Skip to main content Accessibility help
Instructions for authors

Editorial Policy

Journal of Paleontology publishes authoritative manuscripts on all aspects of paleontology, including systematics, phylogeny, paleoecology, paleobiogeography, biostratigraphy, taphonomy, and evolution. It emphasizes specimen-based research and features illustrations of the highest quality possible. Manuscripts treating all fossil organism groups are welcome, including invertebrates, vertebrates, plants, algae, and microorganisms of all sorts, as well as ichnofossils (trace fossils).

Manuscripts that demonstrate broad significance will be given a higher priority for acceptance, e.g., those that explain the significance of the findings in a broader context. Those that simply describe a single new taxon (particularly a single new species) have a low priority—a taxon that is simply new to science or newly reported in a region is not in itself sufficient justification for publication. Splitting faunas or floras into a series of short descriptive manuscripts is less desirable than a more comprehensive contribution. Manuscripts giving just a catalog of taxa and only limited application are also given a low priority. Assessing the significance of manuscripts is ultimately at the discretion of the editors.

The editors reserve the right to edit final versions of manuscripts to conform to standard journal style, format, and conciseness. Manuscripts deemed deficient in these aspects upon submission may be returned to the corresponding author without review.

Benefits of Publishing in the Journal of Paleontology

Authors do not pay page or publishing charges for regular articles, taxonomic notes, and memoirs (see Memoirs below) when the Paleontological Society retains the copyright of the article.

Journal of Paleontology covers the cost of uploading all supplemental files to Dryad, making this free for authors.

Authors must register new zoological taxonomic names on ZooBank, but the Journal takes on the responsibility of updating this information after publication. This removes extra burden from authors and ensures new names from Journal of Paleontology articles are always searchable online.

Each author will receive a PDF of their article for personal use and unlimited e-mail or personal distribution. However, without Open Access, authors cannot upload this PDF to file-sharing sites.

Authors who are members of the Paleontological Society receive a 50% reduced rate on Open Access articles (see Gold Open Access below).

The Journal of Paleontology is a Read and Publish journal! If your institution has a Read and Publish agreement with Cambridge University Press, you may publish your article gold OA at no cost to you, or with a discount for your article processing charge (APC). You can also enjoy access to all of the journal's content via Cambridge Core. Please click on this link for a list of eligible institutions and their specific agreements:


Questions and concerns should be directed to the Managing Editor, Jessica Kastigar at

Article Types


Articles submitted to the Journal should frame descriptions and discoveries of new fossils, fossil assemblages, and paleontological methods within a broader context. Typically, articles are a maximum of 20 printed pages (60 pages in a submitted manuscript).

Taxonomic Notes

Taxonomic Notes are usually for nomenclatural adjustments, normally to names previously published in the Journal of Paleontology. This is not a venue for petitions to overrule provisions in the codes of zoological or botanical nomenclature. Notes do not contain an abstract and should be no more than five printed pages (15 pages in a submitted manuscript, fewer when figures are included).


Memoirs are longer, comprehensive manuscripts that allow for thorough description of exceptional fossil assemblages. Manuscripts submitted to the Journal of Paleontology that exceed 20 printed pages (60 manuscript pages) will be evaluated as potential memoirs based on their content and length.

All memoirs are online-only. Requests for print copies must be made at the time of proposal submission. Costs incurred for printing and shipping will be the responsibility of the author.

To submit a memoir, please fill out our permission form and send it to All memoirs will be discussed by the Editorial Board before submission.

Memorial Essays

The Journal of Paleontology publishes occasional memorial essays commemorating the lives and professional contributions of recently deceased members of the Paleontological Society. In advance of writing and submitting a memorial essay, prospective authors should contact the Managing Editor ( to alert the Journal of the intention to write an essay, and to discuss parameters. As with all written contributions, the Journal of Paleontology reserves the right to edit or not publish the essay. When warranted by the stature of the deceased member, the Editors may reach out directly to prospective authors to solicit memorial essays.

Pre-submission Inquiry

If you are unsure if your manuscript is suitable for consideration in the Journal of Paleontology, you are welcome to submit a pre-submission inquiry consisting of a title page and an abstract. Please submit such inquiries to

Submitting Your Manuscript

Manuscripts must be complete at submission, containing all information necessary and ready for publication. Manuscripts found to be incomplete (e.g. mislabeled figures, incomplete references, not in journal style, etc.) will be returned without review for correction and resubmission.

All manuscripts are submitted through ScholarOne's management system. Information for manuscript submission for the Journal of Paleontology is available in the following documents.

  1. 1. JPA–Manuscript Formatting Template —Formatting requirements and template.
  2. 2. JPA–Systematic Paleontology —Guidelines for Systematic paleontology section.
  3. 3. JPA–Figure Requirements —Instructions for the formatting and style of figures.

