Biological Journal of the Linnean Society

Cover image for Vol. 119 Issue 1

Edited By: John A. Allen

Impact Factor: 1.984

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2015: 31/45 (Evolutionary Biology)

Online ISSN: 1095-8312

Associated Title(s): Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London, Transactions of the Linnean Society of London, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society

Author Guidelines

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Instructions for Authors
The Linnean Society publishes four periodicals: the Biological, Botanical and Zoological Journals, and The Linnean, the Society's newsletter and proceedings.

The Biological Journal publishes papers concerned with the process of organic evolution in the broadest sense. It particularly welcomes contributions that illustrate the unifying concepts of evolutionary biology with evidence, either observational or theoretical, from any relevant field of the biological sciences. Potential authors should be aware that papers on specialized subjects are discouraged and we do not normally consider papers that include taxonomic descriptions of new species.

We welcome manuscripts of four types: critical reviews of topical and/or contentious areas in evolutionary biology (~9000 words), full research articles reporting the findings of original research (~9000 words), short research articles presenting concise original research (limit 3500 words and normally no more than two figures and two tables), and comments on papers published in the Journal or presenting novel ideas relating to the wider literature (limit 3000 words). We aim to fast-track the publication of short research articles and comments.

Effective with the 2016 volume, this journal will be published in an online-only format. Print subscription and single issue sales are available from Wiley's Print-on-Demand Partner. To order online click through to the ordering portal from the journal's subscribe and renew page on WOL.

Submissions to the Biological Journal are made online using ScholarOne Manuscripts.  To submit to the journal go to, where you can also find the current mean time from submission to first decision, and other submission statistics. If this is the first time you have used the system you will be asked to register by clicking on ‘create an account’.  Full instructions on making your submission are provided.  You should receive an acknowledgement within a few minutes.  Thereafter, the system will keep you informed of the process of your submission through refereeing, any revisions that are required, and a final decision.

Conflict of Interest
The Biological Journal of the Linnean Society requires that all authors disclose any potential sources of conflict of interest. Any interest or relationship, financial or otherwise, that might be perceived as influencing an author’s objectivity is considered a potential source of conflict of interest. These must be disclosed when directly relevant or indirectly related to the work that the authors describe in their manuscript. Potential sources of conflict of interest include but are not limited to patent or stock ownership, membership of a company board of directors, membership of an advisory board or committee for a company, and consultancy for or receipt of speaker’s fees from a company. The existence of a conflict of interest does not preclude publication in this journal.
It is the responsibility of the corresponding author to review this policy with all authors and to collectively list in a cover letter to the Editor, in the manuscript (under the Acknowledgement section), and in the online submission system ALL pertinent commercial and other relationships. Corresponding authors will be asked to confirm whether or not a conflict of interest exists as part of the submission process.

Ethical Guidelines
The journal expects authors to abide by the guidelines of those statutory bodies, or, discipline that are specific to the country of origin, or, execution of the research. Where applicable (e.g. where licenses are required for animal experimentation or work on endangered species), a clear ethical statement should be included in the Methods.

If your paper is accepted, the author identified as the formal corresponding author for the paper will receive an email prompting them to log into Author Services, where via the Wiley Author Licensing Service (WALS) they will be able to complete the license agreement on behalf of all authors on the paper.

For authors signing the copyright transfer agreement
If the OnlineOpen option is not selected the corresponding author will be presented with the copyright transfer agreement (CTA) to sign. The terms and conditions of the CTA can be previewed in the samples associated with the Copyright FAQs below: CTA Terms and Conditions

For authors choosing OnlineOpen
If the OnlineOpen option is selected the corresponding author will have a choice of the following Creative Commons License Open Access Agreements (OAA):
Creative Commons Attribution License OAA
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License OAA
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial -NoDerivs License OAA
To preview the terms and conditions of these open access agreements please visit the Copyright FAQs hosted on Wiley Author Services and the Copyright and License page.
If you select the OnlineOpen option and your research is funded by The Wellcome Trust and members of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) or the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) you will be given the opportunity to publish your article under a CC-BY license supporting you in complying with your Funder requirements. For more information on this policy and the Journal’s compliant self-archiving policy please visit:

Author material archive policy
Please note that, unless specifically requested, Wiley will dispose of all electronic material and any remaining hardcopy two months after publication. If you require the return of any of this material, you must inform the editorial office upon submission.

