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FAQs

June 12, 2012, 12:36 pm
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Technical FAQs

How do I create a new article?

While logged in click the Create Article button on the right sidebar of the homepage.  But, Before you start writing your first article please read some of the established guidelines.

How do I add an image to my article?

While editing the article, click inside the text box and press the Insert/Edit Image button. Now you can either pull an image directly from another website (right click the image and click Copy Image Location) OR save the image on your computer and click the Browse button.

Images in the body of the article can be edited by selecting the image (after uploading), then clicking the image button   to edit for size. Within the same image editing pop-up window, you can format text wrapping by selecting  “Align."

How do I add a video to my article?

You must first upload your video to youtube and copy the url.  In the article Edit mode press the Add Video button. Paste the youtube url.

General FAQs

What is the audience for the EoE?

The intended audience for the EoE is the educated lay public.  An early undergraduate student should be able to easily comprehend your article.  You should assume that the audience is intelligent, but they may know little about the subject matter on which they seek information. The level of writing will fall somewhere between that found in a good newspaper (e.g. NY Times, LA Times) and that found in a good general encyclopedia (e.g. Encyclopedia Britannica).

Who Publishes the EoE?

The Encyclopedia is published by the Environmental Information Coalition (EIC), National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE). NCSE is a 501(c)(3)non-profit organization with a reputation for objectivity, responsibility, and achievement in its promotion of a scientific basis for environmental decisionmaking. The EIC is the governing body of the EoE, and is comprised of a diverse group of respected scientists and educators, and the organizations, agencies, and institutions for which they work. The Editorial Board defines the roles and responsibilities for individuals and institutions involved in the Coalition, as well as the editorial guidelines for EoE content.

Why should I allocate my scarce time to the EoE?

  • Your work will reach a wider and more diverse audience than with traditional print publications. Our goal is to make the EoE the world’s best and largest resource for information about the Earth, its environments, and their interaction with society. The audience you reach with an article will grow to be huge relative to a traditional print outlet.
  • Your work remains up-to-date. Articles in the EoE remain active in the author’s wiki, and can be continuously updated and re-published to the public site after each revision.
  • Your work will enhance your scholarly and professional development. Listing your EoE entry on your CV or resume will have impact because with its distinguished community of scholars and editors, the EoE will be widely respected.
  • You will be part of a publishing model that is rapidly changing the world of scholarly publication. As you already know, the world of scholarly publication is rapidly changing, with various electronic models challenging, and in many cases replacing, traditional print outlets. The EoE is on the forefront of this revolution by combining the quality control provided by expert content review with the wiki technology that promotes collaboration and enables a massive scaling-up of content, all of which is continuously kept up-to-date.
  • Your professional networks will be enhanced. The collaboration model of the EoE will connect you with old friends and many new colleagues. By encouraging large numbers of people to collaborate on a single entry, as well as participate on overall governance, the EoE will open new professional horizons.

How is the EoE different than Wikipedia?

  1. Virtually anyone can add, delete, or change content in Wikipedia. In the EoE, this privilege is restricted to individuals judged by their peers to be experts in their fields.
  2. Content on Wikipedia is determined by the equally-weighted voices of all those who want and choose to contribute. The EoE is part scholarly-democracy and part rigorous-meritocracy. The EoE is democratic in the sense that many content and governance decisions are made with input from many diverse scholars. But, the EoE is also a rigorous meritocracy in the sense that important, overreaching editorial decisions are made by the Senior Editors and the Topic Editors and applied to each and every article.
  3. In Wikipedia, there is a view that the involvement of experts is unnecessary. The EoE is based on the premise that input from experts is essential to produce trustworthy information.
  4. Authorship in Wikipedia is anonymous. All work in the EoE is attributed to the individual who did it.
  5. Changes to Wikipedia articles are viewable by the public instantly. Changes to the EoE are viewable instantly by participants, but article versions must be approved by a Topic Editor prior to being published to the public web site.
  6. Erroneous, misleading, mediocre, out-of-date, or slanderous material on Wikipedia has gone undetected for months. The restricted access nature of the EoE authors' wiki in combination with the content review process significantly reduces the opportunity and means for bad entries to start in the first place, as well as the length of time they could go undetected.
  7. There is no overall, coherent organization of articles in Wikipedia. The taxonomy of the Encyclopedia of Earth organizes articles according to a logical structure developed by experts and is reflected in the left-hand flyout menu bars.

