Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry: Thirty years later
Article first published online: 9 DEC 2011
Copyright © 2011 SETAC
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Special Issue: Nanomaterials in the Environment
Volume 31, Issue 1, pages 1–2, January 2012
How to Cite
Ward, C. H. (2012), Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry: Thirty years later. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 31: 1–2. doi: 10.1002/etc.732
- Issue published online: 9 DEC 2011
- Article first published online: 9 DEC 2011
One of the primary motivations of the founders of SETAC was to create a distinguished peer-reviewed scientific journal for members and others to publish research that at the time was generally too far from traditional to be well received by the historic wildlife and fisheries publications. The founders of SETAC sat in a smoke-filled conference room provided by the American Institute of Biological Sciences in Rosslyn, Virginia, and divided up the duties of forming the Society.
Mostly by default, I was asked to organize and find a publisher for the Society's new scientific journal, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (ET&C). ET&C began as a little-noticed quarterly with 35 papers and 358 small pages in Volume 1, and since then has slowly evolved to a highly ranked full-sized monthly with more than 360 articles and almost 3,000 pages in Volume 30. The journal began with three Associate Editors to handle peer review—Foster (Sonny) Mayer (hazard assessment), Kenneth Dickson (environmental toxicology), and Haines Lockhart (environmental chemistry), all from the United States. In 2011 we have 28 Editors: two from China, one from Korea, six from Europe, four from Canada and 15 from the United States, reflecting the origins of the papers being submitted.
Since its inception the journal has operated with one underlying, fundamental, and operational principle—that is, every manuscript submitted whose subject matter is considered by the editors to be appropriate for publication in the journal must receive timely, fair, unbiased peer reviews from qualified scientists. Adhering to this principle has been onerous at times, but most of the time reason has prevailed. Our peer-review Editors, without doubt, face the greatest challenge in the science publishing process.
If manuscripts are judged acceptable for publication by the editors following peer review, the Journal's dedicated and talented editorial staff, led by Managing Editor Diana Freeman and Associate Editor Mary Cormier, work with authors to expedite corrections and revisions as needed before earliest possible publication.
ET&C has never missed a publication date in 30 years, even as it grew from a small and relatively obscure quarterly to its present 250-page monthly size. For this we thank our hardworking editorial staff and our distinguished partner publishers with which, in order, we have been privileged to work—Pergamon Press, Allen Press, and Wiley-Blackwell.
In serving as the founding Editor-in-Chief of ET&C, I have always had the full support and encouragement of the Society's elected leadership and professional staff. In return, it has been my great pleasure to work with them and to share the excitement and challenges of leading the development of ET&C to a position of world leadership in the environmental field.
Publishing a distinguished scientific journal may appear to be routine to the world, but not to those dedicated to publishing the best science in a rapidly evolving field. ET&C has evolved continuously in the past 30 years, both in content and format. We now publish papers on both chemical and nonchemical stressors and should broaden our focus even more in the future. Nanomaterials are now pervasive in the environment and much focus is currently on their environmental effects and the risks posed to society and to the earth's environmental systems. Volume 31(1) of ET&C, to be published in January 2012 as a special issue on “Nanotechnology in the Environment,” led by Stephen Klaine and colleagues, is sure to be highly cited and will undoubtedly provide another boost to the journal's steadily increasing impact factor. Michael Newman began Critical Reviews several years ago and the new Focus article series debuted in 2011; both are heavily cited.
As the impact factor has increased, the number of manuscripts submitted has steadily increased; 2011 will be a bumper year with more than 750 manuscripts, about 150 more than in 2010.
During recent years I have noticed that SETAC leadership has become increasingly concerned about the sustainability of my role as Editor-in-Chief, to the point that I told the SETAC World Council at the SETAC Europe meeting in The Hague that “the news of my imminent demise is vastly overrated”—a badly paraphrased quote from the famous American humorist Mark Twain. That was five years ago and I am still here! Joking aside, the decision to retire as Editor-in-Chief has been my decision alone and one that I would have made sooner had the need to partner with a major international publisher not become so important to the future electronic marketing and distribution of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. We live in an electronic world and the rate of change in the business models for scientific journals has been remarkable. SETAC's new partnership with Wiley-Blackwell will ensure that the Society's commitment to “Environmental Quality Through Science” and its publications continue to reach the world.
In early 2010, when I informed the SETAC World Council that I planned to phase out as Editor-in-Chief at the end of 2011 with the publication of Volume 30 of ET&C, the Council set in place an open and orderly process of identifying a qualified candidate to succeed me. The Council requested ET&C Editors to serve as a nominating and evaluation committee, with the rationale that they were most informed about the needs and the demands of the position. I functioned in a coordinating role to ensure that the nominating process was timely and that the Council could select a new Editor-in-Chief by the end of 2010. I congratulate the SETAC World Council on the wisdom of selecting G. Allen Burton, Professor in the School of Natural Resources and Director of the Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research at the University of Michigan, to be the next Editor-in-Chief of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. The decision was a difficult one because several excellent candidates expressed interest, all of whom could have led the journal with distinction.
We are now completing a busy year of transition of the journal's editorial office to the University of Michigan. Diana Freeman and Mary Cormier have worked continuously with the talented new Managing Editor, Leslie Wilhelm Hatch, and the Assistant Editor, Erin Nelson, to guarantee a seamless transition of responsibilities. They assume most editorial responsibilities for ET&C beginning with this issue.
Congratulations to Allen, Leslie, and Erin as they guide ET&C for the next 30 years! And my heartfelt thanks to Diana Freeman and Mary Cormier for making it possible for me to be Editor-in-Chief these many years while earning a living as a professor at Rice University.
Allen Burton has asked me to help him as Co-Editor-in-Chief in 2012 to insure continuity of journal editorial leadership. I am glad to do so and look forward to contributing to the success of SETAC in many other ways in the years ahead.
Thanks to all,