Journal of East African Natural History: Submissions

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Author Guidelines

Submission: manuscripts should be submitted as a Word document in an email attachment, to the Editor-in-Chief, Journal of East African Natural History at The manuscript should be accompanied by a covering letter from the author, or in the case of multiple authors, from the author responsible for decisions regarding the text. In the case of multiple authors, a statement should be included that all authors have seen the final mansucript and agree to its submission.

Contributors are encouraged to study the most recent issues of the Journal, in order to comply with its format and style. The text should be written in Times New Roman, 11 points size on A4 page size. Align paragraphs to the left, and double-space. Ending of sentences should not be followed by a double space. All manuscripts should be in English with British English spelling, and using only metric units. Kindly have your manuscript checked by a native English-speaker and run a spell-check using a British English setting before submitting. Please keep formatting to a minimum and do not apply styles, as over-formatted documents cause problems during layout and page design.

Contributions can be made as articles, short notes or book reviews.

Short notes: are 5 pages or less. They may be submitted without an abstract and do not need all the headings of a full article.

Book reviews: are commissioned by the Editor-in-Chief. Publishers (or readers) may contact the Editor-in-Chief to send or suggest books for review, or to offer to submit a book review.

The following guidelines should be followed for format and layout of the manuscript for a full-length article.

Title: should be brief and to the point.

Authors: full name (with first name spelled out as in: John L.B. Smith), institution, postal address and email address should be given for every author. A current address for correspondence (including an email address) should be included as a footnote if an author has moved or is no longer affiliated to the institution where the research was carried out.

Running head: include a suggested running page headline of not more than 50 characters.

Keywords: please provide five keywords that capture the topical essence of your article, and that preferably do not occur in the title of the article.

Abstract: should consist of no more than 150 words. It should be informative, outlining the major findings clearly and concisely without requiring reference to the text. No literature reference should be included in the abstract.

Headings: the following format is preferred: “Abstract, Introduction, Material and Methods, Results, Discussion, Acknowledgments, References”. A “Description of the study area” may be inserted after the Introduction if this is deemed necessary. Other headings, although discouraged, are acceptable if justified by the material to be presented. All headings should be typed on a separate line from the subsequent text. Main headings should be to the left of the page, in bold, capital letters. Sub-headings should be to the left of the page, in bold, in sentence case (for example, “Description of the study area”, not “Description of the Study Area”). Further headings should be in italics (not bold), beneath them. The first letter of any heading should be a capital letter.

Numerals, dates, times, co-ordinates and scientific units: prose numbers should be written in full up to and including ten, unless followed by units (6 kg, 2 ha), or before the word ‘million’ (6 million). Numbers larger than ten are written as numerals, except at the beginning and end of a sentence. Sentences that contain numbers less than ten and greater than ten should use numerals (for example, 2 leopards and 15 warthogs). If figures are given in a close and logical sequence, or in a series, they should be written as numerals (‘nightly searches in the three locations were carried out by 3, 7 and 12 observers, respectively). A phrase such as ‘two-week observation period’ preceded by another number should appear as “three 2-week observation periods”.

  • For the decimal use a full point (not a comma); numbers of less than one take a zero before the decimal point (e.g. 0.06).
  • Use “%” in text, tables and figures.
  • No punctuation and no space should separate thousands (2520 m); but a space may be used for numbers above 9999 (23 000 elephants).
  • Dates should be written as “29 August”, “10–13 January 1989” or “1969–1989”. Times should follow the 24 hour clock (15:00 h). Months (September) may be abbreviated to a 3-letter code (Sep) or Roman numerals (ix) in tables, checklists or lists of material examined.
  • All measurements must be in metric units. SI units and abbreviations should be used throughout with a space before and after the SI unit, but no full stop after the unit.
  • The denominator in fractions should have a full stop and superscript (kg.m-1).
  • Dimensions should be given with the multiplication symbol “×” in between and a space before and after the “×” (5 × 3 mm). Units should not be repeated: (4 × 6 cm; 0.5 to 1.5 ha).
  • Co-ordinates should be given as degrees, minutes, seconds (without spaces but with comma between longitude and latitude) or as UTM: "The Taita Hills (3°15'–3°30'S, 38°15'–38°30'E)".
  • Use a colon for map scales: 1:50 000 scale.

