9. Session

Date and time: Friday, 25 June 2021 1.45pm (BST)

Presentation: What environmental responsibilities do editors and publishers have?

Climate change research has clearly demonstrated the paramount importance of striving for a carbon-neutral use of our resources in the 2030s. In this respect, the publishing sector should act in concert with other industries. Editors can take steps to reduce their carbon footprint personally and in their own environment e.g. by using repairable and energy-efficient devices and thereby contribute to the overall effort to reduce global warming. In addition, they can motivate authors to discuss the consequences of global warming within their discipline and publish special, themed issues on aspects of climate change from diverse disciplines and angles.

This session will feature three presenters, who will talk about editors’ and researchers’ attitudes to sustainability in journals and how journal policies affect publishing decisions as well as applied strategies from individual journals, followed by a Q&A.

Chair: Stephan Mertens, Aerzteblatt, Germany

Biography – Stephan Mertens is an EASE council member since 2018. He is the managing editor of Deutsches Ärzteblatt, a bilingual journal of clinical medicine and public health, publishing in German and English. Stephan is a trained neurobiologist and received his PhD in 1993 from the Institute of Pharmacology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). Before joining Deutsches Ärzteblatt in 1996 he was a Postdoc at the Medical Research Council, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, England, where he worked on Alzheimer´s disease.


Yvonne Höller, Associate Professor for Psychology, University of Akureyri, Iceland

Presentation: Motivations of stakeholders and an approach of measurement

Assessing sustainability of journals and publishers could impact a scientists’ choices for their scientific publications. We aimed to examine the stakeholders’ opinions and motivations for sustainable actions in order to guide the development of a “sustainability factor”. An invitation to complete an online questionnaire was sent via email to >4000 stakeholders worldwide. Among 119 respondents were mainly publishing scientists (N=67), research institution employees (N=53), and editors (N=14).

Respondents rated personal motivation to be most important for scientists, whereas publishers, journals and their staff were perceived to be guided to act sustainably by external factors such as governmental policy. Respondents indicated that publishers should be evaluated by the existence and publication of a sustainability plan, parity of payment, ensuring minimum live standard, sustainable use of resources, and encouraging staff to act sustainably. For journals, open-access policy and costs per publication, journal’s topics, the content of published papers, global origin, and gender equality were rated to be highly relevant. The majority of publishing scientists did not consider the journal impact factor (JIF) to be suited to evaluate their work. Each second scientist would prefer a sustainability index. A response rate of 2,5% limits generalisability of results.

Biography: Yvonne Höller, born in Italy, is an Associate Professor for Psychology at the University of Akureyri, Iceland since 2018. In parallel to the graduate degree in Psychology (2004-2007), she completed a graduate degree in applied computer science (2006-2012). The doctorate in psychology (2007-2010) focused on electroencephalographic (EEG) biomarkers in patients with disorders of consciousness. Her doctorate in computer science concerning reproducibility of EEG biomarkers and biometrics is ongoing. Yvonne Höller’s scientific career started in 2005 in the EEG-lab at the department of Psychology, University of Salzburg (Austria). After graduation (2008-2018) she worked as a doctoral and then post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Neurology, Paracelsus Medical University Salzburg (Austria). In Iceland, Yvonne Höller is examining predictability of seasonal affective disorder by EEG biomarkers as well as motivations for sustainable publishing. She initiated the project “Sustainability Factor”, which was awarded with the Sustainability Award by the Austrian ministry.
Twitter: @holler_yvonne

Alastair Brown, Editor-In-Chief of The Lancet Planetary Health

Presentation: Alastair will outline some key editorial considerations when assessing, peer reviewing, and publishing sustainability research as well as arguing for the important role of all science editors in mainstreaming issues of sustainability into their routine topic coverage. Alastair will discuss some of the key operational changes underway to minimise the environmental footprint of the Lancet Planetary Health and Elsevier operations more broadly. Operational steps include, online only content, renewable energy supply, energy efficiency and other office solutions such as hot desking, as well as pandemic accelerated steps such as working from home and major reductions in air travel. He will outline some of the important steps we can take as individuals even if our companies are not yet doing this routinely, such as ethical pension investments.

Biography: Alastair Brown is the Editor-In-Chief of the Lancet Planetary Health, an open access journal dedicated to enquiry into sustainable human civilisations in the Anthropocene. Alastair has been a journal editor working in sustainability for over 10 years. Before that he worked in climate change adaptation research and practice and undertook research in paleoclimatology.
Twitter: @alastairdbrown

Molly Hawes, Journal Manager, Frontiers

Molly will discuss the role of open access in addressing humanity’s grand challenges, as well as the editorial commitments that Frontiers is making related to the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Biography: Molly is the Journal Manager of a portfolio of open access sustainability journals at Frontiers. She is also the company’s ambassador for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Publishers Compact. She manages a team who commission content and grow communities through board expansion and engagement activities, and she manages relationships with 20 Chief Editors around the world. Previously, she worked at journals such as Nature and Nature Climate Change, and she’s also been a freelance journalist. She has studied at the University of Bristol and the University of Cambridge, and she can often be found cycling or recycling. 
Twitter: @FrontSustain

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