SSB Executive Council Mid-Term Meeting

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SSB Executive Council Mid-Term Meeting

    SSB Annual Council Meeting

    June 23, 2006

    State University of New York, Stony Brook

    2:00 pm 5:30 pm Wang Center 101


Call to Order & Welcome Scott Edwards, President SSB

    Attending: Scott Edwards (President), Pam Soltis (Past-President), Chris Simon (President Elect), Keith Crandall (Executive Vice President), Vicki Funk (Treasurer), George Weiblen (Program Director), Jessica Gurevitch (for Kelly Zamudio Awards

    Director), Joel Cracraft (Board of Trustees), Rod Page (Editor), Priscilla Tucker (Councilor 06), Marshal Hedin (Councilor 08), Michael Donoghue (Councilor 08), Lacey Knowles (Councilor 08), Jack Sullivan (Councilor 08; Editor Elect), Louise Lewis (Councilor 07), Maureen O’Leary (Councilor 07), Scott Steppan (Councilor 07), Bruce Baldwin (Councilor 07), Debbie Ciszek (Managing editor), Juan Carlos Morales (NSF)

    Not Attending: Jeff Boore (Councilor 07; Via Skype), Billie Swalla (Councilor 06), Sydney Cameron (Councilor 07 represented by Jim Whitfield), Shannon Hackett

    (Councilor 06), Fredrik Ronquist (Councilor 08), David Hibbett (Councilor 06)

Discussion on role of Council Members to promote the role of systematics at our own

    institutions; promote the Society and associated awards opportunities; solicit activities for meetings (symposia etc.); help increase membership to the Society. Please be ambassadors for the Society.

Joint Council Meeting Report - Edwards

    Discussion led by Massimo Pigliucci to take on creationism and intelligent design as they try and infiltrate science curricula in public schools. Pigliucci wants to set up a more organized effort across societies. Teacher education activities are already underway through AIBS and NESCENT is hosting evolution education (but NESCENT is not interested in political activities associated with ID). Pigliucci suggests that each society develop a committee to form a joint committee and should liason with the SSE Education Committee. Donoghue suggests that the Pigliucci’s document is very general but with no specific requests or proposals for SSB to consider. Weiblen says that the goal is to have societies embrace the ideas of the document and nominate a representative to sit on a joint committee.

    Updates on coming meetings: 2007 Christchurch, New Zealand, 2008 Minnesota, 2009 Brown University, 2010 Portland State University, 2011 University of Costa Rica (in July). Conflicts with ESA first week in August and the international congress of botany in 2011. Jessica Gurevitch suggests the idea of a meeting planner and part-time Executive Director to be hired jointly by the three societies. Would like to know if the SSB has an interest in supporting such a position. A discussion of advantages and disadvantages of

    having such a person. SSB already contracts out membership and accounting. This would add additional strain on the budget. Difficulties in working with universities for professional meeting planners. Funk suggests that Simon, Weiblen, and Mindell work together to explore the idea relative to our budget.

    Update from NSF with discussion about funding rates (10%) and overburden of reviewers. NSF will have an information session on Sunday at noon. New report from the Committee of Visitors which recently evaluated NSF DEB will be available on their website shortly.

    Update from NESCENT director Kathleen Smith. They have opportunities for partnerships in data management, catalyst groups, working groups, sabbaticals, etc.

Awards Report Zamudio (given by Vicki Funk)

