Report of the Honorary Editor.
At the Standing Committee held on September 15th, 1949, I was appointed Honorary Editor in succession to Miss Marion Fyfe.
In October all manuscripts, proofs, correspondence, and stationery in Miss Fyfe's hands were forwarded to me. At that time Part 1 of Volume 78 of the Transactions was being set up by the printers and was duly published in February, 1950. It contained the report of the annual meeting of the Society held on May 25th, 1948, and 14 papers (zoology, 7; geology, 3; palaeontology, 1; and botany, 3.) Volume 78, Parts 2/3, containing 19 articles and a biography, are in galley form, some in page form, and the manuscript for Part 4 has been forwarded to the printers.
The Report of the Royal Society's Sixth Science Congress was published in November, 1949, as Volume 77, Part 5 of the Transactions. Although this part was numbered in the same series as the other parts of the volume the pagination of Part 4 is not followed so that in Volume 77 pages 1–412 are duplicated. Authors and bibliographers will therefore have to take care when quoting this volume, it being necessary in all cases to give the number of the part in connection with the page numbers.
There is a considerable lag between the date of issue printed on the parts of the Transactions and their receipt by members. Volume 78, Part 1, for instance, is dated February, 1950, and copies were sent to the editor and secretary at that time, but members generally did not receive their copies until April. In the case of the New Zealand Science Congress volume the date on the title-page is November, 1949, but my copy did not reach me until February, 1950. This is a serious matter for workers in science. The date of issue as printed on the title-page should, in my opinion, be in accordance with the actual time the parts are available to members and others.
The dating of separates “issued separately” is a practice that is not to be commended as, if the issue of separates does precede the publication of the part of the Transactions in which they appear, the separates are at the most available to only one person and his correspondents and are not available to the members of the Society and the public. It has happened that priority of publication of scientific names has been obtained by quoting the date “issued separately.” The present practice is to put after the words “issued separately” the date on the corresponding part of the Transactions. The words “issued separately” consequently have no meaning and, furthermore, are confusing. I have, therefore, beginning with Volume 78, Parts 2/3, omitted these words under the title of the paper and added the date to the reference at the foot of the first page of every paper.
At the last annual meeting of the Society the question of the general appearance of the Transactions was discussed and a sample of a suggested format was submitted by the then Honorary Editor, Miss Fyfe. This was in small quarto size, which is the same height as the Transaction but about £3/4-inch wider. This allows a 5-inch column of text and more space for illustrations. The effect is a more attractive publication. The small quarto size has been adopted by most, if not all, the Royal Societies and Museums in Australia and by many other institutions in various parts of the world, including the Dominion Museum. I recommend that a decision on this question be made at this meeting so that if quarto size be adopted the first matter to be put into print for Volume 80, namely, the report of this meeting, can be set up in 5-inch columns. Normally the manuscript would go to the printers about the end of the year, that is, some months before the next annual meeting.
The printers, the ‘Otago Daily Times Co. Ltd,’ have been prompt in typesetting manuscripts, distributing proofs, and publishing the bound parts. Their proof-reading of scientific papers has been of a very high standard so that authors have had a minimum of corrections to make.
I think, therefore, that the Society's appreciation of the efficiency with which the publication of the Transactions has been carried out should be placed on record.
(Signed) W. R. B. Oliver, Hon. Editor.