Archives of Natural History: Guidance for authors


Honorary Editor: Professor Peter Davis (editor

Associate Editors: Dr Juliet Clutton-Brock; Dr Charles Nelson; Dr Peter Barnard

Book Reviews Editor: Dr Isabelle Charmantier (books

Postal address: Society for the History of Natural History, c/o Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK


Archives of natural history is published by Edinburgh University Press for the Society for the History of Natural History. The journal provides an avenue for the publication of papers and short notes on the history and bibliography of natural history, including botany, geology, palaeontology, zoology, the lives of past naturalists, their publications, correspondence and collections, and the institutions and societies to which they belonged. Bibliographical papers concerned with the study of rare books, manuscripts and illustrative material, and analytical and enumerative bibliographies are also published.

Papers are considered on the understanding that they present the results of original research and that their contents have not appeared, or will not appear, elsewhere in substantially the same or abbreviated form, whether in English or in translation. Papers are submitted for scrutiny to one or more referees and are evaluated by the editors.

Papers submitted to Archives of natural history may include lists of names and catalogues of specimens and may concern such matters as the authorship and dates of publication of taxonomic works. However, papers primarily concerned with nomenclatural matters, including the publication of new names, the conservation or rejection of names, and discussion of type status will not be considered.

Papers should be as concise as possible. Longer papers will be in the region of 6,000–8,000 words, but shorter articles are perfectly acceptable. Authors intending to submit papers exceeding 10,000 words should contact the Editor before submission. Long papers, if accepted, may be delayed in publication and, at the Editor’s discretion, may be published in two parts within Archives of natural history. Short notes should contain fewer than 1,500 words including Notes and References. Authors who are not current members of the SHNH may be charged a page-fee for papers exceeding 6,000 words in length.

Instructions for authors

Submission of manuscripts: Contributions should be submitted online to editor as attached files. Name the files with your surname, plus, when relevant, the figure or table number (for example, Nelson text, Nelson table1, Nelson figure 01).

Text: should be submitted either in rich-text (.rtf) or as a MS Word (.doc) format. This file must not contain embedded tables or illustrations.

Tables: each table should be in a separate text file (.rtf, or .doc) with its caption.

Illustrations (figures, diagrams, photographs): each image should be sent as a separate PDF file.  For full details see the section on ‘Illustrations’ below (p.8). Please do not attempt to send high-resolution images at submission stage; these will only be requested after a paper is formally accepted for publication.



The journal welcomes short notes, which should be not more than 1,500 words. The format of these is different from longer papers. The title is given first, and is immediately followed by the text. Subheadings should not be used. Acknowledgements, Notes and References follow the text, with the headings in capital letters. The author’s name, in capital letters, and address come at the end. A short note does not have an Abstract or Key Words.


Follow this sequence: Title; Author’s name; Address for correspondence; Abstract; Key Words; Text; Acknowledgements; Notes; References; Appendix + Bibliography (if appropriate).

Title, author’s name and address for correspondence

The following are examples of the format for the title, author’s(s’) name(s) and addresses:

Papers with one author

The fate of Marmaduke Smith’s collections


The Whitby Museum, Civic Centre, Whitby, Yorkshire NZ2 4PT, United Kingdom (e-mail:

Papers with more than one author

The fate of Marmaduke Smith’s collections


A The Whitby Museum, Civic Centre,  Whitby, Yorkshire NZ2 4PT, United Kingdom (mushan(at)

B The Museum, The Oval, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, PE14 8DF.

Abstract and key words:

An Abstract, in English, of not more than 250 words, must accompany each paper. Authors whose first language is not English may provide an abstract and key words in their own language. These will be printed following the English abstract, and will also be posted on the Society’s website at the time of publication. Not more than six Key Words (or very brief phrases), separated by n-dashes, should be provided, following the Abstract. Key Words should not duplicate words or phrases in the title. Example: KEY WORDS: Erica – Ireland – history of collections – nineteenth century.


Papers exceeding 2,000 words should be divided into headed sections, each heading and subheading to be aligned on the left text margin. Headings should be in capital letters. Subheadings should be in bold but not be in capital or italic letters.

Citation of published sources in the text: use the Harvard system: Smith and Jones (1890). More than two authors are cited as Baker et al. (1996). More than one work by an author or authors are cited: (Nelson 1980a, 1980b, 1980c). Several authors’ work within the same parentheses are cited:  (Nelson 1980a; Lucas 2007:25).

