Bulletin Author Guidelines

The Tropical Resources Institute publishes Tropical Resources: The Bulletin of the Yale Tropical Resources Institute, an annual journal of student research carried out primarily with the support of grants from TRI's endowed fellowship fund. This publication highlights the breadth and depth of work conducted by YSE students in the tropics.

The following is a guide for authors hoping to publish articles in the TRI Bulletin. Authors should review all guidelines thoroughly before submitting a manuscript. Failure to follow these guidelines may result in the return of the manuscript without review. Included in this guide are:

Publication Policy

Papers should have a broad interest, and observational, experimental, and theoretical studies are accepted, as are descriptive or historical accounts.

All submissions will be assessed and reviewed by one or more editors. However, Tropical Resources is not peer-reviewed.

There is no charge for publishing papers.

All published papers remain copyright of the authors, allowing you to reprint your article where and when you like, including submission to a peer-reviewed journal. Tropical Resources is copyright Yale Tropical Resources Institute, meaning the whole collection cannot be reproduced without permission.

Publication in Tropical Resources does not usually count as prior publication for most academic journals. Authors are advised to confirm with specific publication venues.

Citation, Plagiarism, and Human Subjects

Yale Guidelines on Citation and Plagiarism

  1. “You need to cite all sources used for papers, including drafts of papers, and repeat the reference each time you use the source in your written work.”
  2. “You need to place quotation marks around any cited or cut-and-pasted materials, IN ADDITION TO footnoting or otherwise marking the source.”
  3. “If you do not quote directly – that is, if you paraphrase – you still need to mark your source each time you use borrowed material. Otherwise you have plagiarized.”
  4. “It is also advisable that you list all sources consulted for the draft or paper in the closing materials, such as a bibliography or roster of sources consulted.”
  5. “You may not submit the same paper, or substantially the same paper, in more than one course. If topics for two courses coincide, you need written permission from both instructors before either combining work on two papers or revising an earlier paper for submission to a new course.”

Visit the Yale Center for Teaching and Learning for further guidance on the proper citation of sources.

Human Subjects

Researchers must have proper regard for human subjects and abide by conservation and animal welfare considerations. Please refer to the Yale Human Research Protection Program for specific policies.

Data Archiving

Data are important products of the scientific enterprise, and they should be preserved and usable for decades in the future. The Tropical Resources Institute recommends that data (or, for theoretical papers, mathematical and computer models) supporting the results in papers published in its journals will be archived in an appropriate public archive, such as DryadTreeBASEGenBankfigshare or another archive of the author's choice that provides comparable access and guarantee of preservation. Authors may elect to have the data made publicly available at time of publication or, if the technology of the archive allows, may opt to embargo access to the data for a period of up to a year after publication.

Exceptions, including longer embargoes or an exemption from the requirement, may be granted at the discretion of the editor, especially for sensitive information such as confidential social data or the location of endangered species.

Manuscript Structure

Manuscripts of the following types are accepted for publication in Tropical Resources:

  • Standard Papers report practical or theoretical research and typically comprise 10 typeset pages. Longer articles are also considered, provided the content justifies the extent.
  • Forum Papers are short articles presenting new ideas (without data), opinions or responses to experiences during the Fellowship, designed to stimulate debate.
  • Commentaries are short positive assessments of a field or article, highlighting the importance of the topic.

Structures for each of the three manuscript types are described below.

Standard Papers

Standard papers should not normally be longer than 10 typeset pages. There are about 300 words per double-spaced page in word processing software. The typescript should be arranged as follows, with each section starting on a separate page.

Title page. This should contain:

  • a concise and informative title,
  • authors' names,
  • degree programs,
  • a running headline.

Abstract. This should be limited to 200 words and should describe the main results and conclusions of the paper.

Abstract in native language. A translation of the abstract should also be provided in the main language of the country in which the work was carried out.

Introduction. Explain the reasons for carrying out the work, outline the essential background and clearly state the nature of the hypothesis or hypotheses under consideration. It should clearly state your main question/problem/thesis. It should relate your specific topic to wider academic and policy literatures and debates. Think about widening your audience beyond those interested in your immediate topic.

