Guide for Student Authors:
Modified from the Animal Behaviour writing guidelines.
Animal Behaviour publishes papers by scientists conducting research at locations around the globe. Publication is, therefore, based upon mutual trust between publisher and authors. Professional integrity in the conduct and reporting of research is an absolute requirement as is a willingness to share information with other members of the scientific community. Consequently, as a condition of publication in Animal Behaviour, authors must agree both to honour any reasonable request for materials or methods needed to verify or replicate experiments reported in the journal and to make available, upon request, any data sets upon which published studies are based. Students failing to meet ethical standards of science can face failing grades in the course for which the work is presented.
Instructions for Authors
If ethical considerations arose in the course of the study, the author should describe in the manuscript (see Methods) how those considerations were addressed. For example, information needs to be provided on the following areas: housing and general maintenance, disposal of animals including release of wild-caught animals, culling of litters, techniques causing desertion, aggression, predation, use of live animals as food, parasitism, techniques or manipulations (e.g. physiological, pharmacological, genetic, blood and tissue sampling, use of anaesthetics and restraints, plumage alterations), trapping, marking, radiotagging, food or water deprivation, manipulation of diets and access to food, social deprivation, brood manipulations, environmental manipulations, conservation implications, details of licenses/permissions obtained for the study. If authors fail to include relevant information, we shall request a revision and resubmission of the paper. In exceptional cases, where unresolved ethical questions remain, the manuscript may be sent to review by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. In such cases, the decision as to whether the manuscript is accepted for publication remains with the Editor or, in the final instance, the Executive Editor.
Formatting of Text
Headings in the body of the manuscript should be brief. The usual main headings for Research papers are: Methods, Results, Discussion, Acknowledgments and References (Introduction is not used). Papers should not be forced to fit into this pattern of headings, however, if they do not naturally do so. Type main headings in capitals on a separate line and centre them on the page (note that Commentaries and Forum articles lack this heading type). Type subheadings at the left of the page and on a separate line, and begin the main words with a capital letter. Start sub-subheadings on a new line, aligned full left, and underline them. Start the text on a new line after subheadings and sub-subheadings. When presenting multiple experiments, authors may use main headings for the titles of each experiment, with the Methods and Results of each experiment listed as subheadings. Try to keep subheadings short enough to fit within a single column.
Parts of the Manuscript
Arrange manuscripts in the following order: title page, abstract, text, acknowledgments, references, appendices, tables, figure legends, figures.
The title page must include the following information.
The Abstract should describe the purpose of the study, outline the major findings and state the main conclusions. It should be concise, informative, explicit and intelligible without reference to the text. Abstracts should usually be limited to 250 words. Use both common and scientific names of animals at first mention in the Abstract unless they are given in the title. Avoid using references; if used, give the journal name, volume and page numbers.
The Introduction should be brief, not normally exceeding two manuscript pages. It should explicitly state the aims of the study and place it within the context of existing work. Keep references to a minimum by citing reviews rather than primary research papers where appropriate.
The Methods should be sufficiently detailed to allow someone else to replicate the study. Repetition of methodological details can sometimes be avoided by referring to previous studies, however. Give the names and addresses of companies providing trademarked products. Always state sample sizes (the number of animals used in the study) and the age, sex, breed/strain and source of animals. Full details of testing or observational regimes should be given. If captive animals were used, include details of housing conditions relevant to the study (e.g. cage size and type, bedding, group size and composition, lighting, temperature, ambient noise conditions, maintenance diets) both during the study and during any period before the study that might bear on the results. The Methods section may also contain a description of the kinds of statistics used and the activities that were recorded.
This section should include only results that are relevant to the hypotheses outlined in the Introduction and considered in the Discussion. The text should complement material given in Tables or Figures but should not directly repeat it. Give full details of statistical analysis either in the text or in Tables or Figure legends. Include the type of test, the precise data to which it was applied, the value of the relevant statistic, the sample size and/or degrees of freedom, and the probability level. Number Tables and Figures in the order to which they are referred in the text.
It is often helpful to begin the Discussion with a summary of the main results. The main purpose of the Discussion, however, is to comment on the significance of the results and set them in the context of previous work. The Discussion should be concise and not excessively speculative, and references should be kept to a minimum by citing review articles as much as possible.
For references in the text, give full surnames for papers by one or two authors, but only the surname of the first author, followed by 'et al.' for three or more (note that 'et al.' is not underlined). Check that all references in the text are in the reference list and vice versa, that their dates and spellings match, and that complete bibliographical details are given, including page numbers, names of editors, name of publisher and full place of publication if the article is published in a book. Check foreign language references particularly carefully for accuracy of diacritical marks such as accents and umlauts.
Cite references in the text as, for example, Fagen & Young (1978) or, if in parentheses, as (Murton 1963). Do not use commas to separate the author's name from the date. Use lower-case letters to distinguish between two papers by the same authors in the same year (e.g. Packer 1979a). List multiple citations in chronological order (e.g. Zahavi 1972; Halliday 1978; Arnold 1981a, b), using a semicolon to separate each reference. Cite references in the reference list in alphabetical, and then chronological, order according to the authors' surname and date. To help readers locate 'et al.' citations with the same first authors in the reference list, list references with three (or more) names after those with two, by date, as in the following sequence:
Marin & Silva 1992
Marin, Silva & Lopez 1986
Marin, Lopez & Silva 1989
Type references in the following form:
Bailey, N. J. 1981. Statistical Methods in
Biology. 2nd edn.
Emlen, S. T. 1978. The evolution of cooperative behaviour in
birds. In: Behavioural Ecology
(Ed. by J. R. Krebs & N. B. Davies), pp. 245-281.
