As a member of the Society of Wood Science and Technology (SWST), I am writing to communicate changes that the Board of Directors is implementing with our journal; Wood and Fiber Science.
First, SWST is currently in a strong position. Our financial investments are sound and growing. Our annual conventions are well received with record attendance and submissions for papers. Our accredited programs have expanded outside the Americas for the first time. And most importantly, our membership has been growing as we saw a 28% increase last year alone. With these successes firmly established, we are now turning our attention to solidify other matters critical to the health of the Society.
Wood and Fiber Science is a critical service that the Society provides to our profession and membership. In addition, the journal contributes significantly to our income, originating in roughly equal parts from institutional subscriptions and page charges. While Wood and Fiber Science clearly publish excellent scientific works, its strength is not realized in current metrics that rank journals such as Impact Factor. While many of our membership are skeptical of such measures, it is clear that academic programs are increasingly using them for hiring, tenure, and promotion of faculty. When compared to peer journals, the impact factor of Wood and Fiber Science lags behind that of Holzforschung, Wood Science and Technology, Bioresources, Journal of Wood Chemistry and Technology, and the IAWA Journal. Most importantly, the younger faculty and graduate students that are the lifeblood of our profession and membership are now choosing to publish their best work in other journals.
In the last year, the Board of Directors have implemented a self-study of the journal and interviewed editors of non-competing peer journals to develop strategies for the future. A number of measures have been approved and are being implemented to turn this tide and improve the overall influence of our journal in the scientific discourse. Our strategy has been to:
- Decrease page charges for members
- Decrease our publishing costs by deploying a new web server technology
- Implement a delayed open access policy to improve distribution of the journal while maintaining subscription fees to institutions
- Develop a reinvestment strategy to attract topical, high quality papers at no page charges and open access that we will push through our new communication channels
The final change that we have implemented is to adopt a new editorial structure for the journal. This new structure includes:
- Editor – to oversee the general scientific content of the journal. Mike Barnes has been reappointed to this position through January, 2017.
- Associate Editor – to assist the Editor, provide redundancy in daily procedures, and lead a special issue annually to attract topical, high quality papers
- Editorial Board – to provide consistent reviews and either publish or solicit papers annually for the journal
As the leadership of your Society, we would be pleased to hear your feedback and input on these changes. Most importantly, we wish to have your support through publishing as an author in our journal and/or donating your time in some editorial capacity.
We are now accepting nominations to our Associate Editor and Editorial Board positions. Self nominations are welcomed. Nominations are due to Vicki Herian, firstname.lastname@example.org by May 1, 2015.