Writing for Park Science
Park Science relies upon and encourages applied scientists and resource managers to identify and develop innovative, practical, and compelling articles that link research and resource management. Prospective authors are encouraged to query the editor about an article idea prior to developing a draft. See "Submitting a Manuscript," below, for guidance in developing a proposal. Table 1 is a complete list of article types, target lengths, and requirements for illustrations, abstracts, and keywords.
Park Science is a research and resource management bulletin of the U.S. National Park Service that reports the implications of recent and ongoing natural and social science and related cultural research for park planning, management, and policy. It is published by the Natural Resource Stewardship and Science Directorate, Office of Education and Outreach. Seasonal issues are published in spring and fall, with a thematic issue that explores a topic in depth published annually in summer or winter.
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Articles are easy-to-understand, field-oriented accounts of applied research and resource management. They translate the scientific findings of natural or social science and related cultural research into usable knowledge for park planning and the development of sound management practices and policies for natural resources and visitor enjoyment.
Park Science combines magazine- and journal-style design and content, including richly illustrated popular science features and resource management news as well as traditional reports of original research. Articles explore solutions to park management problems through the application of science. They should describe a scientific process, technique, or discovery that is of substantial novelty, practicality, or refinement and is of broad value or interest to park managers. Research findings should be told in such a way that generalists can grasp their significance and application, for instance through the use of illustrative examples, compelling stories, anecdotes, and nontechnical language.
Articles should be written primarily in the active voice and in the first- or third-person, as prescribed (see table 1), using lay language; sexist language, provincialism, jargon, and acronyms should be avoided. Measurements should be reported in the units used in the study, followed by their metric or English equivalents. Citations should be given in the text using the author-date system and followed at the end of the article by a brief reference list giving complete information for the author-date citation. Please note that space for references is limited. Park Science style is based generally on The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition. Contributors should refer to the PDF publication "Editorial Style Guide for Park Science," for a detailed explanation.
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Park Science serves a broad audience of national park and protected area managers and scientists and provides public outreach. The principal audience is park superintendents, resource managers, natural and social science researchers, interpreters, maintenance staffs, visitor and resource protection rangers, and other technical and nontechnical personnel of the National Park Service and its many partners.
Submitting a Manuscript
Article types and requirements are described in table 1. Though it is not required, you may wish to prepare an article proposal prior to developing a draft. The following checklist serves as a template and may be useful for planning articles:
1. Determine which category best fits the proposed article (see table 1).
2. Develop an accurate, concise, and interesting title.
3. Specify the central message to be conveyed.
4. Describe the management problem(s) or issue(s) to be analyzed.
5. Give a brief account of the state of the science in relation to the management issue(s).
6. Relate the management implications of the research or project and explain why they are important.
7. Suggest how the scientific discussion might apply to the management of other national parks.
Include complete contact information for the author(s): name, position, park area or other affiliation, mailing address, phone number, and e-mail address. If you are the first author, indicate your preference (or none) for the publication of contact information in Park Science.
Key Words, Abstract, and Article Description
Include a brief list of key words, an abstract, and a one- or two-sentence article summary (descriptive blurb), as required (see table 1). Key words identify the main topic and other key concepts. Though they are not published with all article types, key words are used to enhance the search function on the Park Science Web site. The abstract is a noncritical synthesis of the research or project's purpose, scope, methods, results, and significant findings and conclusions. It is published with "Research Reports" and "Case Studies," as applicable. See the "Editorial Style Guide for Park Science" for a detailed description of the components of an abstract. The one- or two-sentence summary describes the article in a popular style in order to generate interest among potential readers (for examples, see the table of contents of recent issues of Park Science). It should be brief and enticing and may highlight the purpose of the investigation, those involved, the significance of the findings, and how they can be applied to park management. The blurb may be edited and, for many article types, it will be published in the table of contents following the article title.
