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Monitor - Journal of the Victorian Herpetological Society.

Guidelines For Contributors.


The guidelines below are accurate save for the contact addresses (including e-mail) which are wrong.

Please contact the editor at the following address details:



PO BOX 523,



PHONE: 03 94370755

e-mail: grizard@ozemail.com.au

Monitor welcomes publications on all aspects of herpetology and aimed at all levels ranging from professional, through institutions such as zoos and keepers to those who have a stronger than average interest in reptiles but (as yet) little detailed knowledge. We publish articles on subjects as diverse as keeping in captivity, legislation and comment, natural history, results of field trips and surveys, literature reviews, taxonomy, (including formal descriptions of new species), herp notes, observations, news items and other matters deemed to be of interest.

Readership varies from professional biologists, state wildlife officials, school teachers, zoo keepers, private keepers and others, although most readers fall into the category of those who hold reptiles in captivity as licensed private keepers.

We have printed detailed guidelines here as an aid to both experienced writers and those who have never previously written or published before. The guidelines are particularly useful for the latter group as they detail finer points such as citing references and other things, that may otherwise be unfamiliar. Authors using wordprocessors and computers will have few if any difficulties with the guidelines printed below. Those who do not fall into this category should not be discouraged. Monitor welcomes all contributions and we are able to assist those without the resources to present articles in our preferred format. If in doubt, please phone the editor on (Australia) 0412 777 211 or international +61 412 777 211.

The following guidelines may appear tedious (and to an extent off-putting), however we ask that all prospective authors read them so that they understand fully what is and is not done in relation to publications in Monitor. Author's guidelines have also been formalised in order to prevent potential misunderstandings between contributors and Monitor and to legally protect contributors and the Victorian Herpetological Society in the event of copyright and other disputes.

Due to time constraints of the editor/s and those involved in the production of Monitor, we ask that all prospective authors read these guidelines and adhere to them as rigidly as possible. Articles and other material submitted that conforms to these guidelines will tend to be given precedence over those submitted that do not. It is suggested that upon completion of material to be submitted, the author re-read these guidelines, in their entirety, ensuring that what is being submitted is as consistent with these guidelines as possible, making corrections at this stage as necessary.

Monitor is a high quality publication and routinely cited by authors elsewhere. The format in which articles are produced conforms with accepted conventions while being as reader-friendly as possible. Articles, letters to the editor, etc. (including captions for illustrations, etc.) should be submitted in typed form (two hard copies) as well as on IBM compatible computer disk (see below). We can also accept material via e-mail under many circumstances, however contributors should enquire first with the editor, before sending articles in this manner. The editor can be contacted at adder@smuggled.com Authors should always retain copies of their articles on disk and hard-copy. As a rule hand-written material IS NOT accepted, but we will waive this rule if necessary.

Disk Formats Accepted: Our preferred format is for documents submitted as Microsoft Word 6.0. If authors have multiple save options available, it is asked that they attempt to save and send files to us in that format. We do however accept any format that can be successfully converted using Microsoft Word 6.0 or Word 7.0 (usually with Windows 95). These are Rich Text Format, Wordperfect 5.x, Word for ms-dos 3.x, 5.x, Word for Macintosh 4.0, 5.0, 5.1, Windows Write 3.0, 3.1. Do not send material as Pagemaker or Quark Xpress files.

Illustrations: Photos, diagrams can be submitted in almost any form, slide, print, B/W photo, etc. It is suggested that potential illustrations be sent with articles and letters at the same time. For all photos and illustrations we seek the following caption information:- Details of photo, etc. (caption), Photographer/producer (name). Because this will be printed with illustrations used, we seek this material to be submitted as hard copy text and on disk in the same manner as the articles themselves (as a separate file). When multiple photos/illustrations are used, these are to be numbered, with the numbers correlating with the captions. Contributors are asked to submit as many illustrations as possible for articles (photos, etc.) allowing the editors to use as many as is practicable (not all will necessarily be used). If one or more illustrations are deemed by the author to be of greatest importance, this should be indicated in a covering letter that accompanies the article. Obviously high quality images are more likely to be printed rather than those of poorer quality.

