Folder Notice to contributors

The series is open to contributions of experts worldwide with preference for contributions that are the direct result of Belgian capacity building initiatives, which adhere closely to the philosophy of the Convention on Biological Diversity, especially the Global Taxonomy Initiative.

Authors interested to contribute to the series are invited to submit a project-proposal in French or English of no more than four pages to one of the series editors. This proposal must include at least the following elements:

  • title of the manual;
  • name and professional address (including email) of author(s);
  • full systematic detail of the taxon to be treated or, if dealing with good practices in taxonomic research, thematic focus (e.g. sampling techniques);
  • local, subregional, regional or global geographic coverage (e.g. holothuroids from the Comoros);
  • description of the contents (see also ‘Aims section');
  • approximate number of manuscript formatted pages (size B5, font arial 10 pt, double line spacing) whereby 300 pages (excluding figures and tables) will be considered the upper-limit;
  • approximate number of black and white illustrations (artwork and pictures; see also technical guidelines); indicate the estimated amount of pages that these illustration will span;
  • approximate number of color illustrations (artwork and pictures; see also technical guidelines); indicate the estimated amount of pages that these illustration will span;
  • (realistic) estimation of the interested audience;
  • statement on the urgent need for your proposed volume (e.g. because not enough specialists for the taxon in the region);


The series editors will notify interested contributors if they believe the proposed volume falls within the philosophy and practical possibilities of AbcTaxa.

Page charges and reprints

Abc Taxa has no page charges, neither for text, black and white line art or colour figures/photographs. The series editors however can make suggestions to reduce the size of the manuscript if publication costs exceed available budgets (essential information that is deleted from the paper version will then be electronically available through the AbcTaxa website). The page setter, in joint agreement with the series editors, also reserves the right to group color work to save on printing costs.

All authors will receive page proofs before final publication. Whenever possible, a PDF of this page proof will be sent by email or other electronic means to the corresponding author.

All volumes will be published both electronically and non-electronically. Each contribution will be made freely available as an e-reprint (PDF) accessible on the Abc Taxa website. In case of large documents the volume might be broken up in sections (e.g. by chapter) so that downloading remains feasible. In addition, 10 copies of each manual will be provided free of charge to each contributing author; more copies may be ordered at current cost when proofs are returned. Authors may be required to pay for excessive alterations to proofs.

Authors with access to funds for publishing are encouraged to notify the series editors on this!

General editorial practices

Each contribution will be considered as one volume of Abc Taxa. All manuscripts should be sent in triplicate hard copies as well as on a CD-ROM to the appropriate series editor. Volumes must be prepared in English, French or (exceptionally) Spanish. Authors with other mother tongues are strongly encouraged to consult native English- or French speaking colleagues to have their manuscripts linguistically scrutinized before submission. Papers may be of any length but the style should be clear and as concise as possible. The editor reserves the right to make textual corrections that do not alter the author's meaning.

Examine recent issues of Abc Taxa for details of acceptable style and typographical conventions. Manuscripts must be typed on one side of the paper and double-spaced throughout. Margins should not be justified. Words to be italicised must be indicated in italic print. Avoid capitalisation except for the title, abbreviations of depositories, and the names of countries indicated for material examined. Authors are to use the International Systems of Units (SI) for measurements. Manuscripts not conforming to these directives are liable to be returned to the author.

Specific guidelines

Title and related information

The first page of the manuscript should include the title, name and address (including e-mail address if available) of the author(s). The title of the paper should be informative but concise. The higher systematics of the taxon treated must be included between brackets (e.g. Class: Order: Family). The current name and full postal address of authors should follow the title; an old affiliation may be added as a footnote only if the work was initiated or conceived at that address.

Abc Taxa utilises a standard cover set up that recapitulates the above information. Authors are asked to submit good quality pictures (i.e. 15 x 9,5 cm, 600 dpi, jpeg, CMYK) for the cover. If these cannot be supplied the series editors will choose a picture from the manuscript to include on the cover.

The second page of the manuscript should contain the abstract that cannot be longer than 350 words. The abstract should give the contents of the manuscript factually and concisely in English or French. Authors wishing to complement the abstract with a native language version are invited to do so, but the editors take no responsibility towards its contents, style and spelling.

The abstract must be in a format that allows separate publication and should conform to indexing purposes. It can be complemented with up to five key words different from those already in the title of the manuscript.


Figures and their legends

Figures should be numbered consecutively in the sequence referred to in the text. Drawings and photographs that make up separate parts of the same figure must be mounted together, arranged to use space efficiently, and labeled consecutively (preferably left to right, top to bottom) and consistently. Reference in the text should be: (Fig. l), (Figs 2, 3), and (Figs 1; 2A, C). Abc Taxa does not differentiate between figures and plates and all illustrations should be referred to as figures.

