Heike Langenberg Discusses the Rise of Nature Geoscience

Journal Interview, April 2011

Nature Geoscience

Though it has only been in publication since 2008, the journal Nature Geoscience has already garnered quite a bit of citation attention, having been named a Rising Star in the field of Geosciences by Essential Science IndicatorsSM from Thomson Reuters several times—most recently in March of this year.

The journal's record in this field includes 365 papers cited a total of 3,661 times since its 2008 launch to December 31, 2010. Nature Geoscience is a monthly publication of the Nature Publishing Group.

 

In this interview, ScienceWatch.com talks with Chief Editor Dr. Heike Langenberg about the journal's history and citation achievements


SW: Did you expect Nature Geoscience to become highly cited, or is this surprising to you?

Right from the outset, Nature Geoscience was conceived as a top-quality research journal, and we have taken great care to select research papers for publication in the journal that will be of interest to a broad range of readers. Because of this, and because of the good relationship between Nature Publishing Group and the Earth and planetary science communities, we had expected that the journal will be highly cited compared to other geoscience journals. Nevertheless, we were surprised at how well the journal has been taken up in terms of citations—the success has exceeded our expectations.

SW: How would you account for the high citation rate of Nature Geoscience?

Our high citation rates can probably be attributed to two main factors. First, we, as a professional team of editors, take immense care to choose for peer review those papers that we feel will be of interest to researchers outside the immediate subject area investigated. And secondly, we strive for our papers to receive a high level of scrutiny as well as constructive comments in our peer-review process.

We spend much time on investigating the novelty of submissions, compared to the published literature. We then work hard to find a suitable set of referees for each paper that is sent to review. In this, we are looking for world-class experts in the subject matter at hand who bring as little subjective bias to the paper as possible.

SW: Would you give us a brief history of the journal?

"With rising awareness of the many ways in which humankind is changing our planet—be it through greenhouse gas emissions, mining, drilling for oil or moving sediments around—the need to understand Earth science processes in more detail has become obvious."

Nature Geoscience started to accept submissions in June 2007, and was launched as a monthly research journal for the Earth and planetary sciences in January 2008. From the start we have attracted many more papers to be submitted than we can undertake to publish. We offer a fast turn-around without compromises regarding quality, and weekly online publication of accepted manuscripts to ensure timely publication. We started out with about eight papers published per month, and have grown to about ten to eleven since then.

SW: What historical factors have contributed to the success of Nature Geoscience?

With rising awareness of the many ways in which humankind is changing our planet—be it through greenhouse gas emissions, mining, drilling for oil or moving sediments around—the need to understand Earth science processes in more detail has become obvious. Along with this realization, the research community of the Earth sciences has grown.

At the same time, advances in planetary exploration have led to a vibrant and growing community of scientists that are interested in understanding the planets and moons of the solar system. Nature Geoscience has benefitted from the development of both communities.

SW: What, in your view, is this journal's main significance or contribution in the field of Geosciences?

Nature Geoscience provides a monthly overview of the most important developments in the Earth and planetary sciences. Alongside our primary research papers we publish review articles, comments on the recent literature, as well as more broadly based opinion pieces that discuss the interface of the geosciences and society. It is our aim to put together a journal that is at the top of the reading list of all geoscientists who wish to stay informed, while providing food for thought for the casual browser.

SW: How do you see your fields evolving in the next few years?

The importance of the Earth sciences will only increase with time, as the Earth's population grows and natural resources become scarcer. Many of the most pressing global issues today, such as climate change, food security, water availability, and energy supply are closely linked to subjects within the realm of the geosciences. At the same time, natural disasters like volcanic eruptions, floods, droughts, and earthquakes have continued to take their toll and to attract global attention.

We at Nature Geoscience foresee exciting developments in these more applied areas of the Earth sciences—as well as in the fundamental understanding of how the Earth system works.

SW: What role do you see for your journal?

Nature Geoscience seeks to bring together the various communities within the Earth and planetary sciences, and to enable them to learn from each other. In addition, we endeavor to alert the community of geoscientists to the importance of their various fields to society, and discuss scientific advances in the context of the world at large.

As an essential monthly read that provides an overview of the most exciting developments in our fields, we see our role as both stimulating new collaborations or avenues of discovery and disseminating past exciting achievements to a broad community of researchers.End

Nature Geoscience
Dr. Heike Langenberg, Chief Editor
Nature Publishing Group, publishers


NATURE GEOSCIENCE'S MOST CURRENT MOST-CITED PAPER IN ESSENTIAL SCIENCE INDICATORS:

Ramanathan V, Carmichael G, "Global and regional climate changes due to black carbon," Nat. Geosci. 1(4): 221-7, April 2008 with 147 cites. Source: Essential Science Indicators from Clarivate Analytics.

KEYWORDS: GEOSCIENCES, EARTH AND PLANETARY SCIENCES, NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, EDITORIAL TEAM, PEER REVIEW, NOVELTY, REFEREES, WORLD-CLASS EXPERTS, ADVANCE ONLINE PUBLICATION, GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS, MINING, OIL DRILLING, SEDIMENT MOVEMENT, PLANETARY EXPLORATION, NATURAL RESOURCES, GROWING POPULATION, CLIMATE CHANGE, FOOD SECURITY, WATER AVAILABILITY, ENERGY SUPPLY, NATURAL DISASTER.

 
 

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