[Annelida] Eunice norvegica in an odd place

Nancy Maciolek via annelida%40net.bio.net (by njmaciolek from gmail.com)
Fri Dec 12 16:08:51 EST 2008

Geoff asked that we chime in with our reactions to the strange, bad paper,
and a few have done so. However, I am prompted to comment by Paulo's post:

Paulo wrote:
"But couldn´t we, as members of the International Polychaetology
Association, devise strategies to avoid this kind of bad work and maybe to
help our colleagues? If not for science itself, at least only to mitigate
(alleviate, unburden?) their linguistic restraints?"

I have great admiration for those of you who write papers in English when it
is not your native language. I certainly could not ~ I even had to have help
with the Spanish abstract for my paper in the Madrid IPC Proceedings. There
is a wide range of expertise among polychaetologists and some of you could
even help others as much as a native English speaker could. (Paulo, your
English is excellent.)

As a reviewer and, in recent years, editor, I have seen perhaps 150
manuscripts, maybe 90% of which were written by non-native English speakers.
In some cases, I am certain that the presentation would have been greatly
improved if the writer's own major professor had taken the time to correct
the paper before it was submitted.  (Sometimes that professor's name has
been on the manuscript!)  In other cases, well-meaning reviewers have
introduced new grammatical errors or offered conflicting editorial advice,
and the editor's work becomes complicated trying to explain what parts of
the advice to accept and what to ignore.

Years ago, many journals employed copy-editors who would take care of all
the details of grammar, punctuation, and formatting,  as well as
fact-checking to be sure that references were complete, museum  numbers were
inserted, etc.  Today, most journals, including Zootaxa, do not: the
(volunteer) subject editors are responsible for all of that.

Many colleagues are generous with their time, but others are over-committed
and cannot help at all, so sometimes the most appropriate technical reviewer
is simply not available.

One step to devising the strategy that Paulo requests would be to update the
list of Polychaete Researchers and their areas of expertise. There are many
new people in the field since the last version of that list, not to mention
that there are also new fields of endeavor (e.g., molecular systematics).

Who are you, what are your credentials, what is your area of expertise, what
are you willing to review (and how often) ... I'd like to know!  And we
could send that list to Editors of journals such as the one under fire at
the moment.


PS. Anyone wondering how the IPC 9 Proceedings are coming should read this
message carefully!
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