Featured

11th Hour talks fail, #AssociateEditors #Resigned, @jbiogeography

Deputy editors-in-chief at the Journal of Biogeography (JBI) set up an 11th hour meeting with Wiley trying to resolve the two-month ongoing dispute about affordability, equity, and editorial independence. Initial reports are that the talks failed. The pending mass resignation of the remaining associate editors takes effect.


This blog and related twitter accounts have been relatively quite over the past few weeks, not because nothing has been happening (see below!), but, because the editorial board wanted to give an 11th hour meeting with Wiley chance to make progress. The meeting had been negotiated by the remaining deputy editors-in-chief, who have been busy impressing upon Wiley the gravitas of the matter, the potential damage to the journal’s and publishers’ reputations being caused by Wiley’s as yet inadequate responses, and Wiley’s continuing need to address the editorial board’s concerns about affordability, equity, and editorial independence at the journal.

The sad news is that initial reports indicate the editorial board’s last ditch efforts to make progress have failed. This means that the resignations of the remaining ~1/3rd of the Associate Editors — offered three weeks ago contingent on progress in discussions with Wiley (but accepted immediately by Wiley!) — will now go into effect on 28th August.

It seems Wiley does not know how, and/or is unwilling, to listen and collaborate with their editorial boards. There have been many opportunities: contract discussions in late 2022; the resignation of the first deputy editor-in-chief in January 2023; two all-hands meetings with the editorial board in early March; a month of discussions in April culminating in resignation of the editor-in-chief in May, the start of the associate editors’ work stoppage in June (with a target data of 31 June for resolution), and continuation of the work stoppage and beginning of resignations in August. All of these events signalled to Wiley that these were serious matters and needed attention. Not once did they engage meaningfully.

It’s possible Wiley’s strategy is to encourage resignation of editorial boards that are asking for improvements, so Wiley can replace them with more compliant boards, thus ratcheting forward their unaffordable, inequitable, publication models and decreasing editorial independence at the same time. Indeed, this seems to be happening at J. Biogeography: having created a vacuum by firing the current editor-in-chief — an independent academic and practicing biogeographer — the word on the street is that the next editor-in-chief will be a Wiley employee, lacking serious credentials in biogeography, transferring in from Wiley’s Ecology & Evolution journal, which is something of an APC/OA clearing-house whose “overriding philosophy is to be ‘author friendly’ and editing practice is to ‘look for reasons to publish.’” This appears to confirm beyond any doubt that Wiley’s primary concern is fiscal, not scientific. It is a desperate fall from grace for a journal of JBI‘s prior standing.

It’s reasonable, therefore, to ask whether the actions of the editorial board at JBI have been successful. If the ultimate outcome was a mass resignation, why not just do that in the first place? What was gained by over 8 months of protracted, failed, negotiations?

We believe we have demonstrated a new and effective way to take action:
– This was the first ever #WorkStoppage by #AssociateEditors at a Wiley journal. (Possibly the first for any large publisher?).
– It is clear from our interactoins with Wiley, that they are shaken; this is causing them substantial concerns.
– The extended timeline allowed us to share with the community the extent of our efforts to build a more positive outcome for the publishing community; and to demonstrate that time and time again, Wiley refused to engage seriously.
– This created an unprecedented cross-journal movement that is spreading: associate editors at other journals are asking their chief editors to engage with these issues; someAEs have resigned or started work stoppages at other Wiley journals. Editors-in-chief at related journals are likewise asking Wiley to engage with these issues, lest they face additional reputational loss.
– It became an international conversation, a hopeful harbinger of change, e.g. at Retraction Watch (story 1, story 2, story 3), Times Higher Ed, Andy Stapleton, Metin Aytekin, and Khrono (a newspaper for universities in Norway)
– Over half of authors who submitted their manuscripts during the work stoppage, and who were informed about these issues (after Wiley declined to do this!), have asked that their manuscripts be unsubmitted so they can publish elsewhere (see some options below).
– Authors of some manuscripts at more advanced stages are taking their reviews and decisions from JBI (the journal’s default policy introduced by this board) and pursuing ‘fast track’ submissions at society journals such as Frontiers of Biogeography (published by the International Biogeography Society using the eScholarship platform [*not* part of the ‘Frontiers in‘ series).
– We have heard from multiple publishing platforms about offers to set up new biogeography journals with better practices, which we are following up.
– Societies around the world have also started to sign on to a Joint Statement on Scientific Publishing, endorsing societies’ leading roles in more affordable, equitable, independent publishing that further supports the communities they serve.

The editorial board at JBI has arguably broken new ground in how to demonstrate effectively against modern exploitative publishing practices. We have done all we can for JBI. Many of us are now committing our editorial and reviewing services to only society-owned journals; others are taking a well-earned break. As we move into these next ventures, we thank the broader community of authors, editors, and reviewers for their patience and overwhelming support; we know this has had impacts on you too, for which we apologize; Wiley could’ve avoided those at any point in the past 8 months. We anticipate Wiley hopes the ”noise’ from the community will simply dissipate as the board leaves. We encourage everyone to continue to make your opinions and values clear to Wiley privately and publicly and by investing your authoring, editing, and reviewing expertise in other journals, preferably society journals. Together, we can make scientific publishing #BetterPublishing.

To help build on the advances made by JBI’s outgoing editorial board, we provide the following three resources:
A. The list of the negotiating points prioritized by the JBI Associate Editors (see ‘A‘ below). This does not mean lower-ranked issues are less important — they all need to be addressed — rather it provides a roadmap for where Wiley (and other publishers) need to make change first to simply show they are sincere in wanting #BetterPublishing for all. We recommend existing and incoming editorial boards at for-profit publisher-owened journals to ask for as many of these points as possible; failing that, consider a work stoppage, and recommend alternate society-owned journals in your field.
B. A partial list of alternate, society, journals that publish biogeographical research (see ‘B‘ below).
C. A developing list of additional negotiating points for potential future associate and chief editors, based on our and others’ experiences.


A. Negotiating points prioritized by JBI Associate Editors.

1. Irrespective of the publication model, OA fees for JBI must be more 
affordable, reflecting the actual cost of publication, which will help 
reduce inequity globally.

2. Irrespective of the publication model, there must be a meaningful 
waiver program so that researchers with insufficient funds are not 
disadvantaged.

3. Goals around growth must not come at the expense of the quality of 
the journal. The former should be driven by improvements in the latter. 
Therefore, goals to grow the journal must be accompanied with matching 
additional investment. At this point in time, the senior editorial team 
is against increasing the number of accepted papers. Rather, Wiley must 
invest in strategies that will increase the standing of JBI in 
comparison to other journals of comparable scope.

4. As one of a variety of possible futures, a model must be developed 
for the possible case of fully flipping JBI to Gold OA — irrespective of 
whether there is or is not currently an explicit plan. In this, Wiley 
must guarantee a full or partial waiver (as needed) to any author whose 
manuscript is accepted but who does not have the funds to pay the 
regular APC.

5. Rewards for AEs must be reinstated to prior levels, i.e. at least one 
OA article per year in JBI (as first or senior author) or equivalent 
value (depending on the editors’ circumstances).

6. More investment must be made in the scientific (Biogeography) 
community. We suggest levels akin to those returned to societies as a 
benchmark, as they are analogs for the biogeographic community that 
supports Wiley’s business model for JBI. Also see above re. APC waivers, 
Judith Masters Memorial Fund, honoraria, recompense for AEs.  In 
addition, this means increases in support for global colloquia. And it 
necessitates annual inflation-adjustment for all such investments; 
anything less is an effective disinvestment.

7. Independence of the Editorial Board must be reified, and also 
clarified through contracts (e.g. exclusion of growth targets, transfer 
targets, NDAs, etc).

8. Reinvestment in Production, revision of workflows, and returning 
oversight to the Editor-in-Chief.

9. In addition to the above, other elements supporting the journal’s 
stated ‘Global Biogeography Initiative’ should be enacted:
·         free language support for non-English-as-a-first-language 
author teams during editorial and peer review
·         the Judith Masters Memorial Fund, while appreciated, is 
insufficient to cover all costs of attendance at an international 
meeting. The fund should be increased so that it would cover all 
expenses of attendance at an international conference/lab, for multiple 
eligible researchers.

10. Revise the ScholarOne interface and transfer scheme to facilitate 
JBI’s editorial policy on decisions, including transfers, encouraging 
sharing of decisions and reviews with any journal.

Two of the original twelve points were prioritized for negotiations by future potential incoming associate and chief editors:

i. Non-Disclosure clauses must be removed from editor contracts.

ii. dEiC honoraria should be returned to pre-2019 levels. All honoraria 
should be automatically annually adjusted for Inflation. If more work is 
shifted to people receiving honoraria, the honoraria should increase 
accordingly; criteria for calculating honoraria should be transparent.

