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JFL: That’s two questions, with slightly different answers. As for TC interest in particular ASA publications, the TCs are fairly even as far as publishing in JASA and POMA, with the number of publications scaling with journal volume
and with membership numbers in each TC, more or less. For JASA-EL, the Speech Communication TC does seem to like it more than most, with Psychological and Physi- ological Acoustics and Underwater Acoustics in second place. I’m not sure why those TCs like JASA-EL, and we can look into it. Basically, I’m just pleased that they do!
The answer to the second question is not so much con- cerned with the TCs as with basic publishing needs. JASA’s niche is that of a standard, peer-reviewed, archival journal. JASA-EL provides a shorter format, full open access, and a quicker route to producing a peer-reviewed publication. POMA is an editor-reviewed conference proceedings, which gives both academics and practitioners a way to publish their conference talk results quickly without the full rigor of the peer-review process. And Acoustics Today is our “general public interested in science and its applica- tions” magazine, which is, in many ways, our best public interface. Each publication has its niche and purpose.
JAC: A fun question: In this era of information and dis- information (probably more of the latter of late), what is the role of the peer-reviewed journal?
JFL: A fun question, indeed. One thing that I will state outright is that I do not see that we should participate to any large extent in trying to debunk the large amount of misinformation and disinformation being spread around. It takes 10 times the effort to debunk bad information than it does to create it. So it’s a losing battle, timewise. Also, I would point out that many of the “misinformers” are very skilled at debating, whereas scientists, although they may have the truth on their side, can easily be made to look bad by crafty debaters.
The best thing we can do, and indeed our mission, is to put out good, reliable information on acoustic topics of interest and importance. That’s what peer-reviewed jour- nals endeavor to do. Is the peer-review process perfect? No, but it puts out the best-vetted material possible and has a very high “reliability factor.”
On a related note, I’ll also note that we scientists also can have some strong opinions and can be activists in certain
areas. Wind turbines, marine mammal concerns, the effects of common ultrasonic devices, and many other real-world concerns and problems generate as strong opinions among scientific and technical people as any other sector of the concerned population. However, we can’t, and don’t, allow that activism to be expressed in our scientific and technical papers. As much as it may seem restrictive, we need to keep to the Joe Friday (for those who may remember the TV show Dragnet) “just the facts...” attitude. Doing otherwise compromises our publication’s integrity and credibility. Commentary on important social issues and policy statements come at the ASA level, not via our peer-reviewed publications. I would note that some Society policy discussion can appear in Acoustics Today and some opinions discussed at meeting presentations appear in POMA, but these are both simply editor vetted, not peer reviewed. Overall, we make every effort to present careful, well-considered information.
JAC: What are your thoughts on press releases?
JFL: Our publications are monthly or quarterly so press releases about the material they contain are not as timely as you would find in daily or weekly publications. But we do have occasional press releases through the American Institute of Physics (AIP), and, of course, the ASA has them as part of our meetings.
JAC: The “old-fashioned” journal article, with regular text, figures, and format, has been around seemingly for- ever. What are the new innovations to it, if any?
JFL: The old-style article still has a great deal of life left in it, and I think that format will be around for a good time to come, whether in print (which is diminishing, by the way) or electronically (which is the dominant genre nowadays). But it has a number of augmentations now as well. Audio and video files, extensive amounts of supplementary material, computer programs, and hyperlinks are all commonplace features of a modern journal article. Also, we now are moving to other vehi- cles that communicate the author’s message. Podcasts, video abstracts, “Tweetorials” (short-form tutorials on Twitter), YouTube videos, and similar web-based com- munications are or will become part of our publication portfolio. We are paying attention to the new channels that arise, and when it looks like there is a good oppor- tunity to better disseminate our material, we will jump
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