The British Herpetological Society

Instructions to Authors - The Herpetological Journal


The Herpetological Journal is an international peer-reviewed publication of the British Herpetological Society, with open-access publication options. The journal has a broad focus relating to behaviour, ecology, evolution, systematics, taxonomy, physiology, anatomy, functional morphology, pathology, natural history, method development and conservation of reptiles and amphibians. All articles should appeal to a general herpetological audience and have a solid grounding in natural history. We are committed to open science and avoiding unconscious biases so moving forward we will operate a double-blind peer review process.

Manuscripts that describe natural history observations, range extensions or checklists are not appropriate submissions (unless they address a bigger question) and would be better suited to our sister publication, The Herpetological Bulletin.

The Herpetological Journal welcomes contributions in the following categories:

  • Full length research articles
  • Short communications
  • Reviews
  • Perspectives/Opinion pieces

Files to be uploaded to the OJS system: Cover Page, Main Text, Tables, Figures, Supplementary files.

Cover Page:

This will not be seen by peer reviewers in order to comply with a double-blind peer review process. The cover page should include Title, Authors, Author Affiliations and Author Contributions (if editors do not deem that authors contributed substantially to the research then the article will be rejected).

Main Text:

nb. author names or affiliations should not be included in this file.


Full length research articles should be between 2,500 and 6,000 words and include the following sections: Title, Abstract (maximum 300 words), Keywords (five words that are not used in the title), Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Acknowledgements, Data Accessibility, References, Figure captions, Table captions. The word limit excludes Data Accessibility and References. There are no limits to the number of figures and tables.

Short communications should be less than 2,500 words and include the following sections: Title, Abstract (maximum 250 words), Keywords (five words not used in the title), Main Text (NOT separated into Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion), Acknowledgements, Data Accessibility, References, Figure captions, Table captions. The word limit excludes Data Accessibility, References, and Figure and Table captions. Short communications can have a maximum of ONE figure and ONE table.

Reviews are either solicited by editors or a short email enquiry should be sent to the Editor-in-Chief () to enquire about the suitability of a proposed review. Reviews should be between 2,500 and 6,000 words. Section headings can be specified at the authors discretion.

Perspectives/Opinion pieces will be considered if they address a new or controversial topic/idea, or if they are comments about newly published articles in the journal. Perspectives/Opinion pieces should be a maximum of 1,500 words (excluding references) and can include ONE figure and ONE table.


Tables should be provided in a separate Word file. Tables should be numbered in Arabic numerals, e.g. Table 1. Tables should be as simple as possible and typed double-spaced on separate sheets with a title/short explanatory paragraph above the table. Horizontal and vertical lines should be avoided, as should tables that split over more than one page or that need to be set in landscape format.


Figures should initially be submitted in a single Word or PDF file. Graphs, line drawings and photographs should be numbered in sequence in Arabic numerals, e.g. Figure 1. If a figure has more than one part, each should be identified as (a), (b), etc. Figure captions should be included at the end of the main text. After acceptance figures should be submitted as separate image or pdf files with a minimum resolution of 300dpi and a maximum file size of 5MB.

Supplementary Date/Files:

To conform with an open science process, it will be necessary for datasets, code, supplementary figures etc. to be deposited in an online repository (e.g. and made available after publication. At the initial submission stage, at a minimum, any code and supplementary figures should be uploaded in the submission portal for review. Any new taxonomic changes should be recorded on ZooBank.

It is a fundamental condition that submitted manuscripts have not been published and will not be simultaneously submitted or published in another journal. However, as a journal we do support the submission of articles on preprint servers (e.g., bioRxiv) as long as the preprints are linked to final published articles.

By submitting a manuscript, the authors agree that the copyright for their article is transferred to the publisher if and when the article is accepted for publication. The copyright covers the exclusive rights to reproduce and distribute the article, including reprints and photographic reproductions. Permission to use images after publication will almost always be granted but must be sought in advance from the Editors.

Papers should be written in British English (including figure labels) and spelling should be that of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Times and dates should conform to the following formats: for time of day use 0900, 1000 etc; for dates use 7 July 2017 etc. Please avoid using bold text, all caps or small caps for emphasis. If emphasis is required, use italics. Common names should be in lower case unless a proper noun is used.

All submissions must adhere to the British Herpetological Society's Ethical Policy and Guidelines, which can be found here –

Open Access Policy: The Herpetological Journal supports "green" open access, as outlined by the Research Councils UK, to facilitate deposition of articles e.g. at institutional repositories. The Herpetological Journal also offers the option of "gold" open access for individual articles (free of charge for members of the British Herpetological Society, and at an article processing charge of £97 for non-members).



  • Chronological then alphabetical
  • Use “et al.” (not italicised) for more than two authors
  • Last name (s) and year separated by comma
  • Names separate by “&”
  • References separated by semicolon

Ex. 1: (Heyer et al., 1988; Weygoldt et al., 1989; Eterovick et al., 2005)

Ex. 2: (Smith et al., 2004; Jones & Smith, 2008)

Ex. 3: (Smith et al., 2015)

Ex. 4: “Although Smith et al. (2008) did not include -”

Ex. 5: "- as observed by Smith & Jones (2017)"




  • Last name separated from initials by comma
  • Initials capitalised and separated by period (no space)
  • Names separated by commas
  • Last name separated by “&”

Ex.: Smith, A.H., Jones, R.D. & Lloyd, K.A.

Ex.: Smith, A.H. & Jones, R.D.


  • In parentheses, followed by a full stop.


  • Only first letter capitalise except book titles (in this case, All First Letters Capitalised).


  • Journal name should be written in full, italicised, followed by a comma
  • Volume and pages separated by comma and ending with full stop (not italicised).

Journal article:

- Authors. (Year). Title. Journal, Volume (Issue), xx–xx.


- Authors. (Year). Book Title. City: Country. Xxx p.

Book chapter:

- Authors. (Year). Chapter title. In: Book Title, Book editor (s). (Ed./Eds.)  City: Country. Xxx p.


Ex. 1:

Lebboroni, M. & Corti, C. (2006). Road-killing of lizards and traffic density in central Italy. In: Herpetologia Bonnensis II: Proceedings of the 13th Ordinary General Meeting of Societas Europaea Herpetologica, 81–82. Vences, M., Köhler, J., Ziegler, T. & Böhme, W. (eds). Bonn: Societas Europaea Herpetologica.

Ex. 2:

Sambrook, J., Fritsch, E.F. & Maniatis, T. (1989).  Preparation and Analysis of Eukaryotic Genomic DNA. In: Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, 2nd Eds. Cold spring Harbor Laboratory Press, New York, USA.



Lang, J., Chowfin, S. & Ross, J.P. (2019). Gavialis gangeticus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T8966A149227430. Downloaded on 3 October 2019.


IMPORTANT:  All submissions should be accompanied please by a completed `Author Submission Form' :

pdfAuthor Submission Form