Baltic Diversity Notes - BONUS BIO-C3
Manuscripts & publishing...
Time to scribble down some notes again!
First of all, thanks for all the nice comments, questions
and emails, it´s really appreciated, so keep them coming!
So, last week I was busy meeting up with colleagues in Finland and we prepared, amongst other things, a manuscript on the results in our study on the two different ways of feeding by a Baltic Sea key species (i.e. a species common in nature and important for the structure or functioning of the ecosystem). The species is the little white or light-red Baltic clam Macoma balthica. The two ways this species captures its food, either by sucking in particles from the water column or sort of vacuuming the sediment, is interesting as it gives the clam two different roles in the ecosystem. Depending on how it feeds it utilizes two different food sources and thus contributes to two different ways of organic material transportation through the food web. The importance of this type of plasticity (or flexibility) of organisms needs to be taken into consideration if we are to understand and predict how the ecosystem function.
There´s still some things to change and improve in this manuscript, but very soon it will face the standard process of scientific publishing.
But what is this publishing really about and how does it differ from the “normal” newspaper publishing? Since I get these questions quite a lot from friends and family, I thought I´d de-mystify it here.
The scientific publication process...
Publishing in a scientific journal means that after it has been sent to the journal, it ends up on the desk(top) of the journal editor . If not rejected immediately by the editor, it will then face the so called peer review procedure (an often anonymous but critical examination of the manuscript by a couple of scientists with knowledge of the specific topic). After some nervous weeks/months for the authors of the manuscript a decision arrives and the work is either accepted or rejected, or the reviewers may think it needs minor or major revision (work) and can after that be sent back to the journal for another review. After this the manuscript might be accepted for publication in the journal (means champagne or at least some bubbly for the authors…) or rejected (means a big cup of coffee and more or less complete revision of the work and then perhaps submission to another journal). Tiresome? Sometimes yes, but it also ensures that the scientific work is suitable for publication in terms of scientific standards and quality and that it is has been independently valued as important and novel for the scientific community. This does not mean it can´t (and shouldn´t) be discussed and disputed after it has been published. This time I won´t go into the debate and discussions about open peer review and commentary, but let you share your thoughts below and I’ll perhaps come back to this.
I leave you with that little update and the notion that the busy pre-Christmas/New Year month is here (yikes… how did this happen?). Next week I´ll tell you all about the annual retreat of the Centre for Ocean Life and my presentation on a summary of ecosystem functions related to fish, benthic invertebrates, zoo- and phytoplankton.