Presidents Message 1-4-2019

Dear EWRS colleagues,

In my last President’s message, I updated on the status of several new initiatives and appointments that cover important roles and future priorities for the Society. I am happy to say that there has been a smooth transition to a new Editor-in-Chief for the Society’s Weed Research journal (Dr Alison Haughton) and Camilla Moonen is now fully on-board as the EWRS Communication Officer.

As with all professional societies, there is a regular flux of EWRS Board and representative positions and this year, the Society will be holding elections for a new Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and for two additional Board members (see separate newsletter article). I would encourage all members to consider if they are willing to put themselves forward for these Board positions, or to gently persuade or even nominate their colleagues! It is notable that despite some efforts to ensure we have processes to create a good gender balance amongst elected EWRS officials, we are short of elected female Board members and I believe we (as a collective membership) should consider gender balance during the 2019 round of elections.

I must also report that after many of years of service as the Chair of the Weed Research editorial board, Paul Hatcher has informed the EWRS board that he plans to relinquish this role in May this year. The Chair of the editorial board acts as a liaison between Wiley, the journal’s publisher, the EWRS board and the journal editors. In the coming weeks, we will begin to consider a process for identifying and confirming a new Chair of the editorial board. The first steps are likely to involve seeking interest in the role from amongst the current editorial board. Many thanks to Paul Hatcher for his dedication to this role.

Given changes to key personnel at Weed Research and many changes in publishing models, including an increasing move towards open access publishing, is it now timely to review the future strategy and direction of the journal. No doubt, this be through a process of evolution, rather than revolution! This process will begin with a meeting on 22nd May in Oxford, England between myself, Paul Hatcher, Alison Haughton and the Wiley journal production and editorial team, and these discussions will continue via the journal editorial board and the EWRS board. The journal is the main source of income to the Society, enabling the EWRS to support several working group activities, web site, communication and other EWRS functions. In recent years, the journal’s impact has fallen slightly, though income from the journal continues to increase. Important questions to consider include how much the editorial board focuses on maintaining and increasing the journal’s impact factor versus solely prioritising publication of European Weed Research? Should the journal increase its scope to consider wider aspects of vegetation management and how do we attract or even commission highly-cited reviews in emerging areas of weed biology and management? Of course, none of these is mutually exclusive and all are important considerations. Please do let me know if you have any thoughts, ideas or reflections which might help us to ensure the continued vitality of the journal and I will take these with me to future discussions.

Please accept my apologies for a short message for this edition of the newsletter. After a series of EWRS Board and Scientific Committee meeting being held in June this year, I hope my next message can provide an update on many exciting ongoing activities, including preparations for the next EWRS symposium in Athens in 2021, the new EWRS web site and a completely new format being planned for the regular newsletter!

Best Wishes,

Paul Neve