The natural history journal Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde (aus dem Staatlichen Museum für Naturkunde in Stuttgart) was founded in 1957, with Karl Wilhelm Harde as editor. Harde, who was a coleopterist and editor of the series Die Käfer Mitteleuropas, was at that time head of the entomology department at the Stuttgart State Museum of Natural History (SMNS). He stayed at the helm of the journal—which in 1973 became Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde Serie A (Biologie) following the creation of sister-journal Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde Serie B (Geologie und Paläontologie)—until 1980, with brief editorial help from Helmut Zwölfer in the early 1970s. Harde was succeeded by another entomologist, Psocoptera specialist Wolfgang Seeger, from 1980 until June 2003, when Seeger retired from his curatorial position at SMNS and was replaced as editor by dipterist and Tachinidae specialist Hans-Peter Tschorsnig. Articles in the Stuttgarter Beiträge were published throughout the year as individual printed issues, from N. 1 (1957)—a paper by Albrecht Faber on song structure and the phylogenetic similarities of stridulation organs in Orthoptera—to N. 708 (2007), the description of a new tachinid species from Europe by Christer Bergström.
In 2008, the journal underwent a change in format from single reprints to yearly volumes printed in a larger format with the text in two columns. This change came with a slight adjustment of the name, to Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde A (Neue Serie), and with the establishment of an editorial board of scientists from the SMNS and other international institutions. Tschorsnig remained in charge of the journal until his retirement in 2017, which coincided with the decision of a more drastic name change to the English Integrative Systematics (Stuttgart Contributions to Natural History). The journal, which is published and archived online by BioOne, was edited by hymenopterist Lars Krogmann in (2018) and by mayfly and stonefly specialist Arnold Staniczek in (2019–2020), both of whom I thank for help and advice during the transition, together with Sabine Petri, Günter Schweigert, Anne Schubert, Ulrich Schmid, Hossein RajaeI, Holger Thüs, Ursula Eberhardt, Hans-Peter Tschorsnig, Dominic Wanke, Arnaud Faille, Wolfgang Schawaller, and Jonah Ulmer (all SMNS), Nicholas Thurland (Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum, Berlin), Ute Wanninger (Verlagsdruckerei Schmidt, Neustadt an der Aisch), Thomas Pape (Natural History Museum, Copenhagen), Richard Pyle (Bishop Museum, Honolulu), Jasmin Agtutubo and Alexandra Frankel (BioOne), Bianca Crowley (Biodiversity Heritage Library), Ernest Bernard (University of Tennessee, Knoxville), and Giulio Mela (Ricerca sul Sistema Energetico—RSE SpA, Milan).
Since its foundation in the late 1950s, the journal has had a strong tradition for publishing insect systematics research, influenced early on by the succession of entomologist editors and by the contributions of several productive SMNS-based entomologists such as Erwin Lindner, Willi Hennig, Dieter Schlee, Benno Herting, and Harde. Indeed, over eighty percent of the 253 articles published in its first fifteen years, i.e., before the foundation of Serie B (1957–1972), were on insects. A large proportion of these articles were on the order Diptera (true flies), with charismatic figures such as Lindner and Hennig paving the way for contributions by many of the leading dipterists of that time, such as Harold Oldroyd, Curtis Sabrosky, George Steyskal, Brian Stuckenberg, Louis Mesnil, Kenneth Spencer, Boris Rohdendorf, and Fritz Zumpt. Hennig himself, one of the most influential evolutionary biologists and the founder of phylogenetic systematics, published some thirty papers in the Stuttgarter Beiträge, including pioneering works on fossil insects preserved in amber. Oskar Sebald (botany) and Ernst Schüz (ornithology) also contributed several papers to the journal early on, as have Wolfgang Schawaller (Coleoptera), Helmut Schmalfuss (Isopoda), Tschorsnig, and Ronald Fricke (ichthyology) in more recent years. Finally, the SMNS's important scientific collections have formed the basis of thousands of pages of the journal, written by naturalists from around the world.
With the current volume (4) of Integrative Systematics, which will be published in print at the end of the year, I introduce a few important changes to the journal while maintaining its traditional format and layout. Articles will be published online before appearing in print, in compliance with the latest rules of the zoological and botanical codes. In addition, different article types are introduced, including, besides research articles, short communications and review articles. Short communications are introduced in the spirit of the journal's new name, in recognition of the fact that a better knowledge of biodiversity comes from an integrated approach that also includes pieces of the puzzle such as new distributional, behavioural, and ecological information. Other minor changes include moving of the acknowledgements section to a more conventional position near the end of each article.
Integrative Systematics, which remains open access and free of charge for authors, will continue its mission to describe and document the world's biodiversity, and contribute to a better understanding of nature's complex interactions, a mission made even more urgent by the ongoing crisis of the natural world. I look forward to receiving your manuscripts on animals, algae, fungi, and plants.