Dear friends of the Desert Laboratory,
I am pleased to announce the release of a new on-line, peer reviewed, open access journal, The Proceedings of the Desert Laboratory. This scholarly endeavor aims to continue the over 100 years of foundational desert research on Tumamoc Hill initiated by the Carnegie Desert Botanical Laboratory in 1903. This journal will be a space to feature the highest caliber research on arid environments. With it, I am exploring a new model that best fits the digital age – on-line, open access, and on demand. This is a movement away from pay walls and the discrimination against high quality local or regionally focused research. It is an opportunity to showcase the enormous talent of the desert research community and bring to light foundational and forward thinking work.
The inaugural publication is the gorgeously illustrated flora of Nacapule Canyon in the San Carlos region of Sonora, Mexico. This work is a significant revision of Richard Felger’s 1999 flora of this site and is a cross border collaboration between Dr. Felger, Sue Carnahan and Jésus Sánchez-Escalante. They provide a comprehensive treatment of the plants of this canyon at the desert’s southern edge in an engaging and easy to digest fashion. One can easily picture groups of students walking through the canyon with the flora on their iPads or smart phones – finally having an easily accessible guide to the botanical wonders of this site. The over 300 color photos and identification keys strip away the need to be a card carrying botanist or English as a pre-requisite.
The Proceedings will be produced about once annually and will focus on diverse disciplines in arid regions. At this time, it will not be indexed nor have a formal impact factor. This may change, though the explicit goal is not to contribute to an entrenched rewards system, rather to find new models to share and communicate knowledge.
In ten or twenty years I envision a broad array of titles that cross social and biological subjects from the sky islands to the Gulf of California and beyond. It is an honor to continue the legacy of the Desert Laboratory and I am eager to see what we can create together.
Director, Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill