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Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.
  • The submission has not been previously published, nor is it before another journal for consideration (or an explanation has been provided in Comments to the Editor).
  • The submission file is in OpenOffice, Microsoft Word, or RTF document file format, and is in proper font.
  • Where available, URLs for the references have been provided.
  • The text is single-spaced; uses a 12-point font; employs italics, rather than underlining (except with URL addresses); and all illustrations, figures, and tables are placed within the text at the appropriate points, rather than at the end. All author guidelines have been followed.
  • The text adheres to the stylistic and bibliographic requirements outlined in the Author Guidelines.
  • When publishing development data, full dataset is included at least as a supplimentary file.

Author Guidelines

Author Guidelines  

Download a PDF of these guidelines here

Sections

All manuscripts should fit into one of the following sections: 

Research Articles

Description of novel ideas or approaches to understanding a fundamental biological condition of insects associated with decompositional processes.  No word limits, but these are typically around 5000 words.

 

Development Data

Data repository to publish a development study.  Manuscripts must include raw data downloads, and a clear description of the experimental protocols as outlined in the author guidelines. No word limits, but these are typically around 2500 words.

 

Validation Study

Validation studies are important to observe, document and understand variation in a specific laboratory/field test and must demonstrate reliability, reproducibility and robustness.  Manuscripts rooted in validation have no word limits, but are generally around 2500 words, and all data must be made available as a supplementary material.

 

Case Study

Scholarly discussion of a forensic case that included entomological evidence.  Limited to 2000 words. Specific guidelines for case studies may be found later in this document

 

Laboratory/Field Protocol

Laboratory and experimental protocols are critical for proper planning and performing experiments, and common practices may or may not be universally known. Protocols should include all information necessary for replication of common laboratory and experimental techniques used in entomological research, including (but not limited to) rearing, curation, artificial diet, collection, and DNA extraction methodologies. Protocols have no word limits, but must include certain elements noted below (adapted from Giraldo 2018) and are generally around 1000 words. Specific guidelines for protocols may be found later in this document. 

Commentary

Commentary can include letters, opinions, communications. Responses to previously published manuscripts in the JFE which contribute to or elicit discussion on a subject without overstepping the bounds of professional courtesy. Limited to 1000 words.  

 

Inconclusive Results

An opportunity to present research findings that may be deemed “negative” or “non-significant” findings related to a forensic entomology question. Scientific inquiry is a part of the process, and if there are multiple attempts at the same type of experimental questions, without reports of failures, we are all destined to continue to repeat them.  Undergraduate students completing research projects are encouraged to present their findings here. 

 

Communication

Updates or extensions of previously published topics or a short stand-alone article. May also scholarly describe a website, software application, media item, or other use of technology that enhances teaching and learning. No formal format for a communication paper is required.

Book Review

Reviews of recent text of concern to the forensic entomologist. Limited to 1000 words.

Errata
This section is for correcting mistakes in previously published papers. Links to previously published papers required. 

 

If a manuscript does not fit into one of these categories, please contact the Co-Editors in Chief for guidance. 

Manuscript Submission Guidelines

 

Scope of Journal

 

This is the official journal of the North American Forensic Entomological Association (NAFEA). The Journal of Forensic Entomology (JFE) is an open access journal that publishes peer-reviewed articles that formulate the intersection of forensic science and entomology. The audience will mainly consist of other forensic entomology researchers as well as practitioners and other members of the criminal justice system.  JFE publishes original manuscript contributions focused on research studies, laboratory protocols, development datasets, with a special section dedicated to negative results or preliminary studies lacking adequate statistical power.  Submitted manuscripts will be peer-reviewed and evaluated on the basis of scholarship, novelty, helpfulness, and presentation. 

 

Manuscript Preparation

 

A two-column manuscript template is available and must be used for all submissions to JFE: Click here to download the template.  Text must be in  Microsoft Word, OpenOffice, or RTF document file format, and in Times New Roman, Courier, or Verdana 10-12 point font. Times New Roman and Courier New fonts are specifically designed for printed papers, and are most appropriate for those papers that will be printed for offline reading. Verdana font is specifically designed to be easily read from a computer or tablet screen, and is most appropriate for those papers that will be read in an electronic format. (Note: these guidelines are in Verdana font, for reference). Authors may suggest which font is best for specific papers by submitting those papers in the chosen font. Editors may change the font style for final publication. 

