Message from the President
Sarah A. Woodin
As I think all of you know, this has been the year of the journal for your officers. We agreed in January to investigate moving from a printer, Allen Press, to a publisher as our partner in publishing Integrative and Comparative Biology. The committee charged with doing this consisted of myself, John Pearse as President-elect, Ron Dimock as Treasurer, Dave Borst as the Editorial Board representative, and Brett Burk as Executive Director of SICB. We released the RFP to publishers in March and spent most of April, May and early June dissecting their responses. As you know we nominated Oxford Press as the publisher to the Executive Committee and they agreed. We have signed a letter of intent with Oxford Press which means that they are now advertising ICB and making arrangements with people who bundle journals and talking with abstracting services. Brett and Ron and I met with Dr. Cathy Kennedy, the Senior Editor of the Oxford Journals Division, plus the North American staff of Oxford including Elizabeth Gardner, the Production Team Leader of Oxford Journals, in early September and finalized many of the remaining details. I anticipate that we will sign a contract with Oxford within the next two weeks. Before anyone gets excited, SICB retains ownership of the journal, the membership lists etc.
I am very excited to have Oxford onboard as our partner. They bring a long and distinguished history of scientific publishing to us and are in the forefront of modern day academic publishing. As part of our agreement with Oxford SICB members will accrue a number of benefits including online access to all past and current issues of both American Zoologist and Integrative and Comparative Biology, a significant discount on books published by Oxford, and online publishing of papers in ICB once they have completed copy editing. Additionally as we join Oxford in partnership, all manuscripts will be dealt with electronically so that authors can track their progress, deal with reviewer comments, communicate with the editor in charge etc easily from anywhere. This will greatly increase the transparency of the editorial process. I am in particular looking forward to papers being published online as their editorial process is completed. Thus if you submit a paper from a symposium and it is through the editorial process within a few months, it will be available online at that point. When the rest of the papers for the symposium are ready, the symposium will appear in print but no longer will one paper delay the others.
As John Edwards announced in January 2005, he will be stepping down as Editor-in-Chief of ICB. John has served ICB well and capably and kindly agreed to remain as Editor-in-Chief while we searched for a replacement and during the transition period. Claudia deGruy and Jenn Tousley are working very hard with Oxford to make this transition a smooth one. You begin to see why this was the year of the journal. The Editorial Board acted as the search committee for a new editor-in-chief with Dave Borst as the Chair. They nominated Harold Heatwole of North Carolina State University and the Executive Committee has voted in favor of that nomination. I am very happy to announce that Harold Heatwole has accepted the position as editor-in-chief and has already met with the folks from Oxford and started setting up the necessary protocols for manuscript submission and evaluation via the internet. As I said before, I am very excited that this is happening and that we have both Harold Heatwole and Oxford onboard.
The Core Officers and the Divisional Program Officers met in Orlando in early October to finalize plans for the January 2006 meeting. The details of the Program Officer meeting are in Kate Loudon's newsletter component but suffice it to say that the venue is extremely nice, great space, lots of room to talk, all on one floor, easy access to the outside world etc. The restaurant food is even good. The symposia look great as do the contributed papers and posters. One change about which we have already told you is that the printed book of Abstracts is no longer available UNLESS you check the box on your registration form and request it (and pay $25). Instead in addition to online access before and after the meeting, when you register you will receive a CD containing the abstracts plus a booklet containing the program, titles and locations, map of the facility, etc. A number of members have been pressing for this for several years; so, let us know how you like it. I personally think it will be great. My shoulder feels better already.
SICB continues its history of investing heavily in its students by subsidizing their attendance at the meeting (approx. $48,000), having low membership dues (currently $36 for students), financing student research and student travel awards (approx. $30,000), and sponsoring a variety of meeting activities aimed at students in particular. One of those activities however is no more. We will no longer pay for the Student and Postdoctoral Lunch. The cheapest box lunch was $31.85. If 600 attend, that is over $19,000.
An area of concern to SICB for which we are searching for solutions is the great reduction in federal grant funding for symposia and in particular for support of foreign speakers. In the past this support has been in the range of $16,500 per symposium and many symposia have had such support; so, the potential loss is huge, over $150,000 per meeting. SICB currently contributes about $20,000 to $30,000 in support of symposia. We are looking for ways to increase this support via other avenues such as corporate support. Stay tuned to this station. If you have experience with this, please call me or Brett and tell us about it.
Finally, what is the status of SICB? I find the society to be growing, active intellectually, supportive of its young scientists, moving forward into exciting new arenas, and full of wonderful smart people who help make SICB work. I am looking forward to the meeting in Orlando, to initiating our association with Oxford and hearing about fantastic science.
See you there,