To gauge attitudes concerning the perceived value of the Journal, the WAS Board asked Past-President...
President's Column March 2020
One of the primary benefits of WAS membership is access to our outstanding suite of publications. The Journal of the World Aquaculture Society, World Aquaculture magazine, and the WAS Book series all offer excellent information on a broad spectrum of aquaculture topics.
In 2013-2014, I was Chair of the WAS Publications Committee. The JWAS Executive Editor at the time was retiring and the Committee was tasked to find his replacement. In evaluating the status of the Journal, the required qualifications of the incoming editor and the increasing amount of competing aquaculture journals, a majority of the Committee felt that terminating the Journal was the prudent c ourse of action.
To gauge attitudes concerning the perceived value of the Journal, the WAS Board asked Past-President Dr. Craig Browdy to conduct a membership survey in 2014. The survey revealed that two-thirds of the membership felt that JWAS was an important member benefit and that JWAS played an important role as an outlet for publications of significance to aquaculture. As a result of the survey, a four-year re-invigoration plan for the Journal was developed and initiated in 2015. The two main goals of the plan were to improve the impact factor of JWAS and to increase member satisfaction with the journal.
Dr. Carole Engle was hired as the new Executive Director followed by the hiring of three Section Editors; Dr. Lou D’Abramo, Dr. Matthew Slater and Dr. A.J. Ponniah (who subsequently stepped down and was replaced by Dr. Chenhong Li). Dr. Engle recently stepped aside as Executive Director and has assumed a Section Editor position. Dr. Matthew Slater is the new Executive Editor. The other important component of the JWAS Editorial Board is the 30 Associate Editors serving our Society.
Dr. Engle and the rest of the JWAS Editorial Board are to be commended for what they have been able to accomplish over the last four years. A 2019 survey of the WAS membership revealed that the percentage of members who felt that JWAS was an important member benefit rose from 66 to 77 percent while the members who saw the journal as an outlet for significant publications rose from 67 to 86 percent. The journal impact factor has also doubled from 0.7 to 1.4 over the past four years. For more information on the initiatives that led to this improvement and the team’s vision going forward, I urge you to read Matthew Slater and Carole Engle’s editorial in the February 2020 issue of JWAS titled “The successes of the reinvigoration and the vision for the next four years.”
The first issue of World Aquaculture magazine appeared in 1988. Dr. David Aiken, the first Editor-in-Chief, stated his vision for a magazine with articles characterized by “brevity, lucidity, practical significance, and general interest” intended for an audience that is “a mix of lay and professional, scientist, and entrepreneur.” This continues to be the operational guidance for the World Aquaculture magazine.
Our society is fortunate to have the magazine in such capable hands. Dr. John Hargreaves became Editor-in-Chief in 2012 and this is his 32nd issue! Mary Nickum became editor in 2002 and has been a “stalwart”. Linda Nobile has been layout editor since 2012. John Cooksey, Executive Director of the Society, has the tough task of reducing the cost of the magazine through solicitation of advertising. Under Dr. Hargreaves’ leadership, the magazine now includes topical editorials from the Editor-in-Chief, articles on aquaculture in the location of WAS conferences, obituaries and In Memoriam articles on aquaculture and WAS leaders, translation of articles into Spanish and listing of contents with EBSCO Information Services. Research articles continue to be the bedrock of the magazine. The magazine also continues to be an important source of gray literature and serves as an important publication outlet for young scientists or researchers in developing countries.
The magazine is informative, broad-based, pleasing to the eye, and a positive reflection on our Society. Please continue to support the magazine and the Society by submitting articles. There’s an Author’s Guide on the WAS website.
Knowing that there would be several important issues related to publications during my term, I leaned on a friend and colleague, Dr. Lou D’Abramo, to serve as Chair of the WAS Publications Committee. While books have never represented a major revenue source for WAS, they do serve the mission of WAS through consolidation and dissemination of information representing specific areas of research and its application. With rapid changes in the publishing business, WAS has been challenged in developing a policy for publishing books that meets the needs of its membership in terms of format and topic while remaining financially viable. Lou has formed an ad hoc Subcommittee to develop this policy. A guidance document has been drafted and should be sent to the WAS Board for consideration in the upcoming months.
All of this takes a tremendous amount of effort and time. I want to publicly acknowledge the dedication and service of the Editors, Associate Editors, Home Office staff and members of the WAS Publications Committee. Their work ensures that our Society can continue to offer these important membership benefits.
— Jimmy L. Avery, President
About Jimmy L. Avery
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