A Happy New Year to all our readers, authors, and reviewers from the Journal of Ecology Editorial Team! In many ways 2016 was an eventful year (we promise not to talk about politics here), including for the Journal. In brief, we were pleased to receive well over 800 original manuscript submissions, 54% of which were sent out for review, and 23% went on to be published. We also continued to refer papers which didn’t quite make it in Journal of Ecology to our sister journal Ecology & Evolution. As always a massive thanks to our Associate Editors and all our reviewers; we greatly appreciate the time and expertise that you provide to maintain the high standards of the Journal.
We continue to be a truly international journal with submissions in 2016 from 59 different countries, with the United States and China leading the way, followed by Germany, Spain, Australia, France, and the United Kingdom. We also have a diverse Editorial Board, with a 42:58 % female: male gender split and Associate Editors (AEs) coming from 21 countries located on every continent except Africa and Antarctica (volunteers?); we recently welcomed Mahesh Sankaran as our first AE from the Indian subcontinent. In addition, we expanded the expertise and geographic spread of our AE board with the appointment of Kathy Van Alstyne, Duncan Cameron, Jane Catford, Han Chen, Giselda Durigan, Emily Farrer, Randal Hughes, Etienne Laliberté, Natalia Norden, Julieta Rosell, Gail Wilson, and the aforementioned Mahesh Sankaran. Walter Carson, Will Cornwell, and Michelle Leishman have stepped down from the board and we thank them greatly for their valuable service.
Publishing highlights in 2016 included two Special Features (‘Digging Deeper: how soil biota drive and respond to plant invasions’, and the collaborative ‘Demography beyond the Population’) and five Virtual Issues (several in collaboration with our sister BES journals) including one to honour Mark Westoby in our continuing Eminent Ecologist series. We kicked off our new Harper Review series with a provocative paper by Associate Editors Yvonne Buckley and Jane Catford ‘Does the biogeographic origin of species matter? Ecological effects of non-native species and the use of origin to guide management’. Commentaries of published papers included Oscar Velvarde-Barrantes and Christopher Blackwood’s paper ‘Root traits are multidimensional: specific root length is independent from root tissue density and the plant economic spectrum: commentary on Kramer-Walter et al. (2016)’. A paper on Ash, Fraxinus excelsior, by Peter Thomas in our Biological Flora of the British Isles series created a lot of attention in the media because of the threats to Ash survival due to the emerald ash borer beetle. Overall, papers in the Journal continue to be well received by the ecological community as ‘suggested’ by our highest-ever Impact Factor (6.18) and 9th place ranking in both the Ecology and Plant Sciences journal listings.
2017 promises to be an exciting year. The first issue of volume 105 includes the Special Feature ‘Dispersal processes driving plant movement: range shifts in a changing world’, and our second Harper Review – this time by Associate Editor Jason Fridley on ‘Plant energetics and the synthesis of population and ecosystem ecology). Without giving too much away, we have a number of Special Features in the works to be published in 2017 including one on ‘–Omics techniques in plant ecology’ and another on ‘Ecological contributions to global food security’. The latter will comprise a series of mini-reviews – a new paper type for the Journal. Stay tuned for more details on these! We welcome suggestions for new Special Features, so please contact us with ideas. Given the growing number of proposals that we receive, we will put out an annual call for Special Feature proposals to allow us to best prioritize the most important ideas. We also are working on plans to update some of the categories that papers are classified under in the Journal to reflect emerging priorities in plant ecology. Again, more on all of this soon.
Finally, this blog is doing spectacularly well under the editorship of Pierre Mariotte – a forthcoming blog will show off some of our best articles of 2016.
All best wishes to all for an ecologically successful 2017.