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RE: New publication: Notes on Early Mesozoic Theropods by Robert Gay

  Eventually, we will have to regard the media on which we "publish" to be 
variable. Currently, this is print on paper or paper-like material. We can 
potentially accept plastics-based physical medium with ink, and paper, and 
other plant-fibers like cotton, as the physical medium. These are, however, 
based on finite materials. Eventually they may run out. It may be necessary to 
reduce the production of some of these as their use renders environmental 
resources in danger: Printing 800 pages for a volume of _JVP_ [based on 
pre-2010 issue numbers] requires about 4 lbs of paper, around 65% is actually 
comprised of wood product (the rest being the coating). This is almost a ream 
and a tree of about 40ft and ~7inch diameter will make roughly ten volumes at 
this rate. And that's just for _JVP_ (I'm using this, 
http://www.conservatree.com/learn/EnviroIssues/TreeStats.shtml, to get a rough 
estimate). Time, related to consumption, related to resource partitioning when 
humans want to grow outward or farm in areas where these trees grow creates an 
increasing disparity in the potential availability.

  We then look towards the inevitable effect when various OTHER forms of media, 
physical in this case, are used, and their complex. Plastics are derived from 
processing petroleum, and unlike trees, they are not renewable. In this 
scenario, I am utilizing both the current method and a potential replacement 
method for producing print. An alternative is breeding giant albino shouting 
gorillas we train to scream our papers at one another, but that's only the 
thing mad scientists do. I mentioned other plant fibers, such as cotton, as a 
resource, and this is also viable and recyclable, although I am unfamiliar with 
the process or the values required to produce work, and how much can be 
separated from our clothing producers to replace paper.

  Both methods (and potentially the albino shouting gorillas) are finite. They 
will run out, eventually. We are thus destined for a point when what we read is 
in a form that is not physical, like this email. We are used to it already, and 
the world is already wired, although there are large gaps. This medium for 
writing and reading is already in place, and it has occurred before the advent 
of a plastics-based physical form, or of cotton. Or shouting gorillas. Along 
with this medium, resources for viewing text in a mobile form exist in 
text-readers, cellphones, the iPhone, the kindle and iPad, etc. And these are 
CURRENT. Virtually all production companies produce a digital form of their 
work before it goes to a printer, and these are saved virtually and 
perpetually. Producing a formatting or utilizing the uneditable PDF format is a 
quick and easy way of creating and moving unchangeable blocks of texts/figures. 
Apart from this, it costs little but the viewing system to view figures in 
almost any quality, and comes with the added compatibility that it costs 
nothing to render in final form and only an initial investment to originally 
capture to develop photographs (including microscopic images).

  Without any actual blocks, and most of the enablers involved, the digital 
form already seems on the horizon. The next issue, the one Dan explicitly calls 
me on, is the anarchic one: Letting any Jefferson, Nixon or Truman to put his 
keyboard to interface and "publishing" tripe. The system is in place to handle 
that, as well, it merely only require a review system in which accredited 
reviewers give their time to serve as jury to every piece of text a person can 
render. And note I am not actually advocating personal publishing, although 
this is already done (with much blogging and gnashing of teeth and O, the 
wailies!). I am advocating that many journals can simply shift to a digital 
only medium, remove their print to on-demand service, operating as _Zootaxa_ 
and _PLoS_ do now; contracting editors and maintaining a staff to oversee 
actual printing, editors, and the reviewer database. In this, the biggest issue 
is that of allowing authors to be publishers, but using the system the digital 
publishers use. This can be done simply by registration of authors, no bars; 
such a system puts these people in touch with editors, and they can submit 
reviews on their own (self-solicited) which are then used to help the editor 
find editor-solicited reviewers, and compare the changes made, the thumbs-up or 
down gestures from each (an alternate form that allows the reviews to be 
viewable may be complicated; but an editor can dismiss an over-vicious or 
sycophantic review on its face as lacking critical review entirely). 
Publication occurs when a particular review "score" is achieved, based on the 
level or type of publication (any analytical data requires a high review count 
and score, a description a moderate one, and a systemic review or 
opinion/editorial a low one) produced.

  We are all used to immediate reception of digital data, and reviewing that 
data in critical, public manner. There is no reason publication cannot do this 
and cut out the physical middle man in the form of the printing companies. It 
also reduces the costs companies must pay to retain such services in the volume 
required. Printing media is in fact the least of the issues here, although in 
some cases the idea of a print form with defects can occur, it can be corrected 
by the simple means of resubmission of a print copy by mailing the old one back 
and receiving a new one at no cost; or, it can go through an individual quality 
check to ensure fidelity. But like I said, this is the least of the issues. It 
is the system the author can use that renders the problem of using digital only 
media created by the impermanence of the physical media moot, and this is one 
of the issues we've discussed when it has come to self-publishers like 
Olshevsky, Pickering, or Gay. 


Jaime A. Headden
The Bite Stuff (site v2)

"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)

"Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a
different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race
has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or
his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion 

> Date: Wed, 9 Jun 2010 21:59:24 -0600
> From: danchure@easilink.com
> To: augustoharo@gmail.com
> CC: qi_leong@hotmail.com; tijawi@yahoo.com; dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Re: New publication: Notes on Early Mesozoic Theropods by Robert Gay
> This is just pure anarchistic nonsense. Taxonomy and systematics will
> become useless instead of a central part of biological, paleontological,
> and evolutionary studies. It will become more disgraced than when it was
> referred to "stamp collecting" by either Watson or Crick, for it will
> have become nothing more than private stamp printing.
> Dan
> Augusto Haro wrote:
>> 2010/6/8 Jaime Headden :
>>> Times are changing: Not only will we see this happen more often, I should 
>>> say, but I am surprised we are still worried about durable copies when 
>>> electronic systems are still far more viable for discourse than costly, and 
>>> potentially damaging, physical copies, especially on an environmental level.
>> Yes, why we individuals would pay to receive paper numbers of a
>> journal where only a few works are of our interest?. With pdfs, you
>> can just print those you are going to read, and not waste paper in
>> works you are not going to read. I think there will be some problems
>> for journals now that pdfs tend to debunk printed papers as a
>> principal way to transmit information. Now that we can make and
>> distribute pdfs by ourselves, works not sent to journals would be as
>> common and easy to produce as those sent to journals. They will be
>> even easier to acquire, as you do not have to pay for a pdf uploaded
>> to, say, a blog, because each person would want their work to be read
>> by the most people possible. One can send it to some of his/her
>> scientist friends to correct it before making it public by oneself,
>> ask them for signatures that they have reviewed the paper, and now
>> have a peer-reviewed work not sent to a journal.
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