See additional negotiating points for potential future associate and chief editors.


B. A partial list of alternate, society, journals that publish biogeographical research

If considering another venue for your biogeographical work, a few years ago we did an analysis of journals publishing biogeography https://escholarship.org/uc/item/67n7x3zk  (see Fig 1), which may provide some ideas. We recommend Society-owned journals as these give more back to the community. Some are published by Wiley; some are not.  

Society-owned journals that publish biogeographical works include (but are not limited to):
American Journal of Botany (published by Wiley)   
American Naturalist (published by U. Chicago Press)
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (published by Oxford Academic)
Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society (published by Oxford Academic)
Ecography (published by Wiley)
    Sister journals https://nordicsocietyoikos.org/publications (published by Wiley)
Evolutionary Journal of the Linnean Society (published by Oxford Academic)
Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society (published by Oxford Academic)
Evolution (published by Oxford Academic)
Journal of Mammalogy (published by Oxford Academic)
Journal of Vegetation Science (published by Wiley)
Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation (published by Elsevier)
Proceedings of the Royal Society, B (published by Oxford Academic)
     Sister journals https://royalsociety.org/Journals/
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA (published by NAS)
Science (published by AAAS)
Systematic Biology (published by Oxford Academic)
Taxon (published by Wiley)

In addition, the International Biogeography Society publishes a general biogeography journal with a very strong editorial team, although it is not listed by Clarivate:
Frontiers of Biogeography (N.B. *not* a “Frontiers.in” journal) 
Biogeographia is another society journal on the same publication platform

Oxford University Press provides information on other journals it publishes, including whether they are society owned, e.g. 
Plant sciences http://www.oupplantsci.com/category/journals/
Similar information on all Oxford journals can be searched at https://academic.oup.com/
Other university presses exist (Unversity of Chicago, University of California, Stanford, etc). 



Featured

Introducing: Journal News

The research being conducted and the media for sharing findings change through time. In the past decade, these changes have been particularly rapid, as the technology available for measuring the world and for publishing papers have each gone through multiple step changes. The journal is adapting to these changes in service of our research community. This Journal News section of the blog is intended to communicate these adaptations to maintain a leading quality outlet for your work.

All changes at the Journal of Biogeography will reflect our commitment to continually (1) keep pace with and lead advances in the discipline, (2) deliver a constructive, productive process for publishing your biogeographical studies, (3) enhance value to the community, such as replication and reuse of your work, and (4) add value to you by widely disseminating your research to a global audience.

To attain these goals, we made several changes at the journal since September 2019:
Cover Image: published for free to highlight research in each issue
Editors’ Choice: will be ‘full access’ for two years at no cost to the author
– Social media: new team to increase visibility and achieve broader reach
– Updated our statement of the journal’s scope

Other improvements are in the works. Watch for announcements in the coming months.

Featured

Introducing: Featured Researchers

The Journal of Biogeography aims to support early career researchers by highlighting their recently published journal articles and providing a space where the community can get to know the authors behind the works and learn from their publication experiences. In our featured posts, researchers dive into the motivations, challenges, and highlights behind their recent papers, and give us a sense of the broader scientific interests that drive their biogeographic research. This is where we also get a sneak peek into novel and interesting research that is yet to come!

Based on the information provided when manuscripts are submitted, the editorial team will routinely contact authors each month to invite a contribution from those who are both (1) early career researchers, i.e. up to and including postdocs, and (2) corresponding author on their upcoming publication in Journal of Biogeography. However, we also welcome contributions from other early career researchers who may be first or middle authors on these papers; if the study has multiple authors, we very much welcome a single submission from the cadre of early career co-authors involved.

To keep the process simple for all involved, we invite contributions to follow a standard format (see below). Responses need not be given to all prompts, but there should be a critical mass of responses to be informative; responses to prompts that are answered should be concise; thus the experience is streamlined, personalized, and easy.

We encourage a tone and standard suitable for social media and that conveys the excitement and intrigue of being a biogeographer.  Previous submissions can provide a guide for your own individualized entries.  The social media editors are happy to provide feedback and assistance in revising content before posting.  The senior editorial team approves all posts.

If you have any questions or would like to submit your own contribution, please contact one of our social media editors: Dr. Leanne Phelps and Dr. Joshua Thia using the journal’s gmail address, jbiogeography@gmail.com. To help you get started, the questionnaire is provided below. Check out recent contributions for examples and ideas!

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Questionnaire format:

Name

Links to social media and/or personal website(s)

Institute

Current academic life stage (Honours, Masters, PhD, Postdoc?) 

Major research themes and interests

Current study species/system? What makes it interesting (/cool!)? (100 words)

Recent paper in Journal of Biogeography (citation)

Describe the motivation behind this recent paper (100–150 words)

Describe the key methodologies in this recent paper, highlighting anything particularly novel or ingenious and how this provides new insights (100–150 words)

Describe any unexpected outcomes of this research, or any challenges you and your coauthors experienced and overcame along the way (100–150 words)

Describe the major result of this recent paper and its contribution toward the field (100–150 words)

What is the next step in this research? (100 words)

If you could study any organism on Earth, what would it be and why?

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself or your featured research? (Any hidden gems the above questions might have missed?)

If available, please provide three or more visually appealing photos (with captions) that relate to your work, so we can feature you on our social media platforms.

Featured

Introducing: Highlighted Papers

Every month, each new issue of the Journal of Biogeography (JBI) includes at least two highlighted articles—the Editors’ Choice and the paper associated with the cover image—and periodically we highlight a topic with a series of papers as part of a special issue. Our intention on the blog is to communicate additional aspects of these, and other papers published in JBI, from slightly different perspectives.

Every published paper has a story behind it that complements and enriches our understanding of the published science. Very rarely, the parallel narrative might provide as radical a reframing of the entirety of our scientific work as did Thomas Kuhn’s “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”, Bruno Latour’s study of “Laboratory Life”, and the feminist critique of science by Evelyn Fox Keller, Sandra Harding, Helen Longino, and others. On occasion it may cause us to rethink the history of the discipline and its modern consequences—as in recent works on decolonialization of biogeography—or likewise to consider current approaches and what they may mean for the future. Oftentimes the parallel narrative is simply a personal perspective on how we stumbled upon a particular question, co-opted a tool for a different job, ran into unexpected difficulties or found something easier than anticipated, visited wonderful places, worked with fascinating organisms and systems, became aware of related challenges, saw something on the side that sparked our curiosity for the next study, and so on.

Irrespective of what your story is, these pages are intended to provide a small window onto that complimentary narrative that details the human endeavor of biogeography. The idea is to try to demystify how the polished published biogeographical story emerges from at times complicated studies of a complex world. No matter what our career stage, each study comes with its challenges, the solutions merit acknowledgement (and can potentially help others), and each publication is an achievement to be celebrated. In recognizing these commonalities, we hope the diversity of routes and strategies for publishing become a little more transparent and a little more accessible to all.

The format for highlighting papers is flexible (within a limit of ~750 words [+/- 250]), but we provide a few optional prompts below to get you started and make sure some key information is available.

——————————–

Format & some optional prompts:

Title for blog post

Author name, title, institutional details

Links to social media and/or personal website(s)

Citation including URL for recent paper in Journal of Biogeography 

Describe the motivation behind this recent paper.What’re the major research themes and interests it addresses? — What makes it interesting/cool/important? What surprised you / the team while designing, conducting, completing the study? What knotty problem did you have to overcome? — Reflecting on the whole process, beyond the published research, what were other important outcomes from the project? Where do you / the team go from here? Is there anything else you would like to tell us (any hidden gems the prompts might have missed)?Two to three visually appealing photos/images (with captions) that relate to the work and this narrative is possible.

ECR feature: Susanna R. Bryceson on the distribution of grasses in Australia

Susanna Bryceson has recently completed her PhD at La Trobe University, Melbourne. She is an ecologist primarily researching the migration of C4 grasses to Australia and their effect on the resident flora and fauna with which they had not co-evolved. Here, Susanna shares her experience and exciting findings.

Susanna Bryceson at savanna fire research site near Darwin, Northern Territory Australia.

Institute. La Trobe University, Australia.

Academic life stage. Recent PhD completion.

Major research themes. I’m interested in the interface of Australian ancient plants and animals, with taxa immigrating into the country (particularly through Southeast Asia) over the past few million years, and how interactions between them—and potentially with humans—shaped what we see in Australia today.

Current study system. My study system is the Australian continent and my focal species are the grasses, particularly those using C4-type photosynthesis. In a global context, the Australian flora and fauna stand alone, having evolved in isolation over tens of millions of years. In Gondwana, the Australian landmass was at the ‘end of the road’ in the east, and today it has a similar position in relation to the main source of immigrant taxa, Southeast Asia.

