Aims and scope
UCL Open: Environment is a new, open and transparent open access journal where high-impact disciplinary and interdisciplinary research is published that showcases radical and critical thinking on real-world issues, with the overall aim of benefitting humanity.
The journal welcomes submissions across all aspects of environment-related research and the generation of new knowledge.
Operating dually as an open access e-journal and offering more immediate publication in a dedicated preprint server, with open peer review, the entire publishing process will be accessible, transparent, fair, and accountable.
Articles will be judged on the merit and scientific validity (sound scholarship) of the work and the Editorial Board are inviting submissions from people at any research or knowledge-based organisations (including NGOs, Think Tanks, IGOs/UN) and at all career stages, including early career researchers, mid-career professionals, and senior scholars.
Before submitting to the journal, authors are required to include a clear supporting statement of robustness to demonstrate how the contribution may improve and add to the corpus of knowledge in the field, as well as outlining how the work meets the scope of the journal set out here and the acceptance criteria set out below (please refer to the journals author guidelines.)
It is the aim of the journal to:
- Rapidly disseminate and publish scientifically sound work that offers new knowledge
- Increase the value and seek greater benefits from publications by creating an open and transparent environment, including open refereeing
- Promote opportunities for cross-disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary
research and learning.
The journal’s scope includes environment-related studies linked to:
- Past, present, and future environmental processes and characteristics viewed from a theoretical, observational, or experimental perspective
- The planet’s environments, including those in which people live
- Interactions between the environment and people’s wellbeing and health, including the impacts and management of pollution or disease mediated via the environment
- Policies, decisions, behaviours, mechanisms, and approaches to the way the environment and its resources are managed, including those dealing with the evidence linked to global challenges such as Climate Change, Biodiversity Loss and overall Environmental Degradation as well as to international endeavours related to the One Health, Planetary Health/Limits and Sustainable Development
- Research methods and approaches, the development and management of databases and the development and work of networks.
Broad criteria for accepting, declining, and rejecting submissions
The journal accepts articles within the multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary knowledge space created by two axes, one spatial and one temporal:
- Temporal: From the past (including what we can learn from the past) through to the present and out into the future (as far as we can make projections about the future,) and
- Spatial: The global to local reach of societal challenges and the solutions that can help ensure that humanity can live within constraints of planetary systems.
Inter-, multi-, and trans-disciplinarity is the main but not only guide. For example, where a narrow disciplinary article that is within scope of the journal has particular features (such as being best placed in an open publishing environment rather than any other format) it may also be considered for submission.
The Editorial Board may approve papers for peer review and request immediate revisions prior to any peer reviewer comments to aid peer review effectiveness. Where such requests are made, the Handling Editor will clarify the decision to revise as an open comment.
Articles accepted for full publication will be ones where the Editorial Board has decided that the submission has had two favourable reviews and authors have addressed points raised by reviewers and/or members of the Editorial Board. Experience suggests only a few submissions will move to full publication after one round of reviews.
In general, the Editorial Board may decline papers for full publication where:
- The paper does not meet the scope of the journal set out above
- The paper lacks any conclusion and discussion about the research, particularly where any conclusions are not evidenced well or backed up by the data
- Small or niche research findings, especially papers that aim to provide no or very small updates to current or previous research projects
- Commercial content; marketing a product
- References mainly being to the authors’ own papers (excessive self-citation)
- The paper is not comprehensible for peer review
- Reviewers identify issues with the submission that its authors cannot address to the satisfaction of the reviewers and/or the Editorial Board.
It is recognised that barriers might exist and impede potential authors who are not confident enough to write in English language to submit to the journal.
The Editorial Board will therefore consider the merit of the paper and not the formative language and grammar used, to encourage as much as possible non-native English language authors to submit to the journal – all accepted papers go through a high level of copyediting and proofreading to improve the English language after editorial acceptance before official publication.
Where language improvements are required, the Editorial Board should focus comments on improving the argument and clarity of results, rather than on minor grammatical errors.
Open for anyone to submit to, UCL Open: Environment will focus on all aspects of environment related research – from life and earth sciences, as well as medical, physical, engineering, and social sciences.
Review by academic peers is an essential part of the scholarly publishing and communication process. By sharing their expert opinion, peers evaluate and improve the research of their peers.
UCL and UCL Press regard it as fundamental that research should be conducted and published according to ethical guidelines. In the pages listed below you will find further information on all our editorial policies, guiding Editors, authors, reviewers and users, through ethical publication behaviour.
A statement from Professor David Price, UCL Vice-Provost (Research)