Response from the WDA Board to petition of a journal merger

The Worldwide Dragonfly Association (WDA) was formed in 1997 because many members of the former Internationalis Odonatologica (SIO) sought a more transparent, friendly, and democratic organization. WDA has enjoyed substantial success as a member-driven organization (http://worlddragonfly.org/). We are the only international dragonfly society of record that publishes its own professional journal (International Journal of Odonatology, IJO). To relieve any personal financial responsibility of publication and to provide an online process for authors, editors and reviewers (all major journals use such a system) we recently switched to an independent publisher, Taylor & Francis. Because we are under a 5-yr. contract with T&F, WDA is committed to resolving the problems that have frustrated some subscribers. For example, T&F has offered free subscriptions to those still having problems. Currently IJO has an ISI impact factor of 0.5. In 1997, FSIO informed SIO that the society had no legal existence. FSIO is a private foundation governed by a board; it does not have members. Odonatologica is published privately on behalf of FSIO (http://osmylus.com/index.php/odonatologica). The journal Odonatologica has a current ISI impact factor of 0.28. A petition signed by 72 interested parties has requested a merger of the two journals. The board of WDA agrees that a single international journal is desirable. A single journal would be a more efficient use of everyone’s time, require only one payment for students, allow for a larger publication, and a reduction in the current editorial overlap between the two current journals. Journal unification would also facilitate the most efficient use of scarce resources of the relatively small odonatological community. For example, IJO could actually publish more pages for the same price we currently pay. In 2007-08, with Gordon Pritchard as President, WDA attempted a journal merger, suggesting that the new journal be named ‘Odonatologica – the International Journal of Odonatology’. Unfortunately, that past effort seems to have been interpreted as an attempt by WDA to usurp ‘Odonatologica’; apparently, FSIO was uncompromising in retaining the original name and procedural details. WDA has no interest in repeating that history. Nor do we seek a single journal that is jointly published on behalf of two different entities. That would defy the goal of unity and efficiency which we think is critical in a thriving organization in an age of journal proliferation and media competition. Nevertheless, the petition prompted a direct inquiry by WDA to the publisher of Odonatologica. Because the publisher currently views discussion of a merger premature, WDA will not pursue the matter unless approached directly by FSIO or the Osmylus Publisher of Odonatologica at some later date. Having twice initiated rapprochement, WDA remains open and committed to creating a single specialty journal and society to accommodate the international odonatological community. To that end, after the 6th WDA Symposium in 2009, we extended our good will to FSIO by inviting subscribers of Odonatologica to our international biennial meeting, now called the International Congress of Odonatology. Our top priority is to provide our members with value for their membership fees, which includes strengthening IJO. We look forward to discussing your ideas to guide us towards a future, more united organizational model that can serve the needs of odonatologists of all ages and affiliations in La Plata this November!