Celebration: 90 Years of Ostrich

Posted 29 September 2020 by under Announcements & Notices • Journal: Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology
Celebration: 90 Years of Ostrich

An overview of the history of Ostrich Journal of African Ornithology is featured in Volume 91, Issue 3. The Editorial, written by Editor-in-Chief Dr Alan Lee is focussed on trends and developments that have arisen through the years from the inception of the Journal until it's 90th anniversary this year. 

In this Editorial, Dr Alan Lee has taken the time to take stock of where the journal is, what has worked and what has not worked to guide decisions in management, article selection and marketing to ensure that articles published by Ostrich are relevant, read, cited and get the exposure they deserve.

Thirty years ago a central consideration for an author was on the audience that a journal reached. It is far less likely in these digital times that an author will select a journal based on its readership: the overriding decision to publish is now enshrined in journal metrics, such as Impact Factor, H-factor and Scimago. To this end, the journal recently achieved its highest 5-year impact factor ever in 2019, after achieving its highest ever 2-year impact factor for 2016. 

NISC started co-publishing Ostrich with the International Taylor and Francis (T&F) publishing group in 2009, who host all articles online. Taylor & Francis also provide the ScholarOne software that authors, reviewers and editors use to handle article submissions. Today Ostrich is squarely defined as an academic journal, and hence many of the roles of the original journal were divested first to Bokmakierie and its successors: Africa Birds & Birding and African Birdlife. Access to the journal since 2003 has been by separate subscription, with printing and online hosting mostly funded through the publishers (NISC and Taylor & Francis) through article sales, with an Honorarium for the Editor-in-Chief contributed by BirdLife South Africa.

Ostrich has for the past several years offered a reward of free membership to BLSA and subscription to Ostrich to the best student paper to be published in Ostrich. However, as far back as far back as 1932 there existed a ‘Prize for Essays’ aimed at those under 16 years, with the prize a bird book and certificates.

The last century has seen the birth (and death) of several journals that compete and cater for ornithological audiences and contributors. Wikipedia lists 149 ornithological journals and bulletins, 44 of which are no longer published. Journal Citation Reports (JCR) are available for 28 of these, with Ostrich ranked 20 of 28. Some of these cater to ornithology from anywhere in the world, while others have a more regional focus. The journal was accepted for inclusion in the Science Citation Index/Web of Science prior to 1997, as well as Elsevier’s journal indexing service, Scopus. These allow comparison in terms of academic ranking with other journals.

Read more about this here.

The biggest development in the history of Quaestiones Mathematicae was the association with NISC and to have the journal running in a very stable way without severe financial concerns.
- Barry Green, QM Editor
It has been an enriching experience working with such enthusiastic and professional people at NISC who have become more friends than business partners over the years.
- Stan Pillar, Editor of the African Journal of Marine Science (1996-2013)
The paper was wonderfully laid out and rapidly published
- Author- Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology
Excellent attention by editor-in-chief; very good work of reviewers; good time for review and processing.
- Author - African Journal of Range & Forage Science
Since 1995, NISC has systematically built up competence and the necessary capacity in all aspects of publishing high-level research journals, with the professionalism needed to flourish in the increasingly competitive world of international research publications. No other publisher in South Africa commands the necessary technical skills, experience, competence, enthusiasm and resources to the same degree as NISC, in my view.
- Graham Baker, Editor of the South African Journal of Science (1973-2008)