     Graduate Student awards, mini-PEET awards, Ernst Mayr Award

    See report

    SSB Awards 2006. An unusually painful and stochastic process…

Grad Awards Institution

    Willis Stuart University of Nebraska, Lincoln

    Allen Julie University of Florida

    Sperling Erik Yale University

    Bybee Seth University of Florida

    Esselstyn Jacob University of Kansas

    Siler Cameron University of Kansas

    Tripp Erin Duke University

     Mini-PEETs Institution

    Miller Donald California State University Chico

    Engel Roberta University of Connecticut, Storrs

     International Institution

    Zaragoitia Laura Universidad de Cuba, Havana

    Rodriguez-Clark Kathryn ,nstituto Venezolano de ,nvestigaciones Cient?ficas

    Flores-Prado Luis Antonio Centro de Ecolog?a, Dept. Ecological Sciences

Program Report Weiblen

     Stony Brook program and notes

     SSB Symposia for 2007 (New Zealand) see proposals previously sent

    Weiblen presents Symposia agenda for tomorrow’s SSB symposium. There will be an associate editors meeting at noon tomorrow. A joint SSB/SSE/ASN how to get a job symposium also at noon tomorrow. Past-President Soltis gives talk tomorrow night followed by the business meeting. Ernst Mayr Award session is on Sunday. Second symposium is Monday afternoon and conflicts with the second joint council meeting. Awards presentation will be before the banquet.

    Call for symposia for the 2007 meeting resulted in four proposals (see report). Meeting to be held in Christchurch, New Zealand June 16-21, 2007. Discussion of relative merits of the proposals. Edwards proposes that the Phylogenetic Diversity and Cultural Phylogenetics symposia be selected. Simon seconds. Further discussion. Tucker suggests getting proposals to the council with more lead time to review them. Donoghue suggests that for a meeting at an international venue like New Zealand, the program should attempt to organize sessions on native biota. Donoghue also recommends that we coordinate with SSE and ASN for overlap in symposia etc. Vote on provisional acceptance of these two symposia under the condition that the organizers improve the proposals in terms of talk titles and diverse representation in the symposia. Unanimously approved by the council.

    Update on Evolution 2008 meeting in MN. Dates June 20-24, 2008. Weiblen is working on a contract to have in hand by next June meeting. The contract for the Stony Brook meeting wasn’t signed until two days ago. SSB does not have a copy of the contract. They are signed by SSE. Meeting will be in Minneapolis. 2009 Brown University in Providence, RI at a convention center in Providence. Are we comfortable with SSE deciding on venue and signing contracts on behalf of SSB? Cracraft suggests that at a minimum, SSB should have at least one officer read and sign the contract for future meetings. Weiblen proposes that all three societies are represented for signature on future meeting contracts. Approved unanimously. Crandall suggests that the signature be the Program Director after consultation with the Executive Committee. Donoghue suggests that conceptually the program venue rotates among the three societies. He suggests we go back to that conceptual model.

Election Results Crandall

    David Penny elected as President 2007, David Mindell elected as Treasurer (2007-2009), Class of 2009 Council members (terms 2007-2009): Peter Lockhart, Molly Nepokroeff, Richard Olmstead, Susanne Renner, and Michael Sorenson.

Membership Report Crandall

    SSB Membership as of 6/21/06

Emeritus 51

    Emeritus (no Journal) 2

    Family 2

    Live 11

    Regular 862

    Student 340

    Sustaining 7

    Total 1275

Long-Term Planning Committee Report Soltis

    Soltis suggests Past-President chair this committee and a member of the Trustees sit on the committee. Edwards recommends Award Director be on this committee as well.

Financial Report Funk

     Dues Increase Proposal ($10 across categories)

    Simplified Budget

     2003 2004 2005 Projected2006 Projected2007


     Dues 48,022 4,935 48,818 est. 48,000 est. 48,000

     Inst. Sub. & Royalties 26,250 43,004 19,778 23,462 est. 20,000

     Annual Fee (for Ed) 25,000 26,250 27,563 28,940 30,388

     Royalty 3,211 3,840 3,000 4,968 est. 3,000

     Meeting 6,631 42,895 0 0 0

     Misc 0 844 3,038 0 0

    Total Income 109,114 121,818 102,197 105,370


     Misc 650 4,714 1,177 est. 3,000 est. 3,000

     Ed Office #1 (Page) 1,067 *41,160 49,067 6,000 ??

