Thursday, November 18, 2010

Can a journal blog? Yes!

Our natural history journal is undergoing some major changes.  Most of these changes have been behind closed doors, though, because they are still in progress.  When I talk to naturalists and researchers about these changes they tend to be excited and tell me things like "That's great news - I'll tell my friends," "There are plenty of people who will be very happy to hear about this," or "Sir, could you please stop talking about natural history and just place your order," depending on the situation.

This blog is intended to let you know about changes we're making to our journal, along with other matters related to our journal and natural history in Canada.  I anticipate this will be of interest not only to natural history enthusiasts (whether you are amateur birdwatchers, professional biologists, or whatever else), but also people interested in the process of publication.  What behind-the-scenes processes underlie changes at an academic journal that is run by a non-profit organization (i.e., a bunch of committed volunteers)?  The vast majority of journal publishing organizations are small like us, publishing only one or a few journals (Morris 2007).  Many people in small non-profit organizations feel intimidated by the challenges of publication in the new online, competitive environment.  I too am intimidated by these challenges, but I'm committed to overcoming them and invite you to read along and find out what kind of challenges we've faced and how we've dealt with them.

Our journal has published natural history research continuously since 1880.  This old dog is about to learn some new tricks.  I hope you'll follow along and learn about our successes and failures as we navigate the new online publishing world.

Morris S (2007) Mapping the journal publishing landscape: how much do we know? Learned Publishing 20:299-310.

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