Materials and methods. Provide sufficient details of the techniques employed to enable the work to be repeated. Do not describe or refer to commonplace statistical tests in this section but allude to them briefly in Results.

Results. State the results and draw attention in the text to important details shown in tables and figures.

Discussion. Point out the significance of the results in relation to the reasons for doing the work, and place them in the context of other work. Summarize your arguments, and then push yourself to draw out their implications. This is where you really reap the benefits of your research, analysis, and writing. Ask (and then answer): What are the implications of your work for big issues and questions in the field, policy problems, future work? You can also present your personal recommendations here. You should not present your personal recommendations throughout the text of the paper.

References. See Style Specifications.

Acknowledgments. e.g. to advisors, funding sources, collaborators, sponsors.

Tables. (see Style Specifications) Any tables should each be on a separate page, numbered and accompanied by a legend at the top. They should be referred to in the text as Table 1, etc. Do not present the same data in both figure and table form or repeat large numbers of values from Tables in the text.

Figures and images. (see Style Specifications) Any figures and their legends should be grouped together at the end of the paper, before the appendices (if present). The word 'figures' should be abbreviated in the text (e.g. Fig. 1; Figs. 2 and 3), except when starting a sentence. Photographic illustrations should also be referred to as Figures.

Equations. (see Style Specifications) Any non-inline equations should be typeset and included in .png files using https://www.codecogs.com/latex/eqneditor.php.

Appendices. If any.

Forum Papers and Commentaries articles

Format and specifications are as for Standard Papers except that the division into Introduction, Materials and methods, Results and Discussion is unlikely to be appropriate. Please see recent editions of the journal for examples.

Style Specifications

File Formats

Manuscripts may be submitted as a PDF, plain text (.txt, .tex, .md), OpenDocument (.odt), or MS Word documents (.doc or .docx). 

Documents submitted as word processor files (.doc, .docx, .odt, etc.) or PDFs must be double spaced with sequential line numbers throughout the entire document. Pages should be numbered consecutively, including those containing acknowledgements, references, tables and figures.

Manuscripts for review must consist of the text file including tables. If figures are included, they should be sent as separate files as well.

Pre-submission English-language Editing

Authors for whom English is a second language may wish to consider working with the Yale Center for Teaching and Learning to fine-tune their English grammar before submission.

Language, Spelling and Grammar

Tropical Resources only publishes papers in English (except the native language abstract) and spelling should conform to the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English.

Journal style is to use the serial comma (also known as the Oxford or Harvard comma) before and/or/nor. The editors reserve the right to modify accepted manuscripts that do not conform to scientific, technical, stylistic or grammatical standards, and minor alterations of this nature may not be seen by authors until the proof stage.

Run a spell check before submitting. Diacriticals (e.g. ñçêàí, etc.) should be included where necessary.

Units, Symbols and Abbreviations

Authors are requested to use the International System of Units (SI, Système International d'Unités) where possible for all measurements (see Quantities, Units and Symbols, 2nd edn (1975) The Royal Society, London). Note that mathematical expressions should contain symbols, not abbreviations. If the paper contains many symbols, it is recommended that they should be defined as early in the text as possible, or within a subsection of the Materials and Methods section. Journal style for time units are: s, min, h, days, weeks, months, years.

Scientific Names

Give the Latin names of each species in full, together with the authority for its name, at first mention in the main text. Subsequently, the genus name may be abbreviated, except at the beginning of a sentence. If there are many species, cite a Flora or checklist which may be consulted for authorities instead of listing them in the text. Do not give authorities for species cited from published references. Give priority to scientific names in the text (with colloquial names in parentheses, if desired).

Manufacturers' Names

When a special piece of equipment has been used, it should be described so that the reader can trace its specifications by contacting the manufacturer; thus: 'Data were collected using a solid-state data logger (CR21X, Campbell Scientific, Utah, USA)'.

