RE: Why Publish bird observations?

To: "'Peter Shute'" <>
Subject: RE: Why Publish bird observations?
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Wed, 3 Mar 2010 16:35:54 +1100
I would doubt that you would get total agreement between all of us as to
what is a magazine and a journal. However I suspect most would agree
that Wingspan and The Bird Observer are magazines and Emu & AFO / ABW
are journals. Magazines contain news items about current activities and
often advertising and many pictures. Journals are mainly text and
graphics giving information about particular studies or topics. Also
journals are typically refereed, that is to say, when submissions come
in, they are typically sent out to various others to comment on, as to
their suitability for publication and to make editing suggestions for
improvement. Journals typically are more prescriptive in terms of
stylistic expectations and have far greater expectations of using
pre-existing literature. Although magazines require basic styles also.  

One other point I would make is that this chatline is a good start point
for those who have an observation and are seeking advice as to whether
it is worth publishing. You can pretty quickly get feedback as to
whether a behaviour is new or interesting and even get additional
observations to build it up into something bigger than you first
intended. This generally needs to be something more than I saw this at
wherever place. Although some information on new distribution of species
is useful. 

I suggest far too much has been made about differences between amateurs
and professionals or students. In this field of endeavour the difference
as to whether you get paid for it is pretty minimal. In this area there
are plenty of very skilled amateurs who are far more experienced than
professionals. I do not think that editors ever assess contributions
from such people differently.  I have been an editor for one bird
journal for some years and a referee for some such contributions over
the years for other journals and I would suggest the issue is always on
the merits of the information. Of course I endorse the comments ascribed
to Stephen Debus below and I appreciate very much the good work he does
for ABW / AFO over the years, including help with several of my
published pieces. 


-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Peter Shute
Sent: Wednesday, 3 March 2010 1:15 PM
To: Margaret Cameron; 
Cc: Stephen Debus
Subject: RE: Why Publish bird observations? Re: [Birding-Aus] afo

Can someone please define for me the difference between a magazine and a
journal?  Are Wingspan and The Bird Observer journals too?

And what is meant by "annotated lists of ornithological merit"?

Peter Shute

> -----Original Message-----
> From: 
>  On Behalf Of 
> Margaret Cameron
> Sent: Wednesday, 3 March 2010 9:18 AM
> To: 
> Cc: Stephen Debus
> Subject: Why Publish bird observations? Re: [Birding-Aus] afo
> Stephen Debus, editor of Australian Field Ornithology, says:
> In response to the thread about why publish in a 'magazine'
> when a chatline like Birding-Aus might do, the answer is that 
> AFO is not just a magazine, it's an ornithological journal 
> and as such is a permanent record of ornithological 
> knowledge, archived and indexed as part of the 
> ever-increasing (and necessary) fund of information that can 
> be used for, e.g., conservation purposes.  A comparison of 
> the calibre of material in AFO or the other amateur journals 
> with Birding-Aus would show why the journals are necessary.  
> Ornithological knowledge is not static; like any other field 
> of science, it's constantly growing.
> AFO would welcome annotated lists of ornithological merit; we
> just haven't received many in recent times.  And we do 
> welcome studies or short notes from amateurs, if they contain 
> new knowledge about birds (e.g. by referring to HANZAB to see 
> if the information is new and significant). 
> I've hardly ever rejected anything, but maybe some other 
> (past?) editor(s) of AFO or other amateur or regional 
> journals may have been a bit tougher.
> The new AFO editor for 'bush birds' and general ecology,
> Peter Higgins (HANZAB editor), will be right on the ball as 
> regards the significance of submissions in his subject area.
> Margaret Cameron
> 2 Cintra Street
> Eastern Heights, Qld
> Australia 4305
> 07 3282 9151


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