Abbreviations: Latin or other abbreviations including e.g., etc., i.e., &, viz. are not permitted, nor ibid., loc. cit., op. cit. when citing sources. Exceptions are made for c. (for circa ), fl. (for floruit) before dates, et al. ms, mss, f., ff (in Notes) and pers. comm. p., pp (in Notes and References). Standard acronyms of herbaria should be in bold and enclosed in parentheses, for example (DBN).

Dates: are cited as 17 March 1999 or March 1999, unless they are within quotations when the exact format of the original should be followed.

Italics: names of genera and species are in italics, as are the permitted Latin abbreviations (see above). Names of higher taxa are in roman. Titles of books and serial publications, both in text and references, should be in italics. Ships’ names are also put in italics. Do not use italics for emphasis.

Names of American states: write in full; the two-letter abbreviations should not be used.

Numbers: are printed in Arabic numerals. Roman numbers are not used except within quotations and for royal titles (Henry VIII). Use words for the numbers 1 to 12 inclusive (unless in dates or pagination). Numbers above twelve should not be written out except when the number is at the beginning of a sentence, or when indefinite amounts are involved (“twenty or thirty miles”). Numbers above 999 (unless a date) should have commas (3,267; 3267 BC).

Quotations: follow the original copy exactly in punctuation, spelling and, as far as possible, typography. Enclose short quotations in double quotation marks. Quoted passages over 50 words should begin on a new line, typed as a block (without quotation marks) and indented from the left margin.

Scientific and vernacular names: when a date is included, the author’s name is followed by a comma, as in “Linnaeus, 1758”. Citation for the authorities under References is not necessary. Authorities for botanical names may be abbreviated, following R. K. Brummitt & C. E. Powell’s Authors of plant names. Vernacular names should not have capital initials.

Spelling: British English is preferred, although American English is acceptable, but must be consistent. Follow the Oxford dictionary for writers and editors for spelling (for example  ize not ise) and other format advice.


These are treated as a separate section, with the heading ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS in capital letters. Acknowledgements immediately precede the Notes.


NOTES follow ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS and precede REFERENCES, as a series of numbered endnotes, not footnotes. Do not use the automatic “endnotes” section in MS Word. In the text, Notes are indicated with superscript numbers placed (usually) outside the relevant punctuation, for example, “Further details are available. However, …”.4

Notes are not used for reference to published sources but for communicating matter relating to the text and for the citation of unpublished and manuscript sources. “Unpublished” work includes theses and dissertations, manuscripts, images and Internet pages. Description must provide all the information necessary to ensure the correct later recognition and retrieval of each item. Most repositories issue advice-sheets on full citation, which should be heeded. When the names of individuals or repositories are repeated frequently within notes, abbreviations may be used; for repositories the official acronyms or abbreviations are preferred.


26 Public Records Office, Dublin: State Papers (hereafter PRO-SP) 12/43/1.

27 J. Cain to E. C. Nelson, pers. comm., 27 March 2002.

28 S. Holmes, 1985 The natural history of Baker Street. Unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Norfolk.

29 C. Darwin to J. S. Henslow, 6 March 1839: original ms in Cambridge University Library; Darwin Papers, letter 56, f. 5.31.

For economy of space, when repeating exactly the same source of information, use the same Note number in the text.

Cite published archival materials, such as correspondence, in Notes and include details of the publication in the References.


20 J. D. Hooker to C. Darwin, 20 December 1859 (Burkhardt and Smith 1991: 7: 437).

21 L. T. Gronovius, Systema ichthyologicum: original ms in The Natural History Museum, London. This manuscript was written between 1764 and 1777; the text was published by Gray (1854) but the illustrations have never been reproduced.

Unpublished personal communications by letter, e-mail or other means should be cited in Notes. The communication must be precisely dated and the names of the individuals concerned must be given (except when the recipient is the sole author of the paper). Examples:

1 J. Cain to E. C. Nelson, pers. comm., 27 March 2002.

2 E. C. Nelson, pers. comm., 30 March 2002.

Internet sources

Citation of Internet-based sources is discouraged because of their fleeting nature. URL citations must be special cases (for example, to provide the full text of a manuscript that would be too lengthy to include). Citations to Internet materials should be treated in the same manner as mss, and must be included in NOTES in the following format. The date when the site was first published and date of access are essential.

 URL (accessed 8 March 2002): (J. Cain, 2002 “Diversifying assessment in undergraduate history of science courses”).


All published sources cited, named or noted must be listed alphabetically by surname under the heading REFERENCES as follows: Surname; Initials; Date; Title; Volume (in bold); page numbers.