Font Examples: 

Verdana Font: Appropriate for electronic reading, 10.5 Font

Times New Roman: Appropriate for hard copy, 10.5 Font

Courier New: Appropriate for hard copy, 10.5 Font

General Format: 

Content should be justified throughout, unless otherwise noted. Body paragraphs should begin with an indent to denote the start of a new paragraph. Section headings should be left justified and bolded. Figures, charts, tables, equations, and photographs should be embedded in the text at the point of relevance.  

Submissions to certain sections may have specific content requirements, word limits, or must follow certain formatting as listed in these guidelines. 

General Guidelines

Follow these guidelines unless specific instructions are given for the chosen category. 

Submissions must have clearly identified standard sections as follows:

Title
Author list and affiliation
Abstract and Keywords
Materials and Methods
Hazards and Safety Precautions
Results
Discussion and Conclusion
Author Contributions
Acknowledgments
References

 

 

Title

 The title should clearly and concisely reflect the emphasis and content of the manuscript and be meaningful to a broad audience.

 Author List and Affiliation

 Each author should be identified using first name, middle initial (if applicable), and surname.  For each author, an institutional affiliation (include department and address) should be provided in the appropriate section of the template.  Each author can be identified to their affiliation by the use of a special character (for instance an asterisk) placed after the degree.

One author must be designated as the corresponding author with email provided.  The corresponding author is responsible for ensuring that all authors have approved the manuscript before submission and for all subsequent revisions.

 

Abstract and Keywords

The abstract should be between 300 and 350 words.  The abstract should briefly state the purpose of the manuscript and concisely summarize the content including methods, observations, statistical analyses, and conclusions.  Emphasis should be placed on novel and important aspects of the manuscript. 

 

Below the abstract, and identified as such, 3 to 5 key words or short phrases must be placed in bold for purposes of indexing. 

The term “Abstract” should be left justified.

 

Introduction

Clearly state the purpose, rationale, and the objectives of the manuscript.  A brief literature search of all previous work relevant to the topic is appropriate. 

 

Materials and Methods

Methods used to collect and interpret data and observations shall be described.  For laboratory experiments, apparatus (manufacturer's name and address in parentheses), and procedures used must be in sufficient detail to allow others to easily perform the experiment.  Give references to established methods, and provide any modifications made.  Describe the methods and materials in narrative style, not in the style of a laboratory procedure handout.  Whenever possible, use systematic nomenclature as recommended by IUPAC for chemical compounds and SI units, including in table column headings (this is required of the Results section as well).  Institutional Review Board approval must be cited if human subjects were used in a study.  Statistical analyses shall be described and software used stated and cited.

 

Hazards and Safety Precautions

Any manuscript category should contain a Hazards and Safety Precautions section if it describes the use of or exposure to potentially hazardous chemicals or the use of equipment or procedures that present health or safety risks. Hazards and safety precautions relating to the handling or use of chemicals or the manipulation of materials or equipment must be completely and clearly described in this section. 

 

Results

Present analyzed data in an accurate, complete, concise manner. Data should be presented in logical sequence in the text, tables, and figures.  Quantitative data should be expressed with appropriate statistical parameter(s) to indicate reliability (e.g. standard deviation, confidence intervals). The use of subheadings is encouraged to help organize results.

Tables

Tables should span the full width of the paper body, and be included in the body of the paper Page and/or section breaks should be added immediately before and after the figures to ensure proper formatting within a document. Number tables with Arabic numerals consecutively in the order of their first citation in the text.  Tables should be placed in the document contiguous to their mention in the text.  When mention in the text, Table # should be bolded.  The term “TABLE” in the title must be capitalized followed by the table number, and the table title must be centered above the table proper..  No hyphen should precede the title which must be in italics.  Only the first word should be capitalized unless capitalization of a word is appropriate (such as a name).  Place explanatory matter in footnotes, not in the heading. Explain in footnotes all nonstandard abbreviations that are used in each table. For footnotes use the following symbols, in this sequence: *,†,‡,§,((,¶,**,††,‡‡.  Footnotes are centered.

 

Identify statistical measures of variations such as standard deviation and standard error of the mean. Be sure each table is cited in the text.

 Table may include color, shading, or other highlights as appropriate, and shading may be used in lieu of horizontal lines according to author preferences. 

An example table is provided:  

TABLE 55. Particle size distribution data for soil samples.

