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Re: hosta-open DIGEST V1 #400

  • Subject: Re: hosta-open DIGEST V1 #400
  • From: "Bill Meyer" njhosta@hotmail.com
  • Date: Wed, 4 Sep 2002 10:42:20 -0400

Hi John,
        Before getting to your responses, I'd like to say that I am looking
forward to reading HostaScience myself. I found his BAP articles
interesting, and I guess I'm one of the "5 people" that did read every word
of them. I agree that we are richer for having more material to read, both
from Ed and from others.
        I did say that Ed is not known for being concise. I don't really
think that's "fightin' words" or a "personal attack". Lot's of well-regarded
people like Leo Tolstoy and Winston Churchill were not known for being
concise. It's not like saying he's a criminal or something, or that there
was anything at all wrong with his research. He had, after all, written
three lengthy articles on the subject that were published in the AHS
Journal, had another that was rejected, and still was not finished with the
subject. On length alone, it was the most pages ever written about a single
subject by a single author in the history of the Journal. The only pieces
that rivalled it in length were the manuscripts from Yasui and Vaughn in the
'70's. Sorry, but I don't see that as concise.
        In your earlier post you said---

>Instead of answering that in my own words, I'll again rely on what Ed
Elslager wrote in his introduction to HostaScience:
>"You may be aware that recent changes in scientific policy in The Hosta
Journal preclude the future publication of original >scientific

        This is the kind of thing that AHS Board members regarded as
intentionally distorting, not the statement in your last post. Although I
was not on the Board when the other statement was made, it is what I heard
was decided. There is quite a bit of difference between the two. It is clear
from Joe's post that followed it that he thought that meant there would be
no scientific articles published in the AHS Journal. Others who read it will
doubtless think the same. Posts from Chick and Dan show there is great
interest in summary-type articles (without the documented research) and no
one has ever suggested these should not be in the Journal. Will there ever
be fully documented research in the AHS Journal again? I don't know, but
there may be some from research that was paid for with society money. That
would be required to show that the research was actually done, that the
members' money was well spent. Does it only apply to Ed Elslager? I doubt
it, but it may apply to all unsolicited research materials. The Editor has
quite a bit of say in what goes into the Journals he edits, but he must also
answer to the Director of Publications, and to the Board. The Board, in
turn, must answer to the members.
         As I am not a scientist, I  will defer to those that are on the
subject of scientific journals and their requirements. It is my
understanding that accredited scientific journals have review boards, made
up of scientists who know the field, that study all submitted research
materials before accepting them for publication. If there are errors present
in the material, problems with how the research was done, etc., the author
is allowed to correct these and resubmit the articles. If they are not up to
accepted standards, they are rejected as unworthy of publication. In short,
authors have their work judged by a review board of other scientists before
that work is accepted and published.
         The AHS Journal is an amateur society publication prepared by
volunteers that presents an overview both of the society itself and of what
is going on in the genus in general. It does not have the staff or resources
to review full scientific articles in this fashion. It runs the risk of
publishing unknowingly work that may be full of errors or entirely
fraudulent (and no, I am not suggesting that Ed's work is either) if it
starts trying to go too far in this direction. It is simply not the place
for such articles, because it will probably never have the ability to filter
them adequately before publishing them. If it someday has enough qualified
volunteers to accomplish this, that policy may change. This situation is the
basis for the decision not to accept full research materials. Another facet
of this concerns theft of research. If someone submitted an article full of
material that was stolen from another scientist and it was allowed into
publication because there is no qualified review board, the AHS could find
itself subject to lawsuits on the behalf of the injured party. The AHS Board
is responsible to the membership in not allowing society funds to be put at
risk in this fashion, as the entire treasury could be wiped out in one shot
by one person. A person who is in the right.
         Ed must also face these concerns with his own journal if he is
considering publishing research materials from other people. I don't know if
he has managed to assemble a team of scientists that can review submissions
there, but I'm impressed if he has. It is a much more difficult endeavor
than what is attempted by the AHS Journal, and he deserves credit for his
organizational skills if he has managed it.
        Personally, I think those who are worried about HostaScience drawing
all the good scientific material away from the AHS Journal are being a
little silly, but there has been a very real shortage of submitted articles
lately. HostaScience hopefully will stir up more scientific thought and
writing, and we should all benefit from that.

........Bill Meyer

For me, I'm glad we have both the Hosta Journal (THJ) and HostaScience.  As
hosta growers, we are richer for having both and I hope both are successful
in reaching their target audiences.  I enjoy reading both.

I do feel the need to respond to a couple comments Bill made:

<<Without getting into the quality of the material
as I have not yet read it, I will say that Ed is not known for being

That is a rather ridiculous statement to make.  As someone who has read Ed's
material, I can say it's remarkably focused, technically thorough, and
anything but verbose. In other words, it is concise.

