We are struck by the uneven burden that the pandemic has levied on people in various circumstances: for some this is the opportunity to complete research in a more tranquil environment while for others, the responsibilities of caring for children, elderly relatives or other difficult circumstances make work deeply challenging, as suggested by a shift in submitted papers. There is a real risk that, especially for a cohort of early career researchers, family circumstances during this period may influence careers.
For the field of conservation, as a small contribution towards reducing this inequality, we suggest a process of Publication Partners. Researchers with a research paper underway (or rejected paper!) who are single parents, or parents whose partner works full time, or who have other challenging circumstances under lockdown, may request a Publication Partner through the email firstname.lastname@example.org. The partner may be used for general guidance, or you may ask them to undertake specific tasks on your behalf, such as editing, preparing figures or sorting references. The contribution of the partner would, if adopted, be stated in the paper’s acknowledgements and would be expected to be below the contribution in which authorship is offered. We will match volunteers with those who would like some support. Frith Jarrad has kindly offered to coordinate it.
Want to volunteer?
Please email email@example.com giving details of your experience, your areas of expertise and what you are able to offer. These details will not be made publically available.
Want a publication partner?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please very briefly explain your circumstances (kept confidential), a copy of the manuscript you are working on, where you are thinking of submitting it and a description of what needs to be done. If the coordinator can find someone suitable, the coordinator will send you the details of your prospective Publication Partner. You can then consider how to proceed. Usually, you will just send them an email (they will have been warned they may be contacted) and go from there. Of course, there is no obligation to adopt any input.
This is a collaborative project of the conservation community supported by the following journals. They all welcome submissions that have used this service (with suitable acknowledgement) with manuscripts, of course, assessed equally. In signing up they are simply stating that they agree with the broad objectives of this project. This service can be used to submit to any journal including those outside this list.
Avocetta – Journal of Ornithology
Conservation Science and Practice
Ecological Solutions and Evidence
Endangered Species Research
Global Ecology and Conservation
Journal of Applied Ecology
Journal of Insect Conservation
Mires and Peat
Tropical Conservation Science
We fully acknowledge that this process, even if successful, will just make a small contribution towards aiding a small fraction of those seriously affected by lockdown and that other measures are necessary. We also acknowledge that this does not deal with long-term inequalities in publishing.