Fraction

Weight (g)

Weight (%)

Cumulative Weight (%)

#10*

0.0483

4.4972

4.4972

#35*

0.1687

15.7076

20.2048

#60*

0.0787

7.3277

27.5325

*represents mesh size of sieve

Additional examples of tables may be found in the 

Figures

 Figures and other illustrations should span the full width of the paper body. Page and/or section breaks should be added immediately before and after the figures to ensure proper formatting within a document. Full size, high definition photos, figures, or other illustrations should be included as supplementary material when submitting the paper to allow for download and inspection of illustration by readers. 

Figures (including graphs and photographs) should be computer generated.  Photographs and scanned figures should be minimum 300 dpi and saved as JPEGs or TIFFs.  Figures must be numbered consecutively (in Arabic numerals) according to the order in which they have been first cited in the text.  Figures should be placed in the document contiguous to their mention in the text. In the text, each figure should be referred by the term Figure# in bold.  Each figure must be titled at the bottom of the figure.    No hyphen should precede the title which must be in italics.  Only the first word should be capitalized unless capitalization of a word is appropriate (such as a name).  Letters, numbers, and symbols should be clear and even throughout.  Axes on graphs must be clearly labeled with proper units of measurement. All detailed explanations including the title are placed below the base of the figure.  Legends can be incorporated below the figure if appropriate.  

When symbols, arrows, numbers, or letters are used to identify parts of the illustrations, identify and explain each one clearly in the legend. Explain the internal scale and identify the method of staining in photomicrographs.  Chemical structures utilized in figures must be generated with chemical drawing software.  Reproductions from other published works are prohibited.

Measurements of length, height, weight, and volume should be reported in metric units (meter, kilogram, or liter) or their decimal multiples. 

Temperatures should be given in degrees Celsius, and written following common Chicago or APA style: 

Chicago Style: The temperature will reach 120°C.
APA Style: The temperature will reach 120 °C. 

If the Kelvin scale is appropriate, write the notation without the degree symbol or the word “degrees:” 

In this experiment, the water reached 453 K.
The ideal temperature is 295.15 kelvins. 

 

 

 

 

Discussion and Conclusion

The writing of the Discussion is consistent with guidelines set forth by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).

The Discussion should emphasize the new and important aspects of the manuscript and the conclusions that follow from them in the context of the totality of the best available evidence.   Do not repeat in detail data or other information given in other parts of the manuscript, such as in the Introduction or the Results section.  The Discussion should contain four parts:

  1. Begin the discussion by briefly summarizing the main findings, then explore possible mechanisms or explanations for these findings;
  2. Compare and contrast the results with other relevant work;

III. State the limitations of the manuscript;

  1. Explore the implications of the findings for future work, research, and for professional practice.

Author Contributions

All contributions of all authors should be explicitly stated. A distinction is made between five types of contributions: Conceived and designed the experiments and analyses; Collected the data; Contributed data or analysis tools; Performed the analysis; Wrote the paper.

If additional duties were performed and deemed significant enough to grant authorship, those duties should be detailed in this section. Individual authors may be listed as contributing more than one contribution type.

Author contributions should be noted in a separate section at the end of the paper, after the Discussion section and before the Acknowledgments. 

Acknowledgments

Authors may acknowledge contributions that do not rise to the level of authorship, such as general support by colleagues with technical help, or review of manuscript in this section.  Any financial support received for the work conducted must be disclosed in this section. Similarly, any financial interest that the author(s) may have due to the publication of the manuscript must also be disclosed. 

 

References

Published or in-press sources including peer-review and editorially reviewed sources,  abstracts (duly noted as being abstracts), printed manufacturers' protocols or instructions, and internet URLs may be validly cited as references. Personal communications and submitted manuscripts may be cited only if it is essential and a published or in-press reference is not available.

Number references consecutively using Arabic numerals in the order in which they are first mentioned in the text and formatted in the manuscript by enclosing with parentheses.  Identify references in tables and figures also with Arabic numerals in parentheses.  References cited only in tables or legends should be numbered in accordance with a sequence established by the first identification in the text of the particular table or figure.  Within the reference list, number the references 1., 2., 3., etc.

 

References in the reference list should be in accord with Uniform Requirements for Biomedical Journals style.  This style is based with slight modifications on the formats used by the U.S. National Library of Medicine in Index Medicus. The titles of journals should be abbreviated according to the style used in Index Medicus. If a source is not listed in Index Medicus, the full name of the source should be cited in the reference.

