Eddy van der Maarel statement | Vegetatio | 1998 | Topica Email List Directory
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"[The following statement was written by Eddy van der Maarel on November 8, 1998, to explain the background of his decision to resign as the editor of _Vegetatio_ and launch the _Journal of Vegetative Science_. It was originally sent as email to Michael Rosenzweig on the occasion of Rosenzweig's similar efforts to launch an alternative journal. It has not yet appeared on the web and I post it here with van der Maarel's permission. --Peter Suber.]
For me, it all started back in 1974, when the Editorial Board of the journal Vegetatio was dramatically changed after a coup with Bob Whittaker (whom I had known well since 1964) and me as motors. We got the then publisher (Dr. W. Junk Publishers, The Hague) to agree with a new Editorial Board which was more or less forced upon the old Editor-in-Chief R. Tüxen, the then leading person in phytosociology. Vegetatio had been founded in 1948 as the official organ of what is now called International Association for Vegetation Science, in a gentlemen's agreement between Dr. W. Junk, Tüxen, Braun-Blanquet and a few Dutchmen. The journal had been open to all approaches but it was mainly classical phytosociology that mattered. This had to be changed, Bob and I and some others felt and so it happened. Tüxen was not as angry as one might have expected, but resigned and started a journal of his own, Phytocoenologia (which still exists). Between 1974 and 1989 several editors - I was first a secretary and later an Editor-in-Chief - developed the journal into a respected and high-impact journal. Meanwhile Junk Publishers had been bought by Nijhoff - when Junks' daughter, who had taken over, had become old. And some years later Nijhoff was bought by Kluwer. And from that moment onwards things deteriorated. For many years my contact person ("publisher" ) at Junk/Nijhoff/Kluwer had been Wil Peters; Wil has certainly tried to defend the old values and decent cooperation with the journal, but he could not prevent that the prices went up in an extravagant way. Private subscriptions still existed, but they were half the price of a library subscription and soon we had only one subscribing person left. I knew that during the 1980s Vegetatio was Kluwer's most moneymaking journal, but whatever we suggested, not so much regarding salaries (see below) but things like getting us a fax, cheap subscriptions for poor countries, free subscriptions for editors after many years of (free) service, etc...."