Bret Collier named new WSB editor in chief

After nearly five years as editor in chief of the Wildlife Society Bulletin, Dave Haukos is stepping down and Bret Collier is stepping in to the new position.

Haukos said he’s leaving the position with mixed feelings. The role brings plenty of work, on top of his work as leader of the Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and it offers many chances to make decisions not everyone will agree with.

“On the other hand, you get a chance of interacting with cutting-edge scientists and working with both career scientists and young people getting started,” he said. “It’s also good to contribute and give back to The Wildlife Society and the wildlife profession as a whole. All in all, it’s an excellent experience.”

Haukos’s five yearwas a long time for a position that historically has had a two-year term. In 2017, Council extended the position to a three-year term in hopes editors would remain for a second term and maintain continuity in the journal.

Collier started as the new editor in chief on July 1. No stranger to the journal, he has been a longtime associate editor for both WSB and the Journal of Wildlife Management. His first published paper was in WSB in 2005.

“The Bulletin has always had kind of a special place within our field,” Collier said. “It publishes everything from population biology and mathematics to controversial topics and opinions pieces, and it provides a really good opportunity for young scientists to get some of their information out in a very readable format that reaches managers fairly quickly.”

Haukos’s time at WSB saw some significant changes in academic publishing, including the rise of open access journals, which have created new competition for traditional journals and new outlets for researchers. Despite those changes, Haukos said, WSB has sustained its number of submissions, brought in new authors and nearly doubled the journal’s impact factor. The Wildlife Society Bulletin, as well as the Journal of Wildlife Management, have also seen a growth in international submissions, including a study in the June issue of WSB evaluating muskrat eradication efforts in the Netherlands.

“I hope that my time has been beneficial and moved the ball forward and allowed it to become more of a preferred outlet for the wildlife profession,” he said.

Collier said he hopes to build on those successes.

“My overall goal is to continue and increase the trajectory of the Bulletin and increase its exposure, which increases the exposure of the authors and the Society,” he said.

He hopes to boost WSB’s social media presence, develop more focused issues or special sections on important topics and encourage letter writers to delve into controversial topics.

“We work in a field where controversy is not uncommon, but discussions about controversy are,” he said. “I’m encouraging letters to the editor on controversial topics where we can get some of those discussions going.”

An associate professor at Louisiana State University Agricultural Center’s School of Renewable Natural Resources, Collier has already begun working with head associate editor Anna Knipps and copy editor Jeff Levengood to craft WSB’s next issue.

“At the end of the day, it comes back to giving back to the Society and supporting TWS,” he said. “It’s all about supporting TWS, the science and our profession.”

Header Image: Dave Haukos, left, is stepping down from editor-in-chief at the Wildlife Society Bulletin as Bret Collier, right, steps in.