Examples of correct reference style below:

    Research Article

  1. Rosati, J.Y. and S.L. vanLaerhoven, New record of Chrysomya rufifacies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) in Canada: predicted range expansion and potential effects on native species. The Canadian Entomologist, 2007. 139(5): p. 670-677.

      Book

  1. Byrd, J.H. and J.L. Castner, eds. Forensic Entomology: The utility of arthropods in legal investigations. 2nd Edition ed. 2010, CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL. 681.

   Book Chapter

  1. Midgley, J.M., C.S. Richards, and M.H. Villet, The utility of Coleoptera in forensic investigations, in Current concepts in forensic entomology. 2009, Springer. p. 57-68.

      Report

  1. N.I.J., Lessons Learned from 9/11: DNA Identification in Mass Fatality Incidents. 2006: US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs.

   Thesis

  1. van der Leij, T., Faunistic and molecular studies on the sheep blowfly Lucilia sericata on the Betuwe. 1995, M. Sc. Thesis.
  2. Conference Paper

Magni, P., et al., Preliminary studies on the chemical and morphological changes of gunshot residues following ingestion by fly larvae., in American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS). 2011: Chicago, Illinois.

Website

  1. NBCI. Available from: http://blast.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/. (Accessed June 2020)

If an author is designated, the author’s name should precede the name of the organization.

 

Authors can consult the author guidelines from the Journal of Forensic Sciences for additional examples.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After Acceptance

The corresponding author must obtain prior permission from individuals listed as authors or mentioned in the Acknowledgements that they agree to be listed.

The corresponding author must obtain prior permission from individuals listed as authors or mentioned in the Acknowledgements that they agree to be listed.

If at least one author on the paper is a current NAFEA member (either Regular or Associate member), then there is no publication cost associated with the submission of the article. If there are no current members included in the author list, a publication charge of $50 USD will be charged upon acceptance of the article. Alternatively, authors may apply for NAFEA membership. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Specialized Guidelines

Certain categories of submissions require specialized guidelines. These are outlined below. 

Laboratory/Field Protocols

Font and formatting of content of lab/field protocols should follow the general guidelines unless otherwise noted below. 

Protocols at minimum should include these elements (adapted from Giraldo 2018) : 

Data Element 

Property

Title of protocol

 

Author

Name

Author Role

Author contribution

Version number

 

Provenance of protocol

 

Overall objective/purpose

 

Application of protocol

 

Advantages of protocol

 

Limitations of protocol

 

Organism

Whole organism/Organism part

Sample/organism identifier

Strain, genotype, or line

Developmental stage

Amount of Bio-Source

Bio-Source supplier

Growth substrates

Growth environments

Growth time

Sample pre treatment

Sample preparation

Equipment

Name

Manufacturer or vendor

Website location (if available)

Identifier (catalog number, model, or direct link)

Consumables

Name

Manufacturer or vendor

Website location (if available)

Identifier (catalog number, model, or direct link)

Recipes

Name

Reagent or chemical compound name

Initial concentration of chemical compound

Final concentration of chemical compound

Storage conditions

Cautions

Hints

Software

Name

Version number

Website location (if available)

Procedure

List of steps in numerical order

Alternative/optional/parallel steps

Critical steps

Pause point

Timing

Hints

Troubleshooting

Unique Observations

Hints

Troubleshooting

Substitutions

Other info as deemed appropriate by authors

A checklist for use as an indicator of completeness using these guidelines is available at https://smartprotocols.github.io/ontology/

Title Title should be concise and explicit without ambiguous or qualitative language. 

Author name: The full names of the author(s) and the author contributions as outlined above are required. 

Author contributions: The role of each author should be clearly defined in a section titled “Author Contribution” placed below the author names. Use simple terms to describe who did what. Two common roles for authors of protocols are: 

Creator of the protocol: This is the author responsible for the creation, adaptation, or significant updating of the protocol. 

Laboratory-validation scientist: Validation of the protocols are critical for continued success, and should be written clearly to ensure anyone can follow the steps. The validation scientist should test the protocol without input from the creator, and without the need to update or change steps for success. 

Version Number: It is understood that protocols are streamlined through practice, and updating of published protocols is encouraged. The version number should be numbered in the form I.J, where I and J are integers 0, 1, 2, ….9, 10, 11, …., followed by a dash and the year in which the current version of the protocol was produced, starting with 1.0 - year and increasing from there. 