Vouchers: all papers, irrespective of the type of study  reported on (i.e. taxonomy, ecology, checklists, etc.), should make reference to vouchered specimens deposited in publicly accessible collections, through citation of collector or accession numbers, and collection name or acronym .Only in rare cases, where this is not standard practice (e.g. ornithology), will we accept papers without explicitely cited voucher material.

Nomenclature: in cases where there are well known and internationally accepted English names, these may be used throughout the text. Do not use capitals except where the normal grammatical rules are implied (e.g. northern lesser galago, Somali lesser galago, great blue turaco). The scientific name (in italics) plus author name(s) and date should be given in full, when quoted the first time (but not in the abstract or title). The common name is given first, and followed immediately by the scientific name, with no intervening punctuation, e.g., Somali lesser galago Galago gallarum Thomas, 1901. For subsequent quotations the scientific name is sufficient. Use of brackets for author names is according to the rules of the I.C.Z.N for animals. For plants, we follow the taxonomy of the African Plants Database ( Botanical author abbreviations should be according to R.K. Brummitt & C.E. Powell (1992), Authors of Plant Names, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, updated continuously on The International Plant Names Index (IPNI; and copied on the African Plants Database. We request all authors to check that plant names are cited accordingly. In cases where all species mentioned in the text are listed in tabular form, we prefer to have the authorities in the table rather than on first quotation in the text. For descriptions of new plant species we follow the layout of Kew Bulletin.

Languages other than English: if a species name in any local language is used, the name should appear in italics, followed by the language in parentheses (e.g. Oltarakwa (Maa)). Latin words and abbreviations should also be italicized (e.g.; et al.; in situ).

Figures and tables: we strongly prefer to receive figures and tables in electronic form. Tables and figures should not present the same data. Cite each figure and table in the text in consecutive order using Arabic numerals, for example: “figure 1” or “table 1”. Do not abbreviate the words “figure” and “table” and do not use capitals except at the beginning of a sentence. The approximate position of tables and figures should be indicated in the text. Figures and tables should be inserted at the end of the document, each on a separate page, not embedded in the text. They should be preceded by a list of all the tables and figures and their respective captions. Captions have a full stop at the end.

Figures (including photographs): should be in jpeg or tif format. For the initial set of figures, file size should be less than 1 megabyte. For the final submission, figures should have no less than 300 ppi resolution. If photographs are taken by anyone other than the author(s), written permission should be obtained beforehand, and the credit should accompany each photograph. Authors must obtain written permission from the copyright holder in order to use any previously published figures, illustrations or photographs. Maps and figures should be in black and white, or grey-scale if necessary. Figures that have been drawn by hand should be in black ink, clearly lettered and camera-ready. Each figure should be labeled with the author’s name, figure number and caption details. One set must be provided with each manuscript but do NOT send originals upon first submission. These should only be provided with the final submission after the paper is accepted for publication. Original artwork is not returned to the author unless specifically requested prior to submission. Publication of colour maps or figures will be paid for by the author. Contact the Editor-in-Chief for information on costs for publishing colour photographs or figures.

Tables: should be on a separate page, in a Word or Excel file, with no extra formatting (a simple grid at most). Use Arabic numerals in the table with the legend at the top. Column and row headings start with a capital but should not be in bold face.