Data archiving
Data that are integral to the paper must be made available in such a way as to enable readers to replicate, verify and build upon the conclusions published in the paper. Any restriction on the availability of these data must be disclosed at the time of submission. Data may be included as part of the main article where practical. We recommend that data for which public repositories are widely used, and are accessible to all, should be deposited in such a repository prior to publication. The appropriate linking details and identifier(s) should then be included in the publication and where possible the repository, to facilitate linking between the journal article and the data. If such a repository does not exist, data should be included as supporting information to the published paper or authors should agree to make their data available upon reasonable request.

Voucher specimens
In the interests of repeatability and as acknowledgement for the help provided by museums and herbaria, the manuscript (or online appendix) must list the catalogue numbers of all voucher specimens scrutinized during the course of the work.

A PDF offprint of the online published article will be provided free of charge to the corresponding author, and may be distributed subject to the Publisher's terms and conditions.  Paper offprints of the printed published article may be purchased if ordered via the method stipulated on the instructions that will accompany the proofs.

Manuscript preparation
Authors should aim to communicate ideas and information clearly and concisely, in language suitable for the moderate specialist. Papers in languages other than English are not accepted unless invited. When a paper has joint authorship, one author must accept responsibility for all correspondence; the full postal address, telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail address of the author who is to check proofs should be provided. Please submit your manuscript in an editable format such as .doc, .docx or .rtf. If you submit your manuscript in a non-editable format such as PDF, this will slow the progress of your paper as we will have to contact you to request an editable copy.

Papers should conform to the following general layout:

Title page
This should include title, authors, institutions and a short running title. Authors should be aware that short snappy titles are more likely to catch the eye of the reader than long dull titles. Thus the title should be concise but informative. Where appropriate it should include mention of family or higher taxon in the form 'The evolution of the Brown Rat, Rattus norvegicus (Rodentia: Muridae)'. A subtitle may be included, but papers in numbered series are not accepted.

This must be on a separate page. The abstract is of great importance as it may be reproduced elsewhere, and is all that many may see of your work. It should be about 100-200 words long and should summarize the paper in a form that is intelligible in conjunction with the title. It should not include references. The abstract should be followed by up to ten keywords additional to those in the title (alphabetically arranged and separated by hyphens) identifying the subject matter for retrieval systems.

Subject matter
The paper should be divided into sections under short headings. Except in systematic hierarchies, the hierarchy of headings should not exceed three. The Botanical and Zoological Codes must be strictly followed. Names of genera and species should be printed in italic or underlined to indicate italic; do not underline suprageneric taxon names. Cite the author of species on first mention. Use SI units, and the appropriate symbols (mm, not millimetre; µm, not micron., s, not sec; Myr for million years). Use the negative index (m-1, l-1, h-1) except in cases such as 'per plant'). Avoid elaborate tables of original or derived data, long lists of species, etc.; if such data are absolutely essential, then they should be presented as online-only supporting information. Avoid footnotes, and keep cross references by page to an absolute minimum.

We recommend the use of a tool such as EndNote or Reference Manager for reference management and formatting.
EndNote reference styles can be searched for here:
Reference Manager reference styles can be searched for here:

In the text, give references in the following forms: 'Stork (1988) said', 'Stork (1988: 331)' where it is desired to refer to a specific page, and '(Rapport, 1983)' where giving reference simply as authority for a statement. Note that names of joint authors are connected by '&' in the text. When papers are by three authors, use all names on the first mention and thereafter abbreviate to the first name et al. For papers by four or more authors, use et al. throughout.

