Style Guidelines for The Chat
The Chat publishes the contributions of many different authors, but attempts to maintain some uniformity of style, hence the need for these style guidelines. Please make an effort to follow these guidelines in preparing a manuscript for submission. The editor will be happy to assist you with any questions you may have.
The Chat generally follows the recommendations of Scientific Style and Format: The CBE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers, 6th ed., Cambridge University Press, 1994. In some cases where the recommendations of the CBE manual differ from the practice of other ornithological journals such as The Auk, The Chat may follow the example of another journal.
This guideline document summarizes some fine points upon which people differ, and describes The Chat's policy on them. It does not by any means summarize the entire 825 pages of the CBE manual. The editor continues to refine this document, so if you have a question or an objection on a point of style, please feel free to discuss it with me. This document represents an ideal and looks to the future. In past issues of The Chat, you may find examples where these guidelines were not followed. Do not take such examples as models.
Hyphenation (CBE section 4-31)
Use hyphens in compound modifiers where the second element is a past or present participle, e.g., well-established rules of conduct; a well-known scientist; all-encompassing
Don't use hyphens when the modifier is a predicate modifier and the first element is an adverb, e.g., the rules are well established. He was well known for his research.
Use hyphens in spelled-out fractions. One-third of the population.
Ampersand (CBE section 4-41)
Don't use ampersands except where one is part of a proper name. Fish & Wildlife Service.
In the more telegraphic style used in Briefs for the Files, & is accepted to connect names of people: Jay & Robin Smith.
Possessives (CBE section 5-35)
The Chat's. Note that the name of the publication is in italics, but the apostrophe and the “s” are not.
Italics (CBE section 9-2)
Italicize titles of books or other complete documents.
Italicize the letter or number in text that refers to the corresponding character in an illustration.
Quotation Marks (CBE section 9-12)
Use the “British style” for positioning quotation marks in relation to other punctuation marks. “All signs of punctuation used with words in quotation marks must be placed according to the sense. If an extract ends with a point or exclamation or interrogation sign, let that point be included before the closing quotation mark; but not otherwise.”
He saw the ecological effects as “an utter disaster”. Not the “American style”: He saw the ecological effects as “an utter disaster.”
If the quotation is a complete sentence ending with a period, the period is inside the closing quotation mark: He said “The ecological effects are an utter disaster.”
Ellipses (CBE section 9-14)
Ellipses are 3 periods separated from each other and adjacent characters by single spaces, used to indicate an omission in quoted text. If an ellipsis is at the end of the sentence, the fourth period is the sentence's period.
Don't use dashes or asterisks to indicate omissions.
Abbreviations (CBE chapter 10)
The CBE recommends that abbreviations should not, in general, be followed by or include periods. The Chat will use a less extreme approach to abbreviations.
Periods should not be used in abbreviations that are essentially a string of first letters of words: BC PhD DNA PM NWR CBC WMA.
Periods should not be used in abbreviations of units of measure.
Abbreviations of state or country names should generally use postal codes: NC, SC, but periods can be used when the abbreviation occurs in a proper name in which periods are customarily used. For names of organizations or institutions, usage should follow that of the organization or institution: N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation, S.C. Department of Natural Resources but NC State University. FWS, not F.W.S., but U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, not US Fish & Wildlife Service.
Periods should be used with initials in personal names. Commas may be used before or after abbreviations representing parts of personal names: Harry E. LeGrand, Jr.
Periods should be used in abbreviations that are partial shortenings of words: pers. comm., or where one or more, but not all, words in a phrase are abbreviated: L. Jordan.
The metric system is the preferred system of measurement. However, The Chat will accept use of English measurements.
Numerals and words (CBE section 11-2)
CBE recommends that in scientific writing, numbers should be written using numerals rather than words in nearly all cases. However, The Chat will use a less extreme guideline more similar to that used in The Auk and The Condor:
Spell out numbers one to nine unless they represent a measurement. Use numerals for all numbers 10 or greater. Examples: three birds, 6 mm, 3 days (three birds is a count, not a measurement, while 6 mm and 3 days are measurements of distance and time). If a number is in a series with at least one number being 10 or more, then use all numerals (e.g. 6 males and 13 females, not six males and 13 females).
Don't use numerals to begin a sentence: Twenty species were seen. not “20 species were seen.” Preferably try to find a different wording that avoids either form.
Don't use two adjacent numbers. Example: the study was conducted over fourteen 25-mile survey routes, not 14 25-mile survey routes.
Format of Numbers (CBE sections 11-3,6)
Numbers of less than 5 digits have no commas: 8432. Larger numbers are marked off with commas into groups of 3 digits: 23,528.
Use a 0 before the decimal point for numbers smaller than 1.0: 0.05 not .05.
Use numerals and a % sign for percentages. 8% not eight percent.
Time units (CBE section 12-1)
Use these abbreviations for time units: hour hr minute min second sec. Do not abbreviate day, week, month, or year. (This standard is not exactly the same as recommended by CBE).
Time units are abbreviated when used with a numeric measure: The bird was observed for 2 min, but are spelled out otherwise: The bird was observed for several minutes (not several min).
Clock time (CBE section 12-2,3)
The preferred time format is the 24-hour clock, however The Chat will also accept 12-hour clock times. Use a colon to separate the hour and minutes in either system: 03:25 15:00.
Dates (CBE section 12-9)
CBE recommends that dates should be in the format of year month day in scientific writing. However, in The Chat and other ornithological journals, the preferred format for dates is day month year: 1 Jan 2004. The Chat will also accept the American format of month day, year: Jan 1, 2004.
Literature citations (CBE Chapter 30)
The format of literature citations used by The Chat follows almost exactly that of The Auk and The Condor, and is also substantially similar to CBE recommendations.
