Milvus Submissions

Welsh Ornithological Society

Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission’s compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.

Author Guidelines

1. Assistance with producing an article

Writing an article can be a daunting prospect, even if you have an idea for a piece that you think people would find interesting, or would provide useful information. Perhaps you have never written an article before. Perhaps you don’t know where to get data or find information. Perhaps you know where to get information but don’t have access. Perhaps you have data but aren’t confident with how to analyse it. If that doesn’t sound like you then please feel free to continue on to Section 2 – Overview. If that does sound like you then I want to offer some reassurance before you read any further.

Milvus is for anyone. A shopkeeper is as welcome to submit a manuscript as the most senior academic. These guidelines exist to provide a framework and consistent standards across published articles. But if you find the specifics daunting, help is always available. You can reach out to the Editor ( at any point to discuss your idea, ask for help with structure, content or resources, or to provide feedback.

Please note that submissions can be made via our online system (see the ‘Make a submission’ button, right, or the link at the top of this page) or via email. The Editor is more than happy to accommodate authors who may be unfamiliar with online submission systems.

These guidelines can also be downloaded here.

2. Overview

Article types

Papers for Milvus are welcomed by the Editor on any aspect of Welsh ornithology. The Society is keen that the journal should accurately reflect present ornithological activity in Wales. For a list of items suitable for publication, please see ‘2. Detailed requirements’.

Manuscript submission

Papers are accepted and published in either Welsh or English. All submissions should be sent to the Editor using the email address, above. Papers should not have been submitted to any other journal. In accordance with standard international practice, papers in Welsh should be supplied with captions to tables and figures in both Welsh and English and with an English summary. A Welsh summary for English papers will be arranged by the Editor if the authors are unable to produce one.

Preparation of manuscripts

The Editor is happy to advise on suitable topics and would welcome enquiries at an early stage. Please pay close attention to ‘3. Detailed Requirements’.

Please write in a readable style that avoids complications, jargon and pomposity. All papers will be reviewed by the Editor and at least one independent referee. Comments made by the referee will be passed on to the author(s) to consider whether any changes are required. If the referee and the author(s) disagree on any proposed changes, the Editor’s decision will be final.

Species names

Milvus follows IOC World Bird Names for taxonomy and nomenclature, as can be seen in the Welsh Bird List. Species names in English or Welsh should be capitalised. For example “Red Grouse” not “Red grouse”.  Similarly, non-avian species should be capitalised, for consistency.

Scientific names should be in italics, with the second part in lower case, so Lagopus lagopus. The first time any species is mentioned in the paper, the English or Welsh name should be followed by the scientific name in brackets in the first instance. For example: “This paper report on a study of Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus) on a moor in …”.

Submission-to-publication workflow

The review stage

When an article is submitted, it is assigned to the Editor or a member of the Editorial Board who will then send it to at least one independent reviewer for their thoughts and feedback. When the review is received, the assigned editor will consider the feedback. Sometimes manuscripts are accepted in the first instance and sometimes changes are required. Authors will be advised of the status of their paper by the assigned editor. There are four broad categories:

Accept – There are no substantial issues with the work and it can be taken forward for publishing. Note that the work may still be subject to editing during the proofing stage (see below).

Minor revisions – There are some, minor issues that require attention, but there are no major issues.

Major revisions – The work requires substantial attention if it is to be considered for publication. Major revisions are typically requested where there are extensive issues with the text, or the analyses need to be reconsidered (for example). 

Reject – The work contains one or more substantial errors such that it requires a great deal of attention if it is to be considered for publication. 

This stage typically takes 2-4 weeks, depending on reviewer availability and other commitments. 

The resubmission stage

If the work requires some additional work by the authors then it will be returned to the corresponding author, noting the changes that need to be made if the work is to be considered for publication. The author will be asked to submit an amended version that may or may not be sent for further review, depending on the nature of the initial decision (e.g. a paper subject to major revisions is more likely to be sent for a second round of reviews than one subject to minor revisions).

When resubmitting a paper, the author(s) should submit their amended manuscript, along with a detailed response to the more substantive reviewer comments (please contact the Editor if you have any questions). If the author(s) and the editor cannot agree on changes, either part may withdraw the paper from consideration for publication in the journal.

The duration of this stage varies considerably, depending on the extent of the required changes (if there are any) and the potential need for further review.

The copy editing stage

After acceptance, the work will be taken forward for copy editing. This stage involves the assigned editor checking the spelling, language, grammar and structure (e.g. format of references) of the work. The corresponding author will then be provided with a copy edited version of the text and asked to respond to the editor’s decisions. This typically involves accepting or rejecting proposed changes and providing further information or comments, where appropriate. If the author(s) and the editor cannot agree on changes, either part may withdraw the paper from consideration for publication in the journal.

Once the final text has been agreed, the paper will be forwarded to our typesetter who will format the work and all elements thereof into the final format for publishing.