For additional helpful information, please see the following documents.

  1. 4. JPA-Conventions and Style Guide Sheet —Formatting and style check sheet for article acceptance.
  2. 5.JPA-Reference Formatting —Examples of formatting style for common source types.
  3. 6.JPA–ZooBank Guide —Step-by-step guide to register a manuscript and new zoological taxonomic names on ZooBank.

Materials for Submission

You will need the following information to submit your manuscript to ScholarOne:


Must be informative and under 50 words.


Please limit abstracts to 250 words. All abstracts should be informative, stand-alone summaries that provide pertinent details of the research and conclusions. Itemize all new taxa and new combinations. Please do not include references.

Co-author(s) information

Please provide affiliation and contact information, including email and institutional addresses.

Cover Letter

A confidential cover letter can be uploaded as a separate .doc or .docx file or may be cut and pasted within the submission form. Outline why the manuscript is an important contribution, certify that the material is not under consideration by another journal, and confirm that all the authors have seen an approved version of the submission.

Conduct Self-Reporting Form

All papers submitted to Journal of Paleontology require one Paleontological Society conduct self-reporting form to be filled out and submitted for each author in the author list. These forms can be uploaded separately or all together in one file. Paleontological Society conduct self-reporting form.

Manuscript text

Please submit manuscript text (including references and figure and table captions) as a stand-alone MS Word .doc or .docx file. Manuscripts cannot contain appendices, tables, figures, images, or supplemental data files. These must be uploaded as separate file(s).


Please submit each table as an individual file in MS Excel (.xls or .xlsx) or MS Word (.doc or .docx) format. Each table must include a caption. Tables should be ordered as they are cited in the text. Tables may only contain text and numbers, and each column must include a heading.


For new submissions, figures must be clear, sharp, and appear as they should at publication. Any dpi is acceptable, as long as the figure is reviewable, and can be submitted as .tif, .eps, .pdf, and .jpg.

For publication, figures must be at their correct dpi (600 dpi or higher, based on the figure), submitted as either .tif or .eps, and the desired column width specified in the file name (ex: Fig1_Author_1col.tif). 

For in-depth information, please see our JPA-Figure Requirements Guide.

Color Figures

There is a production charge of $250 + VAT per figure for color printing. There is no charge for including color figures online; however, in manuscripts where color figures have been converted to gray-scale for print, the gray-scale figure must retain information that allows for independent interpretation. Submitting a color and gray-scale version of the same figure is not acceptable, and only one version of the figure will be used in Production.

Supplemental Materials

Material that is too long or too large, such as appendices that are longer than 3 printed pages (9 manuscript pages), or in a format unsuitable for print publication in the Journal of Paleontology can be submitted as Supplemental Data. Authors must upload all supplemental files to ScholarOne at submission.

Regardless of data type (image, text, data table, computer program code, video, etc.), all Supplemental Data files are referenced in the text of the manuscript in the same format as figures or tables and by sequential number, e.g., … Supplemental Data 1 …, or … (Supplemental Data 2).

Authors will eventually upload any necessary supplemental files to Dryad ( and include the doi that Dryad assigns to their Supplemental files as part of the information that is provided to ScholarOne before publication. This is at no cost to authors who publish in the Journal of Paleontology.

Editors reserve the right to request any supplied materials to be relabeled as supplementary and uploaded to Dryad instead of published with the manuscript.

Journal Style

The Journal will consider for review well organized manuscripts that conform to the Journal's formatting style, and it is the responsibility of the author(s) to ensure that the submitted version of the manuscript meets these requirements.

Manuscript Organization and Formatting

The JPA-Manuscript Formatting Template and the JPA-Conventions and Style Guide provide information about manuscript content, organization and style.

Systematic Paleontology

As of May 2, 2017, the Journal of Paleontology requires ZooBank Registration Numbers for all new taxa.

ZooBank ( is the official register of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN), and is used to record new zoological taxonomic names and their publications. 

Please download and follow the ZooBank Guide for how to register a Journal of Paleontology publication and our style for reporting the UUID (Universal Unique Identifier) provided by the site.

Stratigraphy and Geologic Time

The Journal uses units recognized by the International Commission on Stratigraphy. Authors may use regional stratigraphic names in addition to these, but local units must be defined/correlated within ICS on first use.

General Geologic and Scientific Usage

For general geologic and scientific usage, follow Suggestions to Authors of the Reports of the United States Geological Survey. Spelling of geologic terms will follow AGI Glossary of Geology

General Spelling and Grammar

The Journal uses standard United States English for spelling and grammatical conventions. For general usage, sentence structure, and punctuation, please follow The Chicago Manual of Style (seventeenth edition, 2017).

