Friday Editor’s Tip: Lose the formatting!

As Managing Editor of The Pan-Pacific Entomologist, I have the privilege of guiding manuscripts through the entire publication process—from submission and review through acceptance and preparation for final printing. It’s gratifying to see the results of a researcher’s efforts come to fruition, and it is also a good time to be an editor—due in no small part to the plethora of digital tools we have at our disposal. Knowing the amount of effort required to be an editor in today’s environment, I can’t imagine fulfilling the role in pre-computer days when manuscripts were prepared on a typewriter, submitted as hard copy, mailed to reviewers, collated upon their return (after interpreting hand-scribbled reviewer notations), and mailed back to authors for retyping. My heartiest congratulations to and respect for anyone who served as an editor in those days!

One of the holdovers from those days is the use of double-spaced text and numbered lines in draft manuscripts. This was necessary back then to provide space for reviewer comments and facilitate quick reference to specific portions of the manuscript. Of course, most journals today utilize fully electronic processes for submitting and reviewing manuscripts, and in some cases (including The Pan-Pacific Entomologist) a hard copy version of the manuscript may never be produced until the journal itself is issued. While the ability of reviewers to directly insert comments and suggested edits into an electronic version of the manuscript obviates the need to include line spacing and numbers, some authors still find themselves in the habit of preparing their manuscripts with such format. A bigger issue, however, brought on by the change from manual to electronic manuscript preparation is the temptation by some authors to overly “format” their manuscripts. Modern word processing programs (e.g., Microsoft Word) make it easier than ever to give documents visual appeal when printed, and most authors thus find themselves wanting to apply at least some formatting to their manuscripts. Indeed, some even go so far as to format their manuscript so that it closely resembles the printed journal! The problem is that most printers utilize file conversion software that automatically applies formatting according to a journal’s style sheet. Formatting commands used by word processing programs often interfere with those used by file conversion software, thus, to avoid conflicts any formatting applied to a draft manuscript must be stripped out prior to file conversion. The more of this that is done by the author prior to submission, the less potential for errors during printing. Unfortunately, just as secretaries don’t often make very good scientists, many scientists wouldn’t make good secretaries and find the prospect of “cleaning” an overly formatted manuscript more intimidating than it really is. Accordingly, I offer here this little “cheat sheet” for those who would like help in making sure their manuscript is clean prior to submission. These tips assume the use of Microsoft Word (since its file formats are acceptable for submission to The Pan-Pacific Entomologist), but a similar process should be possible with most other word processing programs.

Step 1. Select the entire document by pressing “Ctrl+A”.

Step 2. Click on “Home” in the menu ribbon and open the “Paragraph” dialogue box.

Step 3. Click on the “Indents and Spacing” tab. Set all of the commands as shown in the figure below.

Step 4. Click on the “Line and Page Breaks” tab. Set all of the commands as shown in the figure below and click “OK”.

Step 5. Open the “Font” dialogue box (also under “Home” in the menu ribbon). Set all of the commands as shown in the figure below and click “OK”.

Step 6. Click on “Page Layout” in the menu ribbon and open the “Page Setup” dialogue box.

Step 7. Click on the “Margins” tab. Set all of the commands as shown in the figure below and click “OK”.

Voila! Your manuscript is free of all extraneous formatting commands and is ready for submission (assuming its contents are complete and well written). If there are portions of text that simply must be formatted (e.g., italics for scientific names) those can be reapplied. Of course, my best advice is to ensure the manuscript contains the above settings before it is even started. This not only ensures that formatting is limited to text that must be formatted, but also that the author will not need to spend additional time stripping out unneeded formatting during the preparation of final files for printing.

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2012

PPE Call For Submissions

Over the past two years, we have made great progress in working through a backlog of manuscripts as we bring the journal closer to our eventual goal of on-schedule publishing. I thank the authors who contributed manuscripts, the Editorial Board for their efforts to work through this backlog, and especially the many reviewers who contributed their time and expertise to ensure that the manuscripts met our high standards of quality research.

