4 new features to the journals: explained

By Phil Emmerson, RGS-IBG

Readers of the RGS-IBG journals may have noticed a couple of changes over the last few months to both the ways in which the articles look and the functions associated with them. We hope that these changes will help to further advance the offering of the journals, and open them up further to wider audiences and contributors. Overall, there are four key changes. These are all outlined in announcements going out in the next issues of all four journals. Here then, I want to highlight what these changes mean and how authors and readers can use them moving forward.

1.      Speedier publication of accepted articles

I have always suspected that authors get annoyed at the length of time it can take between receiving that email to tell you that your paper has been accepted, and the moment that the paper actually appears online for others to read..

In August, however, we moved our journals onto Wiley’s ‘accepted articles’ publication system. This means that we put all of our articles online in the form they are accepted in within a matter of days! The accepted articles all have a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) which means they can be cited and traced in the same way as any other article. The accepted article are then replaced by the fully copy-edited and typeset version whenever that is ready. Overall then, this means that articles are available online about 3 weeks quicker than they were previously.

(For UK based researchers, this is also a requirement of the REF meaning accepted articles can be included within a REF submission – something to bear in mind as December 2020 approaches).

2.     A new sharing feature

Another new feature that our twitter followers might have noticed, is “read only” article sharing. This feature allows any author or subscriber of our journals to share a link that will allow free access to a read only version of any of our papers. This is a particularly useful development for authors who want an easily sharable version of their paper to let partners and participants see what the outcome of the research is.

The sharing mechanism is very easy to use. Authors can enter their article’s DOI and email address into Wiley’s content sharing tool which will generate a link. Subscribers can also create a sharing link from the Wiley Online Library Hub, by going to the article page, clicking“Share,” and then “Share full‐text access”. We strongly encourage as much sharing of articles as possible!

3.     Data availability statements and data sharing

This new element of the journals is something that perhaps only authors will have noticed, as they have negotiated the new box on the submission form: “Data availability statement”. The RGS-IBG journals have recently moved to Wiley’s “Expects” data sharing policy, which – although perhaps misleadingly named – simply means that we are trying to encourage “data sharing” and “open data” wherever possible. We hope this move will allow for better and more open geographical research data and therefore improve geographical research as a whole.

For many authors this might sound like a scary prospect, and as such it is important to make it very clear that authors are NOT REQUIRED to share their data in order to publish with us. We understand very well that for a whole host of ethical and legal reasons, not all data is sharable. Equally, many researchers in different fields will actively want to keep their data in an open repository that is fully citable and can be accessed by others.

The one key difference therefore, is that EVERYONE who is publishing on original research must provide a ‘data availability statement’, which sets out under what conditions and circumstances, data can to be shared. If there are no conditions or circumstances in which data are to be shared, then this still needs to be stated.

4.     Video abstracts

The final new innovation to hit the journals is the introduction of video abstract functionality onto the website. For anyone who has never seen a video abstract, these are short audio-visual or animated clips that set out what a paper is about (much like a regular abstract but in most cases pitched at a slightly more general audience).

Video abstracts are an attractive innovation in themselves, however we feel their real potential lies in their ability to communicate research to a broad audience quickly, and in a manner that is a bit more eye-catching when shared online and through social media than a traditional abstract or image might be. These video abstracts will also be embedded on the journal websites, making for easier navigation of our papers.

There are many great examples of video abstracts out there and links are provided to some of these in the author guidelines for the journals.

Overall, we hope these changes will allow the papers we publish to reach broader audiences more quickly, and to allow for deeper engagement with their topics, methods, findings, and recommendations. If you would like to know more about any of these new features, then please do not hesitate to contact me at the RGS-IBG journals office.

About the author: Phil Emmerson is the Managing Editor: Academic Publications at the RGS-IBG.

This post is based on a series of announcements that appear in all four of the RGS-IBG journals:

Nash F., & Souch C (2019) Announcement: New developments for enhancing the reach of papers published in the RGS‐IBG journals, Area, 51 https://doi.org/10.1111/area.12583

Nash F., & Souch C (2019) Announcement: New developments for enhancing the reach of papers published in the RGS‐IBG journals, Geo: Geography and Environment, https://doi.org/10.1002/geo2.84

Nash F., & Souch C (2019) Announcement: New developments for enhancing the reach of papers published in the RGS‐IBG journals, The Geographical Journal, 185 https://doi.org/10.1111/geoj.12327

Nash F., & Souch C (2019) Announcement: New developments for enhancing the reach of papers published in the RGS‐IBG journals, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 44 https://doi.org/10.1111/tran.12341

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