Literature citations in text should follow the format of these examples:
- One author: Crow (1998) or (Crow 1998).
- One author, multiple publications: Crow (1998, 2003) or (Crow 1998, 2003).
- One author, multiple publications in same year: Crow (2003a, 2003b) or (Crow 2003a, 2003b).
- Two authors: Crow and Falcon (2002) or (Crow and Falcon 2002).
- Three or more authors: Crow et al. (2003) or (Crow et al. 2003). In the Literature Cited section, list all authors.
- Materials without a publication date: Crow (in press), Crow (pers. comm.).
- In parenthesized citations of multiple authors, order chronologically and separate by semicolon: (Quayle 1988; Crow 1998, 2003; Falcon 1999).
Each cited reference (and only cited references) must be listed in the Literature Cited section, following the format of these examples. Titles of papers and books are capitalized “sentence-style”. Journal names are not italicized, and should be fully spelled out, although a leading article should be omitted (Chat or Auk, not The Chat or The Auk).
Fiala, K. L. 1981. Sex ratio constancy in the Red-winged Blackbird. Evolution 35:898-910.
LeGrand, H. E. Jr. and J. S. Pippen. 2003. First record of the Western Flycatcher complex in North Carolina. Chat 67:96–100.
Three or more authors
Post, W., N. Dias, and D. A. McCallum. 2003. Verification that the Chuck-will's-widow occurs in winter in South Carolina. Chat 67:100–101.
Potter, E. F., J. F. Parnell, and R. P. Teulings. 1980. Birds of the Carolinas. The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill.
Fiala, K. L. 1981. Reproductive cost and the sex ratio in Red-winged Blackbirds. Pages 198–214 in Natural Selection and Social Behavior (R. D. Alexander and D. W. Tinkle, Eds.). Chiron Press, New York & Concord.
American Ornithologists' Union. 1998. Check-list of North American Birds, 7th ed. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, DC.
American Ornithologists' Union. 2003. Forty-fourth supplement to the American Ornithologists' Union Check-list of North American Birds. Auk 120:923–931.
Birds of North America (1-40)
Confer, J. L. 1992. Golden-winged Warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera). In The Birds of North America, no. 20 (A. Poole, P. Stettenheim, and F. Gill, Eds.). Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, and American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, DC.
Birds of North America (41-480)
Jones, P. W., and T. M. Donovan. 1996. Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus). In The Birds of North America, no. 261 (A. Poole and F. Gill, Eds.). Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, and American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, DC.
Birds of North America (481-716)
Mowbray, T. N., C. R. Ely, J. S. Sedinger, and R. E. Trost. 2002. Canada Goose (Branta canadensis). In The Birds of North America, no. 682 (A. Poole and F. Gill, Eds.). Birds of North America, Philadelphia.
Tables (CBE section 31-4)
The format of tables and figures used by The Chat follows almost exactly that of The Auk and The Condor, and is also substantially similar to CBE recommendations.
A table title:
- is at the top of the table.
- begins with the word Table followed by a sequential number and a period.
- is capitalized sentence-style.
- can contain multiple sentences. Always ends with a period.
- has the same type-face as body text.
Figures (CBE section 31-23)
A figure legend:
- is at the bottom of the figure.
- begins with the word Figure followed by a sequential number and a period.
- is capitalized sentence-style.
- can contain multiple sentences. Always ends with a period.
- has the same type-face as body text.
When referring to a figure, use the word Figure or Figures in open text, but the abbreviation Fig. or Figs. in parenthetical references. In citations of figures from another work, write "figure" in lowercase (e.g. “figure 2 in Smith (1980)”.
Capitalize the common names of bird species, when the name is the full standard name as listed in the AOS checklist or other authoritative list. Do not capitalize names that are not complete species names. Examples: Many Herring Gulls were at the point. Many gulls were at the point.
Spell species names out fully. The only exception is that in the more telegraphic style of Briefs for the Files, shortened names may be used where the formal name has already been given: UPLAND SANDPIPER: The only Uppies found this summer involved singles at the Orangeburg, SC Sod farm.
Italicize genus and species names, but not any higher taxon. Always do this, even in the title of an article.
But when the species name is in a title that itself must be italicized, italicize all of the title except for the species name (reverse the italicization). His life's work was The Ascent of Homo sapiens: A New Look.
Punctuation adjacent to italicized words is not italicized. For example, in Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens), the parentheses around the scientific name are not italicized.
When a species name is first used in a document, spell out the genus and species. Later, the genus name may be abbreviated to its initial letter.
In a few cases, e.g. “buteo”, a scientific name has become established in the language as an informal common name. Such uses should not be italicized, but they also must not be capitalized.
For bird species occurring in North and Middle America, The Chat uses the taxonomy of the most recent edition of the AOS [formerly AOU] Check-list of North American Birds and its supplements.
Standardization of bird names
The Chat endeavors to be consistent in nomenclature. For names not covered by the AOS Check-List (species not occurring in the AOS area, or non-species taxa), The Chat follows the current The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. Consult the Clements checklist for exact nomenclature, but here are some examples of common cases of non-species nomenclature.
|Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's)||NOT Audubon's Warbler nor “Audubon's” Yellow-rumped Warbler nor “Audubon's” Warbler|
|Great Blue Heron (White form)||NOT Great White Heron nor Great “White” Heron nor “Great White” Heron nor Great Blue Heron (white morph) nor Great Blue Heron (white phase)|
|Red-tailed Hawk (Krider's)||NOT Krider's Red-tailed Hawk nor “Krider's” Red-tailed Hawk|
|Mallard (Domestic type)|
|Mallard x American Black Duck (hybrid)|
|Brewster's Warbler (hybrid)||NOT Brewster's Warbler nor “Brewster's” Warbler|