With the backlog of manuscripts cleared and existing manuscripts moving quickly through the review process, we are in need of new submissions to maintain the momentum we have established as we finish out volume 88 and look forward to the publication of volume 89. The Pan-Pacific Entomologist is an international journal publishing manuscripts on taxonomy and biosystematics of insects and other closely related arthropods. Manuscripts from all world areas are welcome, with those from regions around the Pacific Rim especially desired.

For those of you conducting taxonomic or biosystematic research on insects and their relatives, I hope you’ll consider The Pan-Pacific Entomologist as an outlet for the publication of your research. Among the many journal choices that are available to you, we offer 60% reduced page charges for all members of The Pacific Coast Entomological Society, an additional 50% reduction of the first 5 pages for members that meet other qualifications, and a complete waiver of normal page charges for authors who follow our “pre-reviewed” process (up to 20 pages per volume). The Pan-Pacific Entomologist has long been and continues to be one of the lowest cost print journals for entomology with an international scope.

If you have a manuscript that you would like to consider publishing in The Pan-Pacific Entomologist, please don’t hesitate to contact me (Ted C. MacRae, Managing Editor) on this page or by direct message. I look forward to hearing from you!

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2012

The Pan-Pacific Entomologist 88(2)—Penrose Memorial issue

It is with great pleasure that I announce the publication of The Pan-Pacific Entomologist Penrose Memorial issue (volume 88, number 2), mailed 14 September 2012. Published by the Pacific Coast Entomological Society, this issue is dedicated to the memory of the late Richard L. Penrose (1943–2011); long time member of the guild of California coleopterists. As Managing Editor, I had the distinct honor and pleasure of overseeing the assembly and production of this issue; however, it is only from the selfless efforts of many individuals that this issue came to fruition. I would like to thank the PCES Executive and Editorial Boards, the contributing authors and the reviewers for their participation in making this issue possible. Three individuals deserve special mention for their particularly stellar efforts: Richard Westcott (Oregon Department of Agriculture) and Chuck Bellamy (California Department of Food and Agriculture) for their dogged persistence in promoting the idea and recruiting contributing authors, and Floyd W. Shockley (Smithsonian Institution), who as the journal’s Coleoptera Subject Editor oversaw the review, revision and acceptance of the bulk of the papers appearing in this coleopcentric issue.

If you are not a PCES member, now is a good time to join. Membership is only $25/year ($12.50 for students) and includes four quarterly issues of The Pan-Pacific Entomologist. Following are the contents of the Penrose Memorial issue with hyperlinks to online versions through BioOne. Abstracts & References are open access, while Full Text and PDF versions are available to BioOne subscribers.

The Pan-Pacific Entomologist 88(2)

Richard L. Penrose
Ted C. MacRae
The Pan-Pacific Entomologist 88(2):i–i
Citation | Full Text | PDF (83 KB)


Richard Lynn Penrose (11 January, 1943–17 March 2011): Biographical sketch and memories
Richard L. Westcott and Richard E. Morel
The Pan-Pacific Entomologist 88(2):105–116
Citation | Full Text | PDF (1903 KB)


A new species of Cregya LeConte (Coleoptera: Cleridae: Peloniinae) from Florida, U.S.A. and Puebla, México
Jacques Rifkind
The Pan-Pacific Entomologist 88(2):117–121
Abstract & References | Full Text | PDF (107 KB)

Synetocephalus penrosei Gilbert & Clark (Chrysomelidae: Galerucinae: Luperini), a new species from California, U.S.A
Arthur J. Gilbert and Shawn M. Clark
The Pan-Pacific Entomologist 88(2):122–129
Abstract & References | Full Text | PDF (1970 KB)

Distribution and phenology of Rhagoletis fausta (Osten Sacken 1877) and Rhagoletis indifferens Curren 1932 (Diptera: Tephritidae) in California
Robert V. Dowell and Richard L. Penrose
The Pan-Pacific Entomologist 88(2):130–150
Abstract & References | Full Text | PDF (573 KB)

