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Vote for the Top 10 Taxa of 2017

Last year we held a contest where you, our paleo community members, voted and chose the Top 10 Open Access Fossil Vertebrates of 2016. With nearly 1,000 votes, we were overwhelmed with awesome participation from the community. You can see the results of last year’s contest here!

Based on some great suggestions and feedback, we are once again holding the contest, but we are changing it to include plants and invertebrates as well!

I am happy to announce the PLOS Paleo Community Top 10 [Open Access] Taxa of 2017 contest!

The beauty of Open Access research is simple: anyone, regardless of institution, salary, etc., can access knowledge and research being published. So we’d like YOU, the wonderful members of the PLOS Paleo Community, to select the best fossil taxa that were published in Open Access journals in 2017.

We have a list of organisms and their associated studies on SurveyGizmo, and we’d like you to select up to 10 of the nominees that you’d like to see take home the honors!

The list of nominees is long! Jon, Andy, and I have selected over 40 papers that represent various plants, fungi, invertebrates, and vertebrate organisms that were published between December 1, 2016, and September 30, 2017. These are our selections, but if you think we’ve overlooked an important paper or taxon that fits the criteria, you can write it in! If you rally enough people to write in a candidate, it could just possibly make the Top 10!

UPDATE: I should also mention, if a stellar new taxon is published between now and the contest closing date of November 15, 2017, there is no reason it can’t be written in by community members or added by the editors!

As I said last year, this is not just a popularity contest; we want to honor researchers that have thought long and worked hard to provide our community quality research that is openly available to all!

The authors of the #1 winning paper of the Top 10 Taxa of 2017 contest will receive a beautiful commissioned sketch of their new taxa, similar to the image above. Image courtesy Brian Engh.

Having a hard time deciding? Criteria to consider when selecting organisms should include the thoroughness and quality of the description; the preservation or completeness of the specimen(s); the importance of the the organism to understanding the evolutionary relationships, evolutionary history, paleoecology, or functional morphology of their respective groups; or even the quality of the figures and associated paleo art (when applicable).

Please follow this link to SurveyGizmo to see the entire list of organisms and their associated papers.

Each paper is linked to its source, so that you may download and read each article to help inform your decision. As you select your choices, you can select up to 10, at which point the remaining nominees become grayed out.

Voting ends on November 15, 2017. Once voting has closed, we will tally the results, and will present the Top 10 winners in an upcoming blog post, and follow with in-depth blog posts on each winner.

The authors of the top 10 winning papers will receive small prizes, and the authors of the #1 paper will receive a commissioned sketch of their organism done by paleoartist Brian Engh (whom we have featured here at PLOS Paleo). See a great example of the kind of work the #1 winner will receive above and below (images courtesy Brian Engh).

The authors of the #1 winning paper of the Top 10 Taxa of 2017 contest will receive a beautiful commissioned sketch of their new taxa, similar to the image above. Image courtesy Brian Engh.

So, if you have a favorite organism(s) on our list, be sure to vote for it! You can select up to ten organisms! And then, spread the word, rally your friends and colleagues to vote, and let’s celebrate the hard work by our friends and colleagues that have published these amazing creatures in open access journals.

Hurry and vote! Survey closes on November 15, 2017!!

Featured image: Spiclypeus shipporum, the #9 winner in the Top 10 OA Fossil Vertebrates of 2016 contest. From Mallon et al (2016).

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