Recent JBI paper. Bryceson, S. R., Hemming, K. T., Duncan, R. P., & Morgan, J. W. (2023). The contemporary distribution of grasses in Australia: A process of immigration, dispersal and shifting dominance. Journal of Biogeography, 50(9): 1639-1652. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.14676

Motivation behind this paper. Today, grass-driven fire is a prominent feature in many parts of Australia. My recent research found that Australian ecosystems evolved largely free of grasses until the past few million years, unlike on other continents which had massing herds of grazing animals co-evolving with grasses over tens of millions of years, forming complex savanna ecosystems of plants and animals. With Peter Linder’s words about Africa ringing in my ears, that ‘C4 grasses likely created an orgy of extinction’, my mission was to work out how C4 grasses that originated on other continents could become so prominent in Australia. I started thinking about the consequences of immigrant grasses entering a woodland, where they would be bulkier and taller than the existing ground cover. For example, a fire in a tall, bulky grass would potentially affect more of the neighbouring vegetation than a flaming small plant with fine leaves. I wanted to find out where these grasses speciated and spread, particularly the tall species.

Key methodologies. Earlier phylogenetic research showed that not all grasses were the same and that C4 grasses inherited the morphology of their C3 ancestors (Erika Edwards et al, 2010). To get a picture of the progress of grasses in Australia, we combined morphology (height), phylogenetic lineage, photosynthetic type, endemism and migration period. The grass species were categorised as endemic or shared (with other continents) and using environmental models and the combined analysis enabled us to track their distribution across time. We gathered data on the heights of all Australian grass species and linked this to the distribution of C3 and C4 lineages over about 30 million years.

Susanna Bryceson in tall C4 grass covering a previously clear track through savanna country, Northern Australia.

Unexpected challenges. One of our aims was to create a map showing grass heights across Australia. We thought that by combining location data for each species with their height data, that would be straightforward, but the maps we produced were baffling and didn’t represent what we had observed in the field. We realised that the problem arose with the height data: in the various floras we consulted, the height of a species was often expressed as a range, e.g. 50-80 cm. We applied the tallest height to all occurrences of that species across the country but what this could not account for was that generally, the height of C4 grasses in the cooler south was at the very low end of the catalogued range. Without more detailed adjustments to represent local grass heights, producing a map that made sense was impossible.

We were also stunned by the way the endemic and shared species of the different phylogenetic types were distributed and how, when informed by the environmental modelling, they could describe a picture of dispersal (or not!) through the dry interior of the country, when most of the ancient plants and animals were retreating to more mesic regions. Matched up with time of arrival in the country, we could also see patterns in which some grass types had spread before the aridification in the inland but had retreated into a disjunct and relictual pattern, another type had been favoured by aridification and was widespread inland, and a further group showing that the recent arrivals had barely spread from the north coast.

Major results. This paper lowers its focus to the ground level of vegetation. Grasses are such a ubiquitous element of many ecotypes that they are easily overlooked in favour of larger or more showy plant forms—trees, shrubs and flowering curios—when describing ecosystem patterns. From an ecological perspective, the tendency of grasses to create dry fuel brings the potential of fire into the ecosystems they infiltrate, making them potent factors in landscape function and, potentially, transformation. This paper shows the transformative power of grass as an evolutionary force, a migrator, an invader, and an opportunist. Over 20 million years, grasses gradually moved into Australian ecosystems, with that migration becoming a surge as the continent drew closer to Southeast Asia, culminating in the arrival of Andropogoneae grasses in the far north where their presence or absence dictates the fire regimes of the northern savannas today.

Tall grasses of the Asian-origin Androgooneae tribe have transformed landscapes across Australia. This species, Themeda triandra Forssk, is now distributed across the country to far southeast and southwestern regions.

Next steps for this research. Some of the world’s most flammable grasses have their origins in Asia, dominating the savannas which ranged through to Sunda (the former Southeast Asian landmass). But it wasn’t just the grasses that migrated, it was a system: many trees and shrubs from ancient Sundanese savannas are also present in northern Australia and as such, they are adapted to more frequent fire. I’ll be looking in more detail at Australia’s savannas and analysing the distributions of plants of different origins (either ancient Australian or Sundanese) in relation to fire frequency.

If you could study any organism on Earth, what would it be? I am intrigued by the Eriachne genus, the only Australian-origin C4 grass. This speciose, finely-statured group seems to have a low-key role in ecosystems, being able to grow in harsh sun as well as in shady and long unburned places. Where it is the dominant grass, it probably means that fire is infrequent.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself or your featured research? This paper was five years in the making. I met my collaborator, Kyle Hemming, at a conference, surprised that he was also looking at grass distribution and our very different approaches turned out to be a great match. We kept adding new dimensions to the analysis but as this expanded, I realised a ‘prequel’ was needed, spawning my paper that described Australasia’s grasses in a global context (Bryceson & Morgan, 2022). Once the global picture was clarified, work on the Australian distributions paper resumed with many further iterations, thanks to Kyle’s endless patience. It was intriguing to see the patterns being revealed.

ECR feature: Nahla Lucchini

Nahla Lucchini is a PhD candidate at the Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos (CIBIO) in Portugal. She is an evolutionary ecologist with a special focus on the biogeographical dynamics of reptiles. Here, Nahla shares her recent work on climatic adaptation and diversification in European vipers.

Nahla sampling vipers in Morocco

Personal links. Twitter | ResearchGate

Institute. CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, InBIO Laboratório Associado, Universidade do Porto, Vairão, Portugal

Academic life stage. PhD Candidate

Major research themes. Evolutionary ecology; Biogeography; Herpetology

Current study system. For my PhD, I am working with European Vipers (genus Vipera) – a monophyletic group of small- to medium-sized viviparous, venomous snakes. The genus includes three main parapatric clades and 27 lineages that diversified around the Mediterranean Basin and adjacent areas, some of which exhibit cold-adapted physiology, while others are considered warm-adapted. Being ectotherms, they have a low dispersal ability compared to other vertebrates, which makes them highly vulnerable to climatic changes. All these traits make this group of vipers a unique system to study diversification dynamics in relation to niche evolution, particularly in one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, the Mediterranean Basin.

Recent JBI paper. Lucchini, N., Kaliontzopoulou, A., Lourdais, O., & Martínez-Freiría, F. (2023). Climatic adaptation explains responses to Pleistocene oscillations and diversification in European vipers. Journal of Biogeography, 00, 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.14694

Motivation behind this paper. Understanding how ecological factors promote species diversification is still a hot topic in ecology and evolutionary biology. In fact, the role of niche divergence and niche conservatism during speciation is not a minor matter, as it can impact species persistence and the colonization of new geographical areas. In the case of European vipers, although there are some regional studies on selected species addressing the evolutionary history or the role of climate during their diversification, no comprehensive study has yet investigated the eco-evolutionary dynamics of the whole genus Vipera. In this recent paper, we delimited the climatic requirements of each lineage to understand their responses to Pleistocene climatic oscillations and to identify the evolutionary mechanisms underlying their diversification.

Key methodologies. One major strength of our work was the combination of various advanced techniques, such as Ecological Niche Modeling, phylogenetic comparative methods, and niche overlap analyses. These techniques allowed us to investigate, for the first time, how climatic niche evolution or conservatism shaped the diversity of European vipers. By employing this integrative, multifaceted approach, we were able to demonstrate that climatic adaptation acted as a primary driver of diversification in this group, resulting in a complex pattern of niche divergence along the viper’s phylogeny.

Vipera latastei, Spain.

Unexpected challenges. Possibly the main challenge was compiling a representative set of occurrence data for each individual lineage, including the lesser-known ones, for which distribution records were not easy to find at all. During the process of data compilation, I ended up mining several papers written in different languages and alphabets that were not familiar to me, such as many papers in Cyrillic. That was definitely a struggle! However, validating the information found in the maps helped me learn about many different places across the globe.

Major results. We found that climatic adaptation was a key element driving diversification among European vipers. Cold-adapted and warm-adapted lineages presented similar climatic requirements, based on their geographical origins. Among the three main Vipera clades, lineages belonging to the Pelias clade can be considered cold-adapted, while those within Vipera 1 and Vipera 2 clades are generally warm-adapted. However, closely related lineages responded differently to the Pleistocene climatic oscillations, suggesting that other factors have defined their recent range dynamics. Additionally, the phylogenetic signal analysis suggested adaptation to some environmental conditions. All these results together suggest an intricate pattern of niche divergence along the phylogeny that favors a scenario of local adaptation rather than Phylogenetic Niche Conservatism.

Vipera monticola, Morocco

Next steps for this research. I’m currently working on the integration of complementary methodologies, such as the application of mechanistic modelling considering the eco-physiological tolerances of the different species, to corroborate (or not) the climatic specialization patterns that we detected in this work and develop an in-depth investigation of range dynamics.