Acmaeodera penrosei Westcott (Coleoptera: Buprestidae), a new species from Chiapas, Mexico
Richard L. Westcott
The Pan-Pacific Entomologist 88(2):151—153
Abstract & References | Full Text | PDF (238 KB)

A new species of Trichoxys Chevrolat (Cerambycidae: Cerambycinae: Clytini) from Mexico, with a key to known species
Steven W. Lingafelter and James E. Wappes
The Pan-Pacific Entomologist 88(2):154—162
Abstract & References | Full Text | PDF (2333 KB)

Three new species of the genus Dysphenges Horn 1894 (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Galerucinae: Alticini) from the United States
Arthur J. Gilbert and Edward G. Riley
The Pan-Pacific Entomologist 88(2):163–172
Abstract & References | Full Text | PDF (1826 KB)

Notes on distribution and host plants of Cerambycidae (Coleoptera) from southern México
Ted C. MacRae, Larry G. Bezark, and Ian Swift
The Pan-Pacific Entomologist 88(2):173–187
Abstract & References | Full Text | PDF (135 KB)

Hybopteroides, a new genus in the Cryptobatida group of subtribe Agrina, with three new species and notes on their way of life (Insecta: Coleoptera, Carabidae, Lebiini)
Terry L. Erwin and George E. Ball
The Pan-Pacific Entomologist 88(2):188–201
Abstract & References | Full Text | PDF (1702 KB)

A new species of sap beetle (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) from Baja California Sur, Mexico, with a review of the genus Lobiopa Erichson
Andrew R. Cline and Scott A. Kinnee
The Pan-Pacific Entomologist 88(2):202–211
Abstract & References | Full Text | PDF (304 KB)

Addition of two new species and a previously unknown female to the ammoplanine complex, and a species of Pulverro Pate, 1937 is entered into synonymy (Hymenoptera: Crabronidae)
Norman J. Smith
The Pan-Pacific Entomologist 88(2):212–221
Abstract & References | Full Text | PDF (234 KB)

Dactylotrypes longicollis (Wollaston) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae): an exotic bark beetle new to California and North America
James R. LaBonte and Curtis Y. Takahashi
The Pan-Pacific Entomologist 88(2):222–230
Abstract & References | Full Text | PDF (1390 KB)

Diurnal flight response of the walnut twig beetle, Pityophthorus juglandis Blackman (Coleoptera: Scolytidae), to pheromone-baited traps in two northern California walnut habitats
Steven J. Seybold, Jennifer A. King, Daren R. Harris, Lori J. Nelson, Shakeeb M. Hamud, and Yigen Chen
The Pan-Pacific Entomologist 88(2):231–247
Abstract & References | Full Text | PDF (1105 KB)

An analysis of the larval instars of the walnut twig beetle, Pityophthorus juglandis Blackman (Coleoptera: Scolytidae), in northern California black walnut, Juglans hindsii, and a new host record for Hylocurus hirtellus
Paul L. Dallara, Mary L. Flint, and Steven J. Seybold
The Pan-Pacific Entomologist 88(2):248–266
Abstract & References | Full Text | PDF (600 KB)

Penroseius lienosus, a new monotypic genus of Coraebini from Madagascar (Coleoptera: Buprestidae: Agrilinae)
C. L. Bellamy
The Pan-Pacific Entomologist 88(2):267–273
Abstract & References | Full Text | PDF (521 KB)


First occurrence of the goldspotted oak borer parasitoid, Calosota elongata (Hymenoptera: Eupelmidae), in California
Laurel J. Haavik, Tom W. Coleman, Yigen Chen, Michael I. Jones, Robert C. Venette, Mary L. Flint, and Steven J. Seybold
The Pan-Pacific Entomologist 88(2):i-i
Citation | Full Text | PDF (44 KB)