Figures should be of publishable quality and must be submitted in an uncompressed electronic format (TIFF, EPS, saved in Photoshop 5.0 or higher) with a resolution of at least 350 dpi. Figures should be their printed size (max 12 cm wide and 18 cm long for figure spanning a full page) and should be labelled electronically, with the labels positioned in different layers. Labels have the following specifications: font arial, 10 pt, capital letters (in black on a light background, in white on a dark background).

Art-work must be boldly drawn in black waterproof ink and must also be submitted in an uncompressed electronic format (TIFF, EPS, saved in Photoshop 5.0 or higher) with a resolution of at least 350 dpi; it must be labeled the same way as figures.

Color figures must be supplied in CMYK and not in RGB.

Figure legends should be grouped together on a separate sheet at the end of the manuscript. The following format should be adhered to:

Fig. 57. Binomial taxon name Authority + year. A. Placeholder text fig A; B. Placeholder text fig B; etc. Scale A = 10 cm; B = 20 mm. (Pictures by O. Georges).


Tables must be printed (in double space) on separate sheets that are grouped together at the end of the manuscript; they should not be ruled up. They are to be self-explanatory and should not duplicate data illustrated in figures. Tables should be numbered consecutively as they are mentioned in the text, using Arabic numericals (e.g. Table 1, Table 2).

Table legends should be grouped together on a separate sheet at the end of the manuscript.


References in the text should be in the following formats:

  • if the reference is put as opener of a phrase, use: Stewart (2002), Stewart and Barnes (2003) or (if more than two authors) Stewart et al. (2004);
  • if the reference is not put at the beginning of the phrase, use: (Stewart 2002), (Stewart and Barnes 2003), (Stewart et al. 2004);
  • if more than one entry is needed, use (Stewart 2002; Stewart and Barnes 2003; Stewart et al. 2004), whereby chronological and alphabetical order must be respected.


All references cited in the text must be collated in alphabetical and chronological order, at the end of the paper.

The following formats apply:

Paper from a journal:
Stewart, A.G. 2002. Title of the manuscript. Full Journal name in italics, volume nr: page range.

Book chapter:
Stewart, A.G. & Barnes, J.F. 2003. Title of the Chapter. In: Leopold, A., Albert, B. & Boudewijn, C. (Eds). Title of Book in italics, Publisher name and location, page range.

Stewart, A.G., Barnes, J.F. & Mills L. 2003. Title of Book in italics. Publisher name and location: number of pages.

Reference to other information sources such as film, websites, blogs, listserv email lists, etc., are to be avoided. If an author decides that he absolutely needs to cite such a source, the Harvard style should be adhered to.


Digital Object Identifier:

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) numbers of references should be provided whenever possible. You can easily find DOIs using the following tool:


Papers must conform to the requirements and recommendations of the last edition of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature or the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature. Taxonomic affiliation and authority should be given in full at the first mention of a species in the text as well as in figure and table legends. An author's name must follow the name of a taxon without any intervening punctuation, and a comma must be inserted between the name of the author and the date of publication. If a species is transferred from its original genus, the author's name must then be placed in parentheses. The name of a subsequent user of a scientific name must be separated from that of the original author by a semicolon.

How to submit?

Manuscripts must be submitted on CD-ROM, which should be PC- or Mac-compatible. An accurate hardcopy must accompany each disk, together with details of the type of hardware used, the software employed and the disk system, if known. Do not justify margins. Disks and the hardcopy of the manuscript will not be returned to the contributor.

Peer review

Abc Taxa strives for the highest quality and hence is peer refereed. The modus operandi for this process is as follows:


  • the three chief editors jointly effectuate a first screening to evaluate if the manuscript meets the scope and high standards of the journal;
  • one or several of the chief editors, in agreement with eventual associate editors, search for a suitable peer referee;
  • when a peer referee accepts to effectuate the review, the manuscript, as well as all the documents that complement it, will be sent to her/him through express mail. Herefore, referees should provide the series editors of Abc Taxa with absolutely correct name, address, telephone and fax number. If available all documents will be sent under an electronic form;
  • the peer referee effectuates the review along the standards and instructions as detailed in the ‘instructions for reviewers' document Worddoc;
  • if the evaluation of the above peer referee demands for ‘rejection' or ‘major revision', the responsible chief editor will: (i) appoint a second peer referee if he has the impression that conflicting interest between the author and the first referee is at the origin of the referee's decision, or (ii) reject the manuscript if he finds justice with the first referee's opinion.


At all times the final decision of the acceptance of the manuscript rests with the chief editors.

At no time will peers be financially rewarded for their work.