December 2007 // Volume 45 // Number 6

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The Sloppiness Must Stop

In "The Sloppiness Must Stop," the editor wages war on sloppiness and carelessness. In "December JOE," the editor calls attention to a few prevalent themes and interesting articles in the issue.

The Sloppiness Must Stop

So must the carelessness. I'm talking sloppy and careless submissions here. I'm talking tables not constructed according to the JOE Submission Guidelines <>. I'm talking inconsistency. I'm talking incorrect citations in References sections. I'm talking failure to proofread.

When I do my initial review of submissions and reviewers review submissions, we rarely spot these problems because that's not what reviews are for and because they are often too subtle to spot until the time comes to copy edit articles and prepare them for publication.

Then they cost me time--lots of time--time I could be spending reviewing submissions and revisions or sending review results to authors.

For example, the submission guidelines state that "columns should be separated by single tabs and contain no extraneous spaces or hard returns other than the ones at the end of each row." I find tables with hard returns in every cell of every row and extra spaces all over the place.

I discover articles with phrases that simply make no sense and with the same item worded somewhat differently each time it is mentioned. Authors should proofread word for word and for what each word means. There's lots of advice about this on the Help for JOE Authors page <>.

And then there's the References section problem(s). Authors' initials with no periods. Initials before rather than after surnames. Citations of Internet sources that don't use APA's "Retrieved (date) from (URL)" style and citations of JOE articles that don't follow JOE style. See the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association and "How JOE Should Be Cited in JOE" <>.

I'm going to start citing this Editor's Page each time I send review results to Authors and ask our Web Developer to add it to the Help for JOE Authors page, too. And I'm going to come up with some kind of penalty for articles that still reach the copy-edit stage in sloppy and careless shape.

I don't expect perfection, but I do expect care and consideration. I've taken more space than usual to make this clear.

December JOE

The Commentary in this issue, "True Colors Shining Through: Cooperative Extension Strengths in Time of Disaster," and the first Feature, "Building Disaster-Resilient Families, Communities, and Businesses," certainly resonate with each other and should speak to us, too.

Then there are three articles that address the importance of tourism in rural economies, "Red Carpet Service--Linking Rural Communities to Travelers and Tourists," "Agri-Cultural Tourism: Linking the Arts and Humanities with Agricultural Direct Marketers and Specialty Producers," and "Creative Marketing for a Small Wine Grape Region." And there's an interesting article that puts tourism in service to another purpose, "Using a Historical Tour to Teach Extension Audiences About Diversity and Human Rights."

There are articles of interest to those who work with soybean producers and organic farmers, who are concerned about impact and evaluation and the perception of Extension (which should be all of us), and who focus on nutrition, youth, volunteers, and more.

All in all, an excellent issue with which to end the year.

Laura Hoelscher, Editor