Recent collecting reveals new state records and geographic extremes in the distribution of the walnut twig beetle, Pityophthorus juglandis Blackman (Coleoptera: Scolytidae), in the United States
Steven J. Seybold, Tom W. Coleman, Paul L. Dallara, Norman L. Dart, Andrew D. Graves, Lee A. Pederson, and Sven-Erik Spichiger
The Pan-Pacific Entomologist 88(2):i-i
Citation | Full Text | PDF (325 KB)

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2012

“Dear Author”

On April 1st of this year, I celebrated one year as Managing Editor of The Pan-Pacific Entomologist. For many years, I thought an editorship might be something I’d like to do; however, I must confess that when this opportunity did arise, it was with some trepidation that I accepted. Could I learn the role quickly enough? What was the process for dealing with the printer (a process I knew nothing about)? Could I effectively organize the manuscript process from submission to publication, influence the Editorial Board on policy matters and maintain high journal standards? Most importantly, could I return the journal to on-schedule publishing? Despite these doubts, I couldn’t have asked for a better first opportunity than The Pan-Pacific Entomologist—rich in history, biosystematic in focus and fairly well-known without being too terribly large. I’ve gained some comfort in the role now and am, to this point, pleased with the quality of the papers published and the progress made towards returning to on-schedule publishing.

In my previous role as Subject Editor, I dealt with authors primarily from the standpoint of getting their manuscripts reviewed, communicating reviewers’ feedback back to them and ensuring that their revised manuscripts appropriately addressed that feedback. In my current role I still deal with authors, but now it is on the front end—in receiving their submissions—and the back end after the manuscript has been accepted by the Subject Editor. In theory, the latter should be the more involved process—providing guidance on final formatting (or doing it myself if necessary) to ensure that text and figure files meet requirements for printing and managing corrections/alterations to galley proofs before final publication. In practice, however, receiving submissions has proven to be the more time-intensive process. The reason for this is that manuscripts are often submitted before they are truly “ready for review.” i.e., properly prepared and relatively free of mechanical, language or formatting problems. Our reviewers willingly and freely give of their time and expertise to ensure that the papers published in our journal meet the highest scientific standards. Ideally, their efforts should be focused on the manuscript’s scientific content; however, the extent to which a manuscript contains structural and mechanical problems needlessly detracts from that focus. Even if such problems are set aside until final formatting, they still require resolution before the manuscript can truly be considered ready to publish. In my experience authors who neglect to address these areas before submission usually have trouble dealing with them after acceptance as well, increasing delays in publication.

Of the 97 manuscripts I inherited or have received since taking on the role of Managing Editor, 57 have been published or are currently in press, while 19 were rejected or withdrawn (the remaining 21 are currently in queue awaiting decision). In looking back over these submissions, I am amazed at how many I received for which it was evident that the author paid little, if any, attention to the guidelines for preparing and submitting manuscripts given in our Author Instructions. It goes without saying that compulsive review of author instructions (printed inside the back cover of each issue and posted at our website) prior to beginning and during preparation of a manuscript and then again before submission is the best way to ensure that a manuscript satisfies journal requirements, minimize the introduction and propagation of errors and avoid omitting critical manuscript components. That said, and despite guidance to the contrary, there seem to be certain areas that are consistent pitfalls for authors. If I could write a “Dear Author” letter, the following items are what I would include:

1.       Don’t try to format your manuscript to resemble the printed journal
While a few smaller journals employ a “camera-ready” process—i.e., the journal is printed off of hard copy manuscripts that are formatted for the journal’s particular style, most, including The Pan-Pacific Entomologist, prepare and format manuscripts for publication via electronic file conversion. Formatting commands in most word processing programs can interfere with commands in the conversion software used by the printer, creating layout errors that must be manually corrected. A basic text file that uses as little formatting as possible may not be the prettiest thing to look at, but it will convert with the least chance of introducing errors that need to be corrected or, worse, make it past galley reviews and into the final publication. The most common formattings applied by authors are those that also appear in the printed journal, including bolded and center justified titles and headings, italics for subheadings, tabbed or indented paragraphs, insertion of hard returns within titles to force line breaks and “even out” the width of multiple lines, and use of hanging indents to format literature citations.

