Ecology and Evolution, the BES’ cascade journal: A positive personal experience

About a year ago, the British Ecological Society entered into partnership with Wiley’s cascade journal Ecology and Evolution. When we were approached about this enterprise, many of us agreed that cascading sounded like a great idea and the BES and a host of other ecological journals now contribute to this new journal.

The remit of Ecology and Evolution is to catch those papers that don’t quite make it into the so-called feeder journals, which include the BES stable of five journals and several other ecological journals. These are either studies that look promising, but don’t quite fit with the scope of the journal, or good, publishable studies that we wish that we could publish if we had more space. In the rejection letter from the feeder journal, authors are offered a referral to Ecology and Evolution. If they take up the offer, their manuscript along with any reviews it may have received, are transferred to Ecology and Evolution (provided that the reviewers have given permission for their comments to be passed on as well).

Once referred, manuscripts are evaluated by the Editors of Ecology and Evolution for publication, peer review, revision, or rejection. The transfer of reviews from the feeder journals can obviously speed this process up considerably.

I know from recent personal experience that Ecology and Evolution makes the often bitter pill of rejection easier to take.

As Executive Editor for Journal of Ecology, one of the feeder journals for Ecology and Evolution, it has been instructive recently to have gone through this process. One of my own manuscripts, originally submitted to a BES journal (not Journal of Ecology!) was roundly rejected without review by an Editor with the offer of referral (proving that Editors definitely don’t give other Editors special treatment!). Swallowing my pride, I immediately took up this offer and my manuscript was transferred within Scholar One to Ecology and Evolution where the Editors sent it out for peer review. I didn’t have to do much more than answer a few questions within Scholar One; no reformatting for the new journal, no new cover letter, etc. After revisions following peer review the manuscript was accepted and has now appeared online in Early View.

The cascade process worked very well for me. I’m very happy with the outcome. Ecology and Evolution is Open Access so I had to find funds for the Article Publication Charge (thank you SIUC’s Cope Fund), but this was discounted by 20% because of the referral from a BES journal. BES members can also get a 10% benefit when they directly submit to Ecology and Ecology.  The journal also requires authors to archive their data, a policy that the BES journals are now mandating as well. I chose to archive my data with Dryad which turned out to be very straightforward.

All in all, a very pleasant experience that I hope authors of papers that I refer following a decision at Journal of Ecology benefit from too.  My paper “Intraspecific variation among clones of a naïve rare grass affects competition with a non-native, invasive forb” is available at DOI: 10.1002/ece3.919 with the archived data at DOI:10.5061/dryad.k68n1 .

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