Citations: citations in the text should follow the Harvard system giving the name of the author(s) followed by the year of publication, e.g. “Mtui (2001) reported that..”, or “Results from a number of studies (Davidson, 1982; Jones & McCartney, 1998; Owiunji & Plumptre, 1998; Acheson et al., 2000) show that…”. Please note punctuation used, as well as the use of “&” instead of the word “and”. The citations should appear in chronological order. When citing works by more than two authors, give the first author’s name followed by et al., and then the date (Githongo et al., 2002). If there are several papers under the same authorship in the same year, these should be cited with letters (a, b, c) after the date (Githongo et al., 2002a,b); the same applies if one senior author has published with more than one co-author in the same year, but the co-authors are different, please use (a) and (b) to distinguish the publication in the text (i.e. “Githongo et al., 2002a”, if Githongo has co-authored a number of papers with different authors in the same year).

If the authors of two documents published in the same year have identical surnames, their initials should be provided in the citation (e.g. Mbara, J., 1997; Mbara, R., 1997). Work that is in the process of being published can be cited as “Smith (in press)”. The paper then should appear in the references cited as completely as possible, in the same form as if it were a book.

Unpublished data or information can be cited as “J. Smith (pers. comm.)”.

References: before submitting the paper, please check that all works cited in the text appear in the References section, and that all the references given in this section are actually cited correctly in the text, with matching dates. Journal names should not be abbreviated. All references should be listed in alphabetical order. The following are given as examples of the correct form to be used in this section:

The reference for a journal is as follows:

Davis, A.L.V. & C.F. Dewhurst (1993). Climatic and biogeographical associations of Kenyan and northern Tanzanian dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). African Journal of Ecology 31(1): 290–305

Note that words within the title sentence are not capitalised except where the normal grammatical rules are implied.

Houlahan, J.A., C.B. Findlay, B.C. Schmidt, A.D. Mayer & S.E. Kuzmin (2000). Quantitative evidence for global amphibian declines. Nature 404: 752–755.

Zilihona, I.J.E. & M. Nummelin (2001). Coleopteran diversity and abundance in different habitats near Kihansi waterfall, in the UdzungwaMountains, Tanzania. Biodiversity and Conservation 10: 769–777.

The reference for a book should be given as follows:

Duellman, W.A & L.B. Trueb (1986). Biology of Amphibians.McGraw-Hill,New York.

Note that all important words of the book title are with capital. Note also that when the city of publication is not well known, the country of publication should also be given in the reference.

If the reference is a chapter in a book, it should appear thus:

Rodgers, W.A. (1993). The conservation of the forest resources of eastern Africa: past influences, present practices and future needs. In J.C. Lovett & S.K. Wasser (eds.), Biogeography and Ecology of the Rain Forests of Eastern Africa.CambridgeUniversity Press,Cambridge. Pp. 283–331.

Reports should appear in a style similar to that of a book but the title should not be italicized. Additional information may be needed, such as the organization that carried out the work, the sponsoring organization, report number and series, or contract number, total number of pages, and an availability statement.

Published theses: will appear as a book, with the title in italics. Additional information needed includes the date of the degree and type of thesis (MSc, PhD, DPhil, etc.), the department and institution granting the degree, as well as the publisher.

Unpublished theses: will take a book form, but because they are not published, the title will not appear in italics. Provide the same information as in a published thesis, but without the publisher. An availability statement is needed in this case.

Websites: if websites are referred to in the text, the URL should be listed in the reference with the date last accessed by the author(s) cited, as follows:

Evenhuis, N.L. (2000). Insect and Spider Collections of the World Web Site. Vol. 2000.BishopMuseum, Entomology,Hawaii. [accessed 18 November 2002].

Acknowledgments: (no “e” between “g” and “m”) these should be brief.

Footnotes: although we strongly discourage footnotes, notes that should be out of the text can be included as numbered footnotes.

Papers that do not conform to the above guidelines will be returned to the author for correction before review.

Offprints: the author is entitled to a pdf of the article free of charge.

Page charges: the Journal of East African Natural History is published as a non-profit venture. Contributors are invited to seek financial support when applying for research funds to assist with the cost of publication. We invite the authors to contribute voluntary page charges at a rate of 500 K.Sh. (5US$, 5 Euro) per page.

Editors, Journal of East African Natural History

Last updated: 1 November 2017


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