How is the EoE different than The Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS)?

  1. The EOLSS is fee-based. Currently a general user must pay EUROS €66/UK£44/US$80 for a 2 year subscription, or belong to an organization that pays an institutional rate. The EoE is free.
  2. The EOLSS has no stated policy regarding the treatment of controversial scientific subjects. The EoE has an explicit neutrality policy that requires content which touches on any issue of controversy to be fair and insofar as possible neutral.
  3. Entries in the EOLSS range from 5,000 to 30,000 words. Entries in the EoE are shorter, ranging from 250 to about 5,000 words.
  4. The EOLSS system is aimed at university-level students, professional practitioners and informed specialists, and research personnel. The EOE is a general encyclopedia about the Earth whose audience is the educated lay public—people who think about the world around them, including the environment, and expand their understanding with reading.
  5. Entries in the EOLSS are relatively static and are not updated on a regular basis. Through the use of the wiki technology, the EoE intends to be constantly kept up to date by an ever-expanding community of experts.
  6. Cross-references in the EOLSS are limited to links to other chapters that appear in a pop-up window. In the EoE, authors add in-text links that directly send the reader to a topic of interest
  7. Topics in the EOLSS are determined by an Editorial Board. Topics in the EoE are dynamically generated by the authors working on the wiki.

How does the public access the EoE?

Once an article on the author's wiki is approved by a Topic Editor, it is "published" to the free public site. Here the public can view the article in its entirety: text, images, links, authors, etc. The public site will not, however, contain other information at the author's wiki, such as people's contact information, the full history of the article, discussion on the wiki regarding the article, and other such details.

Who decides who can contribute?

The Editorial Board of the Environmental Information Coalition (EIC),the governing body of the Encyclopedia of Earth, reviews the qualifications of all applicants to the EoE authors' wiki. The EIC is comprised of a diverse group of respected scientists and educators, and the organizations, agencies, and institutions for which they work. The EIC defines the roles and responsibilities for individuals and institutions involved in the Coalition, as well as the editorial guidelines for Earth Portal content.

Author FAQs

What material can I use for an EoE article?

We do not expect authors to write all new original material for the Encyclopedia, nor do we expect you to re-invent the wheel with basic material that is essential but that has been written about extensively already. Thus, to the fullest extent possible, you should use material that you or others have already prepared, subject to any applicable copyright restrictions. Here are some suggestions.

  1. Use material for which you own the copyright. This might be material developed for your class, lectures, consulting, reports, other web sites, and so on, for which you retain the copyright.
  2. Extract material from one or more previous works, including your own, whose copyright rests with another party, and use it in your article in such a way that constitutes fair use under U.S copyright law. Fair use allows scholars, researchers and others to use protected works for socially productive purposes without seeking permission, but important restrictions apply.
  3. Obtain permission from the copyright holder to use material in the Encyclopedia, such as a journal article or book chapter for which you surrendered copyrights to the publisher.
  4. Write new material from scratch.

Who holds the copyright to my EoE article?

You retain the right to use your EoE entry in other publishing efforts. All content in the EoE is governed by the Creative Commons license known as "Attribution-Share Alike". This license permits anyone (including yourself) to (1) copy, distribute, and display your work, (2) work remix, tweak, and build upon your work, and to make commercial use of your work, subject to these conditions:

  • Attribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor.
  • Share Alike. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one.

