Information for authors

Information for authors

  • Aim and scope

  • Research article

  • Correspondence

  • Special issues with collected papers (e.g. Festschrift)

  • Preparation of manuscripts

  • Submission of manuscripts

  • Review process

  • Publication

  • Page charge and colour plates

  • Open access

  • Reprints

Aim and scope

Zootaxa is a peer-reviewed international journal for rapid publication of high quality papers on any aspect of systematic zoology, with a preference for large taxonomic works such as monographs and revisions. Zootaxa considers papers on all animal taxa, both living and fossil, and especially encourages descriptions of new taxa. All types of taxonomic papers are considered, including theories and methods of systematics and phylogeny, taxonomic monographs, revisions and reviews, catalogues/checklists, biographies and bibliographies, identification guides, analysis of characters, phylogenetic relationships and zoogeographical patterns of distribution, descriptions of taxa, and nomenclature. Open access publishing option is strongly encouraged for authors with research grants and other funds. For those without grants/funds, all accepted manuscripts will be published but access is secured for subscribers only. All manuscripts will be subjected to peer review before acceptance. Zootaxa aims to publish each paper within one month after the acceptance by editors.

Based on length, two categories of papers are considered.

1) Research article

Research articles are significant papers of four or more printed pages reporting original research. Papers between 4 and 59 printed pages are published in multi-paper issues of 60, 64 or 68 pages. Monographs (60 or more pages) are individually issued and bound, with ISBNs.

Zootaxa encourages large comprehensive taxonomic works. There is no upper limit on the length of manuscripts, although authors are advised to break monographs of over 1000 pages into a multi-volume contribution simply because books over 1000 pages are difficult to bind and too heavy to hold. 

Very short manuscripts with isolated descriptions of a single species are generally discouraged, especially for taxa with large number of undescribed species. These short manuscripts may be returned to authors without consideration. Short papers on species of economic, environmental or phylogenetic importance may be accepted at the discretion of editors, who will generally encourage and advise authors to add value to the paper by providing more information (e.g. checklist of or key to species of the genus, biological information......). Short papers of 4 or 5 pages accepted for publication may be shortened for publication in the Correspondence section.

2) Correspondence

High quality and important short manuscripts of normally 1 to 4 pages are considered to fill blank pages in multi-paper issues. Zootaxa publishes the following six types of correspondence:

  • opinions and views on current issues of interests to systematic zoologists (e.g.Zootaxa 1577: 1-2)
  • commentary on or additions/corrections to papers previously published in Zootaxa(e.g. Zootaxa 1494: 67-68)
  • obituary in memory of deceased systematic zoologists (e.g. Zootaxa 545: 67-68)
  • taxonomic/nomenclatural notes of importance
  • book reviews meant to introduce readers to new or rare taxonomic monographs (interested authors/publishers must write to subject editors before submitting books for review; editors then prepare the book review or invite colleagues to prepare the review; unsolicited reviews are not published)
  • and short papers converted from manuscripts submitted as research articles but are too short to qualify as formal research articles.

These short contributions should have no more than 20 references and its total length should not exceed four printed pages (except editorials). Neither an abstract nor a list of key words is needed; major headings (Introduction, Material and methods...) should NOT be used, except for new taxon heading and references. A typical correspondence should consist of (1) a short and concise title, (2) author name and address (email address), (3) a series of paragraphs of the main text,and (4) a list of references if any. For correspondence of 3 or 4 pages, the first or last paragraph may be a summary.

Commentaries on published papers are intended for scholarly exchange of different views or interpretations of published data and should not contain personal attack; authors of concerned papers may be invited to reply to comments on their papers. 

Special issues

Special issues with collected papers such as a Festschrift (see Zootaxa 1325 and Zootaxa 1599) within the scope of the journal are occasionally published. Guest editors should send the proposal to the chief editor for approval and instructions. Although guest editors for special issues are responsible for organising the peer review of papers collected within these issues, they must follow Zootaxa's style, stardard and peer review procedures. If any papers by the guest editors are to be included in the special issue, then these papers must be handled by editors/colleagues other than the editor(s) involved. Special issues must be 60 or more pages. Normally funding is required to offset part of the production cost. Author payment for open access is strongly encouraged. Reprints can be ordered for the entire issue or for individual papers.

Preparation of manuscripts

1) General. All papers must be in English. Authors whose native language is not English are encouraged to have their manuscripts read by a native English-speaking colleague before submission. Nomenclature must be in agreement with the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (4th edition 1999), which came into force on 1 January 2000. Author(s) of species name must be provided when the scientific name of any animal species is first mentioned (the year of publication needs not be given; if you give it, then provide a full reference of this in the reference list). Authors of plant species names need not be given. Metric systems should be used. If possible, use the common font New Times Roman and use as little formatting as possible (use only bold and italics where necessary and indentions of paragraphs except the first). Special symbols (e.g. male or female sign) should be avoided because they are likely to be altered when files are read on different machines (Mac versus PC with different language systems). You can code them as m# and f#, which can be replaced during page setting. The style of each author is generally respected but they must follow the following general guidelines.