Robinson, M. H. & Robinson, B. 1970. The stabilimentum of the orb web spider, Argiope argentata: an improbable defense against predators. Canadian Entomologist, 102, 641-645.
Smith, J. K. 1985. Investigations on a freshwater
crab. Ph.D. thesis,
Forum articles should include volume and part number and Web site address and be cited as:
Johnson, A. R. 1999. Scent marking in hyaenas: reply to Jones. Animal Behaviour, 57, F41-F43: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jnlabr/yanbe
Because of the ephemeral nature of many Web sites, other Web citations will be reviewed by the Editors to ensure they are appropriate.
For papers in the course of publication, use 'in press' to replace the date and give the journal name in the references. Cite unpublished manuscripts (including those in preparation or submitted), talks and abstracts of talks in the text as 'unpublished data' following a list of all authors' initials and surnames. Do not include these in the reference list.
Digital Object Identifiers
To facilitate cross-referencing of articles on the Web, the digital object identifier (DOI) for papers in Elsevier journals will now be included in their reference citation as follows:
Bradbury, J. W. & Vehrencamp, S. L. In press. Economic models of animal communication. Animal Behaviour, doi: 10.1006/anbe.1999.1330.
Jirotkul, M. 1999. Population density influences male-male competition in guppies. Animal Behaviour, 58, 1169-1175. doi: 10.1006/anbe.1999.1248.
The DOI of a cited paper can be found at the top of its title page. If authors are aware of a paper's DOI, it would be helpful if they could include it in their citation list.
Keep Tables as simple as possible and make them understandable without reference to the text. Type each table on a separate page. In addition:
Electronic supplementary material
Material that aids in the understanding or clarification of the printed article, such as video clips (AVI or MPEG), colour photographs (GIF or JPEG), sound recordings (WAV), or large data tables, may be provided to the professor with electronic access details provided in the text. The material will be considered to be part of a manuscript and will be reviewed as such.
Use footnotes only to add information below the body of a Table.
numbers of 10 or more as numerals except at the beginning of a sentence. Write
the numbers one to nine in words, unless they precede units of measure or are
used as designators. Quote times of day using the 24-hour clock without a break
or point in the middle and followed by 'hours'; e.g. '1515 hours'. Give years
in full; e.g. '1986-1987' and dates as
Units and abbreviations should conform to the Systeme International d'Unites. Avoid acronyms.
Means and standard errors/standard deviations (and medians and interquartile ranges/confidence limits), with their associated sample sizes, are given in the format X SE = 10.20 1.01 g, N = 15, not X = 10.20, SE = 1.01, N = 15.
For significance tests, give the name of the test followed by a colon, the test statistic and its value, the degrees of freedom or sample size (whichever is the convention for the test) and the P value (note that F values have two degrees of freedom). The different parts of the statistical quotation are separated by a comma.
If the test statistic is conventionally quoted with degrees of freedom, these are presented as a subscript to the test statistic. For example:
ANOVA: F1,11 = 7.89, P = 0.017
Kruskal-Wallis test: H11 = 287.8, P = 0.001
Chi-square test: x22 = 0.19, P=0.91
Paired t test: t12 = 1.99, P=0.07
If the test is conventionally quoted with the sample size, this should follow the test statistic value. For example:
Spearman rank correlation: rS = 0.80, N = 11, P 0.01
Wilcoxon signed-ranks test: T = 6, N = 14, P < 0.01
Mann-Whitney U test: U = 74, N1 = N2 = 17, P < 0.02
P values for significant outcomes can be quoted as below a
threshold significance value (e.g. P < 0.05, 0.01, 0.001), but
wherever possible should be quoted as an exact probability value. Departure
from a significance threshold of 0.05 should be stated and justified in the
Methods. Nonsignificant outcomes should be indicated
with an exact probability value, not as NS or P 0.05. Marginally
nonsignificant outcomes can be indicated as exact
probability values or as P < 0.1.
State whether a test is one tailed or two tailed (or specific or nonspecific in the case of Meddis' nonparametric ANOVAs). One-tailed (or specific) tests should be used with caution. Their use is justified only when there are strong a priori reasons for predicting the direction of a difference or trend and results in the opposite direction can reasonably be regarded as equivalent to no difference or trend at all. Authors are referred to Kimmel (1957, Psychological Bulletin, 54, 315-353).
Do not quote decimals with naked points, for example quote 0.01, not .01, or normally to more than three decimal places (the exception being P values for significance tests, which may be quoted to four decimal places where appropriate, e.g. 0.0001).
Regressions and analyses of variance. The significance of regressions should be tested with F or t but not the correlation coefficient r. R2 should be quoted with both regressions and parametric analyses of variance.
Multiple range tests. Unplanned multiple range tests following ANOVA should be avoided unless their appropriateness for the comparisons in question is verified explicitly. Authors are referred to the review by Day & Quinn (1989, Ecological Monographs, 59, 433-463).
Power tests. Where a significance test based on a small sample size yields a nonsignificant result, explicit consideration should be given to the power of the data for accepting the null hypothesis. Authors are referred to Thomas & Juanes (1996, Animal Behaviour, 52, 856-859) and Colegrave & Ruxton (2003, Behavioral Ecology, 14, 446-447) for guidance on the appropriate use of power tests. Providing a value for power based on a priori tests is preferred. Values of observed power are not appropriate. Authors should consider effect sizes and their confidence intervals in drawing conclusions regarding the null hypothesis.
Transformations. Where data have been transformed for parametric significance tests, the nature of the transformation and the reason for its selection (e.g. log x, x2, arcsine) should be stated.