Author’s surname is provided in block capital letters, followed by initials; when using MSWord please ensure by using “Caps Lock” that surnames are not automatically converted into SMALL capitals. The name of an editor or translator is indicated by inserting “(editor)” or “(translator)” in parentheses between the initials and date. Do not abbreviate these words. Cite a publication without an author’s (or editor’s) name as Anonymous not “Anon.”

Dates are not enclosed in parentheses and are not followed by a full stop (point). When a printed work is not dated, and the date of publication cannot be determined, use “no date”.

Titles of serial publications and books should be put in italics, and de-capitalized except for proper names, or when linguistic customs require capital initial letters (for example, nouns in German titles), or in two-word titles when the first word is the definite article (for example, The Times).

Please take careful note of the punctuation in the following examples of full references to journal articles and research papers:

ANONYMOUS, 1845 Heathers in North America. The gardeners’ chronicle 4 May: 356.

HERBERT, W., 1847 A history of the species of Crocus. Journal of the Horticultural Society of London 2: 249–293.

LUCAS, A. M., 2003 Assistance at a distance: the production of Flora australiensis. Archives of natural history 30: 255–281.

SMITH, J. E., JONES, D. L., SMITH, P. and SMITH, Z., 1989 Honey production in Afghanistan. The Beekeeper 45: 129–345.

Examples of full references to books:

Note: The place of publication (in modern English form) is included but not the publisher’s name, nor the number of pages, unless essential to the understanding of a bibliographical paper.

BURKHARDT, F. and SMITH, S., 1991 The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Volume 7. 1858–1859. Cambridge.

WORDEN, F. G., SWAZEY. J. P. and ADELMAN, G. (editors), 1975 The neurosciences: paths of discovery. Cambridge, Massachusetts.

When a publication date is not explicit, but is deduced or obtained from another source:

EWEN, A. H. and PRIME, C. T. (editors), [1975] Ray’s flora of Cambridgeshire. Hitchin.

When referring to a chapter within an edited book:

HERRIES DAVIES, G. L., 1985a Astronomy, geology, meteorology, pp 247–274 in O’RAIFEARTAIGH, T. (editor), The Royal Irish Academy: a bicentennial history, 1785–1985. Dublin.

Citing Internet resources (see also above, under Notes). Continually updated e-resources, such as the Australian dictionary of biography and the Oxford dictionary of national biography, should be cited from those sources rather than the printed version because the e-resources are more up-to-date. Cite these resources in REFERENCES not in NOTES. The access date must be stated. Example:

DRAYTON, R., 2004 Lindley, John (1799–1865). Oxford dictionary of national biography. (URL: accessed 15 February, 2006).

Sources “in press”: Works accepted for publication, but are not yet published, should be cited as “in press”, and place of publication, or the journal title and, if known, the confirmed date of publication and volume number should be included. For example:

JOSEPH, L., 2002 (in press) Bird specimens figured by Thomas Bewick surviving in the Hancock Museum, Newcastle Upon Tyne. Transactions of the Natural History Society of Northumbria.

Works that are in preparation should not be cited. More complex citations, for example in enumerative bibliographies, should follow precedents in recent issues of Archives of natural history and the editors will be pleased to advise authors on citation formats.

References from Newspapers and Magazines

For a signed or anonymous article:

AUTHOR + INITIALS or ANONYMOUS, YEAR Title of article [or first few words (in quotation marks) if untitled so the item can be identified]. Newspaper’s name [Place of publication if needed] date of issue [DD Month YYYY]: p. 00 or pp 00-00.

For example:

ANONYMOUS, 2013 Warthog discovery in France. The evening chronicle [Newcastle, UK] 14 March 2013: pp 4-5.


BLOGGS, J., 2013 “Yesterday, while walking along the shore ...”. The evening chronicle [Newcastle, UK] 14 March.

2013: pp 4-5.

For an advertisement:

AUTHOR + INITIALS or ANONYMOUS, YEAR [Advertisement] Title of advert. Newspaper's name [Place of publication if needed] date of issue [DD Month YYYY]: p. 00 or pp 00-00.

For example:

a) if the author is known:

LANG, J. D., 1841 [Advertisement] Australian College. Sydney courier [Hobart] 26 November 1841: p. 3.

BLOGGS AND LANG, 1841 [Advertisement] Australian gum nuts. Sydney courier [Hobart] 26 November 1841: p. 3.

b) if the author is unknown:

ANONYMOUS, 1841 [Advertisement] Australian College. Sydney courier [Hobart] 26 November 1841: p. 3.

c) if only initials are given:

L, J. D., 1841 [Advertisement] Australian College. Sydney courier [Hobart] 26 November 1841: p. 3.

d) if the author’s name can be inferred, then as:

[BLOGGS, J.], 1841 [Advertisement] Australian College. Sydney courier [Hobart] 26 November 1841: p. 3.

e) if the author’s name can be inferred from initials:

N[ELSON], E. C., 1841 [Advertisement] Australian College. Sydney courier [Hobart] 26 November 1841: p. 3.

