper if such disputes cannot be resolved.

The corresponding author will be responsible for addressing questions that arise during and after the publication process.

Conflicts of interest. Conflicts of interest and issues that could be perceived as a conflict of interest, including financial contributions, relevant to the work reported in a paper, must be disclosed by the authors at the time the paper is submitted for publication and such disclosures will be included in the final publication. A paper will not be accepted for publication without a clear indication that conflicts of interest are properly disclosed.

Reviewers and editors must disclose conflicts of interest before agreeing to review or edit a manuscript. Conflicts of interest that would preclude reviewing or editing a manuscript include serious and ongoing disagreements with any author of a paper, a current close relationship with any author of a paper (as a manager, employee, supervisor, student, family member or personal partner), or active research on the specific matters dealt with in the paper.

Generally, reviewers should not be from the same institution (or for larger institutions such as universities, the same department or centre). However, given the low pool of expertise in many taxonomic groups, it is recognised that referees may sometimes work at the same institution or have co-published with authors on subjects other than the specific topic of the paper for review. In these circumstances, if a referee agrees to submit an unbiased review, such potential conflicts of interests are deemed manageable.

Please contact the Executive Editor ( if you have any questions about conflicts of interest prior to accepting a review assignment.

Reviewers and editors must not use or disclose knowledge of any manuscript under review or edit before its publication.

Peer review. All contributions to Australian Journal of Taxonomy will be peer-reviewed after submission. Two reviewers will be chosen by the Subject Editor; the names of reviewers will not be disclosed until publication, and then only if the reviewer agrees to disclosure.

Authors may provide guidance on suitable and/or unsuitable reviewers. Editors will not be bound by authors’ suggestions but will accommodate them whenever possible and appropriate.

A paper may be rejected by an editor before or after peer review; such rejection should be considered final, but may be appealed if the corresponding author is aware of or believes that they have been unfairly dealt with.

Oversight of editorial decisions will be provided by the Editorial Committee. If an issue cannot be dealt with through reasonable discussion with the Subject Editor, an appeal should be directed to the Editor-in-Chief. Appeals will only be considered if there is clear evidence that the manuscript was improperly rejected. Decisions by the Editorial Committee will be final. If an issue involves the Editor-in-Chief, it should be referred to the Taxonomy Australia Steering Committee via the Chair of that Committee.

Scientific misconduct. Scientific misconduct including fabrication or falsification of data, deceptive manipulation of images, citation of specimens that have not been studied, plagiarism, and inappropriate language or content, will be grounds for automatic rejection of a manuscript.

Australian Journal of Taxonomy takes a stand against taxonomic vandalism—the publication of names that fulfil the technical requirements of the Codes of Nomenclature but are based on scientific misconduct and/or serious breaches of professional ethics and community standards of science, including the wholesale publication of taxonomies based on other people's work. Note that for work to qualify as taxonomic vandalism it must show a pattern of egregious behaviour over time. Mere taxonomic incompetence is not regarded as vandalism. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander biocultural knowledge and epithets: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander biocultural knowledge about novel taxa, including medicinal and other uses, should only be included after appropriate consultation, for which best practice is to implement co-design and close involvement at all stages of work, including co-authorship where warranted (AIATSIS 2020).

The use of epithets derived from First Nations languages is encouraged. However, such words should only be used after appropriate consultation with the relevant communities for languages from which the epithets are derived. Many universities and other research institutions have Elders in Residence or equivalent programs, and these are likely to be good starting points to guide engagement. Simply trawling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander word-lists and using ones that seem appropriate without consultation is strongly discouraged. The only exception is use of First Nations words that are well-established in common usage, such as place names.

Epithets derived from First Nations languages, whether place names, proper names or adjectives, are best treated as indeclinable words in apposition, thus used with their original spelling (see e.g. Webb et al. 1999) rather than being Latinised and declined or having terminations such as -ensis added. This has the added advantage that the termination of an epithet treated in apposition does not need to match the gender of its generic name or change if transferred to a genus of different gender.

Collecting permits. While Australian Journal of Taxonomy has no mechanism for checking that appropriate collecting permits were obtained for specimens used in a taxonomic study, full legal compliance with permitting requirements is expected.

Lodgement of type specimens. Holotypes for all new taxa published in Australian Journal of Taxonomy should be lodged in publicly accessible, appropriate Australian institutions wherever possible. Failure to do so will be considered a reasonable ground for rejection of a manuscript by an editor, unless good reasons can be provided for not doing so (e.g., potential type material exists only in institutions elsewhere as a result of past practices).

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