Silva Fennica’s latest quarter centennial publishing
Received 19 December 2018 Published 19 December 2018
I have been involved in science publishing of forest science for over a quarter of a century. I started editorial work in 1990 when I was appointed as a secretary of the Finnish Society of Forest Science. I was given the responsibility of two research journals, Silva Fennica and Acta Forestalia Fennica. That was the time of typewriters and paper letters by post. During my preceding research work at University of Helsinki I submitted manuscripts to international journals and received comments from other scientists for my work in many journals. As well, I had experience during the reviewing process as a reviewer of international journals.
During that time, Finnish government focused science policy to increase international co-operation with universities. In fact, collaboration between universities was a reality for many decades as normal part of the work, but it was aimed to intensify. An example of earlier scientific collaboration is the first Finnish forest science series, Acta Forestalia Fennica, founded in 1913. Many articles published in the first issues were further to the national languages, in Finnish and Swedish, also in German, French and English. In the 1990’s, the Academy of Finland focused on financing policy of Finnish journals in science and international publishing. I was involved in developing further co-operation with the Finnish Society of Forest Science and the Finnish Forest Research Institute in research publishing as both organizations had their own series.
In 1994, these two organizations made an agreement of co-operation in publishing under the one editorial office. I continued as editor-in-chief and my responsibility was to rearrange and organize forest science publishing and profiles of journals. Silva Fennica was focused on publishing forest science in English and adopting structured peer-review process of manuscripts objectively over the world as written in my editorial, New scope of Silva Fennica, 1994(1). First international editorial board of the journal was appointed. Acta Forestalia Fennica continued as the monographic series. A journal, publishing forest science in Finland’s national languages, Finnish and Swedish, was founded with a peer-reviewing process. These three publications and their editorial processes were my responsibility.
In the 1990’s ICT-technology progressed fast and Silva Fennica started to publish article abstracts on internet as the first forest science journal since 1994. A few years later, in 1998 Silva Fennica began to publish full articles on the internet as it became technically possible. Silva Fennica’s publishing policy at the beginning of my editorial time was, and continues to be, focused on publishing an open journal for readers to have free access to research results.
Publishing has changed much in those decades. In paper publishing, publishers printed issues, sent the issues out and libraries cataloged and stored printings for people to read. Now, publishers also have the role of libraries to store the published articles and keep them available in data bases. New qualities related to search ability and other options have to be introduced in web-publications. Measurement data of articles also should be made available more widely. All that requires skillful ICT-personal in the publishing organization. Many kinds of measures and indices of publishing and web-page visit activities and citations have been developed to track and grade journals.
Research methods have developed along computer and data analyzing facilities and new methodological research results. Complicated simulation studies and model structures to predict phenomena have become possible. Those contain a lot of functions, algorithms, assumptions and parameters. Also virtual data may be used. For science journals, peer-reviewing of manuscripts using these methodologies has become demanding in evaluating the quality and reproducibility of research that uses complicated methods and all factors are seldom presented detailed enough in short articles. Thus, verification of model performance using independent data is extremely important. Unfortunately, verification in many articles is quite often made lightly and not with the importance it should.
Silva Fennica has published over 1.2 thousand articles in my editorial period. A greater number of manuscripts have been submitted and reviewed but not survived for publishing during these years. I hope the authors of manuscripts which did not survive peer-review still had help with their scientific work from evaluation reports. The journal’s websites are now visited from over a hundred countries and visitors number over three thousand per month. Manuscript submissions are as well from the countries where the journal is followed. Silva Fennica is graded in the highest 20% of the journal citation index among forest science journals. Silva Fennica’s publishing volume is now a middle size of forest journals.
Keystone in scientific publishing is professional and qualified peer-reviewing. Reviewing needs scientists, who are willing to put their time and expertise to other researchers’ manuscripts, make suggestions for improvements, and indicate fails. Articles with vague research questions, defective data, methods or misleading conclusions are failures in scientific publishing that should strictly be prevented from happening. However, the power of science is its capability to rectify mistakes and errors, maintain self-criticism and remedy scientific understanding and knowledge.
In my 25-years period of editor-in-chief of Silva Fennica, I have been pleased to co-operate with hundreds of scientists as reviewers and their scientific competence in peer-reviewing in many countries. Scientific journals can’t survive and progress without manuscript submissions of researchers and their trust of the journal in handling and processing scientifically, objectively, and ethically their immaterial scientific property. Authors deserve to get fair and sound feedback and comments on their work. Readers are essential stakeholders of the journal and their interest to follow new research outcomes and use new results in their own scientific work is important. Editors of the editorial office and members of the editorial board are the core people in running journal’s procedures and production fluently and pleasantly for customers in all stages.
Now it is my pleasure to take the opportunity to acknowledge and express my gratitude to all my colleagues and stakeholders in co-operation with Silva Fennica’s publishing and development in this quadranscentennial time, as at the end of the year I will retire.
I have also the opportunity to introduce the coming editor-in-chief of Silva Fennica, professor Matti Maltamo at University of Eastern Finland starting at the beginning of 2019. The editorial structure of the journal will also be reorganized. I wish success to all the editors and editorial personnel for the future of Silva Fennica and welcome manuscripts for forest science publishing.
Eeva Korpilahti, Editor-in-chief