The UK’s IOP Publishing Opens Three ‘Environmental Research’ Journals

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As COP26 approaches, more related publishing news: England’s IOP Publishing is opening three new journals in its ‘Environmental Research’ series.

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By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘Huge Surge’ Related to the Sustainable Development Goals
Based in Bristol, in the West Country of England, IOP Publishing (IOPP) describes itself as a society-owned scientific publisher. It takes its name from its parent company, the Institute of Physics and it operates in a nonprofit format, any “financial surplus” going to the institute.

Today (October 7), IOP is bringing forward three new journals to broaden its existing “Environmental Research” series so that it can cover, with six titles, what it sees as all the major areas of environmental science.

The standing journals are:

  • Environmental Research: Communications
  • Environmental Research: Letters
  • Environmental Research: Infrastructure and Sustainability.

And the new ones coming online now are:

All three of these new journals are open-access “and will make publications free to read to anyone who would like to access the content,” IOPP

Positioning Near the UN Climate Change Conference

With today’s activation of three new titles, IOP Publishing’s ‘Environmental Research’ series has six journals. Image: IOP Publishing

Needless to say, with COP26 in Glasgow (October 31 to November 12), the climate journal can be expected to draw a good deal of attention. And the ongoing coronavirus emergency and such disasters as the oil pipeline leak off the coast of Huntington Beach in California should mean that the health and ecology journals will be welcomed, as well.

Noah Diffenbaugh

The editor-in-chief of Environmental Research: Climate, Noah Diffenbaugh, a senior fellow at Stanford, talks of the breadth of the topic at a time when the climate crisis has so forcefully seized focus. “People have been observing the climate for as long as humans have existed,” Diffenbaugh says, “and climate research began more than a century ago.

“But in the past two decades there has been a true explosion of climate research, and a coherent field has taken shape, aimed at understanding the causes, consequences, and solutions of climate change.

“Underpinned by open science principles Environmental Research: Climate is a journal for that entire community.”

Media messaging from IOPP this morning is stressing “a huge surge in published research articles relating to one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals” of the United Nations’ program.

IOPP cites an average annual growth rate of published research related to the “SDGs” to be at 17 percent over the last five years, “resulting in more than 500,000 published articles in 2020 alone.” This, the company says, makes SDG-related content “one of the biggest growth areas in academic publishing.

“To put this into context” with a couple of comparisons, the company writes, “research about computer science published 191,000 articles in 2020, growing 13.3 percent in the past five years, while the physical sciences published 199,951 articles (including publications relating to COVID-19) growing 5.1 percent in the past five years.”

Indeed, the newer three journals now arriving to complete the set of six in the Environmental Research series are helping to lay the groundwork for a digital conference set to capture residual energy from Glasgow’s proceedings.

Tim Smith

IOPP’s Environmental Research 2021 is set to open just three days after COP26’s closing date. Running November 15 to 19 online, the IOPP program will be digitally accessible, free of charge, as an event in which “leading environmental scientists and influencers share knowledge and address important global challenges relating to the environment and sustainability.”

Tim Smith, the associate director of IOP Publishing, is quoted, saying, “The development of our ‘Environmental Research’ series builds upon the established reputation and publishing values of Environmental Research: Letters and enhances the role we want IOPP to have in serving a multidisciplinary field of great importance.

“Our aim is to deliver a combination of outstanding publishing services and content that brings together academia, industry, and policy makers, and ultimately accelerates progress toward delivering sustainable solutions in support of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.”

The new journals, according to the publisher, offer a suite of interdisciplinary open-access publishing options with peer-review standards based on editorial merit and data transparency. Like the first and most recently launched journal of the series, Environmental Research: Infrastructure and Sustainability, research published in the three new titles will be fully accessible, ensuring maximum visibility and reach.

Authors will be encouraged to share data and code where appropriate for the benefit of the research community and authors will have the option to submit their paper for double-anonymous and transparent peer review. In addition, IOPP will waive all open-access article publication charges for articles that are submitted to the three new launches before 2024.

After the initial waiver period for everyone, authors from low- and middle-income countries who publish in IOPP’s new journals will not have to pay article processing costs, the company says.


More from Publishing Perspectives on scholarly and research publishing is here, more on climate issues is here, and more related to COP26 is here.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As as an arts critic (National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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