2.       Create “real” tables, but don’t worry about making them “look nice”
Along with manuscript formatting, table formatting also is applied automatically by the printer during file conversion to achieve the desired layout. I’m not sure why some authors create “pseudo-tables” using tabs and spaces rather than using the table function in their word processor, but such manually created tables will not convert properly. Even authors who use the  table function are often tempted to format their tables with various lines, re-size cells or text (including manual hyphenation of long words) so that the table fits the page nicely, and even use spaces or hard returns within cells to manually align the text contained within them. Again, all this accomplishes is to introduce errors that must be corrected or that will compromise the printed article.

3.       Know your “dashes”
It is a shame that modern keyboards contain a key for only one of the three types of dashes that authors will find useful: 1) hyphens, 2) ‘en’ dashes and 3) ’em’ dashes. The result of this is a tendency by most authors to simply use a hyphen whenever any one of these three types of dashes are called for. In fact, I suspect that many authors aren’t even aware of the existence of the latter two! Hyphens, however, are properly restricted to joining words or terms (e.g., Pan-Pacific, species-group, wood-boring, 10-m diameter plot, etc.) but should not be used for connecting value ranges. These, which include page ranges in literature citations, are more properly connected with an ‘en’ dash (–). Note that an ‘en’ dash is slightly longer than a hyphen (basically the width of the letter “n” in fixed-font type) and is achieved in MS Word by holding down the ‘Alt’ key while typing “0150” on the numeric keypad (on my own keyboard I have made this much easier by using the AutoCorrect function to insert an ‘en’ dash whenever I type two consecutive hyphens). Examples of proper ‘en’ dash usage include “pages 76–99”, “1–3 June 2012” and “Figs. 3–5”. The third type of dash, or ’em’ dash (—), is not used by most authors (although I tend to use it quite commonly!); however, it is very useful for connecting unrelated clauses within a sentence (see examples earlier in this article). This is the longest of the three dashes (equal to the width of the letter “m” in fixed type font) and is achieved in MS Word by typing “Alt+0151” (or, on my keyboard by typing three consecutive hyphens). Authors who become proficient in the use of all three dashes will do much to enhance the professionalism of their manuscripts and minimize the need for manual corrections or the chance of errors in print.

4.       Literature Cited
I give this area its own paragraph, because it seems to be one of the most problematic for authors. The Pan-Pacific Entomologist, like most journals, uses a precise format for literature citations. Many authors seem to have their own personal formatting preference for literature citations, but to the extent that personal style varies from the requested journal format in the final file, reviewers, editors or typesetter will need to make manual corrections. I’ve already mentioned the most common one; use of hyphens rather than ‘en’ dashes to connect page ranges, and it is also common not to adhere precisely to specifications for spaces or punctuation (or their lack) in author name(s) and journal volume/issue/page range formatting. Another error that I take special interest in is citing “Pan-Pacific Entomologist” rather than “The Pan-Pacific Entomologist. Without doubt, however, the most frustrating habit by some authors is the practice of inserting hard returns and tabs within the citation in an effort to simulate hanging indents. While hanging indents can more properly be created using paragraph commands, all use of tabs and indenting should be avoided to begin with (see #1 above). Simulated hanging indents with manually inserted hard returns and tabs require manual correction—again by reviewers, editors or typesetter if the author does not do it.

5.       Line spacing and numbering
I sometimes receive manuscripts in which the text is double-spaced, oftentimes with line numbering also turned on. This seems to be a holdover practice among authors accustomed to the days of hard copy manuscript review. In that process, reviewers and editors needed room between lines to mark their annotations or line numbers to easily summarize their location. Nowadays, most journals use fully electronic processes for reviewing manuscripts and communicating reviewer feedback to authors. Use of “Track Changes” for marking changes and inserting comments has obviated the need for reviewers to print out a copy of the manuscript and annotate it manually (this also makes unnecessary the use of headers/footers to indicate page number), and in fact with electronic submission procedures now commonly used (by both the journal for receiving submissions and by the printer for receiving ready-to-publish files), most manuscripts need never appear in hard copy until final printing in the journal!