Versions that substantially update the protocol by addition of steps, removal of equipment, ingredients, processes, or other materials, or inclusion of new materials should be indicated by updating the “I” portion of the number. 

Versions that only include minor modifications, such as increase or decrease of time, ingredients, or other materials already included in the protocol should be indicated by updating the “J” portion of the number. 

Examples of version numbers: 

1.0-2020

A protocol with this numbering indicates the first publication of the protocol, which was published in 2020. 

1.3-2021

A protocol number change like this indicates a minor change in the 1.0 version of the protocol, and the change was published in 2021. 

2.0-2021 

A protocol number change like this indicates a major change in the protocol, and the change was published in 2021.

There is no limit to the number of versions of a protocol that may be published, but editors reserve the right to accept or reject updates. 

Documenting changes: When updating protocols with new version numbers, a list of changes from previous versions and a reference to the previous version should be included in the updated document. The list of changes should be cumulative, and updated as each new version is published. This list should be included as a supplemental document when submitting the updated version. Documents without this list will be rejected. 

Provenance of protocol: The provenance is required to indicate if the current protocol is adapted from previously published works by individuals other than the authors, and should indicate if the adapted protocol comes from a protocol repository. If appropriate, a direct link to the protocol should be included. In line citation of the original protocol should be included. Provenance should be clearly indicated in the introduction and background of the protocol. 

Example: “This protocol was adapted from “How to Study Gene Expression,” Chapter 7, in Arabidopsis: A Laboratory Manual (eds. Weigel and Glazebrook). Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, USA, 2002. Protocol available at protocol.org/Protocol_Preparation_Guidelines.aspx (Blazques 2007). 

License of the protocol: By publishing in the Journal of Forensic Entomology, you are agreeing to share the protocol according to the Creative Commons Share Alike license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/

Overall objective or purpose: A description of the objective/purpose of the protocol should clearly indicate the reasoning behind development of the protocol, and allow readers to ascertain the suitability of the protocol for their own work. 

Example: Development of a method to isolate small RNAs from different insect species without the need for total RNA extraction and not based on commercially available TRIzol reagent or columns. 

Application: The application of the protocol should indicate a range of situations where the protocol could successfully be applied. 

Example: This artificial diet is appropriate for all Calliphoridae adults kept in colony. 

Advantages: The advantages of this protocol should be compared to other alternatives, including commercially available kits, methodologies, or techniques. References to alternative methods should be included to allow readers the opportunity to compare techniques. 

Example: We describe a fast, efficient and economic in-house protocol for plasmid preparation using glass syringe filters. Plasmid yield and quality as determined by enzyme digestion and transfection efficiency were equivalent to the expensive commercial kits. The required time for purification was much less than that required using a commercial kit. 

Limitations: A discussion of the known limitations of the protocol should be included, and should clearly indicate the situations in which the protocol proved unsuccessful or unreliable. Suggestions for resolving these limitations may be included in the protocol itself, or may be addressed in subsequent versions. 

Example: A major problem found in both this and other transformation studies is the hyperhydration of the transgenic shoots which result in the loss of a large proportion of transgenic shoots. 

Sample: The sample is the biological substance, or the experimental input to a protocol. The information included in this section depends on the type of sample, and the requirements for that sample. Samples include (but are not limited to) strain, genotype, or line; starting material; whole organisms; organism parts; and organism/sample identifier. 

Information should include any and all identifiers, sources, published material, or other information available to allow readers to obtain the sample themselves. 

The amount of sample (by weight, volume, number, or other measurable characteristics);  the developmental stage, age, and gender (if applicable) of the organism; and the supplier in the form of a person, company, laboratory, or entity that offers a variety of biosamples or biospecimens should be included. 

If samples were collected by the authors in the wild, clear directions of the methodology used for the collection should be included or referenced. 

Growth condition:  If samples were reared in the lab or under other conditions, information indicating the growth substrate (system, nutrients, specific substrate, etc.) should be included with appropriate measurements (media, volume, cell number, etc.). The growth environment should also be clearly indicated, with details on the equipment, light and dark cycles (L:D), humidity, temperature, housing conditions, and non-controlled environments such as location of fields or collection sites. Growth time prior to treatment of the bio-sample should be clearly indicated as appropriate. 

