John R. Grehan
jrg13 at PSU.EDU
Mon Jan 7 12:27:16 CST 2002
At 10:27 AM 1/7/02 +0100, you wrote:
>At 02:40 PM 12/22/01 -0500, John Grehan wrote:
>>At 06:50 PM 12/22/01 +1300, you wrote:
>>> > While I have drawn attention to the role of reviewer censorship of
>>> > panbiogeography ...
>Coming back to this discussion after the holidays, let me just cite a few
>In his recent Guest editorial in the Journal of Biogeography, John Grehan
>cites 46 published papers on Panbiogeography (counting only those by either
>Graw, Grehan, Heads or Page) since 1978. That is not counting the
>"friendly" or straightforward panbiogegraphical papers by others. Of those
>papers, several (seven, in fact) are in New Zealand journals (at least,
>with New Zealand or NZ creatures somewhere in the title), and many are in
>highly reputable journals (Syst. zool., J. Biogeography, Biol. J. Linn.
>Clearly, the problem is *not* getting the papers accepted, and imputations
>that either of these authors suffer from a high rejection rate are
Peter Hovenkamp raises what appears to be a contradictory situation - on one
hand I have referred to censorship, on the other there have been successful
panbiogeographic publications. I do not see this as contradictory in the
of my comments as I have not imputed that any of these authors suffer from
a "high rejection" rate even though the number of actual publications would
give no indication of rejection rates as such.
The complexities of the censorship issue have arisen sequentially through
various subsequent postings. In my original posting I cited the Galapagos paper
as an example of reviewer censorship and I did mention that intolerance of
panbiogeography has indeed been regularly aimed at panbiogeography simply
as a suppression of an alternative. The Galapagos paper just illustrates a
that readers would otherwise not be aware of as the editor over-ruled their
as in this case the editor made a judgement that the opposition lacked
other journals there are cases where panbiogeographic papers were rejected
because they did not conform to the Darwinian beliefs of the reviewers. In
posting I contrasted the professionalism of Stewart Peck as one who does not
accept panbiogeographic versions of the Galapagos and yet interacts in a
manner in providing critical feedback in the development of the paper.
Regarding the New Zealand papers referred to by Hovenkamp - there are not
many and they are mostly from
the Tuatara journal of Victoria University of Wellington and a special
publication of the New Zealand Journal of Zoology.
The zoology editor of Tuatara was at least neutral about panbiogeography in
the beginning making two of Craw's
early publications (which were more focused on general critique than
developing the methodology of
panbiogeography). The Tuatara article by Heads and Croizat were published
because one of the editors -
George Gibbs - was willing to entertain the idea of a specail
panbiogeography issue despite the other co-editor
being intensely opposed (the person was extremely anti-Croizat and anti
publication of anything sympathetic to Croizat).
The problem was resolved by the other editor stepping aside for this
particular publication although the effort
almost foundered when he reviewed one of the papers and raised a lot of
polemics about the content.
The New Zealand Journal of Zoology publication was another remarkable
fluke. It followed on from the
symposium which itself was made possible only by the support of Frank Climo
who was able to persuade
the museum director that the symposium would not discredit the institution.
Even then there was
a considerable boycott of participation by opponents of panbiogeography in
New Zealand. Nevertheless there
was a critical body of interest and the symposium proceeded successfully,
even managing the not inconsiderable
number of about 70 attendants. Publication of the proceedings was another
matter. The Royal Society of NZ was
ruled out as it had already established editorial policy hostile to
panbiogeography. The NZ Journal of Zoology
was made available only after a lot of discussion and persuasion to
overcome the reluctance to publish something
that was known to be widely opposed (and some funding also helped). Once
the commitment was made
there was not a problem with censorship as those elements were not included
in the review process.
The New Zealand Science Teacher is not a peer reviewed journal and not a
science journal. However
the article addresses an example of the problems encountered with
suppression and distortion of panbiogeography
in New Zealand. The other article published by Craw in New Zealand is in an
Art journal. Art and literary theorists
do not have the same prejudices and even promote similar concepts in their
With these circumstances in mind, the publications in New Zealand do not
contract the general situation of
the problems otherwise encountered with publication of panbiogeographic
papers in New Zealand science journals
due to editors accepting opposition by Darwinian reviewers.
In a subsequent posting I pointed out that there was a difference in
experiences between New Zealand
journals (with the exception of the special issues) and overseas journals.
Several of the major panbiogeographic
publications in overseas journals were rejected by New Zealand journals
because the Darwinian reviewers
objected. In this regard there is a paper to be submitted to a NZ science
journal in the not too distant future
(not by me) that will raise these issues. It will be interesting to see if
it gets published or not. I will keep the List
informed of developments.
>So what *is* the problem?
The problem is that there are biogeographers and evolutionists out there
who are willing to use
reviewer privilege (often anonymous) to suppress panbiogeography simply
because they are opposed to it.
All I did with the Galapagos paper was illustrate an example. I did mention
in the same posting
that this process was not confined to panbiogeography, but it has certainly
been a factor that
has affected publication in various cases. Even now it is certain that
there are journals that
will have a less tolerant editorial policy towards panbiogeography or even
opposed to publication
of panbiogeography in principle, so we will have to continue to contend
with the problem even
though it may be far less of a problem internationally than in New Zealand,
and as time goes by
perhaps it will become less of a problem in general.
Frost Entomological Museum
Pennsylvania State University
Department of Entomology
501 ASI Building
University Park, PA 16802. USA.
Phone: (814) 863-2865
Fax: (814) 865-3048
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