This stage typically takes 2-4 weeks.

The publishing stage

At this stage, a pdf of the final paper will be sent to the corresponding author and published online at in the first instance. Published articles will be collected and published in hard copy in June/July of each calendar year. Hard copies are provided to members of the Welsh Ornithological Society and can be purchased from same. Authors are not entitled to a hard copy of the journal if they are not WOS members.

We aim to publish articles online within 2-4 weeks of final copy editing

3. Detailed Requirements

Article types

All articles must contain a cover page with the following details, irrespective of category:

The full title of the manuscript

  • The full names and affiliations/addresses of all authors
  • The email address of the corresponding author
  • A short running title (max. 50 characters)
  • A maximum of five key words. Key words are words or short (two-word) phrases that define the content of the work. Ensure that key words do not repeat those given in the title.

Original Research

These are full-length papers limited to 5000 words, excluding references and figure legends. Papers focus on empirical and theoretical research in all areas of ornithology in Wales. Submissions of Original Research must contain the following:

  • An abstract of no more than 300 words
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Acknowledgments
  • Ethical statement
  • References
  • Tables
  • Figures

Short Communication

These are limited to 2500 words, excluding references and figure legends, and no more than three display items (tables/figures). A Short Communication is suitable for brief reports of observations of interest including novel behaviour and species identification, notes on methods or equipment, or work based on small sample sizes.

Due to the flexible nature of this category, there are fewer guidelines regarding structure. However, all Short Communications must contain the following:

  • An abstract of no more than four sentences
  • Introduction
  • Acknowledgments
  • References

Short Communications based on experimental data must include an ethical statement.

Please contact the editor if you have any questions about the suitability of a piece for this category.


A Review represents a comprehensive summary on a topic of relevance to Welsh birds and associated conservation, management and/or policy. Reviews are limited to 6000 words. We particularly encourage submissions from members of government and non-government agencies.

Due to the nature of this category, there are fewer guidelines regarding structure. However, all Reviews must contain the following:

  • An abstract of no more than 300 words
  • Introduction
  • Acknowledgments
  • References

Please contact the editor if you would like to discuss an idea for a review.

Forum Article

A Forum Article is a concise discussion of a topic of relevance to Welsh birds. Forum Articles are limited to 3000 words and are not expected to be as comprehensively referenced as a Review. Forum Articles might focus on recent papers in Milvus or elsewhere, government policy, or a conservation need. They can also be factually-based (and fully referenced) opinion pieces.

Forum articles must contain an abstract of no more than 200 words.

4. Submission policy

Submissions are made via the online system (preferred) or via email to the Editor. Submission is considered on the condition that manuscripts are previously unpublished, are not offered simultaneously elsewhere, and that all contributors have read and approved the content. Authors may post the submitted version of their manuscript to non-commercial servers at any time. Authors should update any pre-publication versions with a link to the final published article.

Submitted manuscripts will be acknowledged automatically and assigned a unique manuscript number, which must be quoted in correspondence. Manuscripts are refereed, although the journal reserves the right to reject manuscripts without review.

5. Ethics

Authors of papers submitted to Milvus are expected to act within the standards and procedures laid down by Welsh and UK legislation. They must ensure they have the necessary licences and permits for the activities described in the paper.

Authors are expected to have proper regard for conservation considerations and best practice in work with wild or captive animals. Attention is drawn to the ‘Guidelines for the Use of Animals in Research’ published regularly in the journal Animal Behaviour (Animal Behaviour 2006, 21:245-253) and the specific guidance provided by ASAB/ABS for submissions to Animal Behaviour. In particular authors should consider the potential impacts of disturbance, trapping, and manipulations such as marking or tagging on their study animals and provide details in the paper on how these aspects have been dealt with. Papers will not be accepted if they are based on work involving cruelty to animals or if the work may have put at risk endangered populations, species or habitats.

6. Conflict of interest

The Welsh Ornithological Society requires that all authors disclose any potential sources of conflict of interest. Any interest or relationship, financial or otherwise, that might be perceived as influencing an author’s objectivity is considered a potential source of conflict of interest. These must be disclosed when directly relevant or indirectly related to the work that the authors describe in their manuscript. Potential sources of conflict of interest include but are not limited to patent or stock ownership, membership of a company board of directors, membership of an advisory board or committee for a company, and consultancy for or receipt of fees from a company. The existence of a conflict of interest does not necessarily preclude publication in this journal.

As part of the submission process, the corresponding author must confirm whether or not a conflict of interest exists with any listed co-authors. If the authors have no conflict of interest to declare, they must also state this at submission.

7. Promoting your paper

The Welsh Ornithological Society actively promotes papers in Milvus. We carry highlights of each issue on the WOS website, with featured papers also included in our e-newsletters. All Milvus papers also feature on Twitter (@birdsinwales).

