Geography Compass was launched in 2007 as a platform for state-of-the-art reviews that are supported by a comprehensive bibliography and colour illustrations and written in such a way as to make them accessible to an international readership of geographers and scholars in related disciplines. Our aim was distinct: providing a unique reference tool for students, researchers and non-specialist scholars who are researching essays, preparing lectures, writing a research proposal or keeping up with new developments in a specific area of interest. We have now published more than 440 papers from across the breadth of all geographic disciplines, and Geography Compass has established a unique niche and is successful in doing what it does. However, as we complete our fifth year of publication, it is perhaps not surprising that we are undertaking some fine-tuning of the journal’s structure to promote its continued growth and success.

Earlier in 2011, Dr Basil Gomez, founding co-editor for Physical Geography, stepped down concurrent with his retirement from Indiana State University. We greatly appreciate the role that Basil has played in guiding and shaping Geography Compass since its inception. Professor Mike Bradshaw was promoted to Editor-in-Chief and will continue his responsibilities as editor of the human geography sections of Geography Compass. In his role as Editor-in-Chief, he will be the liaison with Wiley-Blackwell on matters of strategy and general management and will also represent the journal in discussions with other Compass Editors. Dr John Kupfer (University of South Carolina) has agreed to serve as Physical Geography Editor while continuing his role as a Section Editor handling papers in biogeography. John’s areas of research involve the intersection of biogeography, landscape ecology and GIScience, and he brings additional experience from his current positions on the editorial boards of Plant Ecology and Landscape Ecology.

Dr Gomez’s retirement provided us with an opportunity to assess the existing structure of the physical geography and geographic information science sections in the journal. Discussions with Section Editors from the Biogeography, Climatology, GIS, Earth Observing Systems, Geomorphology and Hydrology & Water Resources sections indicated that there was a good deal of support for retaining a physical geography element in the journal, but that modifications to these sections could be made to strengthen them and enhance the opportunities for exchange of ideas among them. We have, therefore, consolidated these six sections into three new sections: Atmosphere & Biosphere, Geomorphology & Hydrology and GIS & Earth Observation. The aim is to have a smaller team of people sharing the commissioning and publishing of excellent physical geography review papers, but to a large degree, the new sections still reflect the breadth of research and teaching pursuits in physical geography.

One of the first steps in the merger of these sections was to solidify the editorial staff and boards for each of the new sections. In the case of the GIS & Earth Observation Section, the previous Section Editors, Drs Nick Tate, John Jensen and Ryan Jensen, have all agreed to continue in their roles within the new section. Dr Kupfer has been joined by Dr Scott Curtis (East Carolina University) as co-editors of the Atmosphere & Biosphere section. Dr Paul Hudson (University of Texas) has recently started as Editor for the Geomorphology & Hydrology section. In his role as Physical Geography Editor, Dr Kupfer will coordinate the commissioning and disposition of papers within these three sections, which will continue to be handled by the individual section editors. Despite the structural changes, the emphasis of these sections will be the same: producing high quality reviews of fundamental and cutting edge topics in all areas of physical geography and geographic information science.

There have also been some changes on the human geography side of the journal. Professor Neil Coe (University of Manchester) has stood down as co-section editor for Economic Geography to take up a role as Editor of the RGS-IBG Book series; we wish him success in this new role. Dr James Falconbridge (Lancaster University) has joined the journal as co-section editor for Economic Geography. At the end of this year, Dr Kris Olds (University of Wisconsin-Madison) will step down as the other co-section editor for Economic Geography to be replaced by Dr Andrew Wood (University of Kentucky). We thank both Neil and Kris for making the Economic Geography section one of the most vibrant parts of the journal. As part of the restructuring, the Environment and Society section has come under the remit of the human geography editor and Dr Kendra McSweeney (Ohio State University) has filled the vacancy in this section. In terms of the larger journal, we expect no substantial changes in the number of articles that we produce or the quality of the reviews.

In conclusion, Geography Compass continues to combine the quality of a traditional scholarly journal with the speed and flexibility of electronic publishing. Publishing roughly 100 reviews a year across the subject of Geography is what we have been doing, and it is what we intend to continue to do. Articles normally are published 8–10 weeks from receipt of the final version. The online submission, peer review and publication processes are continuous. Authors incur no page or illustration charges and are encouraged to include links to websites and other supporting media in their article and/or bibliography. All Geography Compass articles are accessed electronically and may be downloaded for as little as $1.99 (£ 0.99p). If you are interested in contributing an article or have a suggestion about how we can better exploit Geography Compass’ unique potential, please do not hesitate to contact us.