[Taxacom] Pre-submission peer-review and online import of specimen records from BOLD

Neal Evenhuis neale at bishopmuseum.org
Tue Sep 22 14:50:27 CDT 2015

No Doug, the problem is not the print journals. They do what businesses do
-- they make money.

The problem(s) are academic systems that evaluate their professors on the
basis of the journals they publish in (the higher impact the better). That
has resulted in the "Big Power Publishers" to have academics by the
short-and-curlies (actually more like racketeering) and can thus charge
oodles of money to subscribe and authors are forced to shy away from
online only/low impact journals in order to get high ranking, rewards,
evals, etc.

Once the evaluation system for taxonomists changes, taxonomists can feel
free to publish elsewhere than high impact print journals because they are
no longer being held hostage by the current academic evaluation system.

My 2 cents.


On Stardate 9/22/15 9:31 AM, "Taxacom on behalf of Doug Yanega"
<taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu on behalf of dyanega at ucr.edu> wrote:

>On 9/22/15 11:06 AM, Dan Lahr wrote:
>> Full support to this initiative from my part.  Working on a group with
>> relatively few experts, it is fairly obvious and easy to realize who
>> is reviewing your taxonomic paper.
>> My only concern at this point would be one of implementation --  how
>> could traditional journals implement the ARPHA or a similar system
>> seamlessly?
>I assume the question was directed at me rather than Lyubo - if not, he
>can offer his perspective independently.
>My perspective is that we need to dump traditional print journals.
>Before everyone jumps down my throat, ask yourself what it is that
>traditional journals offer that you could never get from publishing
>online. The answer, objectively, is nothing. I can imagine a chorus of
>responses along the lines of "But my specialist journal allows me to get
>my specialized paper published in such a way that it gets reviewed by
>like-minded specialists, and is read by like-minded specialists, without
>having to compete with other papers on more popular or generalized
>topics!" - but that is a spurious claim. An online publication model
>means there are no page limits, no limits to how many papers can be
>published, so there is no competition for space; an open review model
>means that the EXACT SAME PEOPLE who presently review your specialist
>papers can still review them (but now there are EXTRA reviewers
>available that would not have been in your traditional journal); because
>it's online, the EXACT SAME PEOPLE who presently *read* your specialist
>papers can still read them, thanks to Google (but now there are EXTRA
>readers seeing your work that would never have bothered to read your
>traditional journal). If the argument is that the thing that sets these
>journals apart is their editorial staff, whose specialized expertise
>makes them uniquely suited to ensure quality control in others' works,
>that's spurious exactly as noted above - all of those editors would be
>free to engage in the review process of every paper they see fit to, and
>it shouldn't make a difference if they are no longer *personally
>responsible* for the final decision as to when something is ready to be
>published; if their opinion is that something is or is not ready, then
>their argumentation should be persuasive in a public forum just as well
>as in an echo chamber.
>If you run a professional society whose sole source of revenue is from
>printing a journal, and virtually all of whose dues are spent to make
>that publication happen, then having a new publication model would let
>you re-think the focus of your society; you could cut your dues and
>still accomplish more (like holding meetings or making small grants),
>once the massive expense of printing the journal has been eliminated.
>After all, every one of those works you are presently paying to print
>could be done online, and still have the same editors, reviewers, and
>readership, as noted above.
>I would also submit that works should either be deemed publishable or
>not, rather than being assessed on some purely subjective scale of
>quality, where only those ranked highest make it into print. Abandoning
>traditional print journals and going for a model of online public review
>would have nothing but positive consequences for the taxonomic
>community. The only people I can see being unhappy with this are the
>people who publish and profit from print journals, and the bottom line
>to me is this: do they exist to serve taxonomists, or do taxonomists
>exist to serve them? If we insist upon a different publication model,
>then we'll be served by a different kind of publisher.
>Doug Yanega      Dept. of Entomology       Entomology Research Museum
>Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314     skype: dyanega
>phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
>              http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
>   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
>         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
>Taxacom Mailing List
>Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be searched at:
>Celebrating 28 years of Taxacom in 2015.

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