Authors Style Guide

Palaeontology [online] is a website covering all aspects of palaeontology and associated disciplines at a level understandable to secondary/high-school students and interested adults. The site is updated monthly with short- to medium-length (~ 1,000–3,000 word) articles. These can be an introduction to any palaeontological or interdisciplinary field, showing the diversity of the science, or can outline events in the history of palaeontology. They can include summaries of recent findings/advances in rapidly evolving disciplines at the cutting edge of research, or can focus on a particular geographic region or time period. Also welcome are features based on the experience of being a palaeontologist – what life and work is really like as a fossil worker, how one might enter the field, and what we as professionals would ideally expect from collectors. Palaeontology [online] encourages submissions from authors on any such topics, written in an enthusiastic and – above all – accessible and easy-to-follow style. The advantage of being a web-based publication is that we can embed a wide range of media to aid effective communication – there are no limits to the numbers of figures and videos in any article, and we can host a variety of formats. Some style pointers can be found below. This is a fantastic opportunity to communicate your work to an interested public, and we look forward to hearing from you.

– Palaeontology [Online] team.


Style Pointers

Articles should be written in British English; the Oxford English Dictionary is the ultimate reference.

Contributions should be written clearly and simply so that they are accessible to young readers, those in other disciplines and those for whom English is not their first language. Avoid jargon, but provision of an accompanying glossary box for essential terms is encouraged. Also avoid using lots of abbreviations, as these can clutter up the text and make it hard to follow; any abbreviations that are used should be defined at first use.

All measurements should be given in SI units. Constants should be defined at first use. Symbols that represent a constant or variable should be in italics.

Use Ma and Ga for million years and billion years, for both time before present and duration. For geological time scales, refer to the International Stratigraphic Chart, but use British spellings (e.g. Palaeocene, not Paleocene).

When an organism is first mentioned, its binomial (Genus species) should be given in full alongside the vernacular name. The genus can be abbreviated on subsequent use.

Please refer to articles on the website for additional guidance on style, or contact your handling editor with any queries.


We request that authors provide a small biography (100–200 words) to appear alongside the article, outlining who they are, where they work and in what field, and how they got into palaeontology. Please also provide, if possible, a small (300*400 pixels) image to accompany the biography.


References should not be presented in the text, to avoid the article becoming too dense for casual readers. However, a ‘Suggested Reading’ section at the end of the text is encouraged. Please see our References page for further information.

Technical Requirements

There is no limit to the number of figures and films used to illustrate an article, and we encourage their use. Illustrations are best provided as high quality .jpgs or .pngs. These will be resized to fit the article, but a minimum width of 600 pixels is required. Movies can be provided as .avi, .mov or .wmv, and will be converted for the article to a suitable flash format (.flv). Please see our Embedded Media page for further details.

Manuscript Submission

The finished manuscript (.doc, .docx, .rtf, .txt) should be emailed to the editor who commissioned the article. Figures should be emailed similarly, not embedded in the text; if file sizes prohibit easy emailing please contact the editor. Following submission the article will be subedited for style, and in the case of substantial changes, returned to the author for confirmation the changes are acceptable. Following this, the article will be formatted for publishing. The editor will then be able to provide a publication date for the article.