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Instructions for contributors
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).


Questions and concerns should be directed to Peer Review Administrator, 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.


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 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 submissions 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.
  1. 2. JPA–Conventions and Style Guide Sheet—Formatting and style check sheet for article acceptance.
  1. 3. JPA–Systematic Paleontology—Guidelines for Systematic paleontology section.
  1. 4. JPA–Figure Requirements—Instructions for the formatting and style of figures.
  1. 5. JPA–Reference Formatting—Examples of formatting style for common source types.

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 and certify that the material is not under consideration by another journal and that all the authors have seen an approved version of the submission.

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 Word MS Excel (.xls or .xlsx) or (.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.


Figures must be submitted in desired orientation at final size, at single- (9 cm) or double- (18 cm) column width, maximum height of 28 cm. Please specify figure width (1 or 2 column) in your figure file names, e.g., Fig1_Author_1col.tif

Figures must have a resolution of 600 dpi or higher. Line drawings should be submitted at 1200 dpi.

TIFF files are recommended for all submitted figures; however, Journal of Paleontology can also accept .eps and .jpeg files. Please see our JPA-Figure Requirements Guide.

Color Figures

Color figures of specimens should only be used in cases where the color/hue is scientifically significant. For fossil material, high-contrast, gray-scale (b&w) photographs of are preferable.

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.

Supplemental Materials

Material that is too long or too large, or in a format unsuitable for print publication in the Journal of Paleontology can be submitted as Supplemental Data.

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 at figures or tables, by sequential number, e.g., … Supplemental Data 1 …, or … (Supplemental Data 2).

Authors should 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.

Journal Style

The Journal will consider for review well organized manuscripts with internally consistent style that do not conform to the Journal's formatting, however, before any manuscript can/will be accepted, it is the responsibility of the author(s) to ensure that the final version of the manuscript is in the style and format of the Journal.

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

May 2, 2017 - New Requirement. Journal of Paleontology now requires ZooBank Registration Numbers for all new taxa.

Please download and follow the style guide for systematic paleontology JPA-Systematic Paleontology.

Stratigraphy and Geologic Time

The Journal uses units recognized by the International Commission on Stratigraphy. Author's may use regional stratigraphic names in addition, 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 use standard United States English for spelling and grammatical conventions. For general usage, sentence structure, and punctuation, please follow The Chicago Manual of Style (sixteenth edition, 2010).

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 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. Repository catalog numbers need to be noted under the Holotype and Material headings within the Systematic paleontology section and 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.

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 Allen Press, 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 an 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.

Author Language Services

Cambridge University Press recommends that authors have their manuscripts checked by a native English-language speaker before submission; this will ensure that submissions are judged during peer review exclusively on academic merit. We list a number of third-party services specializing in language editing and/or translation, and suggest that authors contact as appropriate. Use of any of these services is voluntary, and at the author's own expense.