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

Dan Lahr dlahr at ib.usp.br
Tue Sep 22 14:58:40 CDT 2015

Hi Doug,

The question was open to all, I very much appreciate your response AND
would still like to hear what Lyubomir has to say about the issue.

I am very much in agreement with your view (Doug).  I believe that a fair
summarization is "This more dynamic model is implementable as soon as we
abandon traditional printing and move to Open Access, in a process that
will only add to our experience as a whole." More specifically:

"Abandoning traditional print journals and going for a model of online
public review would have nothing but positive consequences for the
taxonomic community."

I have no doubt about this.  There are incredibly prolific areas of
taxonomy that would greatly increase by having a much more streamlined
system of publication of primary descriptions mostly, but probably of
systematic revisions as well.  Neal does raise a very fair point that this
system needs to be recognized by institutions, or else taxonomists will be
at a disadvantage -- it baffles me how the physicists are able to make a
dynamic system like ArXiV work and we can't....



Daniel J. G. Lahr
PhD, Assist. Prof.
Dept of Zoology, Univ. of Sao Paulo, Brazil
Office number: + 55 (11) 3091 0948

On Tue, Sep 22, 2015 at 4:31 PM, Doug Yanega <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.
> Sincerely,
> --
> 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

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