<<The only objections I've heard from AHS officials about Ed's journal
concern his intentional distortion of AHS policy... >>

If there have been intentional distortions, I hope someone will document
them.  To refute his claims without evidence is rather unconvincing, to say
the least.  According to Ed, three of his manuscripts had been accepted for
publication 3 to 9 months prior to the Board's action (when the manuscripts
were suddenly deemed unacceptable).  And they were returned with the edict
that "Original scientific papers containing extensive data from laboratory
experiments are better published in a refereed archival scientific journal;
however, The Hosta Journal welcomes summary papers."  Is it your contention
that Ed fabricated this statement?  Or did it apply to Ed Elslager only?

<<... and his drawing good scientific articles away from the AHS Journal to
his own publication.>>

Why would anyone want to publish "good scientific articles" in the AHJ if
supporting evidence is unwelcome?  That's not science and that's not the
scientific method.  And it seems to contradict the Board's decree I quoted

You can't have it both ways.  If you only want scientific summary papers,
why aren't you thrilled that another publication will facilitate that?  If
you want good scientific articles, are you willing to make space available
for good research and documentation?  If not, don't pretend that Ed is
stealing away articles from the AHJ.

Personally, I hope the two journals can develop a symbiosis to benefit all
hosta lovers.  The personal attacks and accusations I can do without.

John Christensen
----- Original Message -----
From: <halinar@open.org>
To: <hosta-open@hort.net>
Sent: Wednesday, September 04, 2002 2:27 AM
Subject: Re: hosta-open DIGEST V1 #400

> Chick:
> >First, you liken the situation in the NALS to what is occurring in
> >the hosta society. What situation is occurring in the hosta society?
> I'm not refering to any specific situtation, but when I see two new
> hosta related journals/magazines appearing, I wonder why.  It seems to
> me that the hosta society isn't filling the needs of its members if
> its members have to go elsewere to get the information it wants.  My
> observation is that the amateur plant societies tend to cater to the
> social interests of its members and tend to discourage the scientific
> and technical side, even if it isn't offical policy.  What I see as a
> potential problem is a significent splinting of the current and
> potential members between several different groups such that all of
> them can't reach their potential.
> Persoanlly, I really don't care that much one way or the other.  I'm
> still looking for a reason to join the hosta society.  I'm not much
> interested in the social aspects of the society.  I find host-open to
> be much more interesting then reading the journal.
> >Your friend Ben sometimes complains that the Journal doesn't publish
> >enough of his research,
> Ben's problem is that his English is terrible and he won't accept help
> in editing what he wants to say.  Ben could make some significent
> contributions to the Journal if he could resolve some personality
> problems.
> >I think it's apparent from your past postings that you're not a big
> >fan of the plant societies, you've mentioned several times that you
> >don't belong to the AHS, and you don't seem to be happy with the AHS
> >or the NALS either.
> Sometime during the winter when I have the time I go down to Charlie
> Purtymun's place and read the Hosta Journals.  For the most part I
> don't find that much that really interests me.  The garden visiting
> articles and articles about the national meetings might interest some
> people, but it's not what I'm looking for.
> Both the daylily and lily societies have their problems, some of which
> aren't much different then problems the hosta society faces.  One
> thing I do find refreashing in the hosta society is that there seems
> to be a fair number of people who are willing to write articles.  The
> problem with the lily society is that it is stuck at a very low
> membership level and the leadership hierarchy isn't doing much to
> prevent any further loss.  The problem with the daylily society is
> mainly personality based and a very poor journal with little desire to
> improve the journal.  The problem I see with the hosta society is that
> it is going through some growing pains as it matures with some
> personality clashes as one of the catalysts for these problems.  The
> hosta society has some great potential for growth since hostas are
> quite popular.
> Bill:
> >As you can see from his table of contents, most of the material in
> >his new journal is written by Ed himself....And, he will be
> >publishing it twice yearly.
> The question is how long can one person single-handedly carry on such
> a journal of fairly technical material.
> >I will say that Ed is not known for being concise. That was a big
> >part of the Board decision to accept summary articles only and not
> >the full collection of research data. The AHS cannot afford to give
> >Ed the kind of space he wants for his articles, and he does not want
> >them shortened in any way, but printed exactly as he sends them.
> I agree that scientific and technical articles in the Hosta Journal
> need to be written in a more informal, summary style then if they were
> being published in a peer reveiwed scientific journal.  It takes a
> little effort to write such articles, but not impossible.  I think Ed
> is being somewhat unreasonable if he wants them printed exactly like
> he send them.  It seems to me that the Hosta Society loses something
> when information like this can't be published in the journal
> regardless of the specific reason.
> Joe Halinar
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