In the initial Editor's Message of this volume, I stated my intent to involve more students in the publication process. A number of people commented on it being a good idea, but only a couple have followed up. One was Paul Krausman, President of The Wildlife Society. We matched graduate students from the University of Montana wildlife program with manuscripts where each student served as a reviewer. Students were the third reviewer on manuscripts within their area of interest and expertise. I found the experience to be entirely positive. Student reviews were often the first returned from the 3 reviewers. Many of the reviews were very insightful and provided useful information to the Associate Editor, the authors, and me. In fact, many of the reviews identified key points not raised by the other reviewers and these points were pretty much on target. As with all reviewers, they received a copy of my decision letter as well as copies of the other review comments. This allowed them to see how their review contributed to the fate of the manuscript. Hopefully, the experience gave them a good perspective of many aspects of the review process, a perspective that I hope will serve them well in their career. I invite any faculty who would like to explore similar experiences for their students to get in touch with me.
I am pleased and honored to work with the Journal's editorial board. Their expertise is broad and their insight is impressive. I rely heavily on them as the subject-matter experts on the manuscripts they handle. This role is critically important because no one person has in-depth knowledge on the wide variety of manuscripts submitted to the Journal. I cannot imagine trying to be EIC without their help. Associate Editors are far more than just gate-keepers. They review the manuscripts they handle, interpret and synthesize comments from the reviewers, and provide recommendations to me. The Editorial Board is dynamic, as people come and go. I try to make sure that we have depth in some topic areas to minimize the time impact on any one AE. That said, I am looking for a few more AEs to bolster our expertise in physiology, waterfowl ecology, and ungulate ecology. If interested, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JOURNAL AND PUBLISHER STAFF
A tremendous amount of work is involved behind the scenes with the publication process. Manuscripts are first screened to verify that they fit the Journal. If so, they are assigned to an AE and reviews are solicited. Finding reviewers is nearly a full-time job as we often need to contact 10 people before 2 commit to conducting a review. Journal staff then tracks progress on reviews, AE recommendations, and my decisions to make sure they occur in a timely fashion. Once a manuscript is accepted, it undergoes content editing. This is more involved than copy editing and it requires somebody with technical expertise in wildlife science. Edits are tracked to make sure they are followed and finally a manuscript is sent to the publisher for production. At this stage, galley proofs are developed and sent to authors and Journal staff for proofing. Once proofs are returned and changes incorporated, the issue is assembled and sent to us for one final review. As you can see, numerous steps are involved from submission of manuscripts to publication of each issue. The work is done by true professionals and the Journal would simply not exist without it. I truly appreciate their dedication and commitment to making this the premier wildlife journal in the world.
IN THIS VOLUME
This issue comes with some controversy. In particular, I write of the paper by Heather Mathewson and her colleagues providing the first broad-scale estimates of the population size of the golden-cheeked warbler. Controversy arises because the population estimates they provide far exceed previous estimates. Given that the warbler is a listed species, I suspect that this paper will capture interests of many readers of the Journal. In addition, we have a fine collection of papers addressing the population ecologies of ducks, geese, doves, owls, and wolves, as well as some very relevant habitat, management, and conservation articles. I trust that you will find papers of interest to you.