Fonts: Use a plain and commonly used font such as Times New Roman, Roman, Times, Arial (preferred) or similar. Avoid variations in sizes of letters in text or for headings. Do not vary font in the article. This includes headings. All headings and subheadings should be in capitals only. Author name and address details should be in lower case, except when capitals are used in the normal way for names and so on. If possible, centre all headings, subheadings and name and address details. All other text should be presented either justified or aligned left. Avoid use of bold type.

Measurements: The metric system is to be used only. If there is no metric means to give a particular measurement, then the SI system is to be used. Imperial measurement equivalents may be given in brackets in articles if the author chooses.

Style of writing: In preparing articles, all authors are advised to make the text as reader friendly as possible. It asked that unnecessary use of long or complicated words be avoided if/when there are simpler alternates. However we ask that text be as concise as possible without use of excessive and unnecessary words. Having said this, we ask that accuracy and/or specific detail of information not be sacrificed in order to appear reader-friendly. Authors are responsible for the factual accuracy of material submitted. If in any doubt of the accuracy of a given measurement, statement, etc., this should be indicated in the body of the text of the article.

Opinions: Authors are welcome to express their opinions on matters. However it is asked that at all times "facts" and "opinions" be readily delineated by the author, so that any reader can distinguish them.

Grammar and spelling: These should always be correct. If in doubt consult The Style Manual For Authors, Editors and Printers, Fifth Edition, published in 1994 by The Australian Government Publishing Service Canberra, ACT, Australia. As a rule we use English as opposed to American spelling, but this is not always enforced. For acronyms, e.g. NPWS, do not use full stops between letters. If acronyms are to be used, their full name is to be given in the first instance, giving the acronym in brackets, then simply use the acronym in the usual manner. For example .....National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).....NPWS.....For everyday acronyms, such as state names, time, etc, it is not neccessary to give their full name in the first instance.

Names and Scientific Names: Scientific names should always be in italics - no exceptions. Do not underline them. All species when first cited, should be first listed with their common/colloquial name (normal type), then scientific name in the first instance. Following this, one or other (only) may be used. Repeat scientific names may be abbreviated when there is no ambiguity (e.g. Litoria aurea becomes L. aurea). When there is no accepted common name for a species, then it is asked that a generalised descriptive term be used in lieu of a common name at the first mention of the species, after which the scientific name only be used. (e.g. small skink (Calyptotis ruficauda)). We seek initial use of a common or colloquial name so as not to alienate novice readers and allow them to more easily understand the content of articles.

Choice of names: For a given species it is asked that the most commonly used "common name" be used in preference to all others. Likewise for scientific names unless the article itself is of taxonomic nature and proposing or supporting changes. Where there are well-known alternates, it is asked that this be indicated at first time name is given (e.g. ...Antaresia (=Liasis) perthensis...or ....Antaresia (formerly Liasis) perthensis....) with the more recently accepted version given precedence (given first). Authors are asked take special care with spellings of scientific names as it is likely that the editor may not be familiar with the species being discussed.

Taxonomy - Rules: (Applicable to those who may be writing on taxonomic and nomenclatural matters). These should conform with those in the most recently published and effective "Rules" published by the ICZN. If in doubt, copies are held by most state museums in Australia, most major Universities, or can be purchased from ICZN, C/O The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London. SW7 5BD, United Kingdom.

Locations: Lat. Long. should be given for all locations cited in articles. For articles talking about a given geographical area (e.g results of a field trip), authors should consider submitting one or more maps. These maps must be free of copyright restriction and in a form that is 'camera ready'. We cannot manufacture maps here from generally available maps. Please realise however that Monitor has world-wide distribution and not all readers may be familiar with the subject area. Good atlases can be found in most major libraries.

Headings: Articles do not need to conform to a set number or style of headings, (such as introduction, material and methods and so on). However it is asked that longer articles (1,000 words or more) have the text broken into subsections by use of headings.

