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History and tradition, or contemporary ornithology? Why ornithological journals should not have bird names

June 16, 2010

Ask any non-ornithologist to predict the prestige of the following journals, based on the name alone: American Birds, Auk, Bluebird, Condor, Emu, Forktail, Gerfaut, Ibis, Journal of Avian Biology, and Journal of Field Ornithology. The results always will be that the first one and the last two are placed in one category, and the blizzard of bird-named journals in another, lower category. When that same non-ornithologist is called upon to evaluate the publication records of ornithologists, those with important papers in bird-named journals likely will suffer lower rankings. If lucky, an ornithologist under review will receive support from an internationally distinguished ornithological colleague who will take explicit pains to argue that publication in The Auk is a meritorious professional accomplishment. Such arguments, however, may not counteract the damage of a single referee's sneering at the names of the journals in which a bird biologist has chosen to publish. One cannot overstate the importance of the serendipitous collection of peer reviews that determines whether ornithologists get and then keep their first academic jobs, receive tenure, are promoted, are evaluated fairly, and, most important, achieve and maintain the respect of colleagues in other biological disciplines.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1998
Title History and tradition, or contemporary ornithology? Why ornithological journals should not have bird names
DOI 10.2307/4089137
Authors J.V. Remsen, J.A. Kushlan, B.A. Loiselle
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title The Auk
Series Number
Index ID 5223642
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center