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[Medicago] Medicago handbook (resend)

medicago from net.bio.net via medicago%40net.bio.net (by medicago from net.bio.net)
Mon Apr 14 08:01:29 EST 2008

Dear All,

Last year the Medicago community started to create a Medicago truncatula
handbook containing a wide collection of chapters on the biology of Medicago
truncatula, as well as many protocol chapters. This handbook is available at
the Noble website at http://www.noble.org/MedicagoHandbook/.
This email is about two suggestions: 1) updating the current web handbook
and 2) a new proposal from Springer to publish this book in some form.

Our aim is to keep updating this handbook regularly. I would therefore like
to ask anybody to has already contributed or would like to contribute to
think about updating content or suggesting new chapters.

We have previously thought about publishing a hard copy of the book with
Springer. At that time the majority of authors decided that the main aim of
this book is to provide free information for the Medicago community  and
because Springer¹s publishing agreement did not allow for the same free web
version to be posted as they would have published in print, we did not go

At the Plant and Animal Genome Conference in January, a different editor
from Springer approached Doug Cook and Michael Udvardi to enquire about the
possibility of publishing a Medicago book in Springer¹s ³Plant Genetics and
Genomics² series. This series is focussed on genetics and genomics of major
crops and model plants. Doug and Michael contacted Lloyd Sumner and me
because we had been involved in putting together the Medicago handbook.
Subsequently,  Lloyd and I have been talking to the Springer editor to
explore the potential mutual interests of Springer and the Medicago

Lloyd and I argued that it would be best for the Medicago community to a)
retain free access to the website as a first priority and b) that a book
focussed on genetics and genomics of M. truncatula would not be as useful as
publishing the full content of the Medicago handbook. The editor told us
that the Maize community recently created a handbook that is split into two
volumes, the first one focuses on the biology and use of maize, the second
contains the genetics and genomics content that Springer is counting as part
of their Plant Genetics and Genomics Series. Lloyd and I thought that this
might be a possible option for a Medicago handbook, i.e. essentially publish
the content of the current web handbook in two volumes, with the option of
expanding to future additional volumes. This would assume that a) there is
interest in a book like that (by the authors and people who would buy the
book), b) such a publication would not stop us from keeping the handbook up
on the website for free access. I would hope that we can differentiate our
current web handbook sufficiently from the proposed hard copy book(s) with
minimal omissions and effort by maybe rearranging the order of chapters,
having slightly different figures, and maybe some introductory and overview
chapters, but any suggestions about that would also be wecome.

Therefore, I would like to ask all of you for your opinion on
1) If you are a current author would you like to contribute to a hard copy
(this might involve some updating of chapters or writing additional
2) If you are not a current author would you like to contribute new
3) Would you buy such a book (for your lab) at a price of possibly
4) Would the format of having two volumes with possible future expansion to
other volumes be useful?  Or would you rather support just a publication
focussing on genetics and genomics of Medicago (so far there is one on
soybean, Rosaceae, cotton, tropical plants, and the one on maize in
preparatioon, see http://www.springer.com/series/7397?detailsPage=titles,
and http://www.springer.com/series/7397)

Any suggestions would be appreciated. If you have any updated chapters for
the website you can email them to me any time (ulrike.mathesius from anu.edu.au).

Best wishes,
Ulrike Mathesius

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