Citations: These guidelines are of utmost importance to all contributors. References are to be cited in the text in the usual manner, (author and year, as well as page number if necessary), with full citation in alphabetical order at the rear of the article, (refer to recent issue of Monitor for details (must be later than 10 (1)). Specific page numbers, if referred to, are always to be cited in the body of the article, NOT at the end. Books and publications cited, should always have the number of pages given in the final citation. In the case of books, the relevant edition number should be given if it is not a first edition. Do not use bold type for citations or part thereof. Some publications publish papers cited in text as numbers and listed at rear of paper numerically. Monitor does not do this - no exceptions. Papers submitted without proper information and/or incorrect citations will be returned to the authors for correction. No citations at the end of articles and papers should be listed as "ibid.". This is forbidden.

Personal Communications should be cited as name then date in the text of the article only, not at the end. Letters, tapes and documents should be cited in full at the end of the article in the usual manner. Personal letter citations, including those not addressed to authors, should have no italics.

Examples of citations: (in text) ....(Storr 1981)....(Hudson 1979, Storr 1981).....Cogger (1992)... (at end of paper)

Cogger, H. G. (1992) Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, Ed. 5. Reed, Chatswood, NSW, Australia:775 pp.

Hudson, P. (1979) On the breeding and birth of Death adders in captivity. Herpetofauna, 11(1):11-13.

Storr, G. M. (1981) The genus Acanthophis (Serpentes: Elapidae), Records of the Western Australian Museum, 9 (2): 203-210.

For multiple entries by the same author, please cite author name in each entry. Not all journals do this, but Monitor does. For multiple entries by the same author in the same year, they are to be cited and listed as "name"a"" and in chronological order of publication if known. (e.g. ....Hoser 1993a, 1993b).....).

Publications should not be abbreviated. In other words don't use things like Rec. W.A. Mus..

The following types of citation are STRICTLY FORBIDDEN:

'in press', 'in preparation', 'ibid'. These are not to be used in any circumstances!

Footnotes: Avoid use of them.

Tables and diagrams: When submitting on disk, please ensure that these are saved individually and as SEPARATE FILES on the disk/s - not on the same file as the article. Please specify format in which they are saved in the covering letter. Our preference is as word or Pagemaker importable files.(Compatible with Pagemaker 6.5 or earlier).

Acknowledgements: Please keep these brief. Do not cite every man and their dog. This section, if included should state what given persons have done, not the fact that you are grateful for it or any other subjective types of statement. Do not cite things like car company for making your car, your mother for giving birth to you, the local wildlife department for giving you a licence, BP for selling you petrol, etc.

Author details: With all material submitted, authors are asked to ensure that the following information be provided immediately following the title header of the article: Name, address for correspondence, phone number, fax number, and e-mail address. If any are unavailable, then please leave blank. All will be published unless the author specifies otherwise.

Author Summary: At the end of all articles, papers, etc., the author is asked to write two short sentences detailing their past in relation to herpetology or the subject of the article ("author summary"). The author is also asked to provide a recent head photo of themselves (or as near as possible similar) for possible publication in Monitor. When multiple authors are involved, it is asked that each do the same, however whether any of this is actually published rests with the editor, who must consider factors such as space and other matters. The "author summary" is to go after all other parts of the article including references, etc. and must also be submitted in the same format as the article itself (2 hard copies and on disk), best sent as part of end of article.

Subarticles: (Often called boxed articles): These are welcome. Authors should indicate what text is "boxed" at time of submission and they should be presented as a separate paper and separate file on disk. If by the same author, please do not submit author summary with subarticles.

Contentious Issues: Articles deemed by the editor to have controversial subject matter, legal ramifications or similar will as a matter of course be referred to the Victorian Herpetological Society President, and/or committee for comment prior to any publication. This is not to say they may not ultimately be published. Monitor welcomes letters (in the form of letters to the editor) and other comments from all interested parties on any relevant matter. However the Victorian Herpetological Society, as financier and publisher of Monitor, retains the right to veto or vett any publications without correspondence. For Contentious Issues, comments, etc, the contributor's guidelines are the same as above.

