ZooKeys publishes interactive keys under the open access model

ZooKeys published a forum paper (doi:10.3897/zookeys.21.274) where the concepts of publication, citation and dissemination of interactive keys and other online keys under the open access model are discussed. The concept is illustrated by a sample paper by Sharkey et al. published in the same issue (doi:10.3897/zookeys.21.271) and two more papers published previously (doi:10.3897/zookeys.20.108 and doi:10.3897/zookeys.20.112).

The sample paper represents a taxonomic revision of a hymenopteran subfamily where keys to genera are published in a conventional dichotomous format and, additionally, in three different interactive formats (Intkey, Lucid and MX). The present model is based on previous experience with several existing examples of publishing online keys, however, it also suggests ways to publish, cite, preserve, disseminate and reuse the original data files under separate DOIs and metadata descriptors to the benefit of the authors, future workers, and society in general.

To be regarded as a “formal scientific publication,” an online key should satisfy the same criteria of peer review, registration, persistence, bibliographic description, etc., as conventional publications. Dynamic Web-based interactive keys meet some of these criteria (identification, citation and location), while they may lack other important features of it (persistence, archiving, indexing, science metric and citation metric services). Hence, dynamic interactive keys may benefit from publishing the first version of their underlying datasets in a form of “formal scientific publication”.

The forum paper discusses the minimum set of data files to be published for several different platforms (Intkey, Lucid2, Lucid3, MX) to ensure both (1) priority, identification, location and citation of the firstly published work and (2) future use and re-use of the keys.

GBIF and Pensoft signed a Memorandum of Cooperation


The Memorandum of Cooperation formalises the basis for the two organisations to facilitate discovery and access to ‘primary biodiversity data’ simultaneously with scholarly publication using GBIF’s infrastructure. ZooKeys calls upon its authors to submit supporting primary biodiversity data together with their manuscript, in conformance with GBIF promoted standards. ZooKeys will make the GBIF ‘Integrated Publishing Toolkit (IPT)’ available from its website. GBIF will provide ZooKeys with standards for primary biodiversity data sharing and a template, to be included in Zookeys’ ‘instructions for authors’. GBIF will also provide remote help-desk support to ZooKeys for ensuring maintenance of the IPT software.

On June 1, 2009, ZooKeys became the first open access journal in systematics to facilitate discovery and access to ‘primary biodiversity data’ simultaneously with scholarly publication using the GBIF infrastructure, when a paper by Miller, Griswold and Yin (2009) (http://www.pensoftonline.net/zookeys), doi: 10.3897/zookeys.11.160, published a dataset via the GBIF data portal as part of the ZooKeys publication process, which includes the assignment of a distinct DoI for datasets, a KML file with distinct DoI, etc. (see http://www.gbif.org/News/NEWS1243931673).

“Signing of MoC between ZooKeys and GBIF is a milestone step towards open access to primary biodiversity data, and an example we expect other journals will follow” says Dr. Mark Costello, President of the Society for the Management of Electronic Biodiversity Data (SMEBD). SMEBD, which recently joined GBIF as an Associate Participant, represents over 500 individual scientists who contribute to online biodiversity databases.


ZooKeys completes major publications on North American moths and butterflies

“Contributions to the systematics of North American macro-moths” (ZooKeys 9, May 2009, 134 pp.) and “Contributions …II” (ZooKeys 39, March 2010, 268 pp.) include 16 papers contributed by 22 authors on the systematics of macro-moths of North and Central America.

A revision of the noctuid genus Lasionycta (ZooKeys 30, Dec 2009, 156 pp.) included keys, descriptions, and illustrations of 43 species, 17 new.

“An annotated check list of the Lepidoptera of Alberta, Canada” (ZooKeys 38, March 2010, 549 pp.) lists 2367 species with 171 distributional or taxonomic footnotes.

“Annotated check list of the Noctuoidea of North America north of Mexico” (ZooKeys 40, March 2010, 239 pp.) lists 3693 species and includes 716 taxonomic notes and 331 literature references documenting all changes from the previous 1983 check list.