Guidelines for Case preparation

(for specifics on manuscript formatting please consult Instructions for Authors)

Why follow the Guidelines?
These guidelines provide detailed instructions on how to write an application to the Commission. An application is, by its nature, a relatively formal document, unlike many scientific papers, and should be presented in a consistent manner that allows the Commission to vote on a clearly formulated proposal(s). English is the official language of the Bulletin, with preference for British written conventions. Applications and correspondence relating to applications to the Commission should be sent to the Executive Secretary at the address given on the inside of the front cover and on the Commission website (iczn[at] All applications should be submitted electronically, either by e-mail, or on CD, with an accompanying letter addressed to the Executive Secretary.  Your application should be supported by photocopies (or scanned images) of relevant pages of the main references, particularly of the original references to the names to be placed on Official Lists or Indexes (unless you are working under extenuating circumstances). You may send these under separate cover from the application, if need be.

What happens next?

The ICZN bylaws are very specific on further procedure to ensure adequate consideration of all cases. The Commission votes on applications a minimum of eight months after they have been published, although this period is normally extended to enable comments to be submitted. In all new applications for questions involving the use of the plenary power, a vote of the Commission shall be deemed to be complete when a period of three months has elapsed from the dispatch of the voting paper and when votes have been received from at least one fourth of those who were members on the date of dispatch.  In questions involving additional details or corrections of factual errors regarding authors and dates, or second votes not involving further use of the plenary power, a vote of the Commission shall be deemed to be complete when one month has elapsed from the dispatch of the voting paper and when votes have been received from at least one fourth of those who were members on the date of dispatch.  At the close of the voting period, the votes are summarized by the Secretariat, and a ruling of the Commission (an Opinion) is published in the Bulletin.

The life of a Case from submission to publication


Title, Applicant’s name and address, Abstract, Keywords

1. The title should be written in bold and contain the original combination, current combination (if different from the original), taxonomic affinities of the taxon concerned and a brief statement of the aim of the application.


2. Name, postal address, e-mail address of applicant(s).
The address should be written in non-bold italics. The e-mail address should be in non-bold, non-italic.


3. Abstract. The abstract should contain a statement of the purpose of the application, a reference to a relevant Article of the Code, brief information on the taxon concerned including its common name (if one exists), geographical distribution, economic (medical, educational, conservational, etc.) importance (if any) and a short explanation of the nomenclatural problem. The last sentence of the abstract should contain a brief statement of the nomenclatural action proposed.


4. Keywords. Nomenclature; taxonomy; class; order; family-group (in small capitals); generic name(s) (in italics); specific name(s) (in italics); vernacular name(s); geographical region(s); geological horizon (for fossils). All words in this section should be separated by semicolons.


5. Body of the text
(i). This should consist of numbered paragraphs setting out the details of the case and leading to a final paragraph of formal proposals. Describe the background to the problem (where possible in chronological order). Explain the context of this application, e.g. the result will be an integral part of an impending monograph. Double space all text.

(ii). For all generic, specific or family-group name(s) to be conserved or suppressed, provide author, date and page number of the publication that made this/these name(s) available. Please check carefully the authorship and date of the names, using the original sources where possible. Consult Index Animalia and Nomenclator Zoologicus where possible.

(iii). Give the type species of any generic names to be conserved and the type species for the type genus of the family to be conserved, indicating whether by monotypy or original designation, or by subsequent designation (with author, date and page number). In cases dealing with synonyms give the page reference of the publication where the synonymy was first established. In cases dealing with neotypes give the details of the neotype proposed (to comply with the requirements of the Code).

(iv).  State the problem to be resolved and the implications of maintaining the present situation.

(v). State the proposed solution requiring Commission action. Which Article(s) of the Code are invoked?

(vi). Give possible alternative solutions and explain why they are not acceptable. Outline the basis of any anticipated opposition to the proposals.

(vii). Give page references wherever possible. References for names to be placed on the Official Lists and Official Indexes are particularly important.

(viii). Any references to particular specimens must be accompanied by institutional registration number, catalogue entry number, database number, or similar, as appropriate.

(ix). In cases dealing with new type designations, give references for any significant designations (neotype, lectotype, type species, etc.), including page.

(x). Outline any additional information you think will be helpful in consideration of this Application.

(xi). Explain why it is not possible to resolve this nomenclatural problem under the provisions of the Code.

(xii). Please reference using standard scientific format, as we do not publish footnotes in the BZN.

Final paragraph of formal proposals to the Commission

The final paragraph of formal proposals should be organized as follows:

(i) The formal proposal of a ruling beginning with the words: “The International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature is accordingly asked” followed by the statement of the ruling proposed.

(ii) List names to be placed on the Official Lists of Generic, Specific or Family-Group Names in Zoology (for generic names give gender, type species and the method of the type species designation).

(iii) List names to be placed on the Official Indexes of Rejected and Invalid Generic, Specific or Family-Group Names in Zoology.

Examples (the list is not exhaustive)

6. References

(i). In the reference list, give full references (without abbreviations) to all publications cited in the application. For references with multiple authors, all authors should be cited. The last authors should be separated with “&”.
In the text, references with two authors should be cited using & (not “and”, e.g. Melville & Smith, 1987), references with three and more authors should be cited using the abbreviation “et al.” (e.g. Melville et al., 1865).

(ii). In cases involving prevailing usage (Article 23.9.3 of the Code), authors should supply a comprehensive list of references, in which the relevant name(s) was/were used, and examples of usage since 1899 of names to be suppressed.

(iii). Lists of additional references, i.e. demonstrating examples of usage may be supplied to be held by the Commission Secretariat (those will not be published).

(iv). The author and volume number are given in bold. The year of publication is not in bold and is followed by a full stop. A comma separates title and series/volume/part number. A colon separates series/volume/part number and page numbers. A hyphen separates first and last page of relevance. The reference ends with a full stop.  The comma following the journal name should be in non-italic. Series numbers are given in parentheses (but not in bold) before the volume number; part or issue numbers are given in parentheses after the volume number (but not in bold).



If a neotype designation is requested it is strongly advisable to submit an appropriate illustration in TIFF format of sufficiently high resolution for printing. Hardcopy figures will be accepted, at discretion of the Editor. It is desirable to illustrate both specimen and its label, with a scale bar.  Furthermore, we are willing to consider illustrations of the organisms under discussion contributed simply to add visual interest to the applications.   Line drawings should be high-resolution TIFFs at 1200 dpi; photographs may be 400 dpi.  If the files are difficult to send electronically, LZW compression of TIFF files allows recovery of original file quality.  Please note that JPG format often introduces artefacts in printing, thus we are not able to accept JPGs.