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Current challenges facing the research community

NJAS: Impact in Agricultural and Life Sciences

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New to Taylor & Francis and now exclusively publishing open access, we asked the Co-Editors of NJAS for their perspective on the current challenges facing the research community, the benefits of open access and what advice they would give to early career researchers.

Interview with Editors-in-Chief Sietze Vellema and Jetse Stoorvogel.

Who is the journal for?

NJAS offers a platform for researchers with an interdisciplinary perspective on the agricultural and life sciences that would like to make an impact.

The journal has an interest in research papers that show the value of making connections between or within the natural and social sciences. It has a special interest in integrative research making the connection between technical, natural and social dynamics.

What are some of the more exciting papers you’ve published recently?

‘Producing’ institutions of climate change adaptation and food security in north eastern Ethiopia.
Gebreyes, Million. 2018. 84: 123-132.

Interesting contribution to an interdisciplinary special issue using the concept of institutions as a bridging concept in the social sciences.

A review of social science on digital agriculture, smart farming and agriculture 4.0: New contributions and a future research agenda.
Emma Jakkub, Pierre Labarthec. 2019. 90–91: 100315. 

Agenda-setting introduction to a rich special issue collecting a range of perspectives on a topical socio-technical issue.

Care-farming as a catalyst for healthy and sustainable lifestyle choices in those affected by traumatic grief.
Gorman, Richard, Joanne Cacciatore. 2020. 92: 100339.

Example of an empirical contribution to understanding an emerging phenomenon that also has been analysed by contributions to the journal using complementary perspectives.

What is in store for NJAS now that the journal is published OA with Taylor & Francis?

We believe that creating special issues is an important contribution to building communities of interdisciplinary researchers, even if they are temporary. They offer great opportunities for mutual learning and for comparing and evaluating multiple perspectives on societal challenges. Being an open access journal, NJAS creates space to develop special issues that are agenda-setting and potentially influential in policy or intervention domains.

What are the benefits of publishing open access in NJAS?

Articles published open access typically receive more citations, increasing impact. Research can be easily shared with policymakers, practitioners, professionals, and the general public. The journal uses a digital platform and therefore accepted papers are published immediately.

Open access has become the prevalent requirement of research funders. Taylor & Francis has open access arrangements with national university systems, and offers discounts and waivers to ensure research by scholars in emerging nations receive the attention of the global academic community. In this way, open access supports a growing international community interested in interdisciplinary research, and increases impact in the agricultural and life sciences.

What would your advice be to early career researchers and/or students?

The journal encourages younger scholars to propose special issues that demonstrate collaborative research. NJAS offers dedicated organisational and editorial support for realising a special issue.

The journal opens space for publishing synthesis papers, for example final chapters of a PhD thesis. These papers examine and scrutinise the realities of jointly travelling uncharted terrains, accepting the uncertainties of working across boundaries within the natural and social sciences and between science and society, or creatively combining methods. We recognise that such papers are of a different nature compared to normal research papers, and yet compose high-quality contributions to a journal fostering integrative research. Often it is particular the synthesis in which one reflects on the impact of their research.

What are the current challenges facing the research community?

Major societal challenges, such as the provision of healthy food in dynamic market environments, the viability of agricultural production systems affected by risk and shocks, or natural resource management under uncertain conditions, are multifaceted and multi-level. This challenges the research community to make novel connections, which is also increasingly required by research funders. However, integrating concepts or mixing methods remains a major challenge in the context of scientific disciplines. Making the agricultural and life sciences impactful entails crossing boundaries and moving towards uncharted terrains.

Get ready to submit your next paper to NJAS

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