Refereeing: All papers will be refereed. This has been practice for Monitor for some time, but now refereeing guidelines have been formalised. The process should not be seen as a deterrent for prospective authors, but rather as an aid to getting material published (even if for the first time), by having competent reviewers tidy up what may otherwise be messy articles or for others to be seen as fine tuning an already competent paper. Referees are person/s deemed by the editor to have competence in the field covered by the submitted article. The role of the referee is to correct obvious mistakes and potential ambiguities only and if they deem necessary offer input as to potential improvements to the paper or article. Although the author is asked to incorporate most of the referees suggestions into the final draft of the article, this decision rests with the author. Referees have been asked to avoid being unnecessarily interventionist in their reviews of submitted work. They do not re-write papers.

Final decision to print any paper or article remains with the editor. Names of referees of papers and articles will be printed with the article (at end) on publication. Should an author wish a particular person/s not to referee their article or paper this should be indicated at time of first submission. No reason is sought or required to exclude a particular person as referee. The entire refereeing process has been made transparent to allow for improved accountability of the whole publishing process of Monitor as it maintains it's position as one of the world's pre-eminent herpetological publications.

Advertising: Under limited circumstances, Monitor will accept advertising. Consult this link (click here) if interested. Monitor promotes products and services it sees of benefit to readers, however if/when adverts, advertorials, etc., are printed, they are usually in such manner as to fill what would otherwise be blank space, such as at the end of articles. Monitor does not accept advertisements for sale of live reptiles or related products such as food. Whether or not adverts are accepted and/or printed is the editor's decision alone and it is final.

The publishing process:

  1. After material is submitted to Monitor a hard copy is passed on to a referee who indicates changes and improvements as they see fit. This may then be passed on to one or more other referees, although this is unusual.
  2. The marked paper is returned to the author to make final corrections.
  3. The corrected paper is returned to the editor along with the marked version.
  4. The editor then has the article proof read for typographical and style errors only.
  5. At both times the article is sent by contributor to the editor a disk must accompany hard copies (two hard copies at first time, one at second plus marked copy). Disks must contain same text details as the hard copies.
  6. The editor will send final page proofs to the author for final corrections only.
  7. The author returns final proofs with corrections marked. Monitor is published.
  8. Due to the number of separate authors involved it is essential that contributors return corrections, proofs, etc., at each stage as soon as possible after receipt.
  9. Authors should note that articles are not retyped prior to publication in Monitor, but rather taken straight from disk, through design program to final proof, hence the above process and requirements. It is also the most efficient way to do things at the present time.
  10. Following publication of Monitor, authors are allowed to copy their own papers for any legitimate purposes they see fit, providing Monitor remains cited as the source. This includes republication on the internet (only). For any other republishing of the papers, (except for private distribution) permission must be sought from the editor of Monitor. Prospective authors should note that papers from Monitor republished on the internet at http://www.smuggled.com may not conform with the requirements above and should therefore not be used as a guide for preparation of papers. Those papers do however provide a good indication of the sort of material published in Monitor.

These guidelines are published at http://www.smuggled.com/mongui1.htm. and may be downloaded by any person.

Submission of any material to Monitor is taken as consent to the following publishing terms and conditions:-

Monitor Editor's Address For Correspondence: Raymond T. Hoser (Editor Monitor), PO Box 599, Doncaster, Victoria, 3108, Australia. E-mail address: adder@smuggled.com

Within Australia: Phone: (03) 9812 3322 Mobile: 0412 777 211 Fax: (03) 9857-4664 International: Phone: +61 3 9812 3322 Mobile: +61 412 777 211 Fax: +61 3 9812 3355

All other inquiries re the Victorian Herpetological Society: Including Monitor subscriptions, distribution inquiries, etc, should be directed to: Brian Barnett, (President, Victorian Herpetological Society), 16 Suspension Street, Ardeer, Victoria, 3022, Australia. E-mail address: barnettb@ocean.com.au

Within Australia: Phone: (03) 9363-6841 Fax: (03) 93605-6704 International: Phone: +61 3 9363-6841 Fax: +61 3 9360-5704

Over Fifty Herpetological Papers - Downloadable in full.

Victorian Herpetological Society Home page

Non-urgent email inquiries via the Snakebusters bookings page at:

Urgent inquiries phone:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia:
(03) 9812 3322 or 0412 777 211