Note that the Share Alike requirement acts as a disincentive for commercial operations to try to profit from your work: the most recent, reliable copy of the work will always reside with Encyclopedia. This follows directly from the Encyclopedia's editorial policy that specifically encourages collaborators working on the Encyclopedia to update each other's articles. Hence, the continuously-edited version of the article that appears in the Encyclopedia will be the community's in a robust sense.

Do I need a Ph.D. to contribute?

No. The Senior Editors, the International Advisory Board for the Earth Portal, and most Topic Editors have a Ph.D., as will many contributors. But the principal qualification is a person's expertise on specific topics and their ability to communicate jargon-free technical information with sophistication and clarity. This community of scholars includes scientists and educators at major research universities as well as teaching-oriented colleges and community colleges; some high school educators; scientists/analysts at think tanks, NGOs, government agencies, etc. who are appropriately qualified; professionals from business, trade groups, professional organizations, etc. who are appropriately qualified. Clearly, not all such individuals will have a Ph.D.

Can anyone edit any article?

Roughly speaking, everyone who has been given access to this wiki can edit any article. However, please keep in mind that:

  • Only experts are given access to the authors' wiki.
  • All contributions and edits are identified with the name of the scholar in the contribution register, and are viewable to everyone on the wiki in the "history" section of each page.
  • We expect that the contributors to the Encyclopedia of Earth will always behave with respect toward each other and toward each other's work.
  • All contributions and edits are reviewed by at least the relevant Topic Editor before they are published to the public version of the encyclopedia.
  • If you plan to make a significant revision or addition to an entry written by someone else, you should notify the primary author, by email, or at least place an explanation in the "discussion" section of the article.
  • If you strongly disagree with the meaning or point of view expressed in an article that cannot be resolved with the lead author, please contact the relevant Topic Editor, who will attempt to resolve the issue. If the Topic Editor cannot resolve the issue (by suggesting appropriate text, or an additional article, with a reference to the different perspective in the original article, or in some other manner) the matter will be referred to the Editor in Chief who will address the matter.
  • Bearing these caveats in mind, contributors should edit boldly. Distinguished scholars have contributed their work knowing that it would be edited by the expert community, of which you are a part.

Since most of the work will be done out in the open subject to mutual observation, we expect that people will act with proper decorum and order, even as they effectively take the initiative that is given to them. Among other things, this means that contributors are expected to understand when an issue requires expertise beyond their own area of specialization. To make this system work participants must be equipped with a mixture of boldness and humility.

Do all the authors of my article need to have a user names?

Yes, every contributor needs to have their qualifications reviewed and accepted by the Stewardship Committee of the EIC. This ensures that all articles are written by authors with appropriate expertise in their field.

What topics can I write on?

You can write on anything within the scope of the Encyclopedia of Earth for which you have expertise.

We encourage you to refer to the Taxonomy (on the left-hand navigation) and peruse for topic areas that need attention. Clicking on an article title will bring you to that article's page. The article lists are maintained by the Topic Editors, with input from contributors. We encourage you to send Topic Editors suggestions on how to improve and expand this list. The Taxonomy is constantly being expanded or otherwise modified.

Contributors should not feel constrained, however, by the list of requested articles. Simply starting a new page is always an option to start a new entry. We encourage you to be creative. However, please check first to see if the article you are interested in is listed in the Taxonomy, or use the search function to see if the article already exists. Be aware of articles on the same topic that may have slightly different names.

Is there a limit to how many entries I can contribute or edit?

No. We encourage you to contribute or edit as many articles on topics about which you are expert as possible. Sometimes you may want to contribute general articles, sometimes a very specific article, sometimes an article with geographic focus, sometimes a biography of an important individual. Feel free to be creative and contribute as much as you can.

How is authorship determined?

The EoE has attribution guidelines that describe how authorship is determined. In summary, the guidelines suggest the following:

  1. The Topic Editor(s) are assigned by the larger Editorial Workgroup. Eventually, this information will be automatically generated from a database maintained by the Editorial Workgroup.
  2. The Lead Author line is awarded only by Topic Editors, and only to someone who has started the topic off with a truly excellent article, or who expanded a previously incomplete article by more than 50%, making it into an excellent, usable, and complete article.
  3. Contributing authors are those who write or significantly rework the content. As a rule of thumb a contributor should add to or alter an article by at least ten percent of the total anticipated length of the article, or 500 words (whichever is less)
  4. A Copyeditor is someone who copyedits and makes many (say, a dozen at least) useful copyediting changes throughout an advanced version of an article.
  5. Anyone may remove his or her own name from the contributor listing for whatever reason.

Note that Contributing authors and Copyeditors are tasked with honestly placing their own names where they belong, knowing others are watching, following the attribution guidelines.

How should a contribution to the EoE be cited?

First of all, it is important to note that every single revision of an entry, even a comma insertion, is recorded on the author’s wiki. Go to a page on the wiki and click on the "HISTORY" tab at top of the page. You will see every change ever made, when it was done, and by whom. This history cannot be altered by users. Note that you can click on any two versions and compare them to see exactly what someone did. Everyone has access to the history of every page. Thus, it will be crystal clear who did what.

Citation in a CV or a resume

Suppose Lakshmi Banerjee writes an entry that is published in 2006. She is the sole author and John Smith is the Topic Editor that approves publication, and he also approves Lakshmi as Lead Author. Lakshmi could update her CV with the following entry:

Banerjee, Lakshmi (Lead Author); John Smith(Topic Editor) 2006. "Rural Electrification in Developing Nations." Encyclopedia of Earth. Ed. Cutler J. Cleveland. (Washington, D.C.: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment). [First published February 28, 2006].

Here the publisher, Editor in Chief, and approving Topic Editor are listed.

Now suppose in 2008, Wen Li and Maria de Silva make significant additions to the entry begun in 2006, and are listed as Contributing Authors. John Smith is still the Topic Editor and he approves the publication of the revised entry. Here is what might happen:

1. Lakshmi Banerjee would do nothing to her CV since she already listed it in 2006. This assumes she did not make significant changes/additions between 2006 and 2008 to warrant re-publication of the entry. If she did, she might list the same publication again in 2008, but that is a sticky wicket that she would have to consider carefully.

2. Wen Li and Maria de Silva could update their CV in 2008 with the following entry:

Banerjee, Lakshmi (Lead Author), Maria de Silva and Wen Li (Contributing Authors); John Smith (Topic Editor). 2008. "Rural Electrification in Developing Nations." Encyclopedia of Earth. Eds. Cutler J. Cleveland and John Smith. (Washington, D.C.: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment). [First published February 28, 2006; Last revised March 17, 2008].

Note that the “last revised” date has been added to indicate the date of re-publication, and the URL is static. The order of authors is Lead Author(s) first, followed by Contributing Authors in alphabetical order, and then the approving Topic Editor. Departing from traditional citation protocol, the various roles are listed to explicitly distinguish the levels and types of contributions that can be made to a single article.

Public Retrieval

A related issue is how an article should be cited when it is retrieved by a user from the public site. Every article at the public site will have a “How to Cite” button that when clicked would suggest the following for the article above that was re-published in 2008:

Banerjee, Lakshmi (Lead Author), Maria de Silva and Wen Li (Contributing Authors); John Smith (Topic Editor). 2008. "Rural Electrification in Developing Nations." Encyclopedia of Earth. Eds. Cutler J. Cleveland (Washington, D.C.: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment). [First published February 28, 2006; Last revised March 17, 2008; Retrieved April 19, 2008].

Here the “retrieval” dates is the date that the user accesses the article at the public site.

What about controversial topics?

