A Guide to Technical Reviews

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The Wildlife Society Council periodically charges a special committee to develop a technical paper on a wildlife management or conservation issue of current concern. These papers are published in the Society’s Technical Review series. The process of producing a Technical Review can be divided into five steps, as explained in further detail below: proposal, committee formation, committee work, Council review, and publication. Deadlines for each stage are a necessary component of the review process so Technical Reviews are published in a timely manner and the information contained within is still current and relevant. Technical Reviews must follow the formatting guidelines described in the Formatting Guidelines for TWS Technical Reviews.

Proposal

A proposal for a Technical Review may be submitted to the President by TWS members, TWS Chapters or Sections, Council members, or TWS staff. Proposals should include a concise explanation of the topic to be covered by the review, the relation of the topic to the work of the Society, and a description of the need for the review.

Council votes on all proposals; if the proposal is approved, committee formation begins. If the proposal is not approved, the President so notifies the party that submitted it.

Committee Formation

The President appoints a three-member Council Subcommittee, the chair of which will serve as Council Liaison to the Technical Review Committee, to oversee the work of the Technical Review Committee, within two weeks of a vote.

The Council Subcommittee prepares a charge for the Technical Review Committee and TWS staff, which should address product, budget, timeline, and ownership of copyright, within two weeks of Subcommittee formation.

The President, with the advice of Council, appoints the Technical Review Committee and chooses the committee chair. Committee members generally should be members of The Wildlife Society (although exceptions may be made if outside expertise is needed) and should represent a broad range of expertise on the topic. In some instances, geographic distribution or employer diversity of committee members also may be important. Technical review committees generally consist of 8-10 members, although they may be smaller or larger depending on the issue and the discretion of Council. The committee will be appointed within six weeks of vote, concurrent with Subcommittee formation and charge development.

Committee Work

The Technical Review Committee Chair convenes the committee to initiate committee work (TWS recommends that the first meeting be in-person; later meetings can be conference calls), within three weeks of committee formation.

The chair finalizes the timeline and prepares a budget for the committee’s work, within two weeks of convening committee, assigns and coordinates the work of the committee members, and communicates regularly with TWS staff and Council, and works with staff to secure outside funding as needed.

The Council Liaison regularly contacts the committee chair (every two months) to ensure progress. The Council liaison must confirm with TWS staff that contact with the committee has been made.

The Council Liaison reports to Council on committee’s progress at Council meetings.

The Committee prepares a draft document that adheres to the Formatting Guidelines for Technical Reviews, which should consist of a review of relevant peer-reviewed literature, and submits it to TWS Staff. This draft will be prepared within one year of committee formation. If this is not possible because of extenuating circumstances, the Committee Chair must provide a report explaining reasons for the delay for the Council Liaison and TWS Staff. If the delay is expected to be prolonged, the Committee Chair may be replaced.

If outside funding cannot be secured by the committee, funding will be provided by The Wildlife Society for costs associated with meetings, conference calls, etc., not to exceed $3000 per Technical Review. Such costs should be itemized in the budget prepared by the Committee Chair.

Editor Review

TWS Staff submit the draft technical review to the Technical Review Editor for review, comment, and validation of adherence to the charge and the formatting guidelines. If no Technical Review Editor has been appointed, the draft is sent to the editor for the Journal of Wildlife Management. The Editor provides comments electronically to TWS Staff, who then provides the comments to the committee chair. The Editor will have three weeks for review.

The Technical Review Committee incorporates the comments, and the revised draft is then resubmitted to TWS Staff. The committee will have three weeks to incorporate comments.

Council Review

TWS Staff submits the revised draft technical review to the Council Subcommittee for review and comment. Subcommittee members provide comment electronically to TWS Staff, who then provide the comments to the committee chair. If the Subcommittee feels that the revised Technical Review is sufficient and needs no further changes, the Subcommittee can decide whether to recommend Council approval or disapproval of the revised draft. The subcommittee will have two weeks for review. The Technical Review Committee incorporates the comments, and the final draft is then resubmitted to TWS Staff. The committee will have two weeks to incorporate comments.

The final draft is sent to the Council Subcommittee, which decides whether to recommend Council approval or disapproval of the final draft. The subcommittee will have two weeks for this review.

Council receives the recommendation of the Subcommittee and votes on whether to approve the technical review for publication. A simple majority vote is needed to approve a Technical Review.

Council reserves the right to reject the work of a Technical Review Committee, to terminate the work of a Technical Review Committee, and to disassociate TWS from a committee report when Council concludes the assignment is no longer in the best interests of TWS.

Publication

TWS publishes Technical Reviews, upon approval of Council. In some instances, Council may elect to publish the review in an alternative medium (such as The Wildlife Professional).

TWS makes PDFs of Rechnical Reviews available to TWS members and the interested public free; hard copies are available for a nominal fee. Members of the Technical Review Committee receive a complimentary copy of the technical review. An electronic file will also be made available to committee members.

TWS staff distributes Technical Reviews to various organizations, depending upon the topic, including other professional societies, nonprofit organizations, federal and state governmental agencies, and Congress.

Please note that Technical Reviews present technical information and the views of committee members and do not represent the official position of The Wildlife Society. Once the Technical Review has been approved, Council may decide to ask the Technical Review Committee to prepare a one-to-two page TWS Position Statement based on the Technical Review that will define TWS policy on the issue.