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Re: Ben Z's question on Journal Publication...


Hello Ben and list members;
RE: >> Your post to Kevin.   "What about my article on white flowers?"
------------------------------
ABSTRACT:
Relative to more seasoned veterans, I am likely not as informed regarding the
functioning of
the AHS, its Board and subcommittees, or on the decision making criteria of the
Journal
editors for inclusion of scientifically oriented articles into the Journal.  I did
read the
publication at this site-- http://www.hosta.org/ahsgeneral.htm--and drew a conclusion

that while 5% of the total budget of the AHS is devoted to the scientific committee,
and that
significant cooperation between this committee and the Journal committee likely
exists, it
would be impossible for the AHS Journal to publish all articles, even if all
subscribers wanted
to read each one.  Time and space does not allow it.

Some people who read the journal would probably look at the stack of "request for
publication" articles about like I look at the slate of judges we are asked to
continue, or oust,
during our county elections--I don't know much about them so I blindly vote to oust
them
all, assuming that action to be the lesser of two evils.  For many, cluttering up the
Journal with
such detail is akin to computer people who incessantly speak bit, baud, byte; while
the
information may be factual, we quickly tire of hearing it.

It is good to review procedures, however, because the world does change.
Fortunately,
while it may be changing rapidly, the basic genome of Hosta has not.  We are simply
discovering more about processes that have existed for millions of years.  Recently,
I
acquired the 1980 AHS Journal.  In it, Dr. Kevin Vaughn's article "Chloroplast
Mutants in
Hosta" contains information that is informative and highly relevant.  Only a small
fraction
could be considered outdated or erroneous.  Were you to read a computer journal from
that
same era, it is likely 99% of the information would be utterly useless.  While the
subject
matter of Hosta is relatively stable, the questions we can ask and answer can be more

complex, and the static nature of the subject should not be allowed to lull us into
complacency.  Rapid dissemination of research results to even those beyond the
scientific
community, can facilitate the goals of the researcher.  And, with scientific
research, one
usually assumes others are wanting to learn the results, especially those
underwriting the
cost of the work.

For many, there is already an acceptable level of scientific content to the Journal.
However, I
pose the question, "How has the world changed in the past 20 years and is the AHS
Journal
the medium of preference for dissemination of scientific materials?"   I purpose that
the age
of the Internet allows a more suitable communications vehicle.  Certainly not to the
exclusion
of printed media, but the emphasis should be to post it FIRST to the Internet, and
then if
feasible, in the Journal.

ONE POSSIBLE SOLUTION:
While the discussion continues, Ben, you or your peers are invited to post abstracts
(with a
URL link to the complete work), at the newly created Hosta Discussion Forum (HDF) at
http://dev.hostahaven.com/discus --  the "Hosta - Technical Forum" discussion area
seems appropriate.  If you would like the entire article published or hosted, in the
event that
your servers at the Clusius Lab don't talk Hosta lingo too well, I would be glad to
arrange for
that, too.  Certainly I applaude your efforts to have the article published in the
Journal and
hope that the answer to your question has already been provided elsewhere, and in the

affirmative.  Barring that, however, I'd still like to read it and the sooner the
better.

Andrew Lietzow
Plantsman, Hacker
http://hostahaven.com

MORE DETAIL...

BACKGROUND:
We have at LEAST three different subscription audiences to the AHS Journal.  One
could
certainly argue for more, but I doubt that anyone would vehemently argue for fewer
(unless
as paid, political counsel!).

We have those that view the plant as a biological organism, and who wish to
contribute or
read all manner of information regarding the more technical botanical properties of
Hosta.
We have another (assumed) significantly larger group, who see the plant as an
ornamental
perennial; they regard it as garden worthy, offering great merit for inclusion in a
landscape
scheme, yet they are not inclined to study the bio-technology of the genus.  They
enjoy it,
they grow it, yet they do not find it necessary to understand what makes it a Hosta.
Finally,
we have a third group, comprised of those with significant interest in both arenas -
collectors, hybridizers, and those with vested commercial interests.

The editor(s) of the Journal have to weigh all of these factors, and more because
they have
to factor in a limited budget and an all volunteer staff.  I presume article
selection criteria are
used to determine what will be published and what will not.  Unfortunately, with
finite
resources, I presume decisions will ALWAYS be made that exclude articles that would
otherwise be worthy of publication; ones that might be of considerable interest to
this much
smaller group (the author included).  I would assume the scientific committee reviews
all
submitted articles as candidates for publication and in the end, makes the decisions
on what
must wait or be excluded, and what will find a home between the covers of the
Journal.

PUBLICATION FUNDING:
We know the scientific committee receives about 5% of the revenue budget, and it is
estimated, 12% of the total volunteer effort. From what I can tell, the committee has

distributed some funding to researchers in the past, yet would appreciate access to
increased
funding into the future.  The "need" always exists for increased budgets but does the

scientific committee already have access to a budget that would allow more timely
publication of ALL research articles deemed worthy?   I presume the discussion has
been
advanced to consider the Internet, but do we know the status?  Publication of the
Journal is
essential yet, unfortunately the work of that semi-annual project is exhaustive.
And while
one could continue to ask for increased representation of bio-technology articles in
the
Journal, there is likely inadequate market demand for same.

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS:
Many of us are interested in advancing our understanding of the plant at the
botanical and
ornamental level.  We would like to do so sooner rather than later.  When we cannot
have all
publication worthy articles distributed as soon as they become available, the
learning process
is hindered.  In the old days, researchers went to symposiums to reveal new findings,
or
waited months or years to have new findings published.   Part of the benefit of that
process
was the length of time it took for "peer review" to help insure that the researchers
methodology was duplicatable and the conclusions drawn at least appearing to be
valid.

In my opinion, the Journal was the preferred means of communicating this information
prior
to the advent of the Internet.  While VP Al Gore may not have invented the Internet,
I can
assure you that if you were to email your article today, which is already in
electronic text
form, it could be posted tonight and not only Mr. Gore, but everyone in the world
could be
reading it tonight.  Unfortunately, this is not an option for Kevin and Journal
editorial team.
Print media is always encumbered by factors that prevent rapid distribution, with
budget and
time being perhaps the most constraining.  When utilizing the Internet, however,
access to
technical tools becomes the constraining factor, not budget or time.  If you want the
article to
sing to the viewer, or to offer other bells and whistles, that could take a little
longer. But for
basic text, minutes will suffice instead of months.

I am interested in learning other's remedies to Ben's question, both from those that
been
tendered solutions in the past and any that would like to promote solutions for the
future.


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