There are legitimate differences in opinion among experts in areas such as nuclear power, climate change, risk assessment, and environmental policy, to name just a few. The ideal scenario is a collaborative entry with multiple authors whose perspectives span the range of legitimate opinions. This would be the case even if the article stakes a particular position within that range. We recommend:

  • An article should recognize all other legitimate points of view.
  • If adequate space cannot be found within an article to address a different point of view, a link should be included to send the reader to separate, more detailed treatments of the alternative position.
  • The goal is to assure that the reader has access to the full range of legitimate scientific opinion, regardless of which entry she reads and has sufficient understanding to form her own point of view.
  • Different points of view and scholars with different opinions should always be referred to with respect and neutrality, never disparagingly or pejoratively. Indeed, all views should be stated sympathetically, or as sympathetically as possible, in a system that characterizes a wide array of views.

Topic Editor FAQs

What is the role of the Topic Editor in the EoE?

Topic Editors are individuals who provide editorial oversight for specific parts of the EoE. They are selected for this role based on both their expertise in the given domain and their willingness to help create a vibrant, collaborative community by participating in content and governance decisionmaking.

How are articles assigned to Topic Editors?

Articles without an editor
  • Go to the list of unpublished articles and examine the articles in the Topic Filters in the far left column. The numbers in perenthasis after the topics are the number of unpublished articles that are tagged under that topic.When you find an article that matches your field of expertise, click on it.
  • Click on the "DRAFT" tab and then on the "EDIT" tab at the top of the page. In the author's box start writing your full name, and click on your blue name when it appears and click save. Now your name should appear in the author's box as a topic editor.
  • This process makes you responsible for this article. The article will be automatically taken off the unassigned articles list.
  • The articles you are responsible are listed in the category called Editor your name.

Articles already with editors

Ideally, all articles will have multiple topic editors. Thus, even if an article already has a topic editor, or even multiple topic editors, feel free to add your name to the list. 

  • If you want to be a topic editor for an article that already has a topic editor, click on the "DRAFT" tab and then on the "EDIT" tab. In the author's box type in your name after the equals sign of topic_editor2 or topic_editor3, and click save.
  • This process makes you one of the people responsible for this article.
  • The articles you are responsible are listed in the category called Editor your name.

How can I communicate with the community of Topic Editors?

Click here for a current list of Topic Editors with access to their email addresses.

Topic Editors have access to a restricted and moderated listserv: eoe_editors@list.ncseonline.org. Only Topic Editors have access to this listserv.

We are all confronted with managing large volumes of email, and some of you will be leery of subscribing to a listserv. However, the EoE is as much about building a community as it is about building content, and community-building requires communication. Topic Editors are urged to make earnest but judicious use of the listserv to share important information and experiences, to ask important questions, and to comment on important issues of content and governance.

How many Topic Editors are there for each topic?

For most topics, especially those that will have many articles, there will be multiple topic editors. Thus, a Topic Editor for environmental impact assessment, for example, will not be responsible for every article on that topic. The intent is to widely distribute the editorial work while maintaining high standards for content quality.

How do I publish an article?

There should be a "Publish Now" button at the topic of the article, if so click the button to publish the article.  It will be instantly viewable to the public. 

If the "Publish Now" button does not display it means that either the Author or Topic Editor have not been added to the "Metadata".  You have the rights to add this information by click the link that says "Edit this information" in the Metadata box.

How are revisions to existing articles treated?

Revisions go through the same approval process as new article. A revised article that is approved by a Topic Editor replaces the current version at the public site.

What are criteria for approval and publication?

Approval of an article indicates the Topic Editor's sincere opinion that the article is:

  1. wholly factually accurate;
  2. appropriate for and accessible to its audience;
  3. complete with regard to its subject matter, given any word length requirements and the possibility of articles on subtopics (whether already written or not) in the form of hyperlinks; there are not, in any case, any major topics unmentioned;
  4. fair and neutral with regard to any issues of controversy it treats;
  5. excellent in terms of mechanics and style; and
  6. in accordance with all other approval criteria established by governing persons or bodies.

