Some academic paleontologists are concerned that scientifically significant fossil specimens, held in private hands, may become inaccessible to researchers. Many mainstream paleontological journals do not publish on privately held specimens for these reasons.
This month, a new online journal called the “Journal of Paleontological Sciences” (JPS) is scheduled to be released that addresses the concerns of academia, helps bridge the gap between private and public paleontologists and allows for the publication of privately held fossil specimens.
The journal and its associated website are sponsored by the Association of Applied Paleontological Sciences (AAPS) (formerly, The American Association of Paleontological Suppliers), a group of several hundred members from around the world who deal in commercial and amateur paleontology.
The website is free of charge and open to anyone interested in fossils. It will have several sections including a specimen registry where significant fossils and their important contextual information can be recorded, tracked and viewed by researchers and enthusiasts. It will also have a photographic image registry where images of privately held fossil specimens may be downloaded. This type of registry has never been available before.
The journal section of the website will publish scientific articles in all aspects of paleontology. Each manuscript will be professionally peer-reviewed by two reviewers from a pool of over 20 academic paleontologists enlisted to help ensure quality. Manuscripts which base their conclusions on privately held specimens are carefully scrutinized and there are strict rules regarding future accessibility to the fossils.
At the end of each year, journal articles deemed to be of the highest significance will be published in an annual printed edition available for a small fee. The journals new website can be found at http://www.aaps-journal.org.
This should raise a ruckus….