Sample preparation: Any information regarding collection, transport, storage, preparation (draying, grinding, heating, etc.) of the sample prior to treatment should be clearly outlined. Citation of relevant publications and protocols is encouraged. 

Laboratory equipment: The equipment used in the protopl should include any and all apparatus and instruments utilized at any point during the procedures. All necessary equipment along with the manufacturer name or vendor (including website as appropriate), catalogue number or model, and configuration of the equipment should be included. 

If custom equipment was designed for this protocol, clear indication of how to replicate the equipment is required. 

Laboratory consumables or supplies: All disposable or consumable materials, including (but not limited to) pipettes, funnels, test tubes, safety equipment (gloves, goggles, face masks), filters, etc. should be presented with the manufacturer name and catalog number or website as appropriate. Enough information should be provided to allow readers to procure all required equipment. 

Recipe for solutions: A recipe and instructions for the creation of any solution, media, buffer, or other other solutions should be provided. This recipe should include a list of all necessary ingredients (foodstuffs, chemical compounds, substances, etc.), initial and final concentrations as appropriate, pH, storage conditions, cautions, hints, and sources as necessary. Ready-to-use reagents do not need to be listed in this category; instead add them to the “laboratory consumables” sections. Any modifications of purchased reagents or commercially available substances should be listed with clear indication of modifications made. 

Solution name: This is the name of the preparation that has at least two chemical substances: one a solvent, the other the solute. If applicable, the name should include the concentration of the locution, final folum, and final pH. 

Example: Ammonium bicarbonate (NH4HCO3), 50mM, 10 ml, pH 7.8. 

Chemical compound or reagent name: This is the name of the drug, solvent, chemical, or other substance. If applicable, a measurable property (e.g. concentration) should be included. 

Initial and final concentrations: The first and last measured concentration of a compound in a substance should be listed as appropriate. 

Storage conditions: This information should include the shelf life, storage temperature, and any other information necessary to successfully keep a material for future use. Specify if materials must be prepared fresh or if long-term storage options are available. 

Example: Store the solution at room temperature. Maximum storage time three months.

Cautions: Special attention should be paid to any potentially harmful or toxic materials either made or used in the protocol. These materials should be identified by the word “CAUTION” followed by an explanation of the hazard and the precautions required for safe use of the material. Caution indicated on commercial kits may be referenced rather than spell out in the document. 

Example: CAUTION: NaOH is a very strong base. Can seriously burn skin and eyes. Wear protective clothing when handling. Prepare solution in fume hood. 

Hints: These are author commentaries or helpful tips used by the authors to successfully prepare solutions, recipes, or other materials. Hints should give indication of any problems or issues the techniques solve, and alternative solutions when available. 

Example: Add NaOH to water to avoid splashing

Reagents: A reagent is a substance used in a chemical reaction to detect, examine, measure, or produce other substances. All reagents necessary for the protocol should be listed, with the venter name and website address, catalog number, or other identifying information. All ready-to-use commercial reagents should be listed in this section. 

Any modifications to reagents should be indicated in the “Recipes” section. 

Kits: A kit is a gear consisting of a set of articles or tools for a specific purpose. All purchased kits used in the protocol should be listed with the manufacturer name, website address or catalog number, and any modifications made to the premade kit. 

Software: Any software used in the protocol (apart from word processing or other software only used for the writeup of said protocol) should be listed. The listing should include the software name, version, and availability. Links to software should be added as appropriate. 

If custom software was developed for the purposes of this protocol, information on either how to obtain the software, or clear instructions on how to replicate the software should be provided. Software used in a protocol may be commercially available for purpose or freely available for download or online use as appropriate. 

If software or other code is offered by the authors for free, https://github.com/ should be used as the repository for this material, along with direct links to the version used in the protocol. 

Procedure: All steps necessary to successfully complete the protocol should be described. List the steps in numerical order, using active tense. 

Example: Pipette 20 ml of buffer A into the test tube.

Whenever there are two or more alternatives, these should be numbered as sets of steps, with clear indication of if/when to choose each method. 

Example: Choose procedure A (steps 1-10) if larvae are in the second instar,  or procedure B (steps 11-20) if larvae are in the third instar; then continue with step 21. 

Optional steps, or steps that should be executed in parallel should also be included. 

For techniques including a number of procedures, organize these in the exact order in which they should be executed. 