The list of references must include all publications cited in the text but only these. Prior to submission, make certain that all references in the text agree with those in the references section, and that spelling is consistent throughout. In the list of references, titles of periodicals must be given in full, not abbreviated. For books, give the title, place of publication, name of publisher (if after 1930), and indication of edition if not the first. In papers with half-tones, plate or figure citations are required only if they fall outside the pagination of the reference cited. References should conform as exactly as possible to one of these four styles, according to the type of publication cited.

Braby MF, Eastwood R, Murray N. 2012. The subspecies concept in butterflies: has its application in taxonomy and conservation biology outlived its usefulness? Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 106: 699-716.
Sokal RR, Rohlf FJ. 1995. Biometry. New York, NY: W.H. Freeman and Co.
Ronkal J, Borchsenius F, Asmussen-Lange CB, Balslev H. 2010. Divergence times in tribe Geonomateae (Aceraceae) coincide with Tertiary geological events. In: Seberg O, Petersen G, Barfod AS, Davis JI, eds. Diversity, phylogeny, and evolution of the monocotyledons. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 245-265.
Gay HJ. 1990. The ant association and structural rhizome modifications of the far eastern fern genus Lecanopteris (Polypodiaceae). Unpublished D. Phil. Thesis, Oxford University.
Maddison WP, Maddison DR. 2006. Mesquite: a modular system for evolutionary analysis, Version 1.12. Available at:

Other citations such as papers 'in press' may appear on the list but not papers 'submitted', 'in review' or 'in preparation'. A personal communication may be cited in the text but not in the reference list. Please give the initials and surnames for all authors of personal communications and unpublished data.

In the case of taxonomic reviews, authors are requested to include full references for taxonomic authorities.

Give foreign language references in ordinary English alphabetic form (but copy accents in French, German, Spanish, etc.), if necessary transliterating in accordance with a recognized scheme. For the Cyrillic alphabet use British Standard BS 2979 (1958). If only a published translation has been consulted, cite the translation, not the original. Add translations not supplied by the author of the reference in square brackets.

Keep these as simple as possible, with few horizontal and, preferably, no vertical rules. When assembling complex tables and data matrices, bear the dimensions of the printed page (225 × 168 mm) in mind; reducing typesize to accommodate a multiplicity of columns will affect legibility.

These normally include (1) half-tones reproduced from photographs, (2) black and white figures reproduced from drawings and (3) diagrams. Use one consecutive set of Arabic numbers for all illustrations (do not separate 'Plates' and 'Text-figures' - treat all as 'Figures'). Figures should be numbered in the order in which they are cited in the text. Use upper case letters for subdivisions (e.g. Figure 1A-D) of figures; all other lettering should be lower case.

  1. Half-tones reproduced from photographs
    Increasingly, authors' original images are captured digitally rather than by conventional film photography. In these cases, please use settings on your equipment for the highest possible image quality (minimum 300dpi). 
    Desktop technology now allows authors to prepare plates by scanning photographic originals and then labelling them using graphics programs such as Adobe Illustrator. These are acceptable provided:

  2. Resolution is a minimum of 300 dpi at the final required image size. The labelling and any line drawings in a composite figure should be added in vector format. If any labelling or line drawings are embedded in the file then the resolution must be a minimum of 800 dpi. Please note that vector format labelling will give the best results for the online version of your paper.
  3. Electronic files are saved uncompressed as TIFF or EPS files.

In the case that it is not possible to provide electronic versions, please supply photographic prints with labelling applied to a transparent overlay or to a photocopy.

Grouping and mounting: when grouping photographs, aim to make the dimensions of the group (including guttering of 2 mm between each picture) as close as possible to the page dimensions of 168 × 225 mm, thereby optimizing use of the available space. Remember that grouping photographs of varied contrast can result in poor reproduction. If supplied as photographic prints, the group should be mounted on thin card. Take care to keep the surface of the prints clean and free of adhesive. Always provide overlays to protect the photographs from damage.

