The Dutch Botanical Archive
The Dutch Botanical Archive wants to stand in the tradition of the Nederlandsch Kruidkundig Archief in its contents too, covering the area of field botany in its widest sense. Over the years, the successors of the Nederlandsch Kruidkundig Archief, although having a strong field botanical history, diverted from their past, and became more and more the medium for experimental biological disciplines and molecular and cell biology. It has become very difficult to publish papers on natural history topics like field botany, because of the lack of devoted journals. This is fully plausible, since field botany, like other 'natural history' disciplines, doesn't score very high on citation indexes. However, we strongly believe that field botany has its place in science, "endowing keystone support" to the truths of generalisations in the highly esteemed academic botanical sciences (Cotterill and Foissner 2010), and that for the dissemination of new knowledge a vehicle of scientific quality is needed. The Dutch Botanical Archive wants to be that vehicle.
In the 60+ years after the assimilation of the Nederlandsch Kruidkundig Archief, field botany changed considerably, mainly as a result of the increased availability of information caused by the digital revolution. Not only new information and results of modern botanical science became available for almost everyone, also historical books and other publications were digitised and placed in the internet, a process that is still going on. This facilitated the integration of old and new knowledge, stimulated the over regional study of patterns in species and vegetation, and shaped a platform for international collaboration. The result of these developments cumulate in often rather lengthy and highly specialised papers. Think of long papers on typification of names, or elaborate considerations on the species status of taxa described in the early 20th century as examples. Such papers are difficult to publish, in the absence of dedicated journals.
The Dutch Botanical Archive wants to provide in this hiatus. It will give a podium to papers dealing with field botanical issues in its broadest sense, as well as its ancillary disciplines. This includes plant taxonomy, plant geography, plant ecology, and phytosociology, as well as nomenclature and history of field botany. The main focus will be on a better understanding of the Dutch flora, but it will neither be restricted to the Dutch flora sensu stricto, nor to the territory of the Netherlands alone: all manuscripts in any way contributing to this goal are welcomed. This includes for instance revisions of groups of which one or more species are occurring in the Netherlands, the position of Dutch species in their European (or even larger) distribution areas, nomenclatural problems of groups of which only one or a few species belong to the Dutch flora, or revisions of genera with Dutch species, even if the latter are not taken into account. Shortly: the focus will be on the Dutch flora in some respect, but without a formalistic attitude, and with enough room for more internationally oriented manuscripts.
Editorial review and publishing
The Dutch Botanical Archive will publish papers after a thorough editorial review. This means we refrain from a process of peer review, and not without reason. The process of peer review is often rather time consuming, obstructing quick publication. Second, in our experience, papers dealing with nomenclatural issues, the description or evaluation of species in difficult genera, and the mere description of patterns found in nature - the main objective of natural history are better suited for an editorial review system than for a rigorous system of peer reviews.
Papers offered for publication to the Dutch Botanical Archive will be evaluated and edited by one of the editors from the team of editors. In case of highly specialised subject matters, or when questions arise, the editorial board will be consulted. After this review, the manuscript will be returned to author(s), and after the final concept is returned, it will be typeset and published on the website of the journal within some days. Every paper will be published separately, as a new number of the running volume. The Dutch Botanical Archive will appear in one volume per year, each consisting as much numbers as necessary to publish all submitted manuscripts.
We hope that the Dutch Botanical Archive will serve the botanical community in Western Europe in a better understanding of all aspects of our wild flora!