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Charter of bionet.journals.note

Thu Mar 23 17:18:39 EST 1995

To help people who have recently started tuning in to this group, I append
below my initial thoughts on what the group would be about.


    Conception--> Execution --> Publication. However great the idea,
    however brilliant the experiment, they are of little value unless
    adequately communicated. And your publication may be another's
    inspiration. Thus the process is cyclical:

                          /        \
                        /            \
               Publication <-------  Execution

    Bionet.Journals.Note, hopefully will assist overcoming the myriad
    of obstacles which slow the cycle.

                    1. "CHARTER"
                    3. POSSIBLE TOPICS


Bionet.Journals.Note is seen as a forum for debate between editors,
authors, readers, reference librarians, reviewers, citation analysts,
reviewers, etc., on subjects of general interest.
For example, where to submit to? Having had a good idea, done the
experiments and written a paper, one is faced with the problem of
where to submit it. The wrong decision at this stage can cause a
variety of problems, not the least of which is delay. [Of course, not
too far down the line when electronic journals get going, this problem
will not be so pressing.]

Two examples have appeared on the "net" over the past few weeks. In
one case an author was upset that he had received no correspendence
from the editor of a journal for several months. Someone was able to
tell him that the editor had been in an automobile accident and that
may have delayed things. In another case an editorial office had
moved. Manuscripts sent in by courier were being forwarded by regular
mail, with concomitant delays.

Much of the "inside" information on journals is gathered informally
over the years, so that "old hands" are less at a disadvantage then
"new". Hopefully, some of this experience could be passed along to new
authors. For example, the journal Nature states that "less than 50%"
of the papers received are actually sent out for review.  What does
that mean? 40%, 30%, 10%? If the answer is 10% then papers must be
written with the primary intent of getting through the initial
editorial filter, rather than satisfying subsequent reviewers.

Apart from use by those who submit to journals, I envisage that the
new forum would act as a bulletin board for journal editors who might
want to post their latest "Instructions for Authors" or announce new
changes in Editorial Policy.
   During the period for Discussion, two endorsements were received:

     I endorse enthusiastically Donald Forsdykes's proposal to establish
a new Bionet group for the exchange of information concerning journals.
As the editor of BioTechniques, which is associated with BioTechNet, I am
eager to promote the use of computer networks to improve communications
among editors, authors, reviewers, readers and reference librarians.
     Because of the inevitable proliferation of scientific information,
publishers must become more innovative about using electronic media and
more responsive to the needs of the scientific community.  Although many
problems are associated with development of the "electronic journal," I
hope that discussion of such topics will provide constructive feedback
to editors and publishers.
Jim Ellingboe
Dr. Forsdyke:
In your proposal for a journals.note newsgroup, the last paragraph noting
potential involvement of journal editors might be expanded to include the
concept of 2-way interaction between authors and journals, rather than the
apparent suggestion for a 1-way announcement medium.

The potential for editors and editorial staff to respond in an open discussion
forum to general points would be beneficial in developing the role of journals
in response to the demands of the community which they serve. However, it
should also be noted that private lines of communication would remain more
appropriate when dealing with points related to individual submissions.

I look forward to voting positively on this initiative in due course.


John Dyer
Editorial Manager
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta

How does an Editor select a reviewer?
How many reviewers for a paper? One, two, three..?
Should papers be transmitted by courier or regular post?
Anonymous reviewing?
Which journals are likely to be receptive of "way out" ideas?
Which journals are prone to defend the conventional wisdom?
Does the annual Impact Rating influence an Editor's choice of manuscripts
Is submitting a paper to Nature/Science a waste of time when so few
papers can be published?
Salami publishing?
Honorary authorship (Fabrikant and all that)?
Should a technician be a coauthor or be mentioned in acknowledgements?
What is a reasonable time for a reviewer to retain a paper?
Electronic publishing?
How should the paper media cite items in the electronic media?
Do editors of the paper media feel threatened by the electronic
revolution? Should they?
Peer review.
Publish or perish?
Order of authors' names on a paper?
Should reviewers be paid?
Does any journal in the biomedical sciences pay authors?
Science writing and literary style?
When should a finding be described as "novel"?
Since many readers do not have English as a first language, should papers
in English take this into account?
Should all scientific writing be in English?
Double publishing,...of papers?...of abstracts? Equal sins?
Priority and credit.
Fraud and plagiarism.
Page charges.
Confidentiality of reviewing.
Do editors deliberately slow manuscript handling to give authors more
time to reconsider?
Better to submit to a non-profit journal (e.g. Biochem.J., BioEssays)?
Do Editors retain unique formats (e.g. citation by author rather than by
number) to make it more difficult for authors to revise manuscripts for
submission elsewhere?
What are the "rights" of an author?

    We have come a long way since the Journal des Scavans (Jan 1665) and
the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (March 1665). Perhaps
future generations will see the launching of Bionet.Journals.Note as an
important innovation in the growth and management of scientific knowledge

                 Thanks to those of you who voted to support the project.

                 Sincerely,  Don Forsdyke
                             Department of Biochemistry,
                             Queen's University, Kingston,
                             Canada K7L3N6  forsdyke at qucdn.queensu.ca

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