If you could study any organism on Earth, what would it be? I’m definitely happy with reptiles and snakes specifically, but I’ve also been particularly fascinated by tropical habitats, their complexity and the abundance of intriguing organisms to explore. Mixing the two would be amazing! Moreover, the challenges posed by habitat loss, climate change and human interaction make the study of tropical reptiles extremely urgent. By comprehending their biology and ecology, we can better inform conservation efforts and ensure the preservation of these remarkable creatures and the delicate ecosystems they call home.

ECR feature: Ricardo Gaytán Legaria on phylogeography of Mexican oaks

Ricardo Gaytán-Legaria is a PhD candidate at the UNAM – National Autonomous University of Mexico. He is broadly interested in the biogeography and evolution of different Mexican taxa, with emphasis in oaks species and other plants. Here, Ricardo shares his recent work on the phylogeography and niche breadh of Mexican oaks.

Ricardo Gaytán-Legaria during field work in a tropical forest.

Personal links. Researchgate | GoogleScholar

Institute. UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico).

Academic life stage. PhD candidate.

Major research themes. Biogeography; evolution; molecular ecology; biological conservation.

Current study system. The mountains of Mexico harbour the highest number of oak (Quercus) species of the American continent, which coexist under a wide variety of climatic conditions. Our work assesses the role of ecological niche in shaping their evolutionary patterns, in order to understand the mechanisms that make possible the coexistence of many oak species, as well as the processes that drove the group’s diversification and their phylogeographic implications.

Recent JBI paper. Gaytán-Legaria, R., Oyama, K., Ruiz- Sánchez, E., & González- Rodríguez, A. (2023). The role of niche breadth in oak phylogeography: Quercus glaucoides as a study case. Journal of Biogeography, 50(9), 1653–1667. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.14612

Motivation behind this paper. Although several phylogeographical studies have been carried out in Mexican oaks, the eco-evolutionary processes that drive the distribution of genetic diversity in species exhibiting particular climatic affinities is still unclear. Accordingly, we explored and compared the spatial patterns of genetic diversity across species, in order to understand the role of geographical configuration, climatic changes, and adaptation to high temperatures and dry conditions in their diversification.

Key methodologies. As a baseline study system, we chose an oak species (Quercus glaucoides) occurring in unusual climatic conditions, i.e. high temperatures and a long dry season, for which we explored phylogeographic patterns. We then compared the distribution of the oak’s genetic diversity with other species that occur in temperate forests, in the Mexican highlands, associating the niche breadth of the species with the degree of population genetic differentiation and the amount of genetic diversity.

Mature tree of Quercus glaucoides from the transition zone to tropical dry forest in Teotitlan, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Unexpected challenges. At first, we expected a different phytogeographical pattern in this oak (Q. glaucoides) in comparison with oak species from temperate forests, but while analysing the data, we found a previously scarcely explored association between niche breadth and phylogeographic patterns. This made us realize about the need to focus on the importance of niche breadth in explaining the spatial patterns of genetic diversity.

Major results. We found that the niche breadth of Mexican oaks is negatively correlated with their degree of genetic differentiation. This suggests that species occurring in a wider variety of environments present less differentiation, probably as a result of higher connectivity among populations, while populations belonging to species exhibiting a narrower niche could be susceptible to longer periods of isolation. At the same time, we found a positive correlation of niche breadth with an important index of genetic diversity (observed heterozygosity), implying that niche breadth could be a crucial factor behind the evolution of Mexican oaks.

Acorn of Quercus glaucoides with a size of 9 to 16 mm of diameter, generally dispersed mainly by birds (Jays) and gravity.

Next steps for this research. At the current stage, we would like to generate more genetic data, preferentially using next-generation sequencing techniques, that could be comparable among species with different ecological characteristics, as this will help determine how robust is the association of niche breadth and genetic diversity patterns, not only in oak species, but also in other plant groups around Mexico. Additionally, it would be interesting to compare adaptive patterns among species with different niche breadths, since this will shed light on the processes driving plant species diversification and coexistence in a megadiverse country such as Mexico.

If you could study any organism on Earth, what would it be? I would like to study tropical trees and their mechanisms of adaptation, with emphasis in species from tropical dry forests that have evolved to cope with long periods of dry and warm conditions; these species are fascinating!

ECR feature: Aritra Biswas

Aritra Biswas is a PhD student at the Indian Institute of Science. He is a evolutionary biologist with special focus on the processes that generate and maintain biological diversity. Here, Aritra shares his recent work on the biogeographical history of tarantulas.

Aritra Biswas in the field looking for tarantulas in the forests of the Western Ghats.

Personal links. Twitter | Instagram

Institute. Indian Institute of Science

Academic life stage. PhD student

Major research themes. I am broadly interested in studying biogeography and macroevolution. Specifically, I am interested in the processes that generate and maintain biological diversity and distribution over large timescales at both global and local levels.

Current study system. My PhD focuses on understanding the historical biogeography and macroevolutionary dynamics of tarantulas, which are spiders belonging to the family Theraphosidae. They represent one of the most diverse groups (~1060 species) of spiders, distributed worldwide. Tarantulas are portrayed as scary and harmful to humans through literature, movies, and ancient folklore. The most unique characteristic of tarantulas is that they have urticating hairs that can shoot towards the predator as a defence mechanism. They are the only arachnid group with this amazing ability. They come in all sorts of colours, and all tarantulas are venomous. The presence of all these traits make them an exciting model system for macroevolutionary studies. Apart from all these, there is a tarantula named after one of my favourite singers, Johnny Cash (Aphonopelma johnnycashi), making them a little bit more interesting (at least for me)!

Recent JBI paper. Biswas, A., Chaitanya, R., & Karanth, K. P. (2023). The tangled biogeographic history of tarantulas: An African centre of origin rules out the centrifugal model of speciation. Journal of Biogeography, 50(8), 1241–1351. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.14678

Motivation behind this paper. My initial plan was to focus on the origin and biogeography of Indian tarantulas. However, while surveying the literature, I found that the group’s overall historical biogeography is unclear. I found two studies suggesting two different centres of origin for these spiders. The first study by Opatova et al. (2020) proposed an African origin. In contrast, Foley et al. (2021) suggested a South American origin. These two scenarios are mutually exclusive and cannot be true simultaneously. Also, we identified problems with the fossil calibrations employed in the previous studies. Despite being an ancient group, tarantulas represent a fossil-poor lineage, with just two fossils available to date. None of the earlier studies have employed any of these fossils. That was the motivation behind performing an improvised molecular dating with reliable fossil calibrations and an elaborate historical biogeographic analysis which resulted in our recent paper.

Key methodologies. To infer historical biogeographic processes like dispersal and extinction, different programs or packages are used (like BioGeoBEARS or RASP). A dispersal multiplier matrix tells the program the probabilities of dispersal between different biogeographic units. These probability values are often subjective. We used plate tectonic reconstruction data integrated with the dispersal ability of the model organism to come up with an informed dispersal multiplier matrix which reduces the subjectivity significantly. Moreover, we have manipulated the probabilities of dispersals in the matrix to develop different matrix variants to explicitly test different geographic origins and dispersal scenarios not done in conventional historical biogeographic studies. Our work proposes an improvised pipeline for reconstructing biogeographic histories when plate tectonics are involved. Playing around with the dispersal multiplier matrix and testing different values of probabilities is essential and might produce a better solution than the program’s default settings.

Sampling tarantulas along roadside mud bunds

Unexpected challenges. We expected a South American origin since most of the extant tarantula diversity is found on this landmass. We were thus quite thrilled when African origin emerged as the most likely scenario!

Major results. The results show that South America, despite harbouring around 70% of the diversity of extant tarantulas, is not the centre of origin for this group. Africa is the most likely centre of origin (like many other groups). The movement of continental plates played a significant role in shaping the modern-day distribution of tarantulas as they reached Southeast Asia via the drifting Indian plate. Basically, tarantulas have boarded a ship called India from Africa to reach SE Asia and Australia. So, a combination of transoceanic dispersals and plate tectonics has generated the extant distribution patterns in this old group of spiders.

A Thrigmopoeus tarantula doing threat display and flashing its fangs.

Next steps for this research. The next step in this research is to investigate why tarantulas are so diverse in South America. This paper shows that the tremendous diversity of tarantulas in South America has resulted from a single dispersal followed by diversification. Now I am investigating what has caused such disproportionate diversity of tarantulas over the South American landmass. Stay tuned for the result! 

If you could study any organism on Earth, what would it be? I became interested in evolutionary biology mainly because of the “Jurassic Park” franchise. However, I have never wanted to be a palaeontologist. As a result, I have always been fascinated by extant giant carnivorous reptiles. If I get an opportunity, I would love to work on large constrictor snakes (pythons or anacondas) or crocodiles (the closest relative of dinosaurs). Especially, I am very much attracted to saltwater crocodiles and would love to work on them for my postdoctoral research.

