Announcing a series of new Southeastern Naturalist special issues: Gulf of Mexico Natural History and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

As a regional broad-spectrum natural history science journal specifically focused on the southeastern United States, the Southeastern Naturalist is seeking to respond in a timely, yet measured way, to the crisis created by the Deepwater Horizon oil well spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The Southeastern Naturalist is hereby extending a cordial invitation to authors who are interested in submitting a manuscript for the first of a series of special issues focusing on the Gulf of Mexico region, dedicated to providing a broad overview by way of research articles 1) presenting baseline data on the “pristine” natural history of the open and coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico and adjacent coastal habitats, 2) documenting immediate ecological consequences of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and of mitigation efforts to deal with them, 3) documenting long-term ecological restoration efforts, and 4) addressing long-term regional and global ecological consequences and implications of the oil spill. Manuscripts focusing on marine, estuarine, freshwater, and coastal habitats and their biota will be considered for peer-review for possible publication as natural history science articles. Guidelines and information about manuscript preparation are available in the Southeastern Naturalist’s standard Instructions for Authors. Every effort will be made to expedite the peer-review process of manuscripts, while maintaining the journal’s traditional high peer review standards.

The Gulf of Mexico special issues will follow an online article-by-article publishing model. Manuscripts which have met the goals of the peer-review and editing process will be formally published/uploaded as full-text searchable PDFs on the journal’s website and other websites (e.g., as soon as galley proofs have been reviewed and accepted by their respective authors and guest editors. The Table of Contents will thus be updated as each article is published. Once each special issue has been finalized online, a print version will be issued. This online article-by-article publishing model helps the journal to respond in a timely way to the fast-moving crisis caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, giving authors the benefit of instant global availability of their articles to other researchers. Articles in the Gulf of Mexico special issues will thus not be sorted by subject matter, but will collectively contribute to what will, over time, become a comprehensive and broad-ranging overview of a complex subject. Indexing in major online scientific databases will include Web of Science, Scopus, Biosis, etc. The first special issue is expected to be finalized at the end of 2011 and will be citable as a 2010-2011 issue. Additional special issues will be undertaken, as needed, starting with a 2012-2013 issue.

Science Advisory Board nominations. In the interest of seeking expert advice and maintaining impartiality, the Southeastern Naturalist welcomes nominations for the Science Advisory Board of its series of Gulf of Mexico special issues. Names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and reasons for recommendations are appreciated. The journal is looking for a minimum of a dozen very senior scientists who have excellent networking and consensus-building relationships with State and Federal agencies and universities and nonprofit organizations with research interests in the Gulf region. The Science Advisory Board will pre-review all manuscripts submitted for the special issues.

Manuscript submissions. Manuscripts may be submitted at any time. Inquiries about possible manuscript submissions are welcome (e-mail preferred). Manuscripts should be drafted following the standard Author Instructions of the Southeastern Naturalist (, but additional guidelines are at the discretion of the Science Advisory Board. Page charges for authors have been reduced to $30 per article page for the Gulf of Mexico special issues, but this may be waived, pending contributions of co-sponsors. Supplemental online files-e.g., map, data, and photo/video files-may be submitted for permanent archiving as an integral part of articles.

Co-sponsorships. In the interest of facilitating a sustained publication effort focused on the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the Gulf of Mexico region, and recognizing that the special issue series will be a region-wide effort, the Southeastern Naturalist welcomes co-sponsorships of the series by other organizations committed to conducting and/or facilitating research within the region. Co-sponsors will receive high profile recognition by way of their logos in the Acknowledgments section(s) of a series of journal special issues which will become standard references for the responses of the scientific community to the Deepwater Horizon oil well spill. See for an example of an Acknowledgments section of the most recent special issue of the Southeastern Naturalist.

Distribution of announcement. Please consider passing on this announcement to your colleagues and students, along with your personal recommendation. An e-mail version is available upon request for distribution to listservs and e-mail lists, etc.

Comments. Frank comments, suggestions, and questions about the Gulf special issues collaborative initiative are welcome!

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