Saturday, November 16, 2013

Questionnaire from Biosemiotics - and info about the biosemiotic glossary project

Dear all,

on behalf of the journal Biosemiotics, I refer you to a questionnaire which we now distribute in the biosemiotic community in preparation of the biosemiotic glossary project. The editorial team of Biosemiotics, which counts Alexei Sharov, Timo Maran and myself (note that in parallel Marcello is finishing the final issues he is responsible for the next few months), has decided to go through with this project, and that I will be its handling editor.

The genre for the resulting publications will be invited review articles. The first, standard-setting review article, on the notions ‘agent’ and ‘agency’, will be written by me personally. One review will be published in each regular issue of Biosemiotics – in other words, usually there will be two review articles per year. The first article will appear in no. 3/2014. Each article will review one or more terms.

While I am the handling editor for these review articles, all three of us will be involved in decision making. We will routinely discuss and decide on what term(s) to review next, what author(s) to invite to write each review, etc. As part of the editorial process, each review article will, when submitted, be distributed to the members of the editorial board of Biosemiotics and further to those cited in the article, for feedback. This will be part of the basis for our editorial decision concerning whether the review is ready to be published or needs revisions.

A survey in the biosemiotic community will be conducted in preparation of each review article. The associated questionnaire, which is to be returned to me as handling editor, will be distributed to a wide range of biosemioticians, including but not necessarily restricted to/via the members of the editorial board and advisory board of Biosemiotics, the biosemiotics email list (, the board members of the International Society for Biosemiotic Studies (ISBS), the board members of the International Society of Code Biology (ISCB), and the Biosemiosis blog (

The invited author(s) will in each case be tasked with describing the outcomes of the survey associated with their review article, and to do so systematically and in an unbiased manner. However, when it comes to synthesis and suggestions, they will have the freedom to propose their own view even if it contradicts the general/popular understanding. In the writing process, all assigned authors are expected to conduct an extensive literature review on their own as well.

All respondents to the first survey in the biosemiotic community are, as part of the survey, invited to propose specific terms to review. Suitable terms should be quite concisely used by several biosemioticians, and if the terms are in more general usage as well, the biosemiotic usage of the terms should somehow stand out from general usage.

The deadline for returning the attached questionnaire is December 15th. It should be sent to my email address (mortentoennessen AT or alternatively morten.tonnessen AT

My best,

Morten Tønnessen
Co-Editor-in-Chief of Biosemiotics

PS: The questionnaire is available via my page, here.

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