Anything else to add? I had Arachnophobia during my childhood. I always used to run away whenever I came across any spider. It has been an exciting journey from being arachnophobic to choosing tarantulas as the model system for my PhD. Also, I saw a live tarantula for the first time only after a few months of submitting the first draft of this paper to the Journal of Biogeography. That was almost after spending one year into the PhD. So, yeah, I wrote a manuscript on the historical biogeography of my model organism without even seeing the animal ever!

The fine line between complexity and inaccuracy

Trait-dependent diversification models can be enticing in that a simple setup can give fascinating results. However, without thoughtful model design, conclusions drawn from the models may be wrong. Model design is a balancing act between increasing model complexity to accurately portray a complex reality without increasing it so much that results are inaccurate. While we were not able to show an interesting effect of animal seed disperser and range size on diversification, our study can be a road map to results that can be trusted and further method development.

Above: Fruit colour categories mapped onto the palm phylogenetic tree. Categories are described based on their range size and disperser group.

Inferring how certain traits affect the rates of species diversification, the net result of species formation and extinction, is an extremely powerful tool within evolutionary biology. Or rather, it would be if it could be done accurately.

Models that estimate trait-dependent diversification are relatively easy to set up and run, and exist for discreet and continuous characters. Further, publicly available trait data are excellent for many taxa across the Tree of Life, information such as body size, leaf area, or habitat type. These two elements made a trait-dependent diversification study in palms a good opportunity for a master’s degree project. The two palm traits we were interested were fruit colour and range size, which are inherently linked through dispersal.

Editors’ choice: (Open access.)
Hill, A., Jiménez, M. F. T., Chazot, N., Cássia-Silva, C., Faurby, S., Herrera-Alsina, L., & Bacon, C. D. (2023). Apparent effect of range size and fruit colour on palm diversification may be spurious. Journal of Biogeography, 00, 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.14683

Different fruit colours affect dispersal by being more or less detectable to different groups of animals. Most mammals are red-green colour blind, and therefore do not see red fruits very well among green foliage. Birds are able to differentiate red from green, and also show a preference for darker fruits. With different plant species having different fruit colours, this means that when fruits are ingested and their seeds spread by animals, they can potentially be spread further by the more mobile birds, or less far by the less mobile mammals. Plants with colours preferred by birds may therefore have larger range sizes. Different range sizes also affect diversification, where extremely large or small range sizes may lead to lower a diversification rate. Our hypothesis was therefore that an intermediate range size would be the most likely to have highest diversification.

Given the potential interesting diversification dynamics of fruit colour and range size, we compiled data on palm fruit colour and geographic occurrence, the latter which we used to estimate range size. From there we used what we thought were straightforward models to estimate diversification, and found some interesting results, which later would be shown to be completely wrong during validation.

While trait-dependent diversification studies tell an interesting story, the methods (State-dependent Speciation and Extinction models) are not as straight-forward as they may seem. The results of the models are not valid unless additional steps are taken to ensure results. We learned this during the review process, where the need to verify the results by, among other things, testing for the influence of other traits, was requested. We designed new models, far more complex than the original ones. The new models we ran gave us results, but something was still off. The model likelihood was better in nested models than the original, which cannot be the case because the more complex model always has a better likelihood than a less complex, nested model. This indicates that the models were finishing their optimisation process while stuck in a local optimum value, and not reaching the global optimum value. At this point we invited Leonel Herrera-Alsina, the lead author of the models we were using to participate in our study. With his help we devised models that would be able to finish optimising properly. Designing good models turned out to be a balancing act between increasing complexity to achieve better model fit and more appropriately mimic reality, but not so much that the models will seemingly converge when actually being stuck in a local optimum. However, there are potentially a massive number of potential models, which could give entirely different results. There is only one globally most fit model, so how can we be sure that we have found the best model without testing all of them? As we showed that other traits better explain the effect of range size and fruit colour on diversification, we instead focus in on discussing how to quantify the uncertainty around whether a global optimum model has been found.

Blindly trusting results, even from widely used methods, can lead to inaccurate results. Our work also highlights the importance of the review process, which led us to spend more time validating our models than producing them, and rightly so. What seemed like a relatively easy way of producing potentially fascinating results proved more controversial and unreliable than we had expected. But our results will hopefully serve as a compass in the development of trait-dependent diversification methods and other macroecological and evolutionary models in general. In the future we will likely not shy away from using these methods, but will certainly put particular emphasis on validating any results from them.

Written by:
Adrian Hill
PhD student, University of Gothenburg (Sweden)

Additional information:
https://www.facebook.com/GothenburgGlobalBiodiversityCentre/
https://www.gu.se/en/ggbc-global-biodiversity

Oceanic islands of the Southwest Pacific: Tracing the history of marine fish endemism

The subtropical oceanic islands of Lord Howe and Norfolk (Australia), as well as Rangitāhua (Kermadec Islands, New Zealand) host marine fish species found nowhere else. But where do these endemics come from? How did they originate? We explored the history of marine ray-finned fish endemism in the region using biogeographic probabilistic models that integrate time-calibrated phylogenies and geographic distribution information.

Above: Twospot demoiselles (Chromis dispila) swimming above a reef in Rangitāhua (Kermadec Islands), New Zealand. Photo by: Dr. Irene Middleton, Seacologynz.com.

Global Biogeography article: (Free to read online for two months)
Samayoa, A. P., Aguirre, J. D., Delrieu‐Trottin, E., & Liggins, L. (2023). The origins of marine fishes endemic to subtropical islands of the Southwest Pacific. Journal of Biogeography. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.14579

During his five-year expedition aboard the HMS Beagle, Charles Darwin was amazed by the unique faunal composition found in isolated islands of volcanic origin. More than 180 years later, we are still fascinated by species that only occur in oceanic islands, but with the advantage of having suitable analytical tools to examine endemism patterns through space and time. We are now able to propose temporal frameworks for lineage evolution by inferring the evolutionary relationships among taxa using molecular and fossil data. Additionally, the development of biogeographic models that combine time-calibrated phylogenies with geographic distribution information has opened the possibility to infer the most likely geographic origin and evolutionary trajectory of taxonomic lineages. Modern-day techniques enable us to start answering where, when, and how patterns of endemism have emerged.

Nowadays, standard biogeographic models parameterize evolutionary processes likely to influence the splitting of taxonomic lineages over time. In the sea, these processes include jump-dispersal, the rare long-distance dispersal of organisms, and vicariance, the geographic separation of two populations by either land or marine barriers, such as landmasses, long stretches of oceanic distances, and oceanographic conditions. Consequently, geographic distance and climate difference between oceanic regions are seemingly relevant factors affecting the dispersal of marine organisms. With the availability of R packages, such as BioGeoBEARS, that apply biogeographic models which differ by the processes and factors they parametrize, we can test evolutionary hypotheses for endemism patterns. As the models incorporate phylogenetic and distributional information, we can also estimate the origin of biodiversity and the processes by which it has evolved around oceanic islands. As our research group focuses on the marine fish fauna of the Southwest Pacific, we were interested to follow this approach as a first step to determine the origins of marine fish endemism in an understudied region of the Pacific Ocean.

Coastal view along Denham Bay in Raoul Island, the northernmost oceanic island of Rangitāhua, New Zealand. Photo by: Assoc. Prof. Libby Liggins.

The coastal waters surrounding the oceanic islands of the Pacific are characterized by significant endemism rates in the case of marine ray-finned fishes. Although extensive literature is available to understand the evolutionary origins and underlying processes of marine fish endemism in islands such as Hawaii and Easter Island (Rapa Nui), few evolutionary investigations have addressed the history of endemism in the Southwest Pacific. The region comprises Aotearoa New Zealand, New Caledonia, and eastern coastal areas of Australia, as well as a handful of oceanic islands administered either by New Zealand or Australia. In recent years, taxonomic surveys have characterized the unique actinopterygian composition around the islands of Lord Howe (Australia), Norfolk (Australia), and Rangitāhua (Kermadec Islands, New Zealand), highlighting the presence of species restricted to at least one of these islands. The recent inference of time-calibrated phylogenies for taxa endemic to these subtropical oceanic islands of the Southwest Pacific represented an interesting opportunity to explore the origin and evolution of marine fish endemism in the region. In our study, we used these molecular phylogenies to test multiple biogeographic models that parametrize jump-dispersal and vicariance, as well as the influence of geographic distance and climate differences in determining dispersal probabilities.

[Left] Kermadec scalyfin (Parma kermadecensis) is endemic to the islands along the Kermadec Archipelago. [Right] Mado (Atypichthys latus) is found in coastal waters of the subtropical oceanic islands of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Rangitāhua, as well as in areas of mainland New Zealand in the Southwest Pacific. Photos by: Dr. Irene Middleton, Seacologynz.com.

