Earth Sciences Journal Term Lists

Download the AJES terms list for EndNote.

( How to install terms list )

This is a draft list of approximately 1100 journals oriented towards the Earth Sciences in general and geology/geophysics in particular. It is intended for EndNote users, to provide links between full journal names (e.g. “Australian Journal of Earth Sciences”) and two forms of abbreviation – one with and the other without periods/full stops (e.g. “Aust. J. Earth Sci” and “Aust J Earth Sci”). When installed in an EndNote library it facilitates automatic conversion between these forms according to the bibliographic requirements specified in the EndNote formatting style for any specific journal.

Its potential utility depends on the fact that a particular journal may specify any one of these three variants in the bibliographies for papers published in that journal (or maybe even another variant, although these three predominate). However in a user’s EndNote reference library the journal name for a journal article will usually have been entered in only one of them, so that extensive editing of EndNote-formatted bibliographies may be required to ensure that each journal article reference has the journal name in the correct format. EndNote compensates for this by making provision for a journals “terms list” in which the full journal name is matched to up to three variants, and specifying in the formatting style which of these variants is to be used.

For example, many if not most journals these days require the use of full journal names in bibliographic references. Suppose that an EndNote user wishes to cite a reference, in a published bibliography, such as

White, P.A. (2009). Avon River springs catchment, Christchurch City, New Zealand. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 56:1, 61-70.

EndNote will have no problem formatting such a reference in a bibliography, according to rules embodied in a “style” file compiled for the journal concerned. However if the journal name for that reference has been entered in the Journal Name field of the user’s EndNote library file as “Aust. J. Earth Sci.” then the reference would be formatted as

White, P.A. (2009). Avon River springs catchment, Christchurch City, New Zealand. Aust. J. Earth Sci., 56:1, 61-70.

and it would be necessary to edit the final formatted bibliography to meet the publishing journal’s full-name requirements. However if the EndNote user has installed an appropriate Journals term list in the EndNote library, then when formatting the final bibliography EndNote would search the list for “Aust. J. Earth Sci.” in the abbreviation columns and if it finds it automatically substitute the full journal name – if that is what the formatting style specifies. The reverse also holds – if the journal style specifies one of the abbreviated formats but the library entry contains the full journal name (or the other abbreviation) EndNote will again make the appropriate substitution.

This is obviously a powerful tool, and many EndNote users make frequent good use of it. However it is not infallible, with the principal limitations being:

  1. A journal name to be automatically formatted must be present in the terms list, along with its corresponding abbreviations.
  2. The journal name and each of its correseponding abbreviations must be spelt correctly in the terms list, down to fine details of punctuation.

At present there does not appear to be any universally accepted list of earth science journals, nor does there appear to be any standardised forms of journal name abbreviations. In fact a brief investigation soon  reveals considerable variation in established practice, particularly in the extent and form of abbreviations. There has also been evident historical (and geographical) variation in abbreviation practice. However there does appear to be a general modern movement towards the two forms of abbreviation included in this Earth Sciences list, and EndNote makes provision for a third abbreviation to be added if required, for each journal in the journals term list.


Compilation procedure

Briefly, this draft list was assembled in two stages:

Firstly, several sources of references to Earth Science journals were searched repeatedly using a series of general purpose keywords such as “rocks”, “geology”, “geophysics” etc. In each case a random sample of several thousand references was downloaded (from the much larger group found in each such source) into an EndNote library, which was then sorted on the basis of journal name. The library was then scanned systematically to ensure that each journal name referenced in the download was included in the first column of a master spreadsheet. Altogether about 50,000 references were scanned in this way, but even then the results are unlikely to be comprehensive.

Abbreviated forms of each journal name were then entered (one at a time!) into the second and third columns of the spreadsheet. The first abbreviation so entered was of the form in which each abbreviated word was terminated with a period (“full stop”) and the second was the similar form without the periods. Thus a single row in the spreadsheet might be

Australian Journal of Earth Sciences               Aust. J. Earth Sci.                 Aust J Earth Sci

The problem with this step is that there doesn’t appear to be any wide-ranging authority on the forms that various abbreviations should take. Can a word like “Petrology” be usefully abbreviated anyway? “Pet.”, or even “Petrol.”, does not distinguish between “Petrology” and “Petroleum”. Nevertheless most earth scientists are familiar with at least some form of abbreviation of such common keywords.

So what was done in the many cases where a unique abbreviation was not immediately obvious was to search the other journal name term lists already provided with EndNote (e.g. Bioscience, Chemical, Medical, Philosophy, Zoological) to see if there were any acceptable precedents in any of those lists. This turned out to be a useful approach, although not always successful. Not only were there some cases of disagreement between two or more of the established lists, there even proved to be some cases of inconsistency within a single list. However these were not common, and on the whole it is believed that reasonable consistency has been achieved in this draft list. If this comparison procedure did not lead to any reliable conclusion then an arbitrary abbreviation was adopted for the word in question.

Following what does appear to be a universal convention, journal names consisting of only one word are not abbreviated at all. Similarly, abbreviations which involved contractions of only one or two letters were mostly skipped.

Installing the Earth Sciences Journal Terms List ( click here for instructions with screenshots ).

Note: EndNote terms lists are not installed in the EndNote program itself, but separately in each library file with which they are to be used.  (It is reasonably easy to copy a terms list from one library file to another.)

The Earth Sciences Journals Terms List is provided as the tab-delimited text file named EarthSciences.txt. It should be imported into your EndNote library from this file, using the following procedure:

  1. Open your EndNote library file in EndNote, in the usual way.
  2. From EndNote’s Tools menu select Open Term Lists and, from the sub-menu, Journals Term List. This should produce a dialog showing the journal names which EndNote itself has automatically inserted into the Journals term list for this library file.
  3. Since these names will have no corresponding abbreviations — indeed some or even all of them may already be abbreviated — it is usually recommended that you delete them before adding the new list. If you wish you may save a copy of the existing list first, or you can proceed directly to step 5.
  4. To save the existing list, click on the Lists tab button at the top of the dialog, then click on Journals in the main box to select the existing Journals list, and then on the Export List … button. In the resulting Terms export file dialog, name, locate and export the list. When complete and returned to the Term Lists dialog, click on the Terms tab button at the top of the dialog.
  5. Select all the journal names in the existing list. Click on the first to select it, scroll to the bottom of the list and, with the Shift key pressed, click on the last. Then click on the Delete Term button on the right of the dialog. This should remove all names from the existing list.
  6. Click on the Lists tab button at the top of the dialog, click on Journals to select it, and then on the Import List… button.
  7. Browse as usual to locate the EarthSciences.txt file and choose it for import.


You should see a message to tell you that approximately 1100 references have been added to the list. Check by clicking the Terms tab button again, and you should see the list of full names displayed. To see the accompanying abbreviations for any one journal, click on that journal’s name to select it, and then on the Edit Term… button. You will then see the list entries for the full journal name, Abbreviation 1, Abbreviation 2 and an empty Abbreviation 3 field which you can use to add any third abbreviation that might be appropriate to your needs.

You can subsequently edit the terms list to add new journal names or to edit any of those in the list or their matching abbreviations if you encounter errors during regular use. Please tell us (see below) of those errors or omissions.


Using the Earth Sciences Journals Terms List

Feel free to use the list as you wish. There is only one obligation — to enhance the list’s utility please report any significant errors, omissions etc. that you come across (particularly omitted journal names). Email details to

so that the list can be periodically updated.