     Ed Office #2 (Sites) 0 12,000

     Managing Ed Office 28,287 30,000

     Journal Costs 0 22,230 28,293 est. 22,000

     T&F minimum Qty est. 10,900

     CPA 3,000 4,800 3,000 7,200 7,200

     Travel Reimb. 1,948 4,274 5,702 est. 6,000 est. 10,000

     Burk (ContractLabor) 2,100 16,931 23,175 23,175

     Burk(voting post cards) 1,313 1,400

     Supplies 565 est. 500 est. 500

     Symposia & meeting 4,000 8,000 10,188 8,000 8,000

     Awards 31,796 45,139 43,035 23,000

    Total Expenses 42,461 132,417 157,958 139,375

Balance +66,653 *(-10,599) (-55,761) (-34,005)

    *Some of these costs were actually unpaid bills from 2003 so the budget for 2004 actually had a surplus. Funk suggests we need a membership committee to boost the membership numbers of the society. Baldwin suggests that we raise student dues less like $5 instead of $10. Page

    suggests that the difficulty in joining is problematic. We should be able to join on-line. We should strive to get all our web exposure under one roof (membership, journal, society web pages). Cracraft suggests that we shouldn’t depend on meeting revenue in the budget because of its fluctuation and uncertainty. We might be better off taking a rolling 5% from the Reserve Fund to do our budget. We should be able to cover our journal costs with membership. Our current annual cost per journal copy is $21. Soltis and Tucker suggest a paperless copy option for society membership to save on printing costs. Page suggests that we may postpone the membership increase for negotiating with future publisher. Cracraft suggests that BioOne and getting science out to a broader audience is also an important issue for the society to consider. Cracraft suggests that the President send out a cover letter with the dues increase explaining the reasoning behind the decision. Edwards proposes a provisional increase of $5 in student membership and $10 in regular membership to balance the budget, but provisional to allow negotiating with potential publishers. Steppan second. Unanimously approved.

Investment Update Cracraft

See report

    Donoghue asks if funds are invested in green funds. Investments are in various mutual funds and not particularly in green funds. Crandall proposes that Soltis as chair of the long-term strategy committee come to the mid-year executive meeting with proposals for long-term budgeting and initiatives.

Journal Update Page

    Editor’s Report Mid-year meeting 2006

Rod Page


    This report covers a few issues not in Debbie’s extensive report. Some of the issues ,’ve listed below have been brought to Taylor and Francis’ attention, others haven’t (such as RSS feeds) these are here to ensure that , don’t forget them.

Manuscript Central

    This is going reasonably well. From my perspective it is great to get a summary of what I need to do in a single screen. This makes it harder for manuscripts to get ―lost‖ (at my end at least). As always there are some annoyances.

    Odd characters

    Some templates and reviews may odd characters, typically a diamond in a box. , haven’t investigated this in detail, but , suspect that characters such as the double quotes (―‖) in Word are not being handled properly. This can render some documents hard to read. This is a programming issue that ScholarOne should be able to address easily.

Dumb templates

    For reasons , don’t understand, MC hasn’t been written to make full use of information in the reviews. For example, it generates a line of text saying that a manuscript was reviewed by a named Associate Editor, then simply states ―and‖. ,t makes no attempt to list the reviewers, either by name, or if they are anonymous. This would be trivial to do (again an issue for ScholarOne).

Taylor and Francis

    I think T&F are doing a reasonable, if unspectacular job. There are a number of things which bug me about their online service.

Journal web site

    The T&F site is poorly designed -- you have to hunt to get the current issue (it’s hidden

    on the right as ―Current contents‖). ,t’s clearly not designed with readers in mind (it’s designed by somebody who thinks corporate stuff matters more than speedy access to the content of the journal). Such people need to be taken outside and slapped severely.

Missing issues

    This has proved to be a nightmare. The T&F web site is unhelpful. Addresses are hard to find, and the customer service people are often less than helpful. In one case a member sent an email including his postal and email address in his signature, and T&F staff emailed back asking for his name and address(!).