Bibliographic References

For the style of References section please see JPA–Reference Formatting. The Journal shares a reference style with the Geological Society of America.

A one-to-one correspondence must exist between works cited in the text and listed in the References. Authors are responsible for the accuracy of all citations. Please ensure that literature is cited in the text in chronological order, by the last name of the author(s) and the date of publication. For works with three or more authors, the last name of the senior author is followed by "et al."

Additional Editorial Policies

Specimen Repository Information

All illustrated and type specimens must be deposited in a publicly accessible, permanently curated museum or institutional repository and assigned unique catalog numbers. The status of additional material used must also be recorded. Museums and institutional abbreviations should be noted under the Repositories and institutional abbreviations subheading in the Material and methods section. Repository catalog numbers should be provided in the Holotype, Paratype, Type specimens, etc. subheading(s) in the Systematic paleontology section and the figure captions.

Locality Information

Locality information must be provided for all specimens and collections that are described, illustrated, or evaluated, especially when new collections are studied. Collecting sites can be recorded latitude-longitude, Universal Transverse Mercator, or other established coordinate systems. A generalized locality map or field photograph is not adequate for this purpose.

The stratigraphic context and position of all specimens and collections must be clearly defined. This information should be included in and summarized under the Occurrence heading within the Systematic paleontology section. More detailed geographic and stratigraphic locality information is best recorded in either an Appendix or as Supplemental Data. Reference to previously published stratigraphic and paleontologic studies may be sufficient in some cases.

It may be appropriate to exclude locality information in order to protect rare or exceptional collecting localities (e.g., protection of some vertebrate fossil sites) from unauthorized collecting or vandalism. In these cases, the locality information must be archived with the institutional collections and available to qualified researchers. It is recognized that precise geographic and stratigraphic information may not be available for certain older museum collections, even though such collections may have historic or systematic significance.

Required Permits/Permissions/Licenses

For localities that require them, collecting permits, permissions, and licenses for fieldwork should be listed in the Acknowledgments section.

Open Access Policies

Gold Open Access

Authors or their institution may purchase Gold OA for their article by paying an Article Processing Fee (APC) of $2,000 ($1,000 for Society members). This option allows authors to post and distribute the article (high-resolution e-book pdf reprint) freely once the article processing charge (APC) is paid in full and a final PDF of the article is available. In addition, articles with Gold Access will be free to anyone for download on all affiliated Paleontological Society Web Sites (currently the journal's member web pages at Cambridge Core, plus BioOne, and GSW). Gold Open Access articles will be published under the terms of the CC-BY- NC 3.0 license by default or CC-BY 3.0 license upon request.

Green Open Access Authors of all articles published in the Journal of Paleontology or Paleobiology may freely post (e.g., to personal and institutional web sites) and distribute freely the final accepted manuscript file (not the pdf of the published article) under Green Open Access, 12 months after its publication. Postings must include a link to the relevant article abstract online at Green Access fulfills the requirement of most funding agencies to make published results and data available to the public after a 12 month embargo period, but not before the 12 month embargo period has ended. Under no circumstances may the publisher's final version (online PDF or article) be posted or distributed under the terms of Green Open Access. All regular copyrights will apply. Please see our Green Open Access page for more information:

Author Language Services

Journal of Paleontology requires that manuscripts adhere to American English and grammar, and recommend that authors have their manuscripts checked by a native English-language speaker before submission. This ensures that submissions are assessed during peer review exclusively on academic merit. For authors seeking a language service, Cambridge University Press recommends its affiliate, American Journal Experts, which provides a discount for Journal of Paleontology authors. Use of third party language services, including American Journal Experts, is at the author's own expense.


Journal of Paleontology now requires that all corresponding authors identify themselves using their ORCID iD when submitting a manuscript to the journal. ORCID provides a unique identifier for researchers and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript submission and grant applications, provides the following benefits:

  • Discoverability: ORCID increases the discoverability of your publications, by enabling smarter publisher systems and by helping readers to reliably find work that you’ve authored.
  • Convenience: As more organisations use ORCID, providing your iD or using it to register for services will automatically link activities to your ORCID record, and will enable you to share this information with other systems and platforms you use, saving you re-keying information multiple times.
  • Keeping track: Your ORCID record is a neat place to store and (if you choose) share validated information about your research activities and affiliations.

If you don’t already have an iD, you’ll need to create one if you decide to submit a manuscript to Journal of Paleontology. You can register for one directly from your user account on Scholar One or via If you already have an iD, please use this when submitting, either by linking it to your Scholar One account or supplying it during submission by using the “Associate your existing ORCID ID” button.

Last updated 12th June 2019