Steps that include working temperature (e.g. on ice, in a cold room, in an incubator,  or room temperature) should be clearly specified. The most common storage conditions are listed below, and these words or phrases should be used to ensure consistent communication: 

  • Frozen/deep freeze temperature (-20 C to -15 C)
  • Refrigerator, cold room, or generic cold temperature (2 C to 8 C)
  • Cool temperature (8 C to 15 C)
  • Room or ambient temperature (15 C to 25 C)
  • Warm or lukewarm temperature (30 C to 40 C)

Working temperatures of over 40 C should be indicated clearly. If exact temperatures are needed, include those temperatures clearly. 

For centrifuge steps, include the time, speed (rpm or g), and temperature for the procedure. Indicate whether to discard or keep the supernatant and/or pellet. 

For incubations or rearing, indicate specific time, temperature, L:D cycle, humidity (if available), and type of incubator. If any conditions within the rearing chamber would significantly affect the experienced temperature or humidity (e.g. presence of a maggot mass), clearly indicate the situation. 

For washes, specify conditions (temperature, solution, volume) and the specific number and/or duration of the washes. 

Alert messages: If auxiliary information is useful for a specific step or procedure, include this information as an “alert message.” This is used to indicate issues that may arise when executing a specific step or series of steps, and should be highlighted. This includes (but is not limited to) special tips or hints for performing a step successfully, alternative methods for the step, warnings regarding hazardous materials or situations, time constraints and considerations, pause points, recommended speed at which the step must be performed, storage information, or other common situations encountered during the development of the protocol. 

Critical steps:  The inclusion of “critical steps” should help the reader maximize the likelihood of success. Highlight critical steps and indicate how to carry out these steps successfully. Indicate any specialized materials necessary (e.g. RNase free solutions), or other inputs (e.g. time and temperature) if this information is deemed crucial for the success of the protocol. Information should be provided to indicate how these steps are critical and how to resolve problems. Indicate a critical step by using the heading CRITICAL STEP followed by a brief explanation. 

Example: CRITICAL STEP: Deagglutinate the egg mass by placing mass on a moist towel for three minutes. Agglutination of eggs prevents disinfectant from reaching the corion of individual eggs, and may result in incomplete surface sterilization. 

Unique Observations: Any and all observations, hints, tips, tricks, problems, or other information gleaned through the development of this protocol should be indicated either in the steps of the protocol proper, or in a subsequent section following the protocol steps. Common types of information that may be included are listed below. If you wish to include additional information that is not mentioned below, add that information clearly as you see fit. 

Pause point: Indicate if there is a point in the procedure where steps may be paused or stopped, and for how long this pause may last. These points should be indicated by using the heading PAUSE POINT, and include information regarding the length of time, storage of materials, or other information necessary to allow for successful resumption of the procedure at a later time. 

Example: PAUSE POINT: Weight out 500 mg of sample and add to beaker. The sample powder can be stored at room temperature for up to 4 hours, and should be subjected to extraction as soon as possible. If longer than 4 hours has elapsed, return to step 3 to resume. 

Hints: Provide any commentary, observations, developed techniques, or other information that may help the reader correctly perform the protocol. Hints may be added in line with steps, as a footnote, or in a separate section referenced in the protocol steps (i.e. “...add reagent slowly (see Hint #2)”). 

Troubleshooting: List the common problems, possible causes, common mistakes, and any solutions to address these problems. These may be added in line in the text, as a separate section at the end of the protocol proper, or in a table format. See Rohland and Hofreiter 2007 “troubleshooting table” for example. 

 

 

Case Studies

Case studies are designed to create a record of specific cases in forensic entomology to help frame questions for more rigorously designed research studies, teaching material, demonstrations, or other uses. Due to the nature of casework, these guidelines are not intended to be proscriptive, and many aspects of the author guidelines will include words such as “may” or “should” rather than “must” where appropriate. Authors may decide that particular circumstances warrant digression from these recommendations. Case studies are limited to 2000 words.  

 

Guidelines have been adapted from Budgell 2008

 

Case studies must include the following components: 

 

Title
Authors
Abstract

Keywords

Introduction
Case presentation
Discussion
Author Contributions

 

Other sections may be included as deemed appropriate by authors. 

 

Title

The title should contain the phrase “case study”  or a variation of this phrase to denote the nature of the document. 

 

Authors

Follow general guidelines for authorship. Authors may include investigators, medical examiners, or other non-traditional authors as appropriate. 

