Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation – three years on…

In 2014 we launched Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation, an open-access journal to support communication and collaboration among experts in remote sensing, ecology and conservation science.

As we approach our second full year of publication, we thought we would reflect on how the journal has done to date, and take a look at what impact it has had, and where the journal is yet to meet its full potential. By sharing our successes and experiences with our contributors and readers, we hope to show how the journal has developed in terms of visibility and status among researchers and practitioners interested in interdisciplinary work at the interface between technological developments in biodiversity monitoring and natural resource management.

So what is our record so far? Since its inception and up to 31 December 2016, we have published 24 peer-reviewed papers, including 15 original research papers, three policy forums, five interdisciplinary perspectives and one review. As of the 31 of March 2017, average downloads per article was 1038 for articles published in 2015 (bearing in mind that only six contributions were published that year), and 899 for 2016.  Our most popular papers published during this period include an interdisciplinary perspective on the use of remote sensing to shape the next generation of species distribution models; a policy forum aimed at framing the concept of satellite remote sensing essential biodiversity variables; and a review of satellite remote sensing options to monitor species diversity. More recently, the review paper of camera trapping for conservation behaviour research and the South China Sea coral reef atoll assessment using Planet Dove satellites have both attracted much attention on social media. Full download data for papers published in 2015 and 2016 can be found here.

RSEC Keyword wordle

Keyword wordle, based on the keywords used by authors to describe their contributions published in Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation

Are our papers impactful, and have they been cited?  The short answer is yes!  In 2015, our papers received a total of 10,384 viewings with an average of 1038 accesses per article, the journal fourth out of all Wiley journals for the top full-text download accesses per article. Furthermore, the average altmetric data for the 24 contributions published in 2015 and 2016 was 36 at the end of March 2017, with several articles achieving altmetric scores of 80 or above. This pattern is so far consistent with what we observe for papers published this year.

Importantly, our citations records for these contributions are equally strong given our young history. According to Scopus, our 2015 and 2016 papers have so far been cited 63 times (or 133 times according to Google scholar) in 37 peer reviewed journals, including Methods in Ecology and Evolution, Journal of Applied Ecology, Biodiversity and Conservation, Remote Sensing of Environment and Progress in Physical Geography.  We should note here that Scopus has different coverage to Clarivate Analytics (who produce impact factor scores), and these data should therefore be considered indicative at this stage.

RSEC Ed team _2

Members of the editorial team (left to right: Marcus Rowcliffe, Clare Duncan, Shovonlal Roy)

But what have we learnt?  Without doubt, there is a need for a publishing platform that capitalizes on the growing set of interdisciplinary research interests shared by the remote sensing, ecological and conservation communities, and indications so far are that Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation has successfully engaged many members of these communities. We publish regular, high-quality issues that have attracted the attention of, and recognition from, the audiences we seek to enthuse.


Yet there’s still plenty to do!  Our contributions so far have mainly targeted the terrestrial realm, and primarily relate to the use of satellite remote sensing data. Going forward, we will be redoubling our efforts to engage with communities working with marine and freshwater ecosystems and scientists interested in acoustics and other remote sensing technologies. In terms of our editorial committee, we always aimed for parity in terms of gender representation, with women currently having 47% of editorial roles.  Our next step is to increase the breadth of geographic representation on the editorial committee, particularly in Asia and Africa. If you are interested in joining our editorial team and work with us to develop our Journal, stay tune, as we prepare to launch our first formal recruitment call this fall.


The geographic distribution of full text downloads of Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation in 2016

Above all, our top priority remains providing a platform where people can publish excellent science important to the ecology and conservation of biodiversity. We believe the concept of remote sensing for theoretical and applied ecological research is innovative and exciting; we are delighted to reflect this through the manuscripts we publish and look forward to extending our reach to encompass diverse technologies across environments.  Read our full editorial here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s