Adaptive radiation in Australian journals in the Arbustocene ERA: an empty niche for JANCO?
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K. A. Bryant, M. C. Calver, 2012. "Adaptive radiation in Australian journals in the Arbustocene ERA: an empty niche for JANCO?", Science Under Siege: Zoology Under Threat, Peter Banks, Daniel Lunney, Chris Dickman
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Scientific publication is undergoing rapid change. The expansion of the internet has facilitated electronic publication, while the prevailing fashion for ‘quantifying’ the quality of academic papers, academic journals, authors and institutions is changing where authors publish, what they publish and also the content of what journals want to publish. In Australia these forces are exacerbated by the Commonwealth government's Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative, with journal assessment a key component of its focus on the quality of university research. Not all journals will survive the new conditions, nor will those kinds of research and researchers that do not meet the preferences of the surviving journals. This is an example of politically driven change with far-reaching environmental consequences - what Recher and Ehrlich (2005) called ‘the Arbustocene’.
In particular, research on uniquely Australian natural history and ecology may suffer because, despite its value for local conservation issues, such regional research is seldom accepted by the major journals in North America and Europe or by the growing number of Australian journals aspiring to an international profile. We argue that the ‘empty niche’ in publishing Australian natural history can be filled by the journals of Australia's naturalists' clubs, especially if the papers are accessible on-line via a common link enabling searching across all the clubs' journals simultaneously. We propose the acronym of JANCO, for Journals of the Australian Naturalists' Clubs Online, for this particular database and encourage applications for funds to make the concept a reality.