Welcome to the blog of the ARC, dedicated to encourage, facilitate, and disseminate scholarship that advances the quality and vitality of the Adirondack Park and related environs. For more information on our history, projects, annual conference, and the Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies, please visit our web page at www.adkresearch.org.

Friday, August 15, 2008

AJES to move to open access, internet platform

[The following editorial was published in the summer issue of the Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies, Vol. 15, No. 1, 2008]

Public Knowledge, Open Access
Jon D. Erickson

When the Adirondack Research Consortium and the Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies were launched in 1994 I was in graduate school, interested in research on Adirondack economy and ecology, and desperate for a forum to pose questions, exchange ideas, and ultimately be apart of the policy and management process. Gone were the days of my professors – typewriters and armies of statisticians replaced by the PC – but the collections of the university library were still the dominant form of research. A literature review meant that the most current research cited was already three or more years old, reflecting the lag time from field work, analysis, and writing to peer review, editing, and publishing. The use of electronic listservs to form research networks was just beginning to narrow the gap between question and answer (with our very own Adiron-L as part of that first generation). Dial-up home internet access was a luxury, spam amounted to a few unsolicited e-mails a week, and college students still lived and breathed the Dewey decimal system.

Card catalogs today seem like a relic from a century ago, not just a decade ago. While dial-up internet and poor cell service still characterize many rural communities, the trends in internet archiving and publishing have significantly improved the delivery of current research. Research by my own students today is more often done through laptops and high speed, wireless connections to vast digital libraries (often from a couch in a coffee shop!). While limited internet access still plagues many rural areas, my own field research in the distant corners of Africa and Latin America is more often than not facilitated by the internet. Quality control can be challenging, and the standards of peer review are as important as ever, but information access and literacy has rapidly changed the publishing landscape.

The majority of research journals today provide all content via the internet – some for free, others only to library or individual subscribers. Articles from widely cited journals such as Science or Nature to the most specialized journals are just a mouse click away. While most journals still publish a print version as well, the number of open access peer-reviewed web journals is growing rapidly. International collaborations such as the Public Knowledge Project (pkp.sfu.ca) and their free Open Journal Systems software have facilitated an explosion of web journal publication, with 1400 titles in 10 languages using this publishing platform alone. A recent estimate of peer-reviewed, open access journals puts the total at 3400, about 12% of the worldwide total of peer-reviewed journals, and about two thirds of non-open access journals allow their authors to deposit their manuscripts in open access repositories.[1]

Web journals are more than just online archives. They need not be static, one-way dialogues between writer and reader. Interactive reader commentary is often facilitated, weekly web logs (blogs) from editors and authors is becoming the norm, and the domain of who’s voice is publishable is broadening beyond just the credentialed expert community. Peer-reviewed wiki sites such as the Encyclopedia of Earth (www.eoearth.org) encourage submission of edits, reviews, and boxed insets to previously published work, in addition to publication of web books and articles.

And so, as I hinted at in my last prerogative, AJES will begin experimenting with a web version. The first step has been to create an Adirondack Research Consortium blog (found at adkresearch.blogspot.com), where invited blog authors will post regular research notes, ARC conference and business updates, and other news relevant to the Adirondack research community. Anyone and everyone can read and comment on postings. Over the coming months we’ll begin to put this issue of AJES online, experiment with layout and features, and prepare for future online issues (along with our print issue). The plan is to join the growing community of scholarship under the Public Knowledge Project, with the journal Ecology and Society (www.ecologyandsociety.org), one of the earliest peer-reviewed open access journals, serving as a model. Please be sure to browse www.ajes.org in the coming months, check out our progress, and get back to me with ideas and advice at jon.erickson@uvm.edu, or the old-fashioned way at 802-656-3328.

[1] Suber, Peter, “The Opening of Science and Scholarship,” Publius Project, June 4, 2008 [accessed on August 10, 2008, publius.cc/page/2/].

AJES Summer Issue in press

The summer issue of the Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies (Volume 15, Number 1) went to press this week. Highlights include an interview with Dr. Ross Whaley on sustainable development in the Adirondacks, and peer-reviewed articles on Adirondack ecosystem modeling and creating genuine progress indicators in the Northern Forest.
President's Message
by William F. Porter

Public Knowledge, Open Access
by Jon D. Erickson

Book Review
Acid Rain in the Adirondacks by Jenkins et al.
by James C. White

A New Deal for the Adirondacks: Establishing an Adirondack CCC Modeled Program
by Eric Bouchard

Is a Sustainable Adirondack Park a Pipe Dream? An interview with Dr. Ross Whaley
by Graham L. Cox

Development of an Adirondack Ecosystem Model
by Stephen Signell, Benjamin Zuckerberg, Stacy McNulty, and William Porter

The Genuine Progress Indicator: A New Measure of Economic Development for the Northern Forest
by Kenneth J. Bagstad and Marta Ceroni
For more information on AJES, past issues, or to subscribe to the print edition, please visit www.ajes.org.

Adirondack Climate Conference coming in November

See www.usclimateaction.org for conference updates and outcomes from the national conference on climate change held in the Adirondacks this past June.

Northern Forest Institute to open in Adirondacks

The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry plans to establish a new training institute for researchers and managers of northern forests based at century-old Masten House, a former corporate retreat in the central Adirondacks.

The Northern Forest Institute, on 46 acres of Open Space Conservancy land in Newcomb, will get $1.125 million in state grants to start. The Department of Environmental Conservation says it has committed $1.6 million over the next four years for research on visitor demand, experiences and effect on the woodlands. The center will also offer training for recreation managers in the state forest preserve.

The "northern forest" extends from Lake Ontario at Tug Hill, across the Adirondacks to northern Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

For more information on the proposed Northern Forest Institute, see:
  • The strategic plan document at the Adirondack Ecological Center.
  • Press release on the project by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Research Notes: Bicknell's Thrush-Veery hybrid?

Scientists from the Vermont Center for Ecostudies found a possible hybrid of a Bicknell's Thrush and Veery on Stratton Mountain in Vermont. VCE scientists wonder if this might be a case of a low elevation species, the Veery, moving upward in elevation in response to climate change - or it could just be a random rare breeding event between these two closely related species. Check out VCE's blog for more on this topic.