There is a basic division in Scottish Birds between papers and short notes that are peer-reviewed followed by the Club and Birding sections which are not. These splits in content are highlighted by fonts used and paper colour.

The first part accepts manuscripts on the status, distribution and populations of birds in Scotland and, particularly, changes in these over time. Write-ups of census work find a natural home in this section, as do the culmination of research topics and updates to information in The Birds of Scotland (Forrester et al. 2007). Original work and observations are encouraged, but summary papers will be considered and key-note papers of a more general nature may occasionally be commissioned. Papers should be fully referenced as in any scientific work. House style should be followed and guidance is available on the SOC website. Articles of less than 700 words are generally considered as Short Notes, but are otherwise in a similar format.

Authors should bear in mind that only a small proportion of the Scottish Birds readership are scientists and should aim to present their material concisely, interestingly and clearly. Unfamiliar technical terms and symbols should be avoided wherever possible and, if deemed essential, should be explained. Supporting statistics should be kept to a minimum. All papers and short notes are accepted on the understanding that they have not been offered for publication elsewhere and that they will be subject to editing. Papers will be acknowledged on receipt and are normally reviewed by at least two members of the editorial panel and, in most cases, also by an independent referee. They will normally be published in order of acceptance of fully revised manuscripts.

The latter two sections of Scottish Birds welcome informal as well as more serious contributions about any aspect of birds and their habitats in Scotland. It is not peer-reviewed, has minimal editing, and contributions can be descriptive, anecdotal, controversial, humorous or quirky. They can report on surveys, express opinions,  describe birds and places, look back into history, speculate as to the future and can represent organisations or be the work of private individuals. The documentation of rare and scarce birds in Scotland, plus a wide range of identification, site and species related information is lavishly illustrated by high quality colour photographs.  We welcome photographs, maps, cartoons, and will accept basic graphs and tables when relevant. Meeting reports or field trip accounts are all welcome, but our main aim is to focus on Scottish birds in Scotland or abroad. We will occasionally include articles from other parts of the world and sometimes about other wildlife.

In terms of length, we accept anything from short notes up to articles of c. 2,000 words. There are no strict guidelines as to format, but we would encourage contributors to follow the house style (see SOC website for guidance, as detailed above).  Within this section, we also publish obituaries of Club members and others who have contributed to Scottish ornithology. These are organised through Waterston House, where the Club Administrator will liaise with contributors. Book reviews are organised through the Club Librarian.

Please submit articles! We very much wish to encourage unsolicited contributions to this part of Scottish Birds. The editors spend much time requesting articles - a task that would be far less onerous if they are submitted freely from members and other readers. We wish to make it as easy as possible for contributors to send us material that reflects the enormous range of news, work and opinion relevant to Scotland’s birds.

Text, image and graphics formats

Contributions should preferably be submitted in electronic format via email. Only short articles and letters can be accepted in printed or hand written form. No fees are paid. Tables, maps and diagrams should be designed to fit either a single column or the full page width. Table and photograph captions should be self-explanatory and should be able to stand alone from the text. Please include all captions after the text. For photographs please supply the locality and month/year taken (if known), together with the name of the photographer.

Maps should preferably be provided in pdf format, or as a high-resolution jpg/tiff file. Maps may be redrawn to maintain house style, in which case the data used in their compilation may be requested. Charts should be provided with their accompanying data within a stand-alone spreadsheet so that house style can be applied. Photographs should be supplied as direct copies of the original (un-altered and un-cropped) camera files.


When submitting articles, letters, commentary, text, photographs, artwork, figures or images (the ‘Copyright Work’) for publication in Scottish Birds, you are agreeing to grant to the SOC a perpetual, royalty-free copyright licence to publish, continue to publish or republish the Copyright Work in all forms, formats and media (including, but not limited to, print, digital and electronic forms). You must ensure that by submitting a Copyright Work that you are not infringing the Copyright of any other person. By submitting a Copyright Work, you are warranting that you are the Copyright Work owner and that you have the right to grant the non-exclusive licence described above. For the avoidance of doubt, the Author/Artist shall remain the owner of the Copyright Work.

Please send all correspondence to: SOC Club Administrator at Waterston House, Aberlady EH32 0PY or by email.  Telephone: 01875 871330 or email for further advice and assistance.