Any scientific and technical publishing program benefits greatly by adopting a set house style and providing its authors, editors, and production staff with clear guidance on how to meet the program's publishing objectives.
The last edition of the Style Guide (Strongitharm 1995) has served well in providing this guidance over the past decade. However, an update was in order. The many technological advances that have occurred in recent years in electronic communication and publishing needed to be addressed (such as citing web-based references). Furthermore, the approval process for vetting documents submitted to the Forest Science Program had also evolved, aimed at ensuring that publications meet a high level of peer and technical review. The stages in this new process also needed to be clearly laid out in the guide to help authors plan and prepare their submissions. And, of course, myriad small changes and refinements were overdue - typical of the regular use-and-adapt process that leads to improvement of any tool.
We were not interested in making change for change's sake, especially as the guide has been embraced and followed for so long as it is. Therefore, we have maintained most of the original content while incorporating updates on topics and in certain sections as requested by guide users. This new edition is organized into two parts.
PART 1 describes the seven main steps in the Forest Science Program publication process, from selecting the appropriate publication vehicle, through writing and review, to design, production, printing, and distribution. Key players in the early steps are the author, his or her manager, and the Director of Research Branch, all of whom play critical roles in ensuring that every manuscript receives adequate review and approval before being accepted for publication in any Forest Science Program publication series or format. Part 1 also addresses such topics as writing for the web, complying with intellectual property requirements, and revising online documents.
PART 2 is the Style Guide. It presents, in alphabetical order by topic (and supported with numerous examples), all matters of style pertaining to Forest Science Program publications. It also includes new information for authors on how to cite online materials and sources.
I hope that the writing and style conventions presented in this edition will answer most questions that authors, editors, typesetters, proofreaders, and designers involved with Forest Science Program publications are likely to have. No reference guide can anticipate every possible query, and grammatical usage evolves, style conventions change, and organizational and external influences continue to exert pressure on the manner in which scientific and technical publication occurs. Nevertheless, I trust that this update to Research Branch's longstanding Style Guide will provide, for the next stretch of time, a common point of reference for all involved - one that continues to support and promote the high standards of quality associated with the work of the Forest Science Program.
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Updated May 22, 2008