Garey Fox Dr. Garey Fox, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
EIC@asabe.org

March 2019

I accepted the role of Editor-in-Chief for the ASABE journals because I see this as a significant opportunity for me to serve our society. I believe that by working together we can make a significant impact on not only the future direction of our journals but also all of ASABE.

We are all aware that a number of major issues with the journals need to be addressed. For example, ASABE journals have lower impact factors compared to other journals in which many of our members publish. Authors are required to pay page charges and there are subscription fees to access content. Also review times can exceed some of our competitor journals.

However, in gathering as much information during my first month in the position from ASABE headquarters staff, fellow department heads, community editors, and many of our authors, I realized very quickly that there are immediate and short-term ways that we can strengthen ASABE publications, which will then lead to more practical and effective long-term decisions to address these major issues. We need to do a better job of communicating the benefits of publishing in ASABE journals. For example, manuscripts in ASABE journals reach a wide readership of engineers across our communities. We can increase this readership through some innovative approaches. The quality of the review process is strong and must be maintained. Yes, you can publish in other journals that will return your manuscripts in two weeks or less, but in some cases the quality of the review does not necessarily lead to strengthening your work — and that is really what the review process should be about.

Also, something that largely goes unnoticed within our society’s journals is the service that ASABE headquarters staff provides to make sure that your finished publication is in the best shape that it can be. As someone that has published more than 100 journal articles in approximately 20-25 different journals, I can guarantee you that no other society provides this type of service. Every accepted manuscript at ASABE is combed through very closely to ensure that is carefully read, reviewed, and edited prior to publication. Considering the finality associated with publishing a paper, authors should consider this service when thinking about publishing with a specific journal.

So what initiatives are already underway to begin to address some of the issues presented above? First and foremost, I am asking all our members active in publishing to submit at least one manuscript to ASABE journals this year — I am calling this a Submit One Initiative for 2019-2020. For example, at our academic institutions, I am asking all Department Heads and Chairs to commit to encourage their faculty to publish in ASABE journals and to recognize and communicate ASABE journals as a top-tier publication for our discipline. Publishing one manuscript in ASABE journals versus going to a journal with a slightly higher impact factor is not going to diminish the perception or impact of your work; in fact, I argue that instead it is going to convey the impact of the work within your professional society and to the people that are able to readily adopt the scientific and engineering contributions of your research. As a first step, we must all commit to supporting our professional society through publishing in our journals. I am not asking that you submit all of your papers to ASABE journals – just Submit One!

We have also created new journal-specific landing pages (see https://www.asabe.org/Transactions as an example). Previously the website was structured for authors that were familiar with Transactions of the ASABE, Applied Engineering in Agriculture, or the Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. These new journal webpages will highlight that our average review times to first decision are now approximately 60 days, our impact factor is now over 1.1 for Transactions of the ASABE and continuing to increase, and that many of our papers are some of the most highly cited papers that you will find in the engineering literature.

I am also initiating a series of invited review articles on high-impact topics and fields in which ASABE should be recognized as leaders. We will start with a select few articles and then grow the topics for which invited review articles are requested. If you have ideas for an invited review, I ask that you contact me and share your thoughts. We will also be initiating a number of special collections in our journals across all the ASABE communities. One way to accomplish this is to have the technical committees in ASABE identify at least one special topic collection idea — many technical committees are already doing this, but we need to further build on this initial momentum.

All manuscripts are currently being tracked very closely in terms of their status in the review process. Average review times are good for our journals especially when considering the quality of the review process, but we do have manuscripts that for various reasons get delayed in review. If you have a manuscript that you believe is not moving forward in the review process, please contact me and I will investigate this for you. I am working with the community editors and associate editors to make sure that we are acting on manuscripts in a reasonable timeframe. Again, please consider the multiple benefits of publishing in ASABE journals and support the Submit One Initiative this year. We look forward to receiving your manuscript soon! And look for even more initiatives moving forward to continue to strengthen ASABE publications.