2) The title should be concise and informative. The higher taxa containing the taxa dealt with in the paper should be indicated in parentheses: e.g. A taxonomic revision of the genus Aus (Order: family).

3) The name(s) of all authors of the paper must be given and should be typed in the upper case (e.g. ADAM SMITH, BRIAN SMITH & CAROL SMITH). The address of each author should be given in italics each starting a separate line. E-mail address(es) should be provided if available. 

4) The abstract should be concise and informative. Any new names or new combinations proposed in the paper should be mentioned. Abstracts in other languages may also be included in addition to English abstract. The abstract should be followed by a list ofkey wordsthat are not present in the title. Abstract and key words are not needed in short correspondence.

5) The arrangement of the main text varies with different types of papers (a taxonomic revision, an analysis of characters and phylogeny, a catalogue etc.), but should usually start with an introduction and end with a list of references. References should be cited in the text as Smith (1999), Smith & Smith (2000) or Smith et al. (2001) (3 or more authors), or alternatively in a parenthesis (Smith 1999; Smith & Smith 2000; Smith et al. 2001). All literature cited in the text must be listed in the references in the following format (see a sample page here in PDF).

A) Journal paper
Smith, A. (1999) Title of the paper. Title of the journal in full, volume number, page range. 

B) Book chapter
Smith, A. & Smith, B. (2000) Title of the Chapter. In: Smith, A, Smith, B. & Smith, C. (Eds), Title of Book. Publisher name and location, pp. x–y. 

C) Book
Smith, A., Smith, B. & Smith, C. (2001) Title of Book. Publisher name and location, xyz pp.

D) Internet resources
Author (2002) Title of websitedatabase or other resources, Publisher name and location (if indicated), number of pages (if known). Available from: (Date of access).

Dissertations resulting from graduate studies and non-serial proceedings of conferences/symposia are to be treated as books and cited as such. Papers not cited must not be listed in the references.

Please note that: 

(1) journal titles must be written in full (not abbreviated) 

(2) journal titles and volume numbers are followed by a ","

(3) page ranges are connected by "n dash", not hyphen "-", which is used to connect two words. 

For websites, it is important to include the last date when you see that site, as it can be moved or deleted from that address in the future.

On the use of dashes: (1) Hyphens are used to link words such as personal names, some prefixes and compound adjectives (the last of which vary depending on the style manual in use). (2) En-dash or en-rule (the length of an ‘n’) is used to link spans. In the context of our journal that means numerals mainly, most frequently sizes, dates and page numbers (e.g. 1977–1981; figs 5–7) and also geographic or name associations (Murray–Darling River; a Federal–State agreement). (3) Em-dash or em-rule (the length of an ‘m’) are used far more infrequently, and are used for breaks in the text or subject, often used much as we used parentheses. In contrast to parentheses an em-dash can be used alone; e.g. What could these results mean—that Niel had discovered the meaning of life? En-dashes and em-dashes should not be spaced. 

6) Legends of illustrations should be listed after the list of references. Small illustrations should be grouped into plates. When preparing illustrations, authors should bear in mind that the journal has a matter size of 25 cm by 17 cm and is printed on A4 paper. For species illustration, line drawings are preferred, although good quality B&W or colour photographs are also acceptable. See a guide here for detailed information on preparing plates for publication.

7) Tables, if any, should be given at the end of the manuscript. Please use the table function in your word processor to build tables so that the cells, rows and columns can remain aligned when font size and width of the table are changed. Please do not use Tab key or space bar to type tables. 

8) Keys are not easy to typeset. In a typical dichotomous key, each lead of a couplet should be typed simply as a paragraph as in the box below:

1 Seven setae present on tarsus I ; four setae present on tibia I; leg I longer than the body; legs black in color ... Genus A
- Six setae present on tarsus I; three setae present on tibia I; leg I shorter than the body; legs brown in color ... 2
2 Leg II longer than leg I ... Genus B
- Leg II shorter than leg I ... Genus C

Our typesetters can easily convert this to a proper format as in this PDF file.

Deposition of specimens
Whenever possible, authors are advised to deposit type specimens in national or international public museums or collections. Authors are also advised to request registration numbers of deposited material in advance of the acceptance of papers to avoid unnecessary delay of publication. Some countries (e.g. Australia) require that primary type specimens be deposited in collections of the country of origin; authors are advised to take this into consideration.

Please follow the above basic guidelines and check if your manuscript has been prepared according to the style and format of the journal. Authors are encouraged to submit manuscripts by e-mail as attachments to the subject Editors responsible for your taxa or subject areas; manuscripts on small insect orders without subject editors should be submitted to Dr Ernest Bernard (; manuscripts on other invertebrate taxa without subject editors should be submitted to the Chief editor.