Our findings did not support a sole geographic origin, nor a dominant biogeographic process responsible for marine fishes endemic to the oceanic islands of the Southwest Pacific. Our analyses rather pointed to a complex but exciting scenario in which most endemic lineages likely originated from fauna occurring mainly in Australia, the closest major landmass, but with rare origins in northern warmer areas and in the East Pacific. Furthermore, the relevance of jump-dispersal and vicariance in range evolution differed, sometimes each one acting as the main underlying process tested, and sometimes acting together. Similarly, geographic distance and climate differences significantly affected dispersal in specific taxa, but not in others. Our study highlights the complexity of the history behind endemism patterns, representing a significant step toward a better understanding on how endemism originated and evolved in an understudied corner of the Pacific. Our approach exemplifies the usefulness of contemporary open-access data and modelling techniques to explore the causal mechanisms behind a biogeographic pattern that has fascinated explorers and naturalists during the last two centuries.

Written by:
André P. Samayoa, Doctoral researcher, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand

Acknowledgements
Thanks to Libby Liggins, the main supervisor of this research

#PorUnMejorModeloDePublicación @jbiogeography: I

Como resultado de la #HuelgaLaboral de los #EditoresAsociados en @jbiogeography, Wiley, la entidad editorial de la revista, se apresuró a emitir una réplica ampliamente displicente que desembocó en la dimisión de la Editora Jefa Ceridwen Fraser. Hemos invitado a Wiley a revisar su respuesta, sin que esto haya ocurrido finalmente. Como consecuencia, el cuerpo editorial ha recopilado nuestras preocupaciones y reivindican que se traten una docena de puntos que han sido expuestos en nuestra respuesta a Wiley, a continuación.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Consideramos que los siguientes aspectos incorporados en la réplica inicial de Wiley son perturbadores:

Comentario de Wiley: No existen planes de convertir Journal of Biogeography (JBI) en una revista Open Access (OA).
Respuesta: Esta afirmación contradice la trayectoria que Wiley viene siguiendo, en vista de la cual un cambio hacia OA es inminente (https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.16815Wiley Q2 2023 Earnings Call Transcript) y declaraciones explícitas en este sentido atañen a JBI en un horizonte de 2-4 años. En tales circunstancias, exista o no un cronograma explícito para dicho fin, se hace necesaria la existencia de un plan explícito que refleje como las inequidades que están siendo introducidas actualmente por Wiley (y otras editoriales) en su proceso de apropiación de OA serán abordadas. Estas inequidades son ya una cuestión crítica, que se verá exacerbada ante un cambio total de JBI hacia OA; por lo tanto, la comunidad necesita de dicho plan para poder hacer enfrentarlas y asegurar unas garantías.

Comentario de Wiley: Los autores pueden aprovecharse de los beneficios de OA sin tener que preocuparse por sus costes … gracias a, entre otros, acuerdos recientes en Sudáfrica, México, Tailandia y la India.
Respuesta: Esto obvia los hechos remarcados por los Editores Asociados y Editores Jefes de JBI (incluyendo aquellos que son residentes en estos países) en reuniones con Wiley, conforme a que estos acuerdos tienen implicaciones poco claras y/o se limitan a un pequeño número de instituciones de prestigio mientras excluyen a la mayoría de los investigadores. Como tal, generan una pérdida de visibilidad relativa en aquellos trabajos realizados por una amplia mayoría de investigadores que no pueden permitirse publicar en OA. Por ello, la postura real de Wiley con respecto a estas cuestiones daña las metas de la revista, como se explica brevemente aquí: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jbi.14680.  

Comentario de Wiley: Valoran enormemente el trabajo realizado por los Editores Asociados … y su objetivo es asegurar que sus revistas sean competitivas, atraigan autores, y que crezcan de forma sostenible … lo que les permite reinvertir en revistas, infraestructura, cuerpos editoriales, comunidades científicas y programas.
Respuesta: Nuestra experiencia dice algo muy diferente. Wiley, en los últimos 4 años, ha instado a los Editores Jefes a aceptar una rebaja en sus honorarios, ha devaluado los honorarios al no ajustarlos a la inflación, ha reducido el valor de los retribuciones destinadas a los Editores Asociados, ha ignorado promesas de promoción, ha faltado al respeto al cuerpo editorial y ha reducido su inversión en producción, lo que ha disminuido la calidad de los manuscritos a la vez que se transfiere una mayor carga de trabajo al cuerpo editorial. Y mucho antes de esto, Wiley ya había comenzado a explotar económicamente la asistencia lingüística. El ínfimo número de exenciones OA (media estimada de <1 por revista al año) ofrecidas a una pequeña minoría no compensa las inequidades que se introducen para la gran mayoría. Wiley no ha invertido lo suficiente en JBI para mantener, mucho menos aumentar, su reputación en el campo; las evidencias son claras, en un amplio conjunto de métricas y en la calidad media de los manuscritos enviados. Wiley brinda una promoción mínima a la revista, de nuevo instando al cuerpo editorial a hacer más mientras Wiley hace menos. Existen problemas también en otras revistas. Esta falta de inversión contrasta con unos ingresos récord superiores a los $1,000 millones comunicados por Wiley para 2022 y amplios márgenes de beneficio, en donde la publicación académica constituye un activo particularmente lucrativo.   

Comentario de Wiley: Se muestran ampliamente predispuestos a entablar diálogos, de forma a hacer las cosas mejor.
Respuesta: El cuerpo editorial es optimista en relación al diálogo — aunque nuestro optimismo es moderado, porque nuestras reivindicaciones ya han sido desechadas en cuatro escalas diferentes dentro de Wiley (Editorial de Revistas encargada de JBI, Director Editorial Asociado para Ciencias de la Vida, Director Editorial Senior para Ciencias de la Vida, y Vicepresidenta del Grupo para la Editorial), conduciendo a la situación en la que nos encontramos actualmente. 

Por tanto, queremos ser claros con relación a doce medidas necesarias para resolver la actual disputa, y esperamos que sean los temas abordados en un diálogo franco y en cambios de política.

1. Ya que es uno de los distintos futuros posibles, tiene que desarrollarse un modelo para el posible caso de total conversión de JBI a OA — independientemente de si ya existe o no un plan explícito. En él, Wiley tiene que garantizar una exención total o parcial (de ser necesaria) a cualquier autor cuyo manuscrito sea aceptado, pero no disponga de los fondos necesarios para pagar los gastos de gestión del artículo (APC).  

2. Con independencia del modelo de publicación, los costes OA para JBI han de ser más asequibles, reflejando el coste de publicación, lo que ayudará a reducir la inequidad. 

3. Con independencia del modelo de publicación, tiene que haber un programa trascendente de exenciones para que los investigadores con fondos insuficientes no se vean perjudicados. 

4. Además de lo anterior, deben establecerse otros elementos de apoyo a la ‘Global Biogeography Initiative’ de la revista: 
·         asistencia lingüística gratuita para aquellos equipos de autores cuya primera lengua no sea el inglés durante el proceso editorial y de revisión
·         el Judith Masters Memorial Fund, pese a ser valorado, es insuficiente para cubrir todos los gastos de participación en un encuentro internacional. El fondo debe ser incrementado para que cubra todos los gastos de participación en una conferencia o laboratorio internacional, para varios investigadores elegibles. 

5. Revisar la interfaz y sistema de transferencia ScholarOne para facilitar la política editorial de JBI sobre decisiones, incluyendo transferencias, que fomenten la divulgación de decisiones y revisiones con cualquier revista.

6. Los objetivos de crecimiento no pueden darse a expensas de la calidad de la revista. Unos deben estar impulsados por mejoras en la otra. Por ende, los objetivos de crecimiento de la revista tienen que verse acompañados por una adecuada reinversión. Llegados a este punto, el equipo de editores senior es contrario al incremento del número de artículos aceptados. En su lugar, Wiley tiene que invertir en estrategias que mejoren la categoría de JBI en comparación con otras revistas de ámbito similar.  

7. Las retribuciones a los Editores Jefe tienen que ser reintegradas a niveles previos, es decir, al menos un artículo OA al año en JBI (como primer o último autor) o un valor equivalente (en función de las circunstancias de los editores).

8. Los honorarios del Editor Jefe adjunto deben ser restituidos a niveles pre-2019. Todos los honorarios deben ser automáticamente ajustados a la inflación anual. Si se trasfiere más trabajo a las personas que reciben honorarios, estos deben ser incrementados en consecuencia; los criterios para calcular honorarios deben ser transparentes.  

9. Tiene que hacerse un mayor investimento en la comunidad (Biogeografía) científica. Sugerimos como referencia niveles semejantes a aquellos devueltos a las sociedades, ya que son análogos para la comunidad biogeográfica que apoya el modelo de negocio de Wiley para JBI. Véanse asimismo exenciones APC, Judith Masters Memorial Fund, honorarios o retribuciones a los Editores Jefes. Además, esto significa aumentar el apoyo a coloquios globales. Y todos estos investimentos requieren un ajuste anual a la inflación; cualquier otra cosa es en realidad una desinversión. 

