While there have been suggestions to change the name of the ASIH journal for a variety of reasons for several decades, the ultimate suggestion that the Society change the journal name began with the powerful voice of a concerned undergraduate biologist after class one day in the early 1990s. This student, (now Dr.) T. Wakefield, approached her college professor, A. Jaslow, and had an influential conversation with him about the racist writings of E. Cope after one of his lectures that discussed Cope’s research. As described in R. Parker's interviews of Wakefield and Jaslow in an article published in the first issue of Ichthyology & Herpetology (see below), Jaslow was surprised to learn this, but he recognized immediately that Wakefield had taught him something important. Following the email from the ASIH Committee for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) on 5 June 2020 reinforcing the Society’s solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, Jaslow reached out to DEIB by email on 15 June 2020 about the racist writings of the ASIH journal’s namesake that Wakefield had shared with him many years ago.
With this information, DEIB reached out to the President and Secretary of ASIH about the recommendation that ASIH rename its journal. This precipitated a series of discussions and virtual meetings culminating with the ASIH Executive Committee (EXEC) voting unanimously to change the name of the ASIH journal to Ichthyology & Herpetology. Following this vote, the ASIH Editor made the formal motion to the ASIH Board of Governors on 29 June 2020 to change the name of the journal ( www.ichthyologyandherpetology.org/blog/2020/6/29/motion-to-change-the-name-of-the-asih-journal), which was overwhelmingly supported, with the electronic vote closing on 2 July 2020.
Following this vote, the journal editorial office, along with its publishing partners at Allen Press and BioOne, undertook the necessary steps associated with changing the name of the journal. At the same time, the ASIH President reached out (through S. Platania) to award-winning author J. Nichols II, grandson of the founder of the journal. On 22 October 2020, Nichols provided an essay on change (see below) that represents his third formal interaction with ASIH and his family’s full commitment to changing the journal’s name. On 7 December 2020, the United States Library of Congress approved the name change and provided a provisional International Standard Serial Number or ISSN for the renamed journal, formally recognizing that the ASIH journal will now be named Ichthyology & Herpetology, beginning with the first issue of 2021.
The three opening articles of Ichthyology & Herpetology, which discuss the history and name change, are available for download:
Introduction to Ichthyology & Herpetology
W. Leo Smith
(Introduction to the journal)
Refusing to Cope with a Name
M. Rockwell Parker
(Interview of Dr. T. Wakefield)
The Exact and Very Strange Truth
(Essay on change from award-winning author and the journal founder's grandson)