How should I cite my editing work on my CV or resume?

Suppose Lakshmi Banerjee writes an entry that is published in 2006. She is the sole author and John Smith is the Topic Editor that approves publication, and he also approves Lakshmi as Lead Author. Lakshmi could update her CV with the following entry:

Banerjee, Lakshmi (Lead Author); John Smith(Topic Editor) 2006. "Rural Electrification in Developing Nations." Encyclopedia of Earth. Ed. Cutler J. Cleveland. (Washington, D.C.: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment). [First published February 28, 2006].

Here the publisher, Editor in Chief, and approving Topic Editor are listed.

Now suppose in 2008, Wen Li and Maria de Silva make significant additions to the entry begun in 2006, and are listed as Contributing Authors. John Smith is still the Topic Editor and he approves the publication of the revised entry. Here is what might happen:

1. Lakshmi Banerjee would do nothing to her CV since she already listed it in 2006. This assumes she did not make significant changes/additions between 2006 and 2008 to warrant re-publication of the entry. If she did, she might list the same publication again in 2008, but that is a sticky wicket that she would have to consider carefully.

2. Wen Li and Maria de Silva could update their CV in 2008 with the following entry:

Banerjee, Lakshmi (Lead Author), Maria de Silva and Wen Li (Contributing Authors); John Smith (Topic Editor). 2008. "Rural Electrification in Developing Nations." Encyclopedia of Earth. Eds. Cutler J. Cleveland and John Smith. (Washington, D.C.: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment). [First published February 28, 2006; Last revised March 17, 2008].

Note that the “last revised” date has been added to indicate the date of re-publication, and the URL is static. The order of authors is Lead Author(s) first, followed by Contributing Authors in alphabetical order, and then the approving Topic Editor. Departing from traditional citation protocol, the various roles are listed to explicitly distinguish the levels and types of contributions that can be made to a single article.

Can a Topic Editor also be an author?

Of course, in fact Topic Editors are expected to set examples for leadership, collaboration, and scholarship by writing and editing articles in their domains of expertise.

A Topic Editor cannot serve in that capacity for an article for which she is a Lead or Contributing Author.

If you find a topic that you want to write on for which there is no Topic Editor, go ahead and write the entry. Notify colleagues and the editorial staff of the need for a Topic Editor, and help in the recruitment process.

Do all Topic Editors need to approve an article?

No. For articles with multiple Topic Editors, approval and publication requires the input of just one Topic Editor.

What's the best way to provide feedback to an author?

Email - An email list of all contributors is kept on the wiki and can be accessed here.

What is the role of the Topic Editors in developing the Taxonomy?

The EoE and the Earth Portal share the same underlying taxonomy, which forms the backbone of how information is organized and how users access information. The taxonomy is constantly evolving as new articles are added to the EoE and as new portals are added to the Earth Portal. Topic editors are expected to help develop the portion of the taxonomy that coincides with their domain of expertise. Send suggestions to eoe@earthportal.net.

How do I determine lead authorship?

It is the policy of the EoE that only Topic Editors can assign Lead Author status for an article. (An honor system enables authors to assign themselves Contributing Author status). Lead authorship is reserved for someone who has started the topic off with a truly excellent article, or who expanded a previously incomplete article by more than 50%, making it into an excellent, usable, and complete article.

In many cases this determination will be easy, such as when single author starts an entry and does all the work getting it ready for publication. In cases of multiple contributing authors, you will need to make a judgment call as to whether one person's contribution merits Lead Author status. Much of this time this information or recommendation will come from the authors themselves. You can also click the HISTORY button and assess the contributions made by specific individuals over the life of the article.

Note that an article does not have to have a Lead Author if the conditions do not warrant it. This might be the case where a collaborative group effort produced a number of Contributing Authors with relatively equal contributions.

 

Glossary

Citation

(2012). FAQs. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/158845

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