We also feature papers from Milvus on the WOS blog. We encourage authors to write a blog as this is a fantastic opportunity to promote your research and the paper in a style and language that is more accessible to a wider audience. This should take the form of a non-technical summary of your paper, or an interesting story from the fieldwork that led up to the paper, in fact anything related to your paper. You can include photos, graphics and links to any online videos or sound files. Blog posts should be no longer than 500 words.

8. References

Please use the Harvard system. This is in two parts, the names(s) of the author(s) and the year in the text, and the full details of the reference in an alphabetical reference list. A short summary is given here. Further details can be found on the web; for example the Cardiff University Harvard Referencing Tutorial at:

Note that “the Harvard System” refers to a general style, and there can be variations between different publications using this style. Please use the forms noted here, or if something is not covered here, use the format given in the tutorial mentioned above. You can also use this reference generator:

In the text

Please use the following format:

Single author: where the author’s name is included in the text, use Author’s surname then date in parenthesis. For example

“Jones (2014) stated that Red Grouse ….”.

Alternatively, the author’s surname and the date can be put in parenthesis , thus:

“Red Grouse are said to be in rapid decline in western parts of Wales (Jones 2014).”

Note that there is no comma between the author’s name and the date here.

Two authors: follow the same format, with “and” (not  “&”) between the two surnames; thus: “Jones and Smith (2015) stated that .”.

Three or more authors: give the surname of the first author mentioned, followed by et al.

“Jones et al. (2016) found that … “


In the References section

 Use the following format for the reference list:

Articles in printed periodicals

Single author: use the format [Author’s surname], [Author’s forenames or initials]. [Year]. [Title of paper]. [Title or abbreviated title of periodical, in italics] [volume number] [issue number in parenthesis]: [page numbers, preceded by “pp.” or by “p.” if a single page].

For example:

Jones, P.A. 2014. A survey of Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus) in the Migneint 2010-2013. Journal of Grouse Ecology 21(1):  pp. 123-139.


More than one author: include the names of all the authors in the order in which they appear in the paper, with “and” (not &) before the last  author. For example:

Jones, P.A. and Smith, F.G. 2015. [Title etc.]

Jones, P.A., Smith F.G. and Brown, M. 2014. [Title etc.]


Journal titles may be abbreviated according to The ISI list of abbreviations this is on line at

If in doubt, give the title in full.

Articles published on a database or website

Use the format as regards author(s), year and title of the article. The title should be followed by “[online]”, then the volume and page numbers. These should be followed by “Available at” then the URL and then [Date accessed]  For example:

Jones, P.A. 2015. Comparative population densities of Black Grouse in Norway, Sweden and Finland. Journal of European Grouse Studies [online] 15 (2): pp. 148-167. Available at  [Accessed 3 January 2017]


Use the format Author(s). Year. Title of book (in italics).  Place of publication: Publisher.

For example:

Watson, A. and Moss, R. 2008. Grouse. London: Collins.

Edition should be noted only if your reference is not from the first edition of the book. For example:

Watson, A. and Moss, R. 2017. Grouse. 2nd ed. London: Collins.

9. Figures, tables & photographs


Place each figure on a separate page, with a concise legend below. All lettering and symbols must be clear and easy to read. Legends should provide enough details for the figure or table to be understood without reference to the main text. Information (e.g. keys) that appear, in the figure should not be duplicated in the legend unless an explanation is necessary.

Figures should adhere to the following aesthetics, accounting for the composition of the figure:

  • Black text, axes and axis tick marks
  • Bold axis titles
  • No plot title
  • Use the same font face and size as the main text unless absolutely necessary
  • No background
  • Horizontal or vertical bars should be in light grey, if used
  • Colours, if used with multi-level data (e.g. two species) should distinguish between data and must consider colour-blind readers 

Figures in initial submissions may be inserted into the document at <300 dpi and using any file format (e.g. jpg). However, finalised figures for publication must be at least 300 dpi and in jpg, pdf or png format.


Place each table on a separate page, with a concise title at the top and short explanatory notes below. A Table should be understandable on its own. Please minimize the use of dividing lines. Use 0 for a zero reading, – for a missing value. All lettering and symbols must be clear and easy to read. Titles should provide enough details for the figure or table to be understood without reference to the main text. Information (e.g. keys) that appear, in the figure should not be duplicated in the legend unless an explanation is necessary.

Tables should adhere to the following aesthetics, accounting for the composition of the table:

  • 5pt top and bottom borders
  • 1pt bottom border to the top line
  • No other dividing lines unless absolutely necessary
  • Use the same font face and size as the main text unless absolutely necessary


Please submit any photographs in preferably raw, tiff or png format of at least 300dpi.

Copyright Notice

We, [the author(s)] by signing this form hereby assign worldwide copyright of the Work in all forms and media (whether now known, or hereafter developed), in all languages for the full term of copyright and all extensions and renewals thereof.

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