RSS feeds

    RSS feeds are becoming a big thing, enabling users to monitor journal issues with feed reading software (or within browsers such as Firefox, safari, and the forthcoming Internet Explorer 7). They can also be used by exciting new tools such as uBio’s RSS service (, which displays current contents of journals based on taxonomic name. Journals such as MBE and the Biomednet journals have RSS feeds, T&F doesn’t. This is unsatisfactory.


    We still get a lag between when the journal goes online and when the DOIs become live. This is bizarre, and is a pain as DOIs are a very convenient way to link to our content.


,’ve not been involved in this, but , think at some point it would be worthwhile thinking

    about whether the system we have at present makes sense. The issue of membership arises in several contexts: accessing T&F (online content, dealing with missing issues) and Society membership (dues payment, ballots, etc.). At present access to online content is via a crude hack on the Systematic Biology web site (T&F’s own web site claims to provide access but doesn’t really), and we still don’t have the most obvious way for members to join (credit card online).

    Perhaps this relates to publisher negotiations, but what we have at present strikes me as messy (and expensive). Surely there is an all-in-one solution out there?

Debbie Ciszek Managing Editor’s Report

    Managing Editor’s Report June 2006, SUNY

    Note to council members: I realize the level of detail in this report is likely to be of more interest to AEs than to the council. Therefore, for anyone who does not have time to read the full report, ,’ve placed the symbol ―=>‖ at a summary statement for each section. It

    should be easy to skip from arrow to arrow and get the gist of this report.

I Submission Statistics:

    => We’ve been experiencing a dramatic increase in submission rate, which appears likely to continue through 2006. We’ve also published many book reviews (thanks to

    David Morrison), and 69% of submissions came from outside the USA.

     The graph shows total number of submissions each year, with the lower, darker portion of the bar giving the number of submissions through May of each year (this is included so that 2006 can be compared to previous years). It seems likely that our increasing impact factor is at least partly driving the increase in number of submissions.

    Book Reviews: David Morrison has been prolific in providing book reviews. He has overseen the publication of 17 reviews (4 so far in 2006, 9 in 2005 and 4 in the December issue of 2004).

Geographic origin of submissions: Of the total number of submissions we’ve received

    through MC (since we went live 25Aug05), 69% came from a corresponding author outside the United States.

II Submissions categorized by organism, and new AEs:

    => The distribution of submissions we received in 2005 that mentioned an organism in the title, keywords or abstract is shown below (next page). This may be useful in selecting additional associate editors. In terms of organism specialization, it seems that at minimum a new AE with expertise in botany would be particularly welcome.

     2005 SB submissions categorized by type of organism

A paper is listed under an organism category if the organism was mentioned in the title,

    key words, or abstract.

    Regular articles and POVs are included, but not book reviews. Papers may be listed under more than one organism category, if more than one was


    Number of papers with no organism mentioned: 89 (46% of submissions).

     Organism categories # submissions

    Bacteria & viruses 2

    Protists 2

    Algae & lichens 7

    Plants 26

    Fungi 4

    Animals_____________ _____________ ____________74

     Arthropods 22

     Mammals 16

     Fish 9

     Reptiles 8

     Birds 7

     Amphibians 3

     Cnidarians 3

     Mollusks 2

     Nematodes 2

     supertaxa 2

III Manuscript Processing Statistics:

    => The increased number of submissions is being held at bay by Rod’s 70% rejection

    rate (a somewhat inflated statistic, see below) and our backlog of papers is decreasing. The average time to return of first reviews is 52 days, but some ms’ are in review for several months. The average published length of regular articles is 15 pages; for POVs it’s half that. We currently have 720 users registered in MC.

Reject/Accept rate:

     Breakdown of Decision Categories

The above graph includes all papers submitted via MC, 25Aug0513Jun06.

    So far in 2006, Rod has returned 21 papers without review (usually ―not appropriate for journal,‖ sometimes ―reject‖). This helps speed the overall response time statistic. ,n my estimation we are not simply getting more papers that are clearly inappropriate, it’s just that their numbers are increasing proportionate to the overall submission rate. The 70% rejection rate is a counterbalance to the increased number of submissions, and our

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