Mathematical Material

Where ever possible, mathematical equations and symbols should be typed in-line by keyboard entry (using Symbol font for Greek characters, and superscript and subscript options where applicable). Do not embed equations or symbols using Equation Editor or Math Type, or equivalents, when simple in-line, keyboard entry is possible. Equation software should be used only for displayed, multi-line equations and equations and symbols that cannot be typed. Suffixes and operators such as d, log, ln and exp will be set in Roman type; matrices and vectors in bold type; other algebraic symbols in italics; and Greek symbols in upright type. Make sure that there is no confusion between similar characters like l ('ell') and 1 ('one'). If there are several equations, they should be identified by an equation number (e.g. 'eqn 1' after the equation, and cited in the text as 'equation 1').

Number Conventions

Text: Numbers from one to nine should be spelled out except when used with units; e.g. two eyes but 10 stomata; 3 years and 5 kg.

Tables: Do not use an excessive number of digits when writing a decimal number to represent the mean of a set of measurements (the number of digits should reflect the precision of the measurement).


Short quotations. Per APA style guidelines, to indicate short quotations (fewer than 40 words) in your text, enclose the quote within double quotation marks. For example: ‘She said, “The placebo effect disappeared when behaviors were studied in this manner” (Miele, 1993, p. 276), but she did not clarify which behaviors were studied.’

Long quotations. Per APA style guidelines, place quotations longer than 40 words in a free-standing block of typewritten lines, and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, indented five spaces from the left margin. Type the entire quotation on the new margin, and indent the first line of any subsequent paragraph within the quotation five spaces from the new margin. Maintain double-spacing throughout. The parenthetical citation should come after closing punctuation mark. For example:

Jones’s 1993 study found the following: Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time citing sources. This difficulty could be attributed to the fact that many students failed to purchase a style manual or to ask their teacher for help. (p.199).


Tables should be cited in the text as, e.g., Table 1, Table 1a,b, Tables 1 and 2. The table caption label should not be abbreviated, and must be in bold and end with period (e.g. Table 1.).

Figures and Images

All illustrations are classified as figures and should be numbered consecutively (Fig. 1, Fig. 2, etc.) and placed in a list at the end of the document. Figures should be cited in the text as, e.g., Fig. 1, Fig. 1a,b, Figs 1 and 2 (no period after Figs), or, if starting a sentence, Figure 1. Each figure must have a legend, presented separately from the figure (i.e. as text rather than as part of the image). The legend should give enough detail so that the figure can be understood without reference to the text. Information (e.g. keys) that appears on the figure itself should not be duplicated in the legend. The figure legend label should be abbreviated, in bold, and end in a period (e.g. Fig. 1.). The figure legend text should end in a full stop. Provide a credit for each photograph.

Lettering should use a sans serif font (e.g. Helvetica or Arial) with capitals used for the initial letter of the first word only. Units of axes should appear in parentheses after the axis name, as required. All lettering and symbols must be proportioned, clear and easy to read, i.e. no labels should be too large or too small. Tick marks must be on the inside of the axes if possible. Label multi-panel figures (a), (b), (c), etc., preferably in the upper left corner. Use grayscales (e.g. 0, 20, 40, 60, 80, 100%) in preference to pattern fills where possible. If color figures are submitted for color online publication only, ensure that after conversion to grayscale they remain entirely intelligible for the black-and-white print publication of your paper.

Graphs. Ideally use professional software (R, SAS, GnuPlot, Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape, …). If you must use Excel, do not use the default options. Here are some examples of decent graphs created in Excel (or other spreadsheet software).

Maps. Should include:

  • a scale indicator. Typically a graphic bar scale. The reader must be able to determine the relationship between a unit of measure on the map and a unit of measure in the real world.
  • orientation. A map should indicate which way is north (and/or south, east and west). Commonly this is done by a north arrow or compass rose. Orientation may also be shown by graticule or grid marks (e.g. lines of latitude and longitude). By convention north is towards the top of the page (thus some maps do not have north arrows), but the orientation must still be given for a 'proper' map. North does not have to be at the top of the page and a north arrow is essential in maps where it is not.
  • a border. A border identifies exactly where the mapped area stops. The border is often the thickest line on the map and should be close to the edges of the mapped area. The distance between the map and the border should be the same on all sides (balanced).
  • an inset locator map. A locator map is needed if the area of the map is not easily recognizable or is of large scale.
  • credits. Source of data, projection, etc.

