Dr Mike J Smith

Plymouth University

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Maximising the benfits of publication

Fri, 22 Aug 2008

As Editor of the Journal of Maps, I've recently been chatting to the British Geological Survey about the potential for publishing some maps. What became clear quite quickly was they spatial data is their core business and, often, it is presented in map form, although there are other formats. A large number of people are involved in the production of a single piece of output and it is clear that the organisation wants to demonstrate it's value by getting maximum exposure to its products and giving credit where credits due.

This is all fine for more traditional academic roles within the organisation, but is more tricky for someone who is, for example, a database programmer or cartographer. Indeed, just publishing a map raises all sorts of issues concerning how the internal review process is linked (if at all) with the external peer-review process and how this is actioned once completed.

Clearly a "traditional" journal is able to offer limited support is these scenarios, hence the discussions I have had. I would like to think we are quite forward thinking at JoM, however I know that some of the following does occur in other subject disciplines. Suffice to say that the geographical sciences tend to be quite conservative. Anyway, these are some of the ideas that I hope we will be trialling:

-publication based upon satisfactory peer-review, but no modification. Rather the peer-reviews are published with the paper for ongoing public review with a new version produced at a later date

-primary and secondary authors. In the case of a geological map, the field geologists would be primary authors and cited in the same way as a "traditional" paper. Secondary authors would be everyone else that assisted in the production of the final map. This could be tens of people who would receive recognition for the work they have done.

-publication of data in the journal. We are currently doing this, with the data being cited separately. Note that this can give the opportunity for those who compile the data to get recognition, and be cited separately, from the primary authors.

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