Note: The following policy was reproduced from the print version that appeared in The Canadian Field-Naturalist 1994, 108(1), with one minor change. Rather than review this policy annually, the Publications Committee sought and received approval to review it as needed.
The Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club (OFNC) has published The Canadian Field-Naturalist (and its predecessors) for over a century. In 1967, the local natural history journal Trail & Landscape was introduced, replacing The Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club Newsletter that had appeared irregularly for more than 25 years. For about a decade, beginning in 1976, a bimonthly newsletter of local bird sightings, The Shrike, was published. Various special publications appeared from time to time. A formal publications policy to underpin all of these activities was enunciated in 1983, and published in The Canadian Field-Naturalist 97(2): 231-234 (1983). The background to this policy is described in the preamble to the latter.
During the ensuing decade, minor revisions to the original Publication Policy were made from time to time. With the cessation of publication of The Shrike, and the change of Trail & Landscape to quarterly issues, a more detailed revision was required. On the recommendation of the Publications Committee, Council has approved the collating of all of these changes into a revised version of the OFNC Publication Policy, which is printed herewith in its entirety.
R.E. Bedford, Chairman, Publications Committee
Although The Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club has been involved with publications almost since its inception, the first formal publications policy was produced in 1983. This followed from the work of an ad hoc committee established in 1978 and reporting to Council in 1980. Regular review of the Publication Policy is the responsibility of the Publications Committee.
The Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club currently publishes two quarterly periodicals and, from time to time, books or monographs as Special Publications. The two periodicals differ in purpose and scope. The Canadian Field-Naturalist is essentially a scientific journal devoted to the publication of refereed papers concerned with natural history that is relevant to Canada. It is the official organ of the Club. Trail & Landscape is a less formal periodical presenting refereed articles pertaining chiefly to the natural history of the Ottawa area and to providing information aimed at the local readership. Special Publications embrace material better suited to separate publication. All of these publications support the Club’s objective
to promote the appreciation, preservation and conservation of Canada’s natural heritage; to encourage investigation and the publishing of the results of research in all fields of natural history and to diffuse information on these fields as widely as possible; to support and cooperate with organizations engaged in preserving, maintaining or restoring environments of high quality for living things.
This document outlines the policy governing publication of each of the above.
The Canadian Field-Naturalist, the official Club publication, is published quarterly and is available through separate subscription and to members of the Club. It is managed within an annual budget.
- to be the official publication of The Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club, as stated in the Constitution
- to publish refereed scientific papers by amateur and professional naturalists or field-biologists reporting observations and results of investigations in any field of natural history provided that they are original, significant, and relevant to Canada
- to publish news, comments, review articles, book reviews, and other such material that is in accord with objectives (a) and (b)
- to publish minutes of the OFNC annual business meeting, including annual committee reports to the Council and the financial statements, amendments to the Constitution and the By-Laws, and notices concerned with Club business
- Achievement of the Objectives
Useful indicators for the achievement of the objectives for The Canadian Field-Naturalist include:
- unsolicited letters to the Editor or the Club.
- feedback from the Council
- the degree to which Canada’s prominent field-naturalists support The Canadian Field-Naturalist by submitting papers
- submission of a sufficient number of high quality papers
- government responses to applications for funding
- trends in the number and geographic distribution of subscriptions
- citations in other publications
- adherence to a regular publication schedule
- The Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club as Publisher
The Canadian Field-Naturalist is the only publication of its kind in North America. It is recognized as being an asset to The Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club through the national and international acclaim it brings to the Club. The Club, therefore, has a large responsibility for The Canadian Field-Naturalist and recognizes the requirement to ensure its continued publication and high standards. The broadly-based interests of The Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club are seen as an important factor in maintaining the topical diversity and widely-based appeal that exists for The Canadian Field-Naturalist in Canada and beyond.
The Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club will continue to publish The Canadian Field-Naturalist.
- Editorial Board
The Editor and Associate Editors should be:
- scientists who are experienced in field-based natural history investigation
- appointed for one year terms, renewable without limit
- Support for Publication of Manuscripts
Independent authors are those who submit papers to The Canadian Field-Naturalist without the benefit of institutional support or research grant funding. The Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club recognizes the extra effort required by such contributors in the preparation of their papers and that such self-motivated efforts have contributed significantly to the development of knowledge in the natural sciences in Canada. To assist such independent efforts, as part of The Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club’s commitment to the development of naturalists as well as natural history knowledge, a measure of logistical support will be provided by The Ottawa Field- Naturalists’ Club. For authors with minimal financial resources, limited journal funds are available to help offset publication charges. Requests for such financial assistance may be made to the Editor if the manuscript is accepted for publication.
- Special Status for Ottawa District Natural History Studies
The Ottawa District will not be afforded special status in evaluating submissions to The Canadian Field-Naturalist. Such papers must meet the same standards by which all other submissions are judged.
- Content and Readability
The content and readability of The Canadian Field-Naturalist are satisfactory at the present time.
To satisfy its primary responsibility for reporting findings. The Canadian Field-Naturalist papers must continue to use the appropriate technical and scientific terminology. It is desirable however, that abstracts be written in fairly simple language (when this is possible without sacrificing accuracy) so that the widest possible readership is reached.
- Funds in reserve for The Canadian Field-Naturalist
Funds in reserve for The Canadian Field-Naturalist ensure that, in the face of an economic disaster within The Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club, the journal would have sufficient funds to publish further volumes and, thus, enough time to make other publishing arrangements. Funds will not be permitted to decline below a minimum level established by the Finance Committee (and reviewed by that committee as required).
