Global Change Biology (GCB) and its sister journal GCB Bioenergy received record high impact ratings from the Institute for Scientific Information last month. Edited by Deputy Director of the Energy Biosciences Institute and IGB faculty member Steve Long, GCB and GCB Bioenergy are two of several journals put out by the IGB.
Impact factors are calculated by the Institute for Scientific Information on an annual basis, and measure the average number of citations received per paper published in a journal and is used to evaluate its relevance in its field. GCB received an impact factor of 6.346, ranking it as number one in Biodiversity Conservation for 3 consecutive years.
Founded in 1994, GCB filled what Long found to be an unfilled niche. “I was frustrated by the fact that biology was not getting its fair share of attention under global change, because how the biosphere responds to global change is really huge in determining the outcome. Most of the attention was going to meteorology and physics; biology had become a side issue.”
“I complained about this, that there was no focus for biological research in global change, so someone from what was then Blackwell publications came to me said, ‘why don’t you start a journal?’ And I said, ‘okay.’”
As GCB gained notoriety and recognition, it became overwhelmed in its existing area of concentration and unable to adequately address the extent and importance of the rapidly-expanding field of biofuel science. In 2008, GCB Bioenergy was founded to take up the slack, publishing studies in bioenergy from feedstock development to ethical practices.
Though the Institute for Scientific Information generally doesn’t list a journal for five years, GCB Bioenergy was listed at the end of its first year. Its impact factor of 3.617 in 2011 ranked it as number two in agronomy after just two years.
GCB and GCB Bioenergy are published monthly and every other month, respectively, to a wide readership in academic, governmental, and industrial organizations. Long attributes their wide success to the researchers. “We’ve managed to attract the best articles to our journals. It’s work that other people are using. [The impact ratings are] statistical evidence that the authors, the work they’re publishing, is among the most influential in their fields.”
Upcoming changes will hopefully make both journals even more relevant in their fields. Long hopes to begin each upcoming year with an issue of review articles, compiling the most important studies in each area.
Though GCB will remain in its current form, Long is also looking into converting GCB Bionenergy into an online journal to include animation, video, and other things that couldn’t be incorporated in traditional publishing. “There are a lot of new tools that allow authors to explain their concepts in ways you couldn’t do in print.”
Overall, though, Long is very pleased with both GCB and GCB Bioenergy’s progress. “It’s fantastic how well they’ve been received so far,” he said. “I’m hoping we can keep it up.”