For Authors

IUCN WCPA PARKS: Guidelines for Lead Author(s) 

IUCN WCPA PARKS Authors Guidelines revised August 2017

PARKS aims and objectives 

PARKS is published electronically twice a year.

PARKS aims to: build global knowledge and best practice related to protected area management. Its objectives are to strengthen international collaboration in protected area development and management by:

• promoting understanding of the values and benefits derived from protected areas to governments, communities, visitors, business etc;

• ensuring that protected areas fulfil their primary role in nature conservation while addressing critical issues such as ecologically sustainable development, social justice and climate change adaptation and mitigation;

• serving as a leading global forum for the exchange of information on issues relating to protected areas, especially learning from case studies of applied ideas;

• publishing articles reporting on recent applied research that is relevant to protected area management;

• changing and improving protected area management, policy environment and socio-economic benefits through use of information provided in the journal; and

• promoting IUCN’s work on protected areas.


Criteria for peer-reviewed content 

PARKS accepts two types of contribution:

Peer-reviewed papers 

Non-peer reviewed articles: 1) Letters (a right to reply to articles etc) and 2) book reviews (if you wish to propose a book for review or to offer to review a book for the journal, please contact the Managing Editor in the first instance (


The Convention on Biological Diversity’s protected area targets and programme will provide a framework for defining the content of the journal. Papers accepted for publication should ideally focus on:

• field research that results in practical guidance for developing and managing protected areas; or

• papers which stimulate wide ranging debate, such as reviews of:

– major protected area system planning or management; or

– issues papers that result in original policy guidance regarding protected areas.

Purely theoretical studies without field application or research papers based in protected areas but with little or no management content (such as descriptions of newly-described species) are unlikely to be accepted. Papers to stimulate debate on new or forthcoming issues relevant to protected areas (i.e. think pieces without current field practice) will normally be specifically commissioned.

Papers submitted for publication should be evidence-based, using accepted methods (conventional science or Traditional Ecological Knowledge) or be based upon precise observations to support the conclusions. Papers should meet the guidelines for submission (see below) and will have to pass a peer review process before publication. Purely descriptive approaches are unlikely to be acceptable.

PARKS is currently only published in English, with French and Spanish abstracts.

Author responsibilities 

Lead authors should work closely with the PARKS Editors, who have the ultimate responsibility for the content of journal and the decision as to whether to publish submitted articles (following appropriate consultation with the Editorial Committee). Authors of articles do not have to be members of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas. Lead authors note:

1) Text must be consistent with IUCN Style Manual, key points of which are summarised below in the guidelines for submissions section.

2) Content should be of a consistently high professional standard and all claims must be verifiable.

3) The text, or substantial parts of the text, should not have been published in a peer reviewed journal elsewhere in English – we will however consider translations into English of articles that were published in another language.

4) The principal readership of PARKS is protected area specialists, researchers, students, policy makers and protected area managers from across the world, so articles should be written with this authorship in mind

5) Authors must be prepared to review and react to peer-review comments and revise texts accordingly.

6) A designed copy of the text will be sent to authors to proof, check and sign off before publication.

Guidelines for submissions 

1) Submission: All submissions should be via e-mail. Manuscripts should be in Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx files) with all embedded codes (i.e. from Endnote or other bibliographic software) converted to plain text.

2) Language: PARKS articles should be clearly written in “British English” as per IUCN house style (except for direct quotations) and use British English style (e.g. per cent instead of percent or % in text), free of jargon, and intelligible to readers, many of whom are not English mother-tongue speakers. Please use the term “protected area” in full and not as the acronym PA. Limited use of 1st and 2nd person is acceptable but if used please specify who is meant: for example if “we” is used specify at the first use (e.g. the authors, a project team etc)

3) Length: Articles may vary in length from brief case studies of a specific protected area management issue and solution (e.g. 1,000 words) to a longer review of policies or issues with regional examples (e.g. normally 6,000 words maximum including references), or a succinctly reported piece of relevant research (e.g. 4-5,000 words).

4) Abstract: Each article should have an abstract of no more than 200 words. This should encapsulate the main arguments and findings of the article. Abstracts will be translated into French and Spanish.

5) Author biographies: Please provide short biographies (of no more than 100 words) for each author.

6) Author details: Author names and affiliations and the email address of the corresponding author should be provided. All authors are encouraged to list their ORCID id. Authors without an ORCID id can obtain one at

7) Referencing: Articles should be fully referenced. All articles must use the Harvard system (i.e. text references should appear as (Stolton, 2012) or (Stolton & Dudley, 2012) or for multiple authors (Stolton et al., 2012). Reference lists should then be provided at the end of the article with full references being written in the following format: IUCN (2006). Progress and Assessment Report 2006. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. Please see pages 38+ of the IUCN Style Manual (see above) for more details and for referencing of journal papers, web pages, CD ROMS, etc. We welcome the addition of weblinks to publications in the reference list. Links to website which give more information about projects, sites, initiatives should be given as end notes. PARKS assigns DOI numbers to all papers; which means all references also need to include DOI numbers where available. Most journal papers prominently include DOI numbers, if you cannot find the number you can search the crossref system at:

8) Graphic content: a. Please provide if relevant up to six high quality photographs as JPEG or TIFF files (e.g. 300 dpi – image size 105 x 148mm) to illustrate your article. Permission should have been sought to publish all photographs and full credit details provided.

b. Please keep figures (graphs, data tables etc) to a maximum of five per paper.

c. All graphics (e.g. diagrams, charts, maps, figures) should be provided electronically in ready to publish format (quality should be at least 300 dpi) with permission to publish and credit details provided. . Landscape format is preferred.

d. Each graphic must be submitted in a separate file, not embedded in a text document. Captions and credits must either be submitted as separate documents or be included in the main manuscript.

9) Nomenclature: Use a species common name first followed by the scientific name in brackets and italics e.g. Otter (Lutra lutra). Common names should use capitals for all first letters e.g. Grey Pika. After one mention of the species’ scientific name, only the common name should be used. There are exceptions particularly with plants, for which common names, if they exist, are not universally recognized. In these cases, scientific names should be used throughout but only in full once within any section. For example, Microcryptorhynchis orientissimus, thereafter, M. orientissimus. When referring to a group of species with the same generic scientific name, this may be expressed as, for example, Varanus spp. Varanus sp. denotes only one species of Varanus.

10) Place names: Use accepted anglicised versions e.g. Rome, Moscow, Beijing.

11) Units: The SI metric system must be used, unless there is a compelling need to use another measurement system, in which case the SI equivalent must follow in brackets. Abbreviated unit names take lower case without full stops, for example cm, km, g, kg, ha; separate the unit name from the figure by one space. In prose, numbers are given in words from one to nine, in figures from 10 upwards (with commas to denote thousands), but use ‘million’ (e.g. 2.6 million, not 2,600,000) and ‘thousand million’ (not ‘billion’). Where monetary figures are given a US$ equivalent for the current period should be given.

12) Tables, Boxes, Footnotes: Tables should ideally be fairly short and columns contain text of equal length. Boxed text can be included but should be of no more than about 200 words per box. Endnotes should be kept to a minimum (a maximum of 10). Footnotes are not used.

Marc Hockings ( ), updated August, 2017