15th Anniversary of Journal of Integrative Agriculture (JIA)
The year 2017 marks the 15th anniversary of Journal of Integrative Agriculture (JIA), an official journal of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS). JIA has experienced a successful journey during the past 15 years. The 21st century began with great challenges in global climate change, food safety, resource scarcity, and other key issues which are closely related to the agriculture sciences. Effective solutions for agricultural problems require an international exchange of experience via platforms such as academic journals. To contribute to these forums, the agriculture community in China sought to establish a scholarly journal published in English. In Jan. 2002, an agriculture journal in English was launched by CAAS and the first issue of the journal Agricultural Sciences in China was published. From the start, it has emphasized global concerns in multi-disciplinary agricultural fields of crop science, horticulture, plant protection, animal science, veterinary medicine, agro-ecosystem and environment science, food science and etc. And it is a peer-reviewed international journal published monthly in English. The first Editor-in-Chief was ZHAI Huqu, the president of CAAS at that time.
Four years later in 2006, the journal joined Elsevier publishing and became known worldwide. In 2012, the journal was renamed Journal of Integrative Agriculture (JIA). This change was spearheaded by Shu Geng who was the then Executive Editor-in-Chief. In the next few years, led by the second Editor-in-Chief LIU Xu, JIA improved greatly. JIA has successfully provided a platform for agriculture science communication home and abroad. I am honoured to have become the third Editor-in-Chief in 2016. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my predecessors for all their sterling efforts.
Over the years, JIA’s progress has been reflected in many ways. The JCR impact factor went up from 0.449 in 2012 to 1.042 in 2016. The downloads per year from ScienceDirect increased from 18 to 430 thousand times. Initially, almost all the articles were translations from the Chinese journal Scientia Agriculura Sinica, also published by CAAS. Currently, annual submissions have risen to around 1 500 articles of which 35% are from outside China with an overall rejection rate of about 85%. Up to now, around 4 000 articles have been published in 16 volumes of the journal.
JIA’s achievements are also recognized widely in China. It has received many awards including First Prize of JINLI Award of 5th National Outstanding Agricultural Journals in 2006 by Chinese Association of Agricultural Science Societies (CAASS), one of the Top 10 High-Quality English Journals in 2007 by General Administration of Press and Publication of China (GAPPC), Outstanding Science and Technology Journal of China 2 times in 2008 and 2017 by Institute of Scientific & Technical Information of China (ISTIC). One article was selected for inclusion among “The 100 Most Influential Articles” by ISTIC in 2012, and it has been listed as among the Highest International Impact Academic Journals of China 6 times consistently in 2012–2017 by China Academic Journal Electronic Publishing House, China Scientific Literature Evaluation and Measuring Research Center and Tsinghua University Library jointly.
The internet is changing the world, revolutionizing scientific communication and publishing. To keep pace with this revolution, JIA has constructed its own dynamically changing website. Now one week after a manuscript’s acceptance, JIA has advanced online publication on its own website. By cooperating with Elsevier B. V., the journal’s full texts are available globally on ScienceDirect. Since 2016, 30% of the articles have been open access, freely available to readers. Since 2010, JIA has had a ScholarOne Manuscripts portal with embedded CrossCheck for all communications among authors, editors, and reviewers. This helps not only reduce the manuscripts’ handling time, but effectively avoid plagiarism. In addition, with the aid of the journal’s Wechat, circles of scientists-friends have been built covering key agricultural scientists in China. Among these circles are the plant protection circle, the agro-ecology circle, and the editorial board circle, etc. Wechat is having a marked effect for JIA’s work, for example, distributing articles, releasing news, initiating a discussion, calling for articles, etc.
To cope with this increasing demand, JIA reconstructed its Editorial Board this year to include a new team of 10 Section Editors (SE), who are responsible for acting as editors. The SE handles submissions and solicit special issues and contributions within their areas of specialization. Accordingly, the journal changed its procedures from having the Editor-in-Chief bearing the major responsibility for making manuscript decisions to having the SE do a majority of the work. The aim was to spread the work load and involve more people in the effort. On the other hand, we try by this means to tell our authors as quickly as possible whether their manuscripts could be further reviewed or not, and thereby to give them enough time to consider other journals. It has been successful.
To spread and promote the journal, JIA has hosted five international conferences on various agricultural sciences each with about 400 persons in attendance. JIA also conducts many other activities every year including meetings, seminars, news briefings, and author trainings at different levels.
Fifteen years is not a long time for journal development, but JIA has progressed rapidly and never has been in a stronger position than what it is now. This is due to the combined efforts of a strong Editorial Board, a dedicated Editorial staff team, the publisher Elsevier B.V., but certainly not least, the great number of the referees whose entirely voluntary work not only maintains the scientific standards of the journal, but also provides the authors with the opportunity to improve their research manuscripts. And I thank all our authors and readers most sincerely for their enthusiasm and support to JIA.
JIA has been strengthened by grants and foundations including the 2013–2014 Special Fund on Key Academic Journals by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), the 2016–2018 Promoting Project for Leading Journals in China by China Association for Science and Technology (CAST), and the 2016–2018 Climbing Peaking Program for Elite Journals in China by CAST. And it also has been funded by CAAS and Agricultural Information Institute of CAAS.
Within this 15th anniversary issue, 25 themes are addressed in crop science, plant protection, animal science and veterinary medicine, agro-ecosystem & environment, food science, agricultural economics and management. The significant scientific advances and the important methods within the specialists’ areas are highlighted. I thank all contributors to this special issue. They have devoted a hard work for it. This issue celebrates both our past and JIA’s developing promotion in publishing. Looking ahead, JIA is determined to be at the forefront of world agriculture and to provide effective and efficient publication to its authors and readers.