Citing the taxonomic literature: what a difference a year makes

Riding, James B. ORCID:; Fensome, Robert A.; Head, Martin J.. 2019 Citing the taxonomic literature: what a difference a year makes. Palynology, 43 (1). 1-3.

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We all know that the world of scientific publishing has changed profoundly since the onset of the digital revolution. One relatively new development is the rapid publication of scientific papers online, frequently before they are copyedited and typeset, and sometimes even before being peer reviewed (Sheldon 2018). Climate of the Past is one such journal that posts manuscripts online before they have been refereed. The purpose of doing this is to allow online discussion of a manuscript while it is under review in the conventional sense. Manuscripts may thus benefit from any useful feedback from readers as well as from the formal reviews. The above developments mean that scientific articles may appear online long before being assigned to a particular volume/issue and with final page numbers. Such assignments commonly occur in the following year when the complete volumes or issues of a journal appear in print and/ or digitally. Before the digital revolution, authors had to wait perhaps 12 months or more between acceptance and final publication. Today, just a week or two may elapse before the typescript of an accepted manuscript is available online. In most respects this revolution is good, especially now that many authors aim for metricised output targets. However, such early publication of a paper may cause complications regarding its referencing, but in most cases this does not really matter so long as the reference in a bibliography leads to the retrieval of the correct publication. For example, the paper cited below as Pound and Riding (2015) was initially issued online in 2015, prior to assignment to a volume of the Journal of the Geological Society published in 2016. Before 2016 it would have also been cited as Pound and Riding (2015) but that situation would not have lasted for long and would have affected very few, if any, citations. Electronic publication of a paper prior to assignment of the volume number and final pagination can be confusing, but in most cases problems are limited to referencing. However, it has critical implications for papers with biological systematics, especially those with new nomenclatural proposals (new taxa, combinations, substitute names, etc. – so-called nomenclatural novelties). Until recently, codes of nomenclature in botany and zoology required nomenclatural novelties to be published in paper format in publicly distributed articles. However, the most recent codes permit the publication of nomenclatural novelties in a hybrid (online and paper) journal or even in a purely electronic periodical (but not in an online database or catalogue).

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0191-6122
Date made live: 15 Mar 2019 09:39 +0 (UTC)

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