The Editors of Biogeosciences Discuss the Journal's Success
Journal Interview, December 2010
Three times this year*, Biogeosciences has achieved the highest percent increase in total citations among journals in the field of Environment & Ecology in Essential Science IndicatorsSM from Thomson Reuters.
The journal's current record in this field includes 657 papers cited 3,400 times from its founding in 2004 to August 31, 2010.
Biogeosciences is published by Copernicus GmbH on behalf of the European Geosciences Union (EGU). Its Co-Editors-in-Chief are Emmanuel Boss, Jürgen Kesselmeier, S.W.A. Naqvi, and Albrecht Neftel.
Did you expect Biogeosciences to become highly cited, or is this surprising to you?
Biogeosciences (BG) was launched in 2004 as one of the open-access journals of the EGU. As an open-access journal it is open without costs to all readers in the world who have access to the Internet. Open access was not new at that time but a journal like BG was filling a gap.
The objectives of the journal were defined to cut across the boundaries of established sciences and achieve an interdisciplinary view of these interactions. The interdisciplinary approach, the accessibility of all papers without the usual restrictions, as well as the transparency of the review process, were the driving forces for BG to become quickly visible and accepted by the community. Therefore, we were not too surprised by the success of the journal.
How would you account for the high citation rate of Biogeosciences?
"The emphasis on a broad interdisciplinary approach for understanding biogeochemical-ecological interactions, instead of a narrow focus on specialized disciplines, has created a special niche for BG."
One aspect is the open access itself. Papers which can be read and distributed without restrictions except to cite the authors can be expected to be cited more often that those which can only be accessed after payment by the readers. Another point is the quality of papers. As all papers are published in an open discussion forum before being reviewed and accepted for final publication, we believe that the contributions we receive are generally of very high quality.
Would you give us a brief history of the journal?
BG was launched in 2004. The number of submitted papers has been constantly growing and BG got its first impact factor for the year 2006. Being indexed and highly visible due to a high impact factor the journal has been making steady progress.
What historical factors have contributed to the success of Biogeosciences?
BG was accepted by the scientific community from the very beginning. A few years before, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP), the first journal of such a style, was successfully launched by the EGU. The popularity of ACP was probably a factor contributing to the success of BG as well.
There are a few special features of the publication process of these journals that should be mentioned. The two-stage publication process secures the authors' rights, as every discussion paper and interactive comments remain permanently archived and individually citable. Furthermore, the copyright position differs from other journals in that the authors retain all rights of the publication.
Have there been specific developments in the fields served by Biogeosciences that may have contributed?
The increased focus on interactions between biogeosciences and atmospheric sciences in the course of global change discussions has probably contributed to a rapid development of BG in recent years.
What, in your view, is this journal's main significance or contribution in the field of Environment & Ecology?
"Papers which can be read and distributed without restrictions except to cite the authors can be expected to be cited more often that those which can only be accessed after payment by the readers."
The emphasis on a broad interdisciplinary approach for understanding biogeochemical-ecological interactions, instead of a narrow focus on specialized disciplines, has created a special niche for BG.
How do you see your field(s) evolving in the next few years?
The interactive open-access approach of the EGU has been practiced successfully since 2001, and the usefulness of discussion papers and interactive commenting are well-established and appreciated by the geoscientific community. Open access will gain more and more territory in future. Results of research paid for by the taxpayer should be available to everybody free of charge.
The EGU is a non-profit organization, and so the publication cost of articles appearing in its journals has to be borne by the authors. On a first view, this seems like a disadvantage for all open-access journals. However, the procedure for cost-sharing is very transparent, with no hidden costs charged to other channels. Moreover, the service charges are more than compensated for by the advantages one gains; in the case of BG, for example, we do not levy additional charges for color figures, and as has been stated earlier, the authors retain the copyright. This is as fair an arrangement as one can think of.
What role do you see for your journal?
EGU's Biogeosciences and all other open-access EGU journals demonstrate that it is possible to publish with open access at fair costs. The EGU journals demonstrate further that open access can be regarded to be as reliable as other journals in terms of quality and safe archiving. The journal's role is to provide a platform for quality research that is accessible to all. The discussion phase insures that novel ideas can receive a chance to be heard, even if controversial.
Emmanuel Boss, Jürgen Kesselmeier, S.W.A. Naqvi, and Albrecht Neftel, Co-Editors-in-Chief
Copernicus GmbH, publishers, on behalf of the European Geosciences Union
Biogeosciences MOST CURRENT MOST-CITED PAPER IN ESSENTIAL SCIENCE INDICATORS:
Papale D, et al., "Towards a standardized processing of Net Ecosystem Exchange measured with eddy covariance technique: Algorithms and uncertainty estimation," Biogeosciences 3(4): 571-83, 2006 with 88 cites. Source: Essential Science Indicators from Thomson Reuters .
- *In 2010, this journal is was named a Rising Star in Enviroment/Ecology for the months of January, July and September.
KEYWORDS: BIOGEOSCIENCES, OPEN ACCESS, INTERDISCIPLINARY, TRANSPARENT REVIEW PROCESS, IMPACT FACTOR, AUTHORS' RIGHTS, COPYRIGHT, ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES, GLOBAL CHANGE DISCUSSIONS, BIOGEOCHEMICAL-ECOLOGICAL INTERACTIONS, QUALITY, ARCHIVING.