Open Access: Blog Post 3

In the field of wildlife biology (science/ecology/conservation), I typically do not hear much discussion about open access journals, and I do not know anyone who has published in one. Perhaps my field is behind the times. Perhaps there are not enough wildlife-related open access journals in existence. Perhaps researchers are just skeptical of trying something new. That being said, there are open access journals in this field.

For example, Wildlife Biology is an open-access journal that publishes research related to wildlife management and conservation. It was founded in 1994 by the Nordic Council for Wildlife Research. Publication occurs bi-monthly. From what I have read, it is a little unclear if this journal originated as an open access journal. My gut tells me that it probably was not always open-access, based on how it was founded 23 years ago (before open access was prevalent, if even in existence) and that the website states that articles published before 2005 are only available in print. This journal is published at the Oikos Editorial Office within the Department of Biology at Lund University (southern Sweden), and the editors and board for this journal are from numerous countries: Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, France, Finland, and Norway.

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The purpose of this journal is to publish “high standard [research] from all areas of wildlife science with the primary task of creating the scientific basis for the enhancement of wildlife management practices. While Wildlife Biology primarily publishes ecological papers, contributions to the human dimensions of wildlife management are also [sic] welcome. Our concept of ‘wildlife’ mainly includes mammal and bird species, but studies on other species or phenomena relevant to wildlife management are also of great interest. We adopt a broad concept of wildlife management, including all structures and actions with the purpose of conservation, sustainable use, and/or control of wildlife and its habitats, in order to safeguard sustainable relationships between wildlife and other human interests” (http://www.wildlifebiology.org/about-journal/journal-information).

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Their statement about open access is very brief: “Wildlife Biology is an Open Access journal. The content is freely accessible for everyone” (http://www.wildlifebiology.org/about-journal/journal-information), and they make no noticeable statement about how the journal views itself within the open access movement. It is interesting to me the extent of the brevity in their open access statement. It would seem to me that a relatively little-known (or talked about) would want to have a more detailed statement about why it is open access and why that is so important to the field. Perhaps in time, they will add more to their site about the importance of open access.

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