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North American Ornithological Societies Join Publication Efforts Historic Vote Re-defines Roles of The Auk and The Condor


The Auk and The Condor - new plan, new focus...better than ever! The American Ornithologists' Union and the Cooper Ornithological Society work together to provide a better publication model for ornithological research.

North American Ornithological Societies Join Publication Efforts

Historic Vote Re-defines Roles of The Auk and The Condor


CORVALLIS, Ore. – An unprecedented vote by the American Ornithologists’ Union (AOU) Council and Cooper Ornithological Society (COS) board of directors signaled the approval to form a common publications office and cooperate in the production of their longstanding journals to further strengthen and define the role of The Auk in basic research and The Condor in applied research.

An announcement to members explained that "One journal will focus on basic research and the other will focus on applied research. On the advice of publishers, we will retain the names The Auk and The Condor but add a more descriptive name after a colon. Both journals will contain relatively short letters, regular length articles, occasional longer articles and perspectives. Our plan is to provide authors with decisions in one week for letters and within six weeks for longer articles. Our goal is to publish papers online within six months of submission. Although the focus of the two journals will differ, we will be looking for innovative, high quality papers for both journals and expect the journals to have similar impact factors following the example of Ecology and Ecological Applications.

The votes took place December 12 and 13, 2012 after the societies independently debated a report by the Joint AOU/COS Publication Task Force led by Thomas E. Martin, Ph.D., U. S. Geological Survey and University of Montana.

The Auk was formed in 1884 and focuses on systematics, evolution, and behavior of birds. The Condor was formed in 1899 and focuses on ecology and conservation of birds. Although the focus of the two journals will differ, each will be looking for innovative, high quality papers.

The new format will start with the 2014 volume.

The decision means AOU and COS will cooperate in establishing, overseeing and funding a central publication office. The office will have a managing editor, copy editor and editorial assistants to handle manuscript submissions, processing and copy editing; and coordinate composition, hosting, subscription management and printing services. “The publication landscape is rapidly changing and the two societies are being proactive and forward-looking to further strengthen these historically important journals for the long-term future. By cooperating on this joint venture, the societies will have greater control over the quality and timeliness of publications, reduce duplication of efforts and time demands on the scientific community, take advantage of emerging technologies, and reduce publication costs”, Martin said.

“ Cooperatively producing our journals will improve efficiency, better define the organizations’ roles so each journal can thrive rather than compete with the other,” said AOU president Susan Haig, Ph.D. (U.S. Geological Survey).

Each journal will have an independent editor-in-chief, two associate editors and an editorial board. Both journals will contain relatively short letters, regular length articles, occasional longer articles and topical perspectives. The plan is to provide authors with submission decisions within one week for letters and six weeks for longer articles. Published papers will appear online within six months of submission.

“We believe that this new publication model is the best option for strengthening our journals and our societies,” said COS President Kim Sullivan, Ph.D., Utah State University. “Ultimately, it will result in more current and even better information on avian research to the public at large.”

The two societies invite everyone to submit their high quality avian research to these two journals, which will be primarily online publications. Papers will be published as soon as the composed version is available. Electronic and print subscriptions will be available to institutions and both journals will continue to be available through JSTOR and BioOne. Quarterly issues very similar to those currently produced will be available for purchase by members for approximately $50/year/journal. One difference is that the print version will be produced in black and white while the online version will have color images.

Questions or comments about the new publication model will be discussed on the Ornithology Exchange (http://ornithologyexchange.org/) or can be directed to Susan Haig (susan_haig@usgs.gov), Kim Sullivan (kim.sullivan@usu.edu) or Thomas Martin (tom.martin@umontana.edu).

Founded in 1883, the American Ornithologists' Union is one of the oldest organizations in the world devoted to the scientific study of birds. Over its history, AOU and its members have created the scientific foundation for ornithology and bird conservation that we enjoy today. The AOU is the largest and most diverse ornithological society in the Western Hemisphere. Although primarily an organization for professional ornithologists, it welcomes to its ranks many students, conservationists, birders and others who cherish the birds of the world. http://www.aou.org

The Cooper Ornithological Society, a non-profit 501©(3) organization of over 2,000 professional and amateur ornithologists, is one of the largest ornithological societies in the world. The society was organized in 1893 by a small group of individuals in California who were interested in the study of birds. The name of the society commemorates an early California naturalist, Dr. James G. Cooper. http://www.cooper.org


Kim Sullivan
President Cooper Ornithological Society

Susan Haig
President American Ornithologists’ Union
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