A retrospective look at PaleoBios (cont.)

The current managerial structure allows the opportunity for scholastic interaction between museum staff and students unlikely to occur otherwise. And hopefully, the student editors will now have more time available to do their research and publish it in PaleoBios.

Reflections by editor, Museum Scientist Diane M. Erwin: The growth of PaleoBios required a more consistent effort to meet the expectations of authors and subscribers. One of my first duties as editor was dealing with the anger of a very disgruntled author and assuring him that his paper would be published within the month. In this particular case the paper had been accepted by one editor, but with a change in editorship, publication had been delayed. Then I entered the horrifying world of Subscription Services and was greeted with a plethora of claims for what were considered “back issues”—issues that had actually been prepaid, but had not come out yet because PaleoBios was not printed on a regular schedule.
It was evident that PaleoBios had become a greater burden of responsibility on the students than anyone had ever intended. It had grown into a well-respected journal, but folks were forgetting that all facets of PaleoBios were run by students—the same students participating in public outreach activities, teaching courses, taking classes and exams, doing research, writing theses, and in their spare time trying to publish issues of PaleoBios. I remember feeling uneasy being the first Museum staff person to take over as editor, but I’m confident that working on PaleoBios

  will continue to be a valuable experience for students who choose to become involved with its production.
What started out as a small, in-house vehicle for publishing student research reports, perhaps on the level of a school newspaper, has now, thirty-three years later, turned into UCMP’s “real” peer-reviewed scientific journal registered with the International Standard Series and indexed in the Zoological Record and GeoRef. I know there has been a sense that publishing in PaleoBios just isn’t the same as publishing in a more “recognized” journal like JVP, but we’re hoping this perception will change. In some ways, PaleoBios may have a wider readership than some of the more costly, higher profile journals. We have been very successful at getting first-rate reviewers who put in the time and effort to give us thoughtful, critical, and fair commentary. And yes, they are the same people that review papers for those other journals.

Reflections by associate editor, graduate student Amy E. Lesen: When I was first told about the reorganization of PaleoBios, making the responsibility and control of the journal a collaboration between graduate students and UCMP staff, I was a bit concerned. I worried that we’d see a change in the original aim of PaleoBios as a forum for graduate student publications, as well as an opportunity for UCMP graduate students to learn every aspect of the workings of a scientific journal. Happily, my concerns were unfounded.

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