Inaugural Editorial

Journal of the History of Biology, Dec 2017

Karen Rader, Marsha Richmond

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Inaugural Editorial

Journal of the History of Biology Springer Science+Business Media B.V. VA USA E-mail: 0 MARSHA RICHMOND 0 0 Wayne State University Detroit , MI USA - Beginning with volume 51, the Journal of the History of Biology will be under our joint co-editorship, a commitment that extends for the next five years. New print issues, with articles already accepted under Michael Dietrich’s leadership, will continue to appear through the next year as we move into our new roles. We are grateful for Michael’s implementation of Editorial Manager and a new system of editorial transition open to all with a genuine interest in taking on the work, and especially for his guidance. Now is the ‘‘natural’’ moment to reflect on the vision we have for continuing the strong tradition of scholarship promoted by past editors, while also making new interdisciplinary links that position this journal well in the changing world of academe and academic publishing. Journal of the History of Biology, to us, has always first and foremost been a place to find and explore a community of ideas. Dating from its founding fifty years ago, the journal engaged new scholars in (what was then) a new field, with the aim of creating a conversation around the historiographical interests particular to those researching the diverse past life sciences. We believe this journal continues to play a vital role in shaping and nurturing the intellectual and practical aspirations for the history of biology – now a mature and expanding field. In turn, we are developing some initiatives that honor this history while also striving to enrich the journal’s visibility and scope in the profession. KAREN RADER AND MARSHA RICHMOND We believe that JHB would be well served by the kind of continued globalization of the field represented by the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology (ISHPSSB). We especially want to reach out to the many historians of biology doing innovative and rigorous transnational scholarship on Asia, Latin America, and other parts of the world. We also seek to re-engage scholars in fields complementary to the history of biology, such as history of ecology, environment, and animal studies, as well as philosophers working in the history of biology, and those in STS engaged in studies of the life sciences. From its beginning, JHB has been a recognized forum for scholarship on Darwin; we plan to continue this tradition, but we will focus on pieces that connect Darwinism with broader social and intellectual issues in the life sciences. That said, JHB has been a distinguished repository for some ‘‘classic articles’’ in the history of biology and the history of science proper, and we hope to highlight those past contributions too. Watch future issues and listservs for our requests to nominate your favorites – those articles that have stood the test of time and continue to influence your work today, or those articles that made a mark distinctive to their time. We plan to publish individual and collective reflections on JHB classic articles, which Springer will make temporarily open access, and then open these reflections to further feedback on the publisher’s (SpringerNature’s) blog and the journal’s social media feeds (Twitter and Facebook). While we will continue to accept and solicit special issue proposals, we will do fewer of these and instead plan to develop several ‘‘themes’’ on which we will invite ongoing submissions. Articles addressing these themes will be tagged (via key words) in online publication. We see this ‘theme-tag’ strategy primarily as a means of inviting sustained consideration of particular historiographical areas of biology studies. That scholarly conversation, we think, journals can better stimulate and capture by acknowledging how current readers and researchers access their content – not by browsing issues, but via search engines that connect them to individual articles. ‘Theme-tags’ further take advantage of the Continuous Article Publication (CAP) feature of Springer journals, while also avoiding some of the timing delays or datedness of single special issues. Some examples of themes under consideration are: Regional Biologies: The Life Sciences in Asia/South America/Africa. Biology and Technology Reframed. Human-Animal Boundaries – Biological and Social Connections. Wilderness and Environment in Biological Sciences. INAGURAL EDITORIAL Post-Genomic Biology. Social History of Laboratories and Field Practices. Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Biology. We encourage your feedback on this initiative, including suggestions of additional themes. Book reviews represent an underappreciated scholarly forum, and they perform a dual service: to scholars whose books are published and to those who may wish to read them or assign them to students. In turn, we plan to expand the number of books in many areas of history of the life sciences regularly reviewed, and we have invited Dr. Lijing Jiang (currently at the Chemical Heritage Foundation) to develop and steward our enhanced book review section. This issue also reflects a new editorial board, whose members have agreed to assume enhanced responsibility for contributing to the article and book review process, and for recruiting potential authors to submit their manuscripts – especially encouraging those who present outstanding papers at conferences as well as advanced graduate students, recent Ph.D.s, and junior faculty members. Having benefitted from the scholarship in JHB throughout our respective careers, we consider assuming the editorship of the journal to be both a great honor and a serious responsibility. This commitment we welcome, with excitement and anticipation for the work ahead.


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Karen Rader, Marsha Richmond. Inaugural Editorial, Journal of the History of Biology, 2017, 1-3, DOI: 10.1007/s10739-017-9503-x