I was pleased this past summer to sit down with former Ecological Society of America President Scott Collins and conduct a wide-ranging interview on many aspects of ecology. You can listen to this interview as a podcast. In addition, Scott has penned the blog article below in which he discusses the new publishing arrangement that the ESA has with Wiley, the same publisher that the British Ecological Society has partnered with for many years. At Journal of Ecology we share Scott’s optimism for this new arrangement and hope to develop the sort of collaborations with the ESA journals that he suggests in the near future.
Executive Editor, Journal of Ecology
ESA recently established a new publishing agreement with Wiley, a for-profit commercial publisher, after many decades working with Allen Press. This agreement brings many benefits and opportunities to ESA and its members. The ESA Governing Board is charged with overseeing the financial health of the society and partnering with Wiley puts ESA on solid financial footing. In addition, Wiley’s marketing strategy will mean a wider distribution of the journals and more eyeballs pointed at papers in the journals. But it is worth acknowledging that some are not happy that ESA partnered with a commercial publisher. The Open Science movement in ecology , a movement that I support in principle, is particularly concerned with this decision because it could lead to higher subscription costs to libraries, bundling, and reduced open access to papers in our journals. I share these concerns. When ESA worked with Allen Press, authors were allowed to post a PDF of the published paper on their website or in some other repository with no embargo period, a form of “green” open access. Our contract with Wiley continues this practice, so although not what some would consider ideal, this does reflect our desire to make ESA publications more accessible even when working with a for-profit publisher. The world of scientific publishing is changing quickly and technological advances will continue to drive the evolution of scientific publishing models. The agreement with Wiley brings ESA journals into the 21st Century, and both ESA and BES can and should constantly evaluate alternative models for scientific publications.
To me, one of the big advantages of publishing with Wiley is that they already publish many of the premier journals in ecology. Some might think that BES and ESA journals are competitors, but I have a hard time understanding that concern. I think there is an abundant resource base of excellent papers, more than can be published in all BES and ESA journals combined. Given that, it seems to me that BES and ESA journals should more collaborative. I think these societies could plan and produce joint special issues on hot topics, or thematic collections of published papers. Overall, these societies should join forces more often not just about publishing papers, but to actively promote ecological research and education, and the application of ecological knowledge to policy and management.