6.       Don’t create “pseudosymbols”
Many authors are familiar enough with the use of symbols, e.g., male and female (♂ and ♀), degrees (°), etc. Most of these symbols are not found on normal keyboards and, thus, must be inserted using the word processor’s Insert Symbol tool. There are, however, a few symbols for which reasonable facsimiles do exist on the keyboard, usually the letter “x” rather than a multiplication (×) symbol and “+/-” rather than a plus-minus (±) symbol. Once again, the use of “pseudosymbols” requires manual correction and should be avoided.

7.       If English is not your native language, have your ms reviewed by a native English-speaking colleague
If you are reading this, then you probably already know English well enough. However, I just need to say this: The Pan-Pacific Entomologist is an English language journal, and although we welcome manuscripts by all authors from around the world, they must be written in proper English. In an effort to satisfy this requirement, it has become common for authors whose native language is not English to submit their manuscript to commercial translation services. Unfortunately, while the translators may speak English, they do not know science—and certainly not the author’s research. As a result, oftentimes the manuscripts I receive that have gone through such services are written as poorly as a manuscript that has not been reviewed for English at all. I have returned a number of submitted manuscripts strictly because the English was unsatisfactory and, in some cases, even received a terse response from author stating that their manuscript had already been proofed for English by a commercial service (even attaching the “certificate” they received from the service). Nevertheless, my advice is this: the best way to ensure that your manuscript truly satisfies the English language requirement is to have it reviewed by a native English-speaking colleague who understands your research!

p.s. it might be fun for you, the reader, to “proof” this letter and let me know of any errors in English that you find. Imagine the satisfaction of getting to tell an editor about mistakes in writing that he has made (and I can take it… really!).

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2012

The Pan-Pacific Entomologist

It’s official – I am the new Managing Editor of The Pan-Pacific Entomologist (PPE).  Managing editor of a widely known entomology journal is a role that I have long thought I would like to do, and hopefully my five years as the journal’s Coleoptera Subject Editor have prepared me well for assuming this role and its attendant challenges. 

I can’t think of a better journal to start with.  Published by the Pacific Coast Entomological Society, PPE was formally adopted as its official journal at the Society’s 95th meeting on September 13, 1924.  Browsing through the minutes of those early meetings reads like a “Who’s Who?” of some of the early 20th century’s most recognized entomologists: E. C. Van Dyke, E. P. Van Duzee, V. M. Tanner, E. O. Essig, E. G. Linsley, R. Blackwelder, R. Usinger, and F. E. Blaisdell, Sr., just to name a few.  I am honored and excited to carry on a tradition begun so many years ago by such well-known pioneers of North American entomology.

I now face two orders of business.  First, we are looking for somebody to take on the now vacant role of Coleoptera Subject Editor.  If you have expertise in the Coleoptera and an interest in serving as Subject Editor for manuscripts dealing with this order, please contact me.  Second, please consider submitting your manuscript to The Pan-Pacific Entomologist for publication.   Manuscripts dealing with any aspect of the biosystematics of insects and their relatives  are desired.  Further details are given below from the Society website:

The Pan-Pacific Entomologist (ISSN 0031-0603) is published quarterly (January, April, July and October) by the Pacific Coast Entomological Society, in cooperation with the California Academy of Sciences. The journal serves as a refereed publication outlet and accepts manuscripts on all aspects of the biosystematics of insects and closely related arthropods, especially articles dealing with their taxonomy, biology, behavior, ecology, life history, biogeography and distribution. Membership in the Pacific Coast Entomological Society includes subscription to The Pan-Pacific Entomologist, and Society Proceedings typically appear in the October issue of each volume. The Contents of Recent Volumes are posted here on the Pacific Coast Entomological Society’s website, as is the journal’s Information for Contributors (PDF).

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2011