Learn to be a Reviewer: Peer Reviewer Mentoring Scheme

Today is the first day of peer review week. One of the issues that many people bring up about the current system of peer review is that there is very little formal training. There are guidance documents available (including the BES Guide to Peer Review), workshops on peer review can be found at some conferences and some senior academics teach their PhD students or post-docs about the process. In general though, peer review training is fairly hard to come by.

This is something that people have told us (the BES publications team) at conferences and through surveys, so we’re doing something about it. From October 2017 until April 2018 Methods in Ecology and Evolution is going to be partnering with the BES Quantitative Ecology Special Interest Group to run a trial Peer Review Mentoring Scheme.

The trial scheme is going to focus on statistical ecology (as we receive a lot of statistical papers at Methods in Ecology and Evolution), but if it goes well, we’ll be looking at other areas of expertise too.

Applications for Mentor and Mentee positions are now open. If you’re an experienced statistical ecologist or evolutionary biologist or an Early Career Researcher in those fields, we’d love to receive an application from you. Continue reading

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BES Guide to Reproducible Code: Tips and Tricks Needed

The British Ecological Society is currently working on a Guide to Reproducible Code. This will follow on from our previous Guides to Peer Review, Data Management and Getting Published. All of our Guides are intended to provide Early Career Researchers with a concise and easy to understand introduction to the topic. You can download them for free on our website.

Each Guide includes short pieces of advice provided by academics who are familiar with the topic – and this is where you come in. We’re looking for tips and tricks to help Early Career Researchers looking to make their code reproducible and we would like your help.

We’ve set up a Google form with sections that relate to the broad areas that will be covered in our Guide to Reproducible Code:

  1. Organising Code
  2. Writing Code
  3. Report Writing
  4. Versioning
  5. Archiving Code
  6. Additional Resources

The guide is intended for people who are fairly new to coding, so please don’t be too technical. There are options to enter three pieces of advice in each section (if you’ve got more tips and tricks, feel free to fill in the form multiple times). We’ll choose the best pieces of advice and publish them in the Guide, along with the name and affiliation of the person who provided them.

You can submit your Tips and Tricks for Making Code Reproducible here. Thank you for contributing to our Guide.

Methods Beyond the Population

Post Provided by SEAN MCMAHON and JESSICA METCALF

Demography Beyond the Population” is a unique Special Feature being published across the journals of the British Ecological Society.  The effort evolved from a symposium of the same name hosted in Sheffield, UK last March. Both the meeting and the Special Feature were designed to challenge ecologists from a range of fields whose research focuses on populations.

The participants were charged with sharing how they are pushing the work they do beyond the stage where the population is the focus into research where the population is just the beginning and the focus spans scales, systems and tools. This encompasses a broad suite of biological research, including range modelling, disease impacts on communities, biogeochemistry, evolutionary theory, and conservation biology. The meeting was a great success, and this Special Feature should be equally valuable to the broad readership of the BES journals.

Methods in Ecology and Evolution has a special place in the Special Feature, hosting four papers. These papers not only introduce new efforts in population biology, they provide the methods that other scientists can use to implement them. With the tools provided by these four papers, researchers will be able to advance forest modelling, evolutionary theory, climate change biology and statistical inference of hidden population parameters.  Seriously good stuff! Continue reading

Demography Beyond the Population Webinar: Register for Free Now

Webinar logoRegister for FREE for the first ever BES Publishing webinar based on our forthcoming Demography Beyond the Population Special Feature.

This hour long webinar will begin at 1pm (GMT) on Tuesday 1 March. It highlights some of the excellent articles soon to be published in the British Ecological Society journals Special Feature entitled “Demography Beyond the Population”. The Special Feature is a collaborative effort including articles in all six BES journals. This is the first time such a large ecological collaboration has been attempted worldwide. Using a cross-journal approach has allowed us to highlight the strongly interdisciplinary nature of the field of demography to its fullest potential as well as to lay down the foundations for future directions at the interface of ecology, evolution, conservation biology and human welfare. The webinar has several international speakers and will discuss the articles in the Special Feature and the implications for demography research going forward. Continue reading

Methods in Ecology and Evolution 2015: The Year in Review

Happy New Year! We hope that you all had a wonderful Winter Break and that you’re ready to start 2016. We’re beginning the year with a look back at some of our highlights of 2015. Here’s how last year looked at Methods in Ecology and Evolution.

The Articles

We published some amazing articles in 2015, too many to mention them all here. However, we would like to say a massive thank you to all of the authors, reviewers and editors who contributed to the journal last year. Without your hard work, knowledge and generosity, the journal would not be where it is today. We really appreciate all of your time and effort. THANK YOU!

mee312268_CoverOpportunities at the Interface between Ecology and Statistics

There was only one Special Feature in the journal this year, but it was a great one. Arising from the 2013 Eco-Stats Symposium at the University of New South Wales and guest edited by Associate Editor David Warton, Opportunities at the Interface between Ecology and Statistics was one of the highlights of 2015 for us. It consists of seven articles written collaboratively by statisticians and ecologists and highlights the benefits of cross-disciplinary partnerships. Continue reading

BES 2015 Annual Symposium: Demography Beyond the Population

Demographic methods and population modeling have been popular tools amongst ecologists for a long time. Recent advances, some of which have been written about in the pages of Methods, have allowed these approaches to be applied to a wide range of questions, helping to integrate population-level processes more broadly into ecological research.

Continue reading

INTECOL 2009 – What will journals look like in 10 years?

As I have just been involved with setting up a new journal with Wiley-Blackwell and the BES, I was asked to contribute to a planning session for Austral Ecology considering the question, “what will journals look like in 10 years?” Here are some of my thoughts that I contributed.

First, we should be clear that if we look back 10 years, journals have changed a lot: back in 1999 Ecology Letters revolutionized the editorial process by sending reviews and decisions by fax(!!). Science and Nature used Fedex to speed things up a bit. Submitting an MS meant a big drain on the printer and photocopier, and sending hard copies by snail mail.

Things were a bit less primitive for readers: pdf versions were increasingly available for mainstream journals, although a regular trip to the library was necessary to keep up with everything.

Now of course, the whole process is online, from submission to decision, through post decision processing, to the final access of the MS. At least 90% of journal access is online, and most subscriptions to journals are ‘online only’. For a new journal there is no compelling argument for producing a print version and new journals launched in the past few years do not have one (e.g. PLoS journals, Evolutionary Applications, Conservation Letters).

So what is going to happen? In predicting the future I think it is important to look at how biology is taught. Students use online resources all the time, be that online teaching material, Wikipedia or online textbooks and journals. Universities are adapting fast – for example, iTunesU is used for advertising courses and research. Youtube also has lectures. Videocasts and Podcasts are now routine tools in teaching. The current generation of undergrads are soon going to be PhD students and postdocs, and will want this type of resources in their research.

The Journal of Visualized Experiments is the current pinnacle of this trend: the key element of this journal is a video demonstration of the research and there are ecological studies already in this journal.

This imaginative use of online resources will be a major trend. However, having said this, I think the core values of publication will remain: the need for rigorous, fair review, publication prestige and speed of process will remain important to authors and readers alike.