Although the information presented in Trail & Landscape must be factually correct, its manner of presentation will usually be less rigorously structured and more discursive than for The Canadian Field-Naturalist. This reflects this publication’s conscious effort to educate interested lay persons concerning the natural history of the Ottawa area.
Trail & Landscape is published quarterly and is available to all local members, on demand to members outside the Ottawa District, and to institutions on subscription. It is managed within an annual budget. Without second-class mailing privileges, mailing costs could become prohibitively expensive. In order to use second-class mailing, the percentage of total paging devoted to items of Club business in Trail & Landscape must not exceed 20 percent.
- to publish refereed papers reporting new knowledge, review papers, and other topics of interest about the natural history of the Ottawa District
- to encourage the membership to make and to publish natural history observations that are related to the Ottawa District
- to promote and to report on Club activities and participation in such activities
- to present, analyze and comment on natural history issues (such as conservation) of significance to the Ottawa area
- Achievement of the Objectives
Useful indicators for the achievement of the objectives for Trail & Landscape include the following:
- unsolicited comments by readers on an issue-by-issue basis
- the effort required by editorial staff to obtain sufficient appropriate material
- the results from reader surveys
- citations in other publications
- adherence to a regular publication schedule
- Content and Readability
Trail & Landscape will continue to provide a balanced mixture of natural history articles oriented towards people, activities, and education.
The Club has two regular publications – The Canadian Field-Naturalist and Trail & Landscape. It should be recognized, however, that from time to time there may be material that would be better suited to separate publication. In considering a special publication the following guidelines should be used, with these general comments:
- each case will be treated on its own merits
- authors are not to profit financially from the undertaking
- assistance to authors will be considered on an individual basis
- achievement of objectives will be assessed, as with other Club publications
- accountability to Council for a special publication will rest with the Publications Committee
- the style used should be in accord with that of The Canadian Field-Naturalist and Trail & Landscape. A different style must have the specific approval of the Publications Committee.
- Council approval-in-principle to be sought, following which, action is to be taken by the Publications Committee.
- The Publications Committee to assess proposal or manuscript and to recommend approval or rejection to Council. If approval is recommended, to recommend also an Editor for the undertaking.
- Council to approve or to reject the proposal.
- If the proposal is approved. Editor installs project committee, arranges contact with author(s), and appoints reviewers.
- The Editorial Committee to include:
- at least one specialist in an appropriate field of study
- at least one Council member in an appropriate field of study
- the Editor
- a person knowledgeable in publication marketing (not all members need be Club members)
- The Editorial Committee to develop, first with the author and then with appropriate Club committees, a Publication Plan for Council approval. The Plan will include:
- assessment of the proposal’s significance with respect to the Club’s mandate
- budget estimates and funding sources, including possible cooperative publication efforts and availability of grants
- contractual proposal for the author
- marketing assessment and plan
- production schedule
- The Publications Committee to review the Publication Plan and, if it is acceptable, to pass it to Council for approval.
- Council approval of Publication Plan to lead to development of contract with author, printer, and illustrators.
- Contracts to be given final Council approval.
- Document to be published and distributed.
- Feedback on value of the publication to be sought, including volume of demand (vs. forecast of demand) and audience reaction. A report to Council to be made, evaluating the undertaking, by the Editor.
- The Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club Publications Committee:
- Duties: The duties of the Publications Committee are as follows:
- to supervise the policy, finances, and distribution of the Club’s publications
- to act in an advisory capacity to Council in all matters pertaining to the publications of the Club
- to recommend an Editor and a Business Manager for each publication, as required, for approval by the Council and to appoint Associate Editors
- to ensure that The Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club publications are oriented to meeting the objectives of the Club by regularly reviewing the achievement indicators described for each
- to act as a liaison between Council and the Editors and to maintain a constructive dialogue with the Editors on matters of policy, operations, and procedures
- to resolve concerns of the Editors or members of the Club respecting the publications
- to recommend an Editor for each Special Publication for approval by Council and to act as liaison with him or her in the development of Special Publications in the manner prescribed in Section E
- to ensure that the Editors of the various publications meet occasionally with Council
- to review the Publications Policy as needed and to report on such review to Council
- Membership: The membership of the committee will consist of at least the following individuals:
- the Editors of The Canadian Field-Naturalist and Trail & Landscape
- the Business Manager of The Canadian Field-Naturalist
- an Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club Vice president and three or more members in good standing of The Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club who are not directly associated with a publication
- the Editor of each Special Publication as an ex officio member until the Publication is completed.
- Chairman: The Chairman will be a member of Council and not directly associated with a publication of The Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club.
- Editorials and Changes in Editorial Policy:
In order to maintain a balance between editorial freedom and the policy- and direction-setting responsibility of The Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club, broadly accepted mechanisms for consultation and approval are required. The following mechanisms aim to maintain that balance:
- policy change proposals will be presented to the Publications Committee by Editors; minor changes will be dealt with by the Committee and major policy changes will be referred to the Council
- the Editor, or an Associate Editor, of each publication will be sought as a member of Council. If attendance is difficult, Council should arrange at least one annual meeting with each Editor for review of publishing status and success
- before the appointment of any new Editor, he or she will meet with the Executive and Publications Committees to discuss The Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club publications policy for that publication
- the authorship of all material must be specified
Editors must send a copy of all editorials to the President in advance of publication for his or her information.