Focus and Scope

The Bulletin of the Society of Systematic Biologists will publish manuscripts that advance our understanding of the Earth's biodiversity, with a special focus on investigations that describe how species are related (i.e., phylogeny), identified (i.e., species delimitation or taxonomic practice) or have evolved (e.g., phylogeography, biogeography, or phylogenetic comparative methods). BSSB will also publish manuscripts that advance the theory or methods used in data analysis. Manuscripts will be evaluated on two criteria: the quality of the science and their contribution to our collective understanding of the focal species or clade. BSSB aims to publish investigations that utilize state of the art data analyses and high-quality data sets to achieve these goals.

Peer Review Process

Submissions to BSSB are first reviewed by the editor to determine if they fit within the Focus and Scope of the journal. Submissions are then evaluated by peer-reviewers who are experts. BSSB’s submissions are peer-reviewed using either a single-blind or double-blind process, depending on the author’s preference. If authors submit an anonymized manuscript, the review will be double-blind, meaning that neither the authors of the submission know the identity of those who review the submission, nor do reviewers know the identity of the authors. If authors do not submit an anonymized manuscript, the review will be single-blind, meaning that the authors will not know the identity of those who review the submission, but the reviewers will know the identity of the authors. The final decision to accept or reject a submission is made by the Editor and is based on the reports of the peer-reviewers.

Open Access Policy

Journals published by The Ohio State University Libraries provide immediate open access to their content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.

In order to lower barriers to publication for authors, our journals do not charge submission or any other form of author fees.

Beginning with Volume 1, Issue 1, the Bulletin of the Society of Systematic Biologists is published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License unless otherwise indicated.

While authors retain copyright ownership of their work, this Creative Commons license wil allow readers to print, share, re-post, and republish an article, without asking for permission, as long as the work is properly attributed to the author(s). Read more about the license here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ or view the full legal text here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode.

(Updated December 18, 2020)

Publication Ethics

The Bulletin of the Society of Systematic Biologists (BSSB) is guided by the highest standards in publication ethics as outlined by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) in their Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing.

(Updated February 26, 2021)


All published articles in BSSB will contain clear and accurate attribution of authorship. The author is responsible for ensuring that everyone who contributed to the work is fairly acknowledged.

An author is defined using the ICMJE description:

  • Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
  • Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
  • Final approval of the version to be published; AND
  • Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

If authorship disputes arise, the BSSB editorial team will follow the COPE guidelines.

(Updated February 26, 2021)

Complaints and Appeals

BSSB editors have discretion in determining whether an article is an appropriate fit for the journal. However, if the author feels the decision to reject the manuscript was based on an error, the author can appeal the decision by contacting the editors with a detailed description of the perceived error.

BSSB editors will promptly respond to ethical complaints and, in collaboration with BSSB’s publisher, The Ohio State University Libraries, will follow guidance described by COPE.

(Updated February 26, 2021)

Conflict of Interest

Authors, reviewers, and editors are required to disclose conflicts of interest at the earliest possible opportunity - for example, when a manuscript is submitted or a review assignment is accepted. Conflict of interest is defined as any competing personal, professional, or financial interest that may introduce bias into the publishing process of the journal.

Example conflicts of interest:

  • financial support from commercial enterprises that have a vested interest in the results
  • personal relationships that would compromise objectivity during review or publication
  • professional competition that would prevent objective evaluation of a submitted manuscript

Disclosure of a conflict of interest by an author does not necessarily mean that a manuscript will be denied acceptance to the journal. If an author is found to have a conflict of interest that was not disclosed during the submission and review process, the editor will identify an appropriate remedy, which may include a published correction or a retraction.

(Updated February 26, 2021)

Copyright and Plagiarism

Copyright Policy

Authors retain all rights to work published by The Ohio State University Libraries' Publishing Program. The specific terms of our author agreements may vary slightly from journal to journal, but they all constitute nonexclusive licenses covering the rights required to publish, index, abstract, and preserve the content. Authors are free to reuse their work and to enter into other agreements as long as they credit the relevant journal as the site of first publication and provide a link to the journal website.

Beginning with Volume 3, Issue 3 (December 2020), the Bulletin of the Society of Systematic Biologists is published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License unless otherwise indicated.

Plagiarism Policy

BSSB does not accept manuscripts with plagiarized material. For the purposes of this policy, plagiarism is defined as the use of previously authored works - including text, data, and images – of others or self without proper attribution.

The editors of BSSB will respond to plagiarism at their discretion. Actions taken will be based on the severity of the plagiarism attempt, but can include corrections to or retractions of the published article, the author being banned from publishing in the journal, and/or the editor notification of the author’s institution or funding agencies.

(Updated February 26, 2021)

Ethical Oversight

BSSB will promote the highest standards of research by ensuring that the published research is conducted in a fair and ethical manner. Wherever appropriate, published research based on human subjects will provide the name of the local ethics committee that approved the study (or confirmation that such approval is not needed). Any submissions that don’t meet these criteria will be returned to the authors.

(Updated February 26, 2021)

Post-Publication Corrections

When errors are discovered in published content, BSSB will follow the guidelines of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). The following language is a brief summary of relevant portions of the guidelines for the benefit of our editors, authors, and readers. The full guidelines should be consulted if questions arise or action is being considered.

If the editor becomes aware of major errors in, or misconduct related to published work, the editor may issue a retraction, statement of concern, or correction. These actions are meant to maintain the scholarly record and are not meant to be a form of punishment. An author who determines that his or her published article may contain errors should contact the editor promptly so that the journal can determine a path forward. Readers are also invited to contact the editor with concerns about published content.


A retraction is defined as a public disavowal, not an erasure or removal. Retractions will occur if the editors and editorial board find that the main conclusion of the work is undermined or if subsequent information about the work comes to light of which the authors or the editors were not aware at the time of publication.

Statement of Concern

A statement of concern will be issued if there is inconclusive evidence of research misconduct / ethical wrongdoing or there is an ongoing investigation and results are pending.


A correction will be published if the scholarly record is seriously affected (e.g., if accuracy / intended meaning, scientific reproducibility, author reputation, or journal reputation is judged to be compromised). Corrections such as misspellings or grammatical errors will not be published. Published corrections will be added to the original article whenever possible. When that is not possible, the correction will link to and from the original work.


Removal of published content may occur if an article is determined to be defamatory by a court of law, if it infringes on legal rights, or if there is a reasonable expectation that it will be subject to a court order for any reason. The bibliographic information about the work will be retained online, but the work will no longer be available through the journal. A note will be added to indicate that the item was removed for legal reasons.

(Updated February 26, 2021)


This journal participates in the Public Knowledge Project's Private LOCKSS Network to preserve its contents. https://pkp.sfu.ca/pkp-pn/

(Updated February 26, 2021)