3.26.2012

It takes a community to define a discipline: the 5th anniversary of Environmental Research Letters

ERL has turned five years old and Dan Kammen has noted some successes and his vision in a short article:
The motivation for founding ERL was initially more focused: to alter the mode of publication and review in the diverse, yet linked fields of environmental and resource studies and to ensure new levels of interaction, inclusion and equity, providing the platform for the world-changing research findings published in ERL. The key driver in this conversation was the issue of access. Specifically the situation that too many research findings were produced by, and for, very specific academic 'clubs', and that the opportunity to engage in discussion and debate over important emerging findings about our world was being severely limited by the process of publication in frequently slow-to-publish and tremendously expensive traditional academic journals. 
The need for change was, and still is, obvious. Environmental and resource studies have been the fastest growing and most diverse nexus of academic research, private sector concern and public sector action. Universities worldwide are adding academic and extension professorships and staff as well as experiencing increasing student interest in this area at a record pace. Corporate social and environmental sustainability has been changing dramatically and, in lurching fits and starts, a mosaic of environmental regulations—both carrots and sticks—are emerging worldwide. The 'Rio + 20' Earth Summit in June 2012 will be a testament to both the dramatic broadening of this interest, and the frustration about the lack of progress at building strong global institutions to permit international cooperation. This is a clear call for an on-going and evolving process of community building.
Some features of ERL that I've liked, and Kammen emphasizes:
  • it's open access
  • they are now doing "video abstracts"
  • impact factor = 3.05
  • they actually are very interdisciplinary
  • they actually do turn around articles very quickly
Here's the video abstract for Kammen's article:

video

[FE has hosted an ERL RSS feed in the sidebar for a year now, check it out.]

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