 

Abstract

A short summary of the case with major points should be included in the abstract section. Format of the abstract should follow general guidelines, but alternative formats may be appropriate. The abstract should allow readers to get a general sense of the case. 

 

Introduction

The introduction should place the case in a historical, social, and/or scientific context. If similar cases have been reported, the introduction is an opportunity to briefly describe these publications, and the reports should be referenced according to the general guidelines. If there was an especially challenging or interesting aspect to the case, the introduction should include a description of the challenges. The introduction may be limited to one or two paragraphs. 

 

Case Presentation

The format for presenting the relevant data is left to the author(s). This section should include all important information, including but not limited to geographic location, agencies involved, entomological or other evidence analyzed, and any other details necessary to fully understand the importance of the case. The case should be written in a narrative style rather than using shorthand or common notation. 

 

Photographs, data sets, or other materials may be included in this section. Captions, tables, and in paper citations will not be counted against the maximum word count. If published data sets were used in the analysis of entomological evidence, reference to the specific data sets should be included. Photographs may be placed in the body of the paper, or added as supplementary files and referenced in the body. 

 

Discussion

This section is an opportunity to highlight any unusual or problematic situations associated with the case. Expert conclusions given the case may fit in this section. Recommendations for future handling of similar cases may also be included in this section. 

 

Author contributions

All listed authors and their contributions to the case and/or paper must be outlined in this section. In addition to the general contributions listed in previous sections, authors may be listed as lead investigators, medical examiners, lawyers, or other positions common to criminal and civil cases. 

 

Acknowledgements

This section should follow the general guidelines. 

 

Optional Sections

One or more of the following sections may be included as determined by the authors. These sections are simply examples taken from previously published case studies. Authors wishing to add additional sections not listed here may title those sections as appropriate. Titles should indicate the type of information included in the section in a few words, and be descriptive enough to allow the reader to understand the reason behind inclusion. 

 

Evidence Techniques

This section can include details outlining collection or analysis techniques, unique circumstances, or other information that does not fit in the case presentation

 

Case Outcome

A description of the results of the case, including trial, plea deals, sentencing, or other information may be added here. It may be appropriate to link to publicly available transcripts, videos, or other court materials. 

 

References

References may or may  not be appropriate in a case study. If previously published materials are mentioned in the body of the paper, then in line citations and references should be included. If no published materials were used, then it is appropriate to remove the references section. 

Peer reviewers and editors may request the inclusion of citations during the peer review or editorial process. 



Research Articles

Description of novel ideas or approaches to understanding a fundamental biological condition of insects associated with decompositional processes.  No word limits, but these are typically around 5000 words.

Development Data

 Data repository to publish a development study.  Manuscripts must include raw data downloads, and a clear description of the experimental protocols. No word limits, but these are typically around 2500 words.

Validation Study

Validation studies are important to observe, document and understand variation in a specific laboratory/field test and must demonstrate reliability, reproducibility and robustness.  Manuscripts rooted in validation have no word limits, but are generally around 2500 words, and all data must be made available as a supplementary material.

Case Study

Scholarly discussion of a forensic case that included entomological evidence.  Limited to 2000 words.

Laboratory/Field Protocol

Laboratory and experimental protocols are critical for proper planning and performing experiments, and common practices may or may not be universally known. Protocols should include all information necessary for replication of common laboratory and experimental techniques used in entomological research, including (but not limited to) rearing, curation, artificial diet, collection, and DNA extraction methodologies. Protocols have no word limits, but must include certain elements noted below (adapted from Giraldo 2018) and are generally around 1000 words. 

Commentary

Commentary can include letters, opinions, communications. Responses to previously published manuscripts in the JFE which contribute to or elicit discussion on a subject without overstepping the bounds of professional courtesy. Limited to 1000 words.  

Inconclusive Results

An opportunity to present research findings that may be deemed “negative” or “non-significant” findings related to a forensic entomology question. Scientific inquiry is a part of the process, and if there are multiple attempts at the same type of experimental questions, without reports of failures, we are all destined to continue to repeat them.  Undergraduate students completing research projects are encouraged to present their findings here. 

Communication

Updates or extensions of previously published topics or a short stand-alone article. May also scholarly describe a website, software application, media item, or other use of technology that enhances teaching and learning. No formal format for a communication paper is required.

Book Review

Reviews of recent text of concern to the forensic entomologist. Limited to 1000 words.

Errata

This section is for correcting mistakes in previously published papers. Links to previously published papers required. 

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