Photo: Bill Selak
We’ve put out a press release announcing one of our papers, The tannosome is an organelle forming condensed tannins in the chlorophyllous organs of Tracheophyta. The Tannosome is an organelle found in plant cells that helps build tannins, used by plants for defence.
When we put out a press release for a paper (or if a journalist tells us he or she is publishing about a paper) we make it available with free access immediately. Our papers become free access after a year anyway, but the way we see it is that if we’re yelling “LOOK AT THIS!” then it’s impolite to charge you a fee when you do.
So you can keep your money and celebrate in other ways.
Photo: Money dancing groom, by Bill Selak/Flickr. This image licensed under a Creative Commons by-nd licence.
I’m working on a press release for a paper. I think it could be big news – and if it’s not then it could well be that I’ve mucked up the explanation.
What will probably happen is when the authors of the paper are happy with the press release, we’ll schedule it with an embargo. This doesn’t always happen. Authors hate embargoes. They’ve worked for ages on a paper and they want to see people talking about it now. They might say they don’t want an embargo and take their chances with the press. Many journalists don’t like embargoes. They stop stories going live as soon as they’re finished. Worse, if they’re broken then the news sites honouring the embargo are at a disadvantage. We’re not keen on embargoes either. If someone has a story about one of our papers we’d like to see it out there. We also make the paper free access, because we want to make sure that people can talk about it. So if no one likes embargoes why do we use them? It’s because of what journals and journalists like.
How does information get locked away? Image: elhombredenegro/Flickr
Journals like coverage of papers. From an ego point of view coverage in all news sites would be best. In reality coverage in one quality news site is enough. What we want is to get word out that we’ve published an interesting paper with broad appeal. That doesn’t mean just the top traditional news sites. If Boing Boing or Ars Technica ran with the story that would be a big win. They both have quality science coverage and that’s the important thing. Quantity of coverage is not a target, it’s quality of coverage.
Journalists like exclusives, or at least the good ones do. Science stories should be a good source of exclusives, because original research should be nowhere else. So why do so many journals put out releases with embargoes instead of supplying exclusives? It’s partly because it’s a risky strategy.
The October edition of Annals of Botany is now available online. As well as the free Plant Cuttings, there’s also a free review of Plant cell biology. From astronomy to zoology. How do you get astronomy and zoology into plants cells? You’ll have to read the review.
There’s a free short communication Did Drosera evolve long scapes to stop their pollinators from being eaten? which we publicised earlier with the press release Sundews just want to be loved.
There’s a new press release out today, Withering well can improve fertility that goes with Marcescent corollas as functional structures: effects on the fecundity of two insect-pollinated plants by Carlos M. Herrera. The papers in the journal are funded either by subscriptions or through Oxford Open so there’s a limit to how much we can give free access too. This is a pain if you want to write or blog about the paper and want to check that I’ve not gone on some strange flight of fancy writing the press release. That’s no longer a problem.
If you want to write about an Annals of Botany paper and you don’t have access to it then we can send you the paper if you’re a science writer. ‘Writer’ includes bloggers, so if you’re a science blogger email us at ANNALSBOTANY [at] le.ac.uk and we’ll get you a copy. This applies to any paper you’d like to write about, not just ones with press releases. I’m working on the principle that an expert in botany is going to see plenty that I’ve missed as potential blog material.
As for the new look, October is on it’s way. It’s getting a bit late for sunflowers in the northern hemisphere so I’ve changed the site here to an autumn theme. I’m told by someone who can recognise different types of trees from quite a long way away that this type of tree is the Larch.