10. Las cláusulas de confidencialidad tienen que eliminarse de los contratos de los editores.

11. La independencia del cuerpo editorial tiene que ser materializada, y también clarificada a través de contratos (por ejemplo, eliminación de metas de crecimiento, metas de transferencia, cláusulas de confidencialidad, etc.). 

12. Reinversión en producción, revisión de los volúmenes de trabajo, y retorno de control al Editor Jefe.  

Por supuesto que existen importantes debates que deben producirse dentro de muchas de estas cuestiones, por ejemplo:
– ¿Cuál es el coste real de publicación con los que fijar los APCs?
– ¿Cómo determinar la disponibilidad de fondos para pagar OA?
-¿Qué porcentaje de beneficios debe ser reinvertido en la comunidad/revista?
El cuerpo editorial de JBI está dispuesto a abrir estos debates inmediatamente — también recomendamos establecer un Consejo Asesor Editorial para las revistas de Biogeografía de Wiley, que deben ser apoyados por personal de Wiley, a los que se les debe proporcionar la información necesaria, independencia, y estatus por ayudar a Wiley a tomar decisiones bien informadas que apoyen la sustentabilidad a largo plazo de las revistas. Asimismo, estas revisiones y compromisos tienen que hacerse públicas. Será especialmente importante para Wiley mostrar la reinversión en la revista, en la comunidad biogeográfica, y en el futuro; para demostrar que Wiley realmente respeta a los editores, que reinvierte en la revista y que está comprometida con el acceso equitativo. Todo esto no es visible a día de hoy. Esto hará que la comunidad sienta con seguridad que JBI (y Wiley en general) es un socio de confianza para nuestro trabajo y servicio. 


#EditoresAsociados continúan la #HuelgaLaboral @jbiogeography

Las respuestas de Wiley durante el mes pasado han vuelto a desechar las constantes preocupaciones del cuerpo editorial. Su respuesta más reciente a los editores sigue textualmente a continuación, la cual interpretamos.


Comentario de la Vicepresidenta del Grupo, Entidad Editorial, Wiley: Estaba de vacaciones, de ahí la respuesta tardía.  Interpretación / respuesta: No comentamos las vacaciones de nadie, pero cuatro personas de Wiley están comunicándose con el cuerpo editorial de JBI. Resolver constructivamente este conflicto es una prioridad tan baja para Wiley que aprovechan cualquier excusa para procrastinar.  

Comentario de la Vicepresidenta del Grupo, Entidad Editorial, Wiley: Gracias por compartir estas ideas, nos proporcionan mucho sobre lo que pensar. Nos importa la investigación y el acceso a ella, y trabajamos activamente para abordar estas cuestiones. Sin embargo, nuestra prioridad inmediata es disponer de un nuevo liderazgo y estructura editorial que trabajen con nosotros para sacar la revista adelante.   Interpretación / respuesta: Al contrario, la falta de una respuesta coherente por parte de Wiley a las reivindicaciones del cuerpo editorial evidencia que a Wiley no le importa ni la investigación y el acceso a ella ni tampoco las reivindicaciones del cuerpo editorial. Preferirían reemplazar el cuerpo editorial tan pronto como les sea posible con una junta que sea sumisa ante el hecho de que Wiley antepone los beneficios frente al acceso, el costeo asequible, la equidad y la independencia editorial.    

Comentario de la Vicepresidenta del Grupo, Entidad Editorial, Wiley: Nos gustaría trabajar codo con codo con el equipo editorial; es parte de nuestro trabajo escuchar y entablar frecuentemente conversaciones bilaterales con los cuerpos editoriales. Una vez que el nuevo equipo haya sido instaurado, nos comprometeremos a tener reuniones (virtuales o de otra manera) en las que se pongan sobre la mesa algunas de estas cuestiones y para explorarlas en detalle.  Interpretación / respuesta: Existe un equipo editorial en curso dispuesto a discutir soluciones. El último mes es evidente que Wiley no ha estado interesada en trabajar con el equipo editorial, escuchar preocupaciones, o actuar en consecuencia.    

Comentario de la Vicepresidenta del Grupo, Entidad Editorial, Wiley: Nos agradaría tener una conversación en condiciones sobre JBI o el estado actual de la biogeografía en general con cualquiera de los editores asociados que se encuentren en el evento ESA en Portland. Interpretación / respuesta: Wiley está rechazando todas las invitaciones para discutir con el cuerpo editorial nuestras reivindicaciones más inmediatas y urgentes en relación al éxito a largo plazo de la revista. Preferirían retrasar y desviar la atención mientras encuentran editores sumisos ante la industria editorial de explotación de la comunidad científica.  


Siendo así, llegados al 31 de julio, fecha que fue fijada por el cuerpo editorial hasta la cual dar resolución al conflicto, sin una respuesta significativa por parte de Wiley, los Editores Asociados hemos decidido continuar con nuestro paro laboral. El comunicado remitido a Wiley por el cuerpo editorial sigue a continuación.


Para [Wiley]:

Gracias por su reciente correspondencia. Desafortunadamente, su respuesta sigue sin abordar directamente ninguna de las preocupaciones que hemos planteado. Estamos en desacuerdo con su alegación de que estos son problemas para ser tratados con el nuevo liderazgo editorial que opere con una nueva estructura editorial. Estas son preocupaciones del actual cuerpo editorial. Afirmar algo diferente simplemente enfatiza que (1) Wiley continúa ignorando las preocupaciones del actual cuerpo editorial, como lleva haciendo 7 meses, y que (2) Wiley busca coartar la independencia editorial, lo que inevitablemente trae consecuencias negativas para la calidad y prestigio de la revista.

A pesar de no haberse celebrado ninguna reunión hasta el 31 de julio, tal y como habíamos solicitado, el restante cuerpo editorial se muestra todavía dispuesto a reunirse con Wiley para discutir nuestras reivindicaciones y explorar soluciones de forma conjunta. Sin embargo, previo a cualquier reunión (virtual o de otra forma) necesitamos que Wiley nos explique de forma clara cuáles son sus planteamientos, más allá del cambio de liderazgo. El tiempo es oro para los autores, igual que para la reputación de la revista, y les instamos a que hagan inmediatamente propuestas concretas con relación a las doce cuestiones que hemos planteado. 


Su respuesta clara y por escrito tiene que abordar nuestras reivindicaciones en lugar de rebajarlas. Tal y como fue expuesto en nuestra declaración original, “estamos dispuestos a reconsiderar nuestra postura en el momento que Wiley tenga en cuenta nuestras reivindicaciones … y lleguemos a un consenso”. A falta de una respuesta coherente pasada la fecha límite del 31 de julio, el paro laboral de los Editores Asociados continuará durante agosto y más allá, si fuese necesario. Llegados a este punto, muchos de nosotros nos comprometemos a dimitir; otros aguardan a escuchar sus respuestas antes de decidirse.

Siendo así, los Editores Asociados (AEs) han decidido seguir cuatro líneas de acción:

  1. Algunos AEs dimitirán inmediatamente en protesta por la falta de respuesta, una decisión reforzada para muchos por el despido injustificado del Editor Jefe la pasada semana,
  2. Algunos AEs dimitirán de forma efectiva el 28 de agosto salvo que Wiley establezca compromisos inmediatos, un proceso de negociación y una Junta de Asesora Editorial para las revistas de biogeografía,
  3. Algunos AEs se reservan su derecho a dimitir de acuerdo con sus respuestas, y
  4. Aquellos AEs en (2) o (2) continuarán el paro laboral pendientes de una respuesta satisfactoria de Wiley.

Cada AE les dará a conocer su decisión de forma individual.


Repetimos que Wiley necesita tomar medidas inmediatas para resolver el actual conflicto, y la necesidad de un debate abierto y cambios en la política de los siguientes temas:

1. Ya que es uno de los distintos futuros posibles, tiene que desarrollarse un modelo para el posible caso de total conversión de JBI a OA — independientemente de si ya existe o no un plan explícito. En él, Wiley tiene que garantizar una exención total o parcial (de ser necesaria) a cualquier autor cuyo manuscrito sea aceptado, pero no disponga de los fondos necesarios para pagar los gastos de gestión del artículo (APC).  

2. Con independencia del modelo de publicación, los costes OA para JBI han de ser más asequibles, reflejando el coste de publicación, lo que ayudará a reducir la inequidad. 

3. Con independencia del modelo de publicación, tiene que haber un programa trascendente de exenciones para que los investigadores con fondos insuficientes no se vean perjudicados. 

