SABR BioProject: December 2021 newsletter

High and Inside
The Newsletter of the BioProject Committee

Society for American Baseball Research (SABR)
December 2021

Past newsletters

Editor: Andrea Long

From Rory Costello and Gregory H. Wolf, co-directors, and Alan Cohen, head of the fact-checking team 

Regulating the flow of BioProject submissions

We need more qualified vetters, fact-checkers, and copy editors to step up, please!

There has been a longstanding mismatch between the number of BioProject submissions and the resources available to review and process them. This has become more pronounced of late, despite the efforts of a number of authors who also take part in the review at various stages.

That is true even if we leave aside the question of how much work a given story may need. Even though many of the stories are submitted in good shape, the review is still a time-consuming process.

Administration alone also takes several hours each week – a challenge that co-chairs Rory and Gregory are finding more difficult to meet.

Therefore, the BioProject is adopting a policy that’s in effect at many literary magazines: a submission window and cap.

There will be a maximum of 25 stories total in workflow at any given time (stories ready for posting but not yet live will not count against this total). Individual authors may have no more than three stories in process at once. This will assure a more equitable use of resources.

Because there are now more than 50 bios in the review pipeline, the submission window is hereby closing until there are just 15. In other words, more than 30 bios need to complete the review process.

The window will then open once more. We recognize there will be pent-up demand and that another closure is likely to follow. If and when it does, we will advise authors as to reopening conditions. The goal will be to avoid having the window open just a crack – i.e., for one or two submissions – before closing again.

To reiterate: if there are more reviewers, the window is more likely to remain open and fewer closures will be necessary. If you would like to join our editing and fact-checking team, please contact Rory Costello.

A couple of logistical notes:

  • Please e-mail story submissions to rather than to Rory Costello’s personal e-mail. The auto-reply on this address will indicate whether the submission window is open. If it is closed, you will be requested to resubmit when the window opens. We will not be holding files on authors’ behalf.
  • The BioProject review signboard on Trello will also have a flag indicating whether the window is open. Please check the board regularly, especially if you are getting ready to submit.

One final note from Alan:

  • Some fact-checkers are taking too long to complete assignments. Whereas we applaud their stepping forward, they are doing a disservice to both the author and the BioProject by taking months to complete what should be a task of less than a week.

Thank you,

Rory, Gregory, and Alan

In Memoriam: Jack Zerby

By Andrea Long

Longtime SABR member and devoted friend of the Biography and Games Projects Jack Zerby, 78, died of heart failure on August 17, 2021, in Brevard, NC.

Jack joined SABR in 1994 and contributed 20 biographies and 55 games stories, as well as editing and fact checking for both projects. He was still writing and researching up until his death.

In the spring of 2020, a period during which I corresponded with Jack about the BioProject newsletter, he said the following: “The BioProject and, since 2014 the Games Project with which I’m also active, have occupied a significant part of my time in retirement. I’m glad to have had them available and to have met so many like-minded people both at SABR conventions and over the internet as the years have rolled on.”

It’s clear that Jack loved SABR and that SABR loved him back. The announcement of his passing on the BioProject’s Facebook page revealed the respect his baseball peers had for him and how deeply he will be missed. In addition to his knowledge, commenters often mentioned his friendliness and kindness and his support for and encouragement of new writers.

Jack is survived by his wife of 51 years, Diana. He will be missed not only by his family and friends, but also by all of us who had the pleasure of knowing and working with him through SABR. For those seeking a way to honor Jack, donations to the Transylvania County Public Library are appreciated.

To read more about Jack’s exceptional life, see his obituary in The Transylvania Times

Project Team