Notices of death:

ANONYMOUS, 1867a [Death notice, Mary Anne Rennie]. South Australian advertiser [Adelaide] 16 February 1867: p.6.

Appendix + Bibliography (if appropriate)

Use an APPENDIX for supplementary material and Tables.

A Bibliography should follow the conventions for  References and follow precedents in recent issues of Archives of natural history. In subject bibliographies entries should be arranged in alphabetical order of authors’ surnames, and in chronological order where an author is cited more than once. Personal bibliographies should be arranged chronologically. When all the items are under sole authorship, it is not necessary to include the author’s name for each one. For joint authorship, do not use “with Gray and Wilson” or similar wording; it is essential to give the precise authorship for such a work. To be especially useful a bibliography should be indexed under appropriate geographical, systematic or other headings to allow the user to retrieve titles from a variety of approaches. Any limitations imposed on the scope of the bibliography should be clearly stated in the introduction, including limits of language, period, geographical area, and breadth of coverage. The original search strategy and sources must be stated.


Provide illustrations as separate, good-quality PDFs; captions should be given in a separate list at the end of the text.   High-resolution electronic images will be required in Tagged-Image File format (*.tiff/*.tif) for Windows only when a paper is formally accepted. Computer-generated artwork is acceptable, but note that if required in colour the cost of reproduction is met by the author.

Figures are reproduced in black-and-white or as half-tones (greyscale) in the printed issue. Authors who wish to include full-colour illustrations in the print issue will be required to meet the cost of printing each colour page. The Honorary Editor will advise authors about the costs. Images can be included in colour in the online (electronic) issue free of charge. The print area of a page in Archives of natural history is 20 × 13cm; this proportion should be kept in mind when preparing figures. Figures must be numbered sequentially with Arabic numerals. Each figure must have a separate number. In the text, references to illustrations should be to Figure 1, and so on. Figure captions begin with the word “Figure” in full. References within captions to other publications may include the author, title, and date of publication; these details must be provided in References. Acknowledgement of copyright and permission to reproduce an image should be included in a caption, in the form required by the copyright owner for example:

Figure 1. Illustration from H. Saunders’s An illustrated manual of British birds (1899). (Reproduced by permission of the Natural History Museum, Glasgow.)

Figure 2. Magnolia campbellii; original painting in Chinese ink, 1988. © W. Williams (reproduced by courtesy of the artist).


After a paper has been formally accepted for publication, it is the author’s responsibility to produce fully corrected final text in exact accordance with the style of Archives of natural history. This final electronic copy will be required as a double-spaced, fully corrected typescript without embedded tables or images. Authors must retain a copy of their paper for reference and for use when proof-reading.

The Editors will provide a rough galley proof in PDF format, which will be sent by e-mail to the author, or the corresponding author when two or more authors are involved. Authors must print a hard-copy from this PDF file, mark any matters requiring correction and return the marked galley proof to the Copy Editor, who will make all necessary alterations to the master electronic file.

The Honorary Editor will send the fully corrected master electronic file to Edinburgh University Press; after this, changes to the text will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances. Final page layout, according to the style of Archives of natural history, will be carried out by the publisher (Edinburgh University Press) using the master electronic file supplied by the Honorary Editor. Page proofs will be supplied by Edinburgh University Press to the author, or corresponding author, again in PDF format by e-mail. Authors must print a hard-copy from this PDF file, mark any matters requiring correction and return the marked hard-copy to the Honorary Editor. The only corrections permitted to the page proofs are those rectifying errors in typography and layout. Page proof corrections will not be accepted by e-mail.


Page charges will be levied to meet the cost of publishing lengthy papers written by authors who are not members of the Society for the History of Natural History when the paper is formally accepted for publication. The charge is reviewed regularly. The charge to non-members (including members in arrears) will be £40 for 600 words beyond a text of 6,000 words. Illustrations, captions, tables, notes and references will be included in the page count. An invoice will be issued with the galley proofs. The author will be expected to pay the invoice or (re)join the Society before the paper can be sent by the Editor to Edinburgh University Press for publication.


 Intellectual property rights of papers, short notes and book reviews published in Archives of natural history must be assigned to the Society for the History of Natural History, or an exclusive royalty-free licence must be granted.

The Society for the History of Natural History (Registered Charity No.2103555 in England and Wales)