[Taxacom] quality science

John Grehan jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
Tue Jun 30 07:53:59 CDT 2009

Ivie made some pertinent comments about the content of scientific
articles being more important than the journals they are published in. I
could not agree more. However, the reception to science, particularly
non-majority views, is often colored by the publication venue. The fact
that Croizat published privately a large part of his work was used as an
excuse for ignoring it - the argument being that if it could not be
published by a scientific publisher then it was no good. In the early
days of New Zealand contributions, publication was very problematic. In
North America this was limited to Systematic Zoology which at that time
was exceptional in providing a diverse publication policy and would
publish dissenting or unpopular perspectives - not that getting
something published on panbiogeography was necessarily easy even in the
journal. The journal was quite exceptional in that the editors did not
always just blindly accept prejudicial opposition from reviewers, but
often allowed for rebuttal by authors and the recognition that simply
being opposed was not of itself grounds for rejection.


Other early publication venues were largely some European journals (the
Europeans have historically shown a broader publication perspective than
in the UK-US). In the 1990's some UK-US journals began to accept
panbiogeographic articles and this seems to have had some impact on its
reception. There are some publication venues where panbiogeography is
off limits so one would not waste time even trying (one editor of a
German journal wrote that nothing about Croizat's work would ever be
published so long as he was alive).


Publication by Oxford University Press may or may not reflect scientific
quality, but it did give a level of credibility that neutralized the
admittedly irrelevant argument that panbiogeography was not worthy of
attention if it were not published in 'mainstream' publications. It all
gets to be a vicious circle, but it appears that the reception to a
viewpoint by many scientists is affected by what source you publish in.
That is why the hominid origins article got so much attention. That
would not have happened if it were published in some obscure local
journal, or published privately. If it were published in Nature or
Science the attention may have even been greater. So I fully admit to
have played the publicity game. If it's good enough for everyone else
it's good enough for me to try.


John Grehan


Dr. John R. Grehan

Director of Science

Buffalo Museum of Science1020 Humboldt Parkway

Buffalo, NY 14211-1193

email: jgrehan at sciencebuff.org

Phone: (716) 896-5200 ext 372




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Human evolution and the great apes




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