A few days back I posted on Naish and Sweetman’s work regarding a vertebra from southern England and Darren Naish’s personal blogged comments implying it might really be an oviraptorosaur. I posted at length because I had time to do what I thought was a decent job analyzing the reasoning on why it might be an oviraptorosaur, largely because it wasn’t actually published yet. Darren’s lamented that he dislikes “online before print” issues, as has his compatriot Mike Taylor, though both know the advent of online publishing will eventually supercede paper. Despite this, I posted my response to Darren’s comments intending this to remark on when the paper was published. On the Dinosaur Mailing List, I wrote:
Oh, goody. It’s finally published. I have a rather fundamental response to this, promised in my discussion with Darren at TetZoo. Tiny, yes … but there’s only so much you can say about a vertebra (and like Mike, I think more could have been done with it).
I jumped the gun, and hence the sheep up there, because Cretaceous Research had this unfortunate effect of producing a fully paginated, typeset and print-ready work around three months in advance! To verify the date, I checked myself last month by going here and noting that the issue in question (2011, Vol. 32, Iss. 4) is not due to print publication until August. I then promptly forgot this.
This might not seem such a harsh issue, save that I try to be consistent; this to me is no different from running off to splash new taxonomy before print (the period in which it is considered “available” does not start until the paper copy is released). If it’s not okay to bandy about taxonomy before its time, for the sake of an official availability date, then it should not be okay to bandy about any print copy prior to its “publication date.” The advance online release of work in some journals at this point confuses the heck out of me, on why they would create a disparate skew in the dates, although I can understand the need to get press time to digest or journalize the material. Instead, this is bandied to the general public (you know, chumps like me), and it can often hit the authors themselves sideways when they are preparing press releases on their own in time with the official paper release. How awkward.
So this is my mea culpa, in that I did not double, double check the release date, but the damage is done.