Prior to submitting a manuscript and figures to an editor, please check our website if there are two or more editors per subject, and then contact one of these to announce your intention to submit a manuscript for review. Please indicate the size of the manuscript, the number of figures and the format of these files. Your editor can then respond with special instructions, especially for the submission of many image files.

When you submit your manuscript to your editor, it will be more expedient to the review process if you offer the names of three or more potential reviewers with their complete postal and email addresses. It is also important to include the following statements in your cover letter:

1) All authors agree to its submission and the Corresponding author has been authorized by co-authors; 2) This Article has not been published before and is not concurrently being considered for publication elsewhere (including another editor at Zootaxa); 3) This Article does not violate any copyright or other personal proprietary right of any person or entity and it contains no abusive, defamatory, obscene or fraudulent statements, nor any other statements that are unlawful in any way.

Otherwise, your manuscript will not be processed.

For manuscripts with numerous illustrations, which might be saved as separate TIFF or JPG files, for the purpose of review, it will be easier and more efficient for the subject editors and reviewers to have the figures converted into one larger PDF (Portable Document Format) file, instead of requiring the subject editor to save many files, cutting and copying these into a string of messages/files to the reviewers. You should retain the original figures in a higher resolution format for the final production of the accepted paper. For the text, PDF file along with RTF (Rich Text format) files are preferred. The advantage of submitting a rtf file for the text part of the manuscript is that the reviewers can emend the manuscript electronically. If you can not prepare PDF files, then submit text in RTF and the figures in TIFF (line drawing scanned at 600 dpi and half tone at 300 dpi; please use LZW compression, if you can, to reduce the size of e-files for easy transmission); if halftone TIFF files are too big (exceeding 2 MB), then submit them in jpeg. See here for detailed information on preparing plates for publication.

Vector files (charts, maps etc) are best submitted as EMF.

If you do not have access to e-mail, you can send three copies of the manuscript by post. Please double space your ms and leave ample margins for printed manuscripts. 

Authors of accepted papers will be asked to submit an electronic version of the manuscript so that the publisher needs not to re-key or scan the ms. At this stage, the text part of the ms must be submitted as RTF or MS Word files and figures as TIFF files. Authors please be aware that line drawings must be scanned at 600 or 900 dpi as line art (=1 bit); they must NOT be scanned as 8 bit or full colour images. Please read details here.

In submitting the final version of revised manuscript to editors, authors are asked to provide the following information to all proper typesetting and indexing of the manuscript:

1) Corresponding author name and email
2) Author last name and running title (<40 characters; to be used in footer)
3) Number of plates and cited references
4) High taxon name (i.e. taxon section in Zootaxa website) and number of new taxa described in the paper

Authors need to complete and return an Assignment of Copyright form when paper is accepted for publication. Authors of institutions that do not allow transfer of copyrights to publishers (e.g. government institutions such as USDA, CSIRO) should attach a copyright waiver or similar documents.

Review process
When a manuscript is received by the Editor, he/she will have it reviewed by at least two peers qualified to evaluate the manuscript and he/she normally asks the reviewers to complete the review in one month. However, the reviewing process will normally take longer, depending on the length of the manuscript and reviewer's responses.

Once the manuscript is accepted by your subject editor, final files, produced according to Zootaxa requirement, will be forwarded by your subject editor to the chief editor, who will then link with author and the printer to ensure that the paper is published without unnecessary delay. Normally the proof will be sent to the author for checking 1 to 3 weeks after the final files are accepted. The paper will usually be published with two weeks (for larger papers it will take longer) once the corrections to the proof are received.

Page charge and colour plates. There is no page charge for publishing with Zootaxa. Publication of colour figures/photographs in online edition is also free of charge (print version in black and white). If colour plates in the print edition are desired, authors will be asked to contribute towards the full cost. Current rates: 300 USD for the first colour page; 200 USD for each additional colour page.

Open access. Zootaxa endorses the open access of taxonomic information and has published more open access taxonomic papers than any other journal. Authors who have funds to publish are strongly encouraged to pay a fee of 20 US$ per printed page to give free online access of their papers to all readers at this site or their own site. Open access papers are read by more people and are expected to have higher citation rates.

All open access papers are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Reprints. Each author will be given a free e-reprint (PDF) for personal use (printing a copy for own use or exchange with other researchers, but not for deposition in a library/website/ftp-site for public access). 

Printed copies of each paper/monograph in the form of the regular reprint can also be produced by the Publisher for purchase by authors at cost to authors, with a discount based on the number of copies ordered. 

Quick Downloads

Recommendations about nomenclature for papers submitted to Zootaxa

Guide (one page PDF) for preparing final files for publication

Quick guide (one page PDF) for reference style

EndNote output style for Zootaxa (prepared by Paulo Petry)

Order form for reprints, open access, colour plates and links

Recommended form for listing corrections to proof

Copyright form

Important links

International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (4th edition 1999)

Nomenclator Zoologicus