Scientists and naturalists with information they wish to share have several options, depending on the degree of rigour with which the information has been gathered, the target audience and the time available to package the information for that specific audience. Here are some options.
Submit to a peer-reviewed journal
A range of peer-reviewed journals is available for research that is conducted rigorously according to scientific method. Every journal has its own scope and profile, its own standards of scholarship and its own formatting style. Consult its editor for a style guide.
Peer-reviewed publication has academic status, establishes the legitimacy of the research and allows it to be indexed by the international search engines so is more visible to the world of experts in that field. However, fitting the information into the target journal’s preferred format can be time-consuming; and the peer-review process can take months or years to complete. If one journal rejects the article, perhaps many months after submission, the author is then faced with reformatting to suit a different journal.
The risk of rejection should not deter early-career scientists from submitting. Typically, a third of articles are rejected, but the comments from reviewers can be very helpful and the eventual article will almost always be improved.
Submit to a magazine or newsletter
Members “doing science” or with anecdotes to share may submit their findings for their group’s regular newsletter. The writing style for these snippets can be chatty and can include reflection and opinion beyond scientific evidence.
Web-publish on your member group’s site
Many groups invite their members to publish material on line without going into print. Web-publication does not imply lack of rigour or reliability. Contributions such as personal reminiscences, newspaper articles, conference papers and incomplete research may all be thoroughly authoritative but cannot satisfy the restrictive conventions of academic publishing.
Web-publication does not prevent an author from submitting the material later to a peer-reviewed journal as it is not deemed to be “prior scholarly publication”.
Web-publish on the Queensland Science Network site
The Resources page of the Queensland Science Network is available to any member of a participating society. Notably, there is a page for “Citizen science reports”, including datasets and experimental results that may be of interest to other investigators but haven’t yet been written up.