Some map-making resources:

File formats. At the time of submission, or after acceptance of the manuscript for publication, figure files should be supplied as follows. Photographic figures should be saved in tif format at 300 d.p.i. (or failing that in jpg format with low compression). Line figures (graphs) should be saved as vector graphics (i.e. composed of lines, curves, points and fonts; not pixels) in pdf, eps, ai, svg or wmf format, as this enhances their display when published online. Combination figures (those composed of vector and pixel/raster elements) should also be saved in pdf, eps, ai, svg or wmf format where possible. If line figures and combination figures cannot be saved in vector graphics format, they should be saved in tif format at high resolution (i.e. 600 d.p.i.) (do not save them in jpg format as this will cause blurring). Images should be saved as 'YourName_Figure0.pdf'.

Citations and References

Citation of work by four or more authors in the text should be abbreviated with the use of et al. (e.g. Able et al. 1997). Work with the same first author and date should be coded by letters, e.g. Thompson et al. 1991a,b. Citations should be listed in chronological order in the text and separated by a semi-colon, e.g. Zimmerman et al. 1986; Able et al. 1997.

Please supply the DOI (digital object identifier) of each reference if possible.

We recommend the use of a tool such as Jabref, Mendelay, Zotero, CiteULike, EndNote, or Reference Manager for reference management and formatting. More details of these can be found at the CSSSI website; if you need assistance, please speak with Carla Heister, the YSE librarian. Following acceptance of the manuscript, please provide the software file with the references.

The format for papers, entire books and chapters in books is as follows:

Boutin, C. & Harper, J.L. 1991. A comparative study of the population dynamics of five species of Veronica in natural habitats.Journal of Ecology 79, 199-221.

Clarke, N.A. 1983. The ecology of dunlin (Calidris alpina L.) wintering on the Severn estuary. PhD thesis, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh.

Pimm, S.L. 1982. Food Webs. Chapman and Hall, London.

Sibly, R.M. 1981. Strategies of digestion and defecation. Physiological Ecology (eds C. R. Townsend & P. Calow), pp. 109-139. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford.

References should only be cited as 'in press' if the paper has been accepted for publication. Reference to unpublished works, works in preparation, or works under review should cited as 'unpublished data', with the author's initials and surname given; such works should not be included in the Reference section.

Submission and Review

Submission of a manuscript requires either:

  • an email from a Yale faculty approving the manuscript (to: tri@yale.edu), or
  • attendance at a TRI Writing Lab and approval by TRI staff or director.

Tropical Resources uses a fully electronic-based system for manuscript submission and editorial review, and authors must submit their manuscripts online. All files should be emailed to tri@yale.edu. Large images may have to be transferred via Yale Box or Secure File Transfer.

Submissions are reviewed by TRI editors and returned to authors with recommended changes. Manuscripts usually undergo 2-3 rounds of editing, and timely responses are expected so that publication deadlines can be met.

After a paper has been accepted for publication, it will be typeset as a PDF using LaTeX, an open-source free software for document preparation and markup, as well as in html for the TRI webpage.

The corresponding author will receive an e-mail containing a PDF proof of the article for verification. Further instructions will be sent with the proof. Authors who are likely to be out of contact and cannot have their e-mail checked regularly should nominate an alternative person to receive and correct the proofs. The editors reserve the right to correct the proofs themselves, using the accepted version of the typescript, if the author's corrections are overdue and journal publication would otherwise be delayed.

Published authors will receive one hard copy of Tropical Resources and can request additional copies. Digital versions of the Bulletin are made available on the TRI website.

William R. Burch Prize Eligibility

The William R. Burch Prize is named in honor of the influential founding director of TRI. The $1,000 prize, generously funded by TRI alumni, is awarded annually to the paper written by a TRI Fellow published in Tropical Resources that best reflects Bill's visionary interdisciplinary leadership of TRI, as well as the mission of TRI - to support interdisciplinary, problem-oriented student research on the most complex challenges confronting the conservation and management of tropical environments and natural resources worldwide.

Accepted manuscripts must be submitted in their final form by the advertised deadline in order to be eligible for consideration. The winner will be announced around the time of publication, usually prior to YSE graduation.

Previous issues of Tropical Resources can be found online here.

Correspondence should be sent to tri@yale.edu.