From the Editor – Use it or Lose it

Dr Ruth Falshaw, NZPP Editor

Historically, the NZPPS published an annual proceedings of the papers to be presented at its conference. Twenty years ago, the word ‘Proceedings’ was removed from the title to highlight that contributions were peer-reviewed papers not just a collection of presentations. However, publication was still a pre-requisite to presentation at the annual conference. The declining number of papers has threatened the viability of the annual conference for a number of years. The situation reached a critical point in 2019 with just 33 papers accepted/oral presentations. The scope of conferences has also been restricted to the topics of published papers, which may not reflect current trends nor include cutting-edge research. These issues led to members agreeing at the 2019 AGM that presenters at the conference are no longer required to publish their work in New Zealand Plant Protection

It was heartening to have almost 70 abstracts pledged for oral presentations at the 2020 NZPPS conference (now sadly postponed until 2021). In contrast, there have been just six submissions to New Zealand Plant Protection so far this year (of which four are still active). One paper (which was submitted in 2019) has been published to date in Volume 73. The relative numbers of conference and manuscript submissions support the view that members are keen to share their work with a face-to-face audience by presenting it at the annual conference but not to publish papers in the Journal.

New Zealand Plant Protection is a journal that belongs to its members and is an important freely accessible repository for local and applied studies that may not be within the scope of other journals. Truly open-access journals allow free access to, and therefore much greater coverage of, published work without the need for a subscription or payment to view papers online. However, the Journal will survive only if members continue to support it. To do this they must submit manuscripts describing high-quality research. 

New Zealand Plant Protection provides an online submission system and quality control through peer review by at least two referees plus the editor. All submissions are checked for plagiarism/duplicate publication. Advantages of publishing in this journal include:

–    immediate free open access for published papers on the Journal’s website (no pay-per-view);

–    capacity to include colour images and supplemental data/additional files at no extra cost;

–    a very competitive publication fee (to cover essential production costs incurred by the Society) compared with other open-access journals;

–    a set fee rather than page charges to encourage publication of longer, more substantial pieces of work. 

Additional information for authors is available at: https://journal.nzpps.org/index.php/nzpp/about/submissions

The advent of the digital age has had a disruptive and transformational effect on scientific publishing internationally so, from next month, I’ll be writing a blog on the Journal’s website about key issues such as: impact factors; plagiarism; predatory publishers; fraud; and open-access publishing. Sign up to the NZPPS via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to receive links to these posts.