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2 January 2014 Online scientific publishing backed by 130 years of excellence
Mark E. Hauber
Author Affiliations +

Ever since the time when I was a work-study student, unwrapping posted copies of bird journals at Yale University's William Roberston Coe Ornithology Library, I have always considered The Auk to be the primary journal for articles about broadly relevant advances in avian biology. More recently, when my students and colleagues from around the world ask me where to send their latest manuscript for publication, I have started to respond by recollecting the years 20022003, when I submitted and first published articles in The Auk. One of those papers was a conceptual review of the types of novel questions that evolutionary and behavioral biologists would be able to answer using new molecular technologies about brood parasitic birds (Hauber and Dearborn 2003). The other article was an experimental test of the impact of egg-capping by eggs of brood parasites on host hatching success (Hauber 2003); this project was based on hypotheses proposed and tested in Tinbergen's classic paper on eggshell removal by Black-headed Gulls Chroicocephalus (Larus) ridibundus (Tinbergen et al. 1962). Why did I submit these two manuscripts initially to The Auk? Because in my assessment, those themes and studies represented novel contributions to fundamental aspects of the discipline of ornithology, and The Auk was the place to publish such contributions. This status has been confirmed most recently by our publication's number 1 standing in the 2012 round of impact factor rankings in ornithology.

So, why should you, readers and authors, continue to support and publish in our journal? It is because today, the journal of the American Ornithologists' Union starts a new phase of its 130-year-old history, with a title true to its tradition of excellence in ornithological research. The Auk: Ornithological Advances becomes a primarily online journal, with articles published in their final content, format, and pagination on our new Internet platform, as soon as the copyeditors and proofreaders have finished their work. Together with a fully online submission and editorial process, the new editorial flow should dramatically decrease the latency from submission to publication for authors, and provide new articles for the reader on a weekly basis. Publication will continue to be dependent on a rigorous peer-review process, aided by the team of two independent editors, and a board of enthusiastic associate editors, that includes more women than ever before, and draws upon a diversity of expertise and perspectives within ornithology. To follow demonstrated cases of reducing referee bias, we have also instituted an optional double-blind manuscript-handling system.

We also welcome our revamped, and primarily online, sibling journal, published by the Cooper Ornithological Society, The Condor: Ornithological Applications. For articles that are better suited in content for the new Condor, we have established an in-house online transfer process, so that authors interested in having their research continue to be considered by our combined publication office will save time by avoiding the many steps of a brand new submission process. We have revised the chromatic scheme (see Figure 1), and standardized the fonts and formatting requirements of both journals to make the PDFs easier to read onscreen. Color photos and illustrations online are free of charge to authors, and page length is flexible. The printed issues are continuing to be published quarterly in 2014 (with grayscale figures), and delivered to members of the AOU and institutional subscribers who request them, with our new front cover sporting a representative photograph from the issue's birds. Online and print issues will continue to include, in addition to Research Articles, Perspectives, Reviews, and Commentaries, our regular features of 100 Years Ago in the AOU, In Memoriam pieces, AOU award-winner profiles, and Book Reviews. Our new publication platform supports multi-media links for supplementary materials, and we are working on providing those links within articles as well. Finally, there is an option of open access for published papers at an additional fee at the time of publication. All articles will be open access after a delay period that will be announced soon.

The Auk: Ornithological Advances is the scientific publication of the AOU aimed at proudly and effectively serving ornithologists specifically, and biologists in general. Its continued success during this new phase will critically depend on members supporting and advocating on behalf of our journal and the new research published in it.

Please join us as readers and contributors!


Mark E. Hauber, Editor-in-Chief

The Auk: Ornithological Advances


As Editor-in-Chief, I thank the American Ornithologists' Union for the appointment, the editors, associate editors, and managing editors of the new journal for their talent and commitment, and the collaborative and complementary publication plans of the AOU and the Cooper Ornithological Society to envision and effect the new and coordinated publication scheme. I thank Kim Smith, Spencer Sealy, and Michael Murphy for their dedicated service as recent Editors-in-Chief of The Auk. I am grateful to Rebecca Safran and Kathleen Erickson for comments on an earlier draft. Funding for my own academic research, writing, and service is provided by Hunter College and the Human Frontier Science Program.



M. E Hauber (2003). Egg-capping is a cost paid by hosts of interspecific brood parasites. The Auk 120:860–865. Google Scholar


M. E Hauberand D. C Dearborn (2003). Parentage without parental care: What to look for in genetic studies of obligate brood-parasitic mating systems. Perspectives in Ornithology. The Auk 120:1–13. Google Scholar


N. G Tinbergen G. J Broekkhuysen F Feekes J. C. W Houghton H Kruukand E Szulc (1962). Egg shell removal by the Black-headed Gull, Larus ridibundus L.: A behaviour component of camouflage. Behaviour 19:74–117. Google Scholar


New cover design of The Auk: Ornithological Advances. The first issue features a Brown-headed Cowbird egg in a clutch of the Eastern Phoebe. Photo credit: Marie Read

Mark E. Hauber "Online scientific publishing backed by 130 years of excellence," The Auk 131(1), 1-2, (2 January 2014).
Published: 2 January 2014
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