Lettering and numbering: If supplied as photogarphic prints, letters and numbers should be applied in the form of dry-transfer ('Letraset') letters, numbers, arrows and scale bars, but not measurements (values), to transparent overlays in the required positions, rather than to the photographs themselves; this helps to avoid making pressure marks on the delicate surface of the prints, and facilitates relabelling, should this be required. Alternatively, pencilled instructions can be indicated on duplicates or photocopies marked 'FOR LABELLING ONLY'. Self-adhesive labels should be avoided, but if they are used, they should not be attached directly to either photographs or overlays, but to photocopies, to indicate where they are to be positioned. Labelling will be inserted electronically by the typesetter in due course.

Colour: Online-only colour in figures is free of charge, however it is essential in these cases that the figure legends apply equally well to both printed greyscale and online colour versions, and do not specifically refer to the colour. Colour illustrations will be published in print free of charge provided that the colour is deemed essential by the Editor for interpretation of the figure.

Black and white figures reproduced from drawings
These should be scanned at a minimum resolution of 800 dpi and supplied in TIFF format. Please note that JPEG, Powerpoint and doc files are not suitable for publication. If is is not possible to provide electronic versions, the figures supplied should be in black ink on white card or paper. Lines must be clean and heavy enough to stand reduction; drawings should be no more than twice page size. The maximum dimensions of published figures are 168 × 225 mm. Scale bars are the most satisfactory way of indicating magnification. Take account of proposed reduction when lettering drawings; if you cannot provide competent lettering, it may be pencilled in on a photocopy.

In most instances the author's electronic versions of diagrams are used and may be re-labelled to conform to journal style. These should be supplied as vector format Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) files. Please note that diagrams or graphs will not reproduce well in the online version of your paper unless they are in vector format due to low maximum screen resolution.

Type legends for Figures in numerical order on a separate sheet. Where a 'key' is required for abbreviations used in more than one Figure, this should be included as a section of the main text.

Authors wishing to use illustrations already published must obtain written permission from the copyright holder before submitting the manuscript. Authors may, in the first instance, submit good xerox or photographic copies of figures rather than the originals.

Detailed instructions on preparing illustrations in electronic form are available here.

Authors may be charged for alterations at proof stage (other than printer's errors) if they are numerous.

Supporting Information
Authors wishing to submit material to be hosted as online supporting information should consult the author guidelines here. Authors should note that the Editor may suggest that figures, tables, and lists not deemed necessary for the understanding of the paper should be published online as supporting information.

Please follow these guidelines carefully:

  • Include all parts of the text of the paper in a single .doc or .rtf file. The ideal sequence is: (1) Header (running heads; correspondence; title; authors; addresses; abstract; additional keywords, etc.). (2) Body of article. (3) Acknowledgements. (4) References. (5) Figure Legends. (6) Tables (for each table, the legend should be placed before the body of the table). (7) Appendices.
  • Include all figure legends, and tables with their legends if available.
  • Do not embed figures in the text file
  • Do not use the carriage return (enter) at the end of lines within a paragraph.
  • Turn the hyphenation option off.
  • Specify any special characters used to represent non-keyboard characters.
  • Take care not to use l (ell) for 1 (one), O (capital o) for 0 (zero) or ß (German esszett) for ß (beta).  

Authors receiving requests for permission to reproduce work published by the Linnean Society should contact Wiley for advice.

The Biological Journal of the Linnean Society employs a plagiarism detection system. By submitting your manuscript to this journal you accept that your manuscript may be screened for plagiarism against previously published works.

Pre-submission English-language editing
Authors for whom English is a second language may choose to have their manuscript professionally edited before submission to improve the English. A list of independent suppliers of editing services can be found here. All services are paid for and arranged by the author, and use of one of these services does not guarantee acceptance or preference for publication.