4. Además de lo anterior, deben establecerse otros elementos de apoyo a la ‘Global Biogeography Initiative’ de la revista: 
·         asistencia lingüística gratuita para aquellos equipos de autores cuya primera lengua no sea el inglés durante el proceso editorial y de revisión
·         el Judith Masters Memorial Fund, pese a ser valorado, es insuficiente para cubrir todos los gastos de participación en un encuentro internacional. El fondo debe ser incrementado para que cubra todos los gastos de participación en una conferencia o laboratorio internacional, para varios investigadores elegibles. 

5. Revisar la interfaz y sistema de transferencia ScholarOne para facilitar la política editorial de JBI sobre decisiones, incluyendo transferencias, que fomenten la divulgación de decisiones y revisiones con cualquier revista.

6. Los objetivos de crecimiento no pueden darse a expensas de la calidad de la revista. Unos deben estar impulsados por mejoras en la otra. Por ende, los objetivos de crecimiento de la revista tienen que verse acompañados por una adecuada reinversión. Llegados a este punto, el equipo de editores senior es contrario al incremento del número de artículos aceptados. En su lugar, Wiley tiene que invertir en estrategias que mejoren la categoría de JBI en comparación con otras revistas de ámbito similar.  

7. Las retribuciones a los Editores Jefe tienen que ser reintegradas a niveles previos, es decir, al menos un artículo OA al año en JBI (como primer o último autor) o un valor equivalente (en función de las circunstancias de los editores).

8. Los honorarios del Editor Jefe adjunto deben ser restituidos a niveles pre-2019. Todos los honorarios deben ser automáticamente ajustados a la inflación anual. Si se trasfiere más trabajo a las personas que reciben honorarios, estos deben ser incrementados en consecuencia; los criterios para calcular honorarios deben ser transparentes.  

9. Tiene que hacerse un mayor investimento en la comunidad (Biogeografía) científica. Sugerimos como referencia niveles semejantes a aquellos devueltos a las sociedades, ya que son análogos para la comunidad biogeográfica que apoya el modelo de negocio de Wiley para JBI. Véanse asimismo exenciones APC, Judith Masters Memorial Fund, honorarios o retribuciones a los Editores Jefes. Además, esto significa aumentar el apoyo a coloquios globales. Y todos estos investimentos requieren un ajuste anual a la inflación; cualquier otra cosa es en realidad una desinversión. 

10. Las cláusulas de confidencialidad tienen que eliminarse de los contratos de los editores.

11. La independencia del cuerpo editorial tiene que ser materializada, y también clarificada a través de contratos (por ejemplo, eliminación de metas de crecimiento, metas de transferencia, cláusulas de confidencialidad, etc.). 

12. Reinversión en producción, revisión de los volúmenes de trabajo, y retorno de control al Editor Jefe.  

Por supuesto que existen importantes debates que deben producirse dentro de muchas de estas cuestiones, por ejemplo:
– ¿Cuál es el coste real de publicación con los que fijar los APCs?
– ¿Cómo determinar la disponibilidad de fondos para pagar OA?
-¿Qué porcentaje de beneficios debe ser reinvertido en la comunidad/revista?
El cuerpo editorial de JBI está dispuesto a abrir estos debates inmediatamente — también recomendamos establecer un Consejo Asesor Editorial para las revistas de Biogeografía de Wiley, que deben ser apoyados por personal de Wiley, a los que se les debe proporcionar la información necesaria, independencia, y estatus por ayudar a Wiley a tomar decisiones bien informadas que apoyen la sustentabilidad a largo plazo de las revistas. Asimismo, estas revisiones y compromisos tienen que hacerse públicas. Será especialmente importante para Wiley mostrar la reinversión en la revista, en la comunidad biogeográfica, y en el futuro; para demostrar que Wiley realmente respeta a los editores, que reinvierte en la revista y que está comprometida con el acceso equitativo. Todo esto no es visible a día de hoy. Esto hará que la comunidad sienta con seguridad que JBI (y Wiley en general) es un socio de confianza para nuestro trabajo y servicio. 

Se despide, atentamente.
Los editores

Journal of Biogeography


#EditoresAsociados #HuelgaLaboral @jbiogeography

Una gran mayoría (~85%) de los Editores Asociados que componen Journal of Biogeography (JBI) han secundado el paro laboral iniciado el 29 de junio de 2023, con motivo de un conflicto sin resolver con la entidad editorial de la revista, Wiley.

Sus reivindicaciones radican en la inequidad del sistema de publicación Open Access, en metas de crecimiento irreales, en el aumento de la presión por transferir manuscritos rechazados a revistas “cascada” y en otras cuestiones relacionadas. A continuación, se adjunta su declaración al completo.

La postura de los Editores Asociados da seguimiento a la reciente dimisión del Editor Jefe ante el rechazo de Wiley para abordar las preocupaciones planteadas por el cuerpo editorial.

Las reivindicaciones de los Editores Asociados afectan a todos los científicos que publican sus trabajos en la revista, y tienen un especial impacto en aquellos que disponen de menos recursos. El cuerpo editorial de JBI respeta las circunstancias individuales de cada uno de los Editores Asociados —quienes han trabajado diligentemente y sin recompensa en beneficio de la comunidad científica— y su decisión de secundar o no la huelga. No es una decisión que se tome a la ligera.

Lamentamos informar que los autores que envíen sus manuscritos a la revista durante el paro laboral van a experimentar retrasos en el procesamiento de sus trabajos.

===-===-===

Michael Dawson
Editor Jefe, Journal of Biogeography
University of California-Merced

Margaret Donnelly
Gestora de la Revista, Journal of Biogeography
Wiley Publishers

28 de Junio de 2023

Estimados Dr. Dawson y Sra. Donnelly:

Escribimos para informarles de que nosotros, los Editores Asociados (AEs) de Journal of Biogeography (JBI), no estamos dispuestos a atender nuevos manuscritos enviados a JBI, debido a diferencias de opinión en las siguientes cuestiones:

  1. El modelo Open Access (OA) integral. No apoyamos el cambio a OA integral, porque esto perjudica a aquellos investigadores que no pueden permitirse publicar su trabajo siguiendo el modelo de negocio “paga-para-publicar”. Este modelo de publicación obstaculiza enormemente la visibilidad del trabajo de los investigadores más jóvenes y de aquellos en países con rentas bajas o medias que no pueden costear las tasas subyacentes al OA. Del mismo modo, este sistema promueve la visibilidad de aquellos investigadores con amplios fondos para costear publicaciones y permite un acceso libre injusto a su contenido. Esto crea un sistema en el cual aquellos que disponen de más fondos serán más citados que aquellos que no disponen de fondos para hacer que sus trabajos sean igualmente visibles.
  2. Proposición de incrementar la productividad de la revista. Esta propuesta de cambio parece más bien un intento por maximizar la rentabilidad del negocio, a expensas del tiempo que los AEs pasamos procesando trabajos adicionales y con un esperable impacto negativo sobre la calidad real o percibida de los artículos. Como AEs, nos gustaría recordar a la entidad editorial que trabajamos gratis, por el bien de la comunidad. El tiempo libre que dedicamos a un servicio profesional, editando para JBI, no está pensado para maximizar el lucro.
  3. Remisión automática a otras revistas del grupo Wiley: Nos oponemos firmemente a esta opción, ya que echa por tierra la libertad de elección del autor, así como la discreción editorial. Los autores proporcionan a Wiley el contenido de su trabajo de manera gratuita, y por tanto la elección sobre en que revista prefieren publicar su trabajo es enteramente suya. Como editores, somos a menudo capaces de sugerir revistas más apropiadas para cada manuscrito específico, y estas pueden o pueden no estar en el grupo de revistas de Wiley. De nuevo, nuestro servicio es prestado al campo de la biogeografía, y no a Wiley per se.

Estamos al corriente de que Wiley no se ha mostrado dispuesta a consensuar un acuerdo sobre estos temas, y por ello nos encontramos actualmente en un paro laboral como AEs. Desde el 28 de junio, no estamos dispuestos a aceptar ninguna tarea editorial que ataña a nuevos manuscritos. Para que esta postura no obstruya a nuestros colegas que ya hayan enviado sus trabajos a JBI, continuaremos a gestionar manuscritos que se encuentren actualmente en proceso de revisión.

Estamos dispuestos a reconsiderar nuestra postura en el momento que Wiley tenga en cuenta las reivindicaciones listadas anteriormente, y lleguemos a un acuerdo. Proponemos el 31 de julio como fecha límite para resolver estos problemas, tras el cual estaremos dispuestos a retomar nuestros deberes como AEs. También estamos listos para dimitir si no se alcanza un compromiso. Por favor, tengan en cuenta que, como AEs, trabajamos sin remuneración o compensación, y nuestro fin último es hacer avanzar el campo de la biogeografía respaldando la investigación de calidad, revisada y puntera. JBI cuenta con una historia de prestigio como líder en su disciplina, y somos totalmente contrarios al desarrollo de un modelo de negocio que maximice los lucros mientras pone en riesgo la calidad académica de JBI.