Since 2005, the journal Fire Ecology has published important articles on all ecological and management aspects relating to wildland fire, including its effects on landscapes and ecosystems. It is managed and fully supported by the Association for Fire Ecology (AFE). It has been and will continue to be an online, fully open access publication that is freely available to read without a subscription.
During its 14 year life, the journal has had four Managing Editors (Mike Meddler, Jan van Wagtendonk, Jim Agee, and Bob Keane), but only one Copy Editor (Laurie Burk) and one Webmaster (Brett Cole). During this time, the team behind the journal has consistently released three issues each year with approximately 9 papers per issue.
It has always been a major goal of AFE to elevate the reputation of the journal and expand its reach internationally
While being the preeminent journal for publishing fire ecology research, Fire Ecology’s readership has so far been focused in the US and the journal has therefore had limited international impact. It has always been a major goal of AFE to elevate the reputation of the journal and expand its reach internationally to make it an important global reference for fire ecology.
So, in May of 2017, AFE began negotiations with Springer Nature to move the journal from the AFE-sponsored website onto the SpringerOpen publishing platform. AFE was impressed with the high-quality Springer Nature websites and publication products, and more importantly, the extensive marketing and indexing services. As a result, AFE signed a contract to transfer the journal to the SpringerOpen; the reincarnation of Fire Ecology was realized on February 28, 2018.
I am happy to announce that everything is working marvelously so far and the journal has a strong outlook for the future. Submissions are up by at least 80% and there are three wonderful article collections planned over the coming year. One collection contains important papers describing the state of fire ecology of Mexico, and another will discuss “Frontiers in Fire Ecology”.
All previously published articles will also be moved from the AFE website and hosted permanently on the new Fire Ecology website, so that the historic publications that made the journal what it is today are fully searchable within the SpringerOpen publisher website.
Changes to Fire Ecology
It is important to our readership and to AFE that Fire Ecology continues to be open access and freely available to all who want to read the full articles. This has not changed, but the move to an international publisher has resulted in some changes to the journal’s operation that warrant mention.
First, there will be no issues in the future – all papers will be published as soon as they come out of production. One volume will be published every year and each article in that volume will be given an article number, which can be included in the citation. This eliminates the need for authors to wait while the journal compiles an entire issue and allows us to collapse the time to publication to only a few months. This will be especially important for special issues which will still be form an essential part of the journal. They will now be dubbed ‘collections’ owing to the new volume/article number structure.
Second, we are now offering many other alternatives for the types of article that can be submitted. In addition to the most common “Original Research” article, we now offer a “Review” format for research synthesis articles; a “Forum” option for submitting scientific opinion pieces; a “Monograph” format that allows longer articles with extensive methods and results; a “Technical Note” option to submit short papers detailing a new technology or method; and a “Field Note” offering to document field observations and measurements that are insufficient for a full original research article.
These last two submission types (Technical and Field Notes) are the newest additions that I think will be quite important in the future as it allows the documentation of minor research findings so others can perform extensive meta-analysis.
Fire Ecology also offers the “Book Review” option, but these are usually submitted by invitation only. And last, the journal has kept the option of submitting an annotated version of a classic fire ecology article (“Classic reprint”). We have also retained the services of our copy editor Laurie Burk to ensure Fire Ecology continues to be published with the highest quality.
The Association for Fire Ecology and the staff of Fire Ecology are very pleased with the transition to Springer Nature and look forward to a successful future
Perhaps the most noticeable change for the new journal is the pricing structure. The publication charges have increased significantly compared to the charges when the journal was published solely by AFE. This allows us to take advantage of all of Springer Nature’s enhanced and rigorous processes and systems for submission, peer review and production, to provide our valued authors with a high quality publication experience.
There are additional benefits, such as increased visibility through regular marketing campaigns, inclusion in conference- or event-related activities, and even promotion of articles through blogs, social media and features in specialist publications and top news outlets, all of which is included in the article-processing charge. The full pricing breakdown can be found on the new Fire Ecology website and, of course, we still offer a 15% discount for our esteemed AFE members.
The Association for Fire Ecology and the staff of Fire Ecology are very pleased with the transition to Springer Nature and look forward to a successful future. We also look forward to your manuscript submissions to our rejuvenated journal as it grows from a cottage publication to an internationally renowned journal.