E-mail manuscripts and proposals to the editor. Format them simply: single-spaced, left-justified, in 11-point Times New Roman type; prepare illustrations as described below. Do not embed graphics in the word-processing document; send them separately. Use multiple e-mails to forward file attachments, such as photos, that total more than 10 MB; contact the editor to arrange FTP transfer of digital files that are larger than 10 MB. If you are shipping a CD-ROM, label it with the article title and authors’ names. Identify files by figure number (e.g., fig. 1) and refer to their location in the manuscript. Indicate whether materials should be returned.
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||See current issue for planned release date and deadlines or contact editor
Review and Acceptance
Prior to submitting a manuscript to Park Science, seek review by appropriate NPS staff: area manager (superintendent and resource manager), associate regional director for natural resources, Inventory and Monitoring (I&M) network coordinator, Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (CESU) research coordinator, Research Learning Center (RLC) director, or subject-matter expert. Articles concerning primarily technical support programs or divisions of the Natural Resource Stewardship and Science Directorate (NRSS) should be reviewed by the appropriate NRSS program manager or division chief before submission. The review history should be described briefly along with the manuscript submission.
Once submitted, manuscripts are subject to review by the editor, editorial board, and subject-matter experts for clarity, completeness, usefulness, scientific and technical soundness, and relevance to NPS policy. Evaluation and notification of acceptance usually takes two to four weeks; the subsequent editorial process entails approximately three months. Editors and authors will work closely on revisions for grammar, clarity, style, and substance. On occasion the editor may suggest that an article be written or rewritten by Park Science staff based on information or excerpted material provided by the contributor/subject-matter expert. Initial acceptance or assignment of a solicitation/commission does not guarantee publication.
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If possible submit several color illustrations that reinforce the article's main points by showing personnel at work, project equipment in use, techniques, representative park values being preserved, locator maps, species "portraits," and tables of pertinent data. Photographs, line art, maps, charts, graphs, tables, and technical drawings are all acceptable formats. See table 1 for further guidance on illustrations.
Captions and Credits
Include a caption for each illustration and describe the relationship of the image to the subject of the article. Consult the "Editorial Style Guide for Park Science" for general guidance in preparing captions and recent editions of Park Science for specific examples. Provide any necessary credits for illustrations and secure and forward copyright permissions as needed.
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Format for Illustrations
Color digital photographs are acceptable, but only the best-quality and highest-resolution images are reproducible in the print edition. If possible, make digital images at 300-pixels-per-inch resolution and save them in TIF or another format that does not discard photographic information because of file compression. Note that digital photos saved in JPG format may have artifacts introduced by the compression process. To avoid this, photographers should set the camera to the highest-quality image setting, which yields the largest file size, and forward those original camera files. Original color slides and prints are also acceptable. Forward any drawings, such as line art, in their original digital format or as a high-quality color photocopy.
Transmit computer-generated illustrations, such as charts and graphs, in their native file format (e.g., Microsoft Excel or Adobe Illustrator), accompanied by a color printout (approximately 8 by 10 inches in size) and the data, so that they can be redrawn in-house, if necessary. Forward other digital drawings, including GIS maps, in digital (Adobe EPS, if possible) and laser-printed formats. Export GIS maps in color at 600-pixel-per-inch resolution at a size of approximately 8 by 10 inches. Preserve layers to allow subsequent editing of labels. Save color information with the file (i.e., do not convert to gray scale).
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Proposing a Thematic Issue
On occasion Park Science publishes thematic issues that explore a topic in depth. If you are interested in developing content for a theme issue submit a one- to two-page prospectus that identifies the following:
1. The proposed topic or central focus and justification for its treatment as a theme issue
2. Guest editor(s) to help coordinate issue planning, author identification, and article writing
3. An outline of proposed content that includes departments and articles (see table 1) discussing diverse aspects of the topic in relation to park management and various National Park System units
4. Time frame
E-mail the proposal to the editor approximately 18 months before the desired publication date.
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Contact the Editor
|National Park Service
||National Park Service
|P.O. Box 25287
||12795 W. Alameda Parkway
|Denver, CO 80225-0287
||Lakewood, CO 80228
|E-mail: Jeff Selleck, Editor
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