Ron Hacker FARS – Chair, Publications Committee. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In recent years The Rangeland Journal (TRJ) has become more international in focus. This was a deliberate choice in order to enhance the journal’s status as a medium for publication, but was also inevitable given the declining funding for rangelands R&D in Australia. International papers are necessary if we are to maintain our planned schedule of 6 issues (and 600 journal pages) a year. Unfortunately, it is also inevitable that some members will find that the journal’s content is now, in part, less directly relevant to their interests than previously. Has this trend to internationalisation improved the reach of the journal? In diluting the Australian content have we produced a journal with appeal to an international audience?
The Society’s last annual report indicates that as of 31 December 2017 the ARS had 231 members and there were 90 institutional subscribers to TRJ. All of the members receive the journal in either print or electronic format. Institutional subscribers are organisations which subscribe to TRJ through our publisher, CSIRO Publishing, rather than through membership of the Society. All of these receive the journal in electronic format but a few take print copy as well.
On the face of it these figures would suggest that the journal’s reach is fairly modest. However, a closer examination of the institutional subscriptions indicates that the situation is much different to the first impression. The 90 institutional subscribers include a number of institutions which have multiple campuses, but which are counted as a single subscription. Even more importantly, the figure includes four ‘consortia’ or multi-institutional deals, also counted as single subscriptions, which are negotiated on a case by case basis and in which TRJ is included as part of suite of CSIRO journals appropriate to the interests of the consortium members. One consortium covers four polytechnic universities in Switzerland, another covers all major universities in Australia and New Zealand, a third covers 29 agencies within the USDA, and the largest includes over 900 institutions in China.
This is not to say that TRJ is read by staff at all of these institutions – it is included as part of a package and will probably be more relevant to some members of a consortium than others. But it does indicate that the journal has a global presence, and is attractive to a wide range of institutions. If the Australian content is not now as high as some members may prefer we can surely take satisfaction from the knowledge that it is publishing work that makes a significant contribution to the use and management of rangelands globally, and that it is being appreciated on that scale.