Water Environment Research Impact Factor Leaps Ahead by 50%

August 13, 2019

WEF Resources & Efforts

Water Environment Research (WER) is among the world’s oldest monthly research journals catering specifically to water-sector professionals. But the journal, produced since 1928 by the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.), remains dynamic despite its age.

In June, Clarivate Analytics (Philadelphia) released annual impact-factor ratings for more than 11,000 journals worldwide, including WER. A journal’s impact factor indicates the average number of citations received for each paper published by the journal during the previous year. This rating is a measure of a journal’s relevance and importance to the scientific community.

WER’s 2018 impact factor grew nearly 51% over the previous year. This rating is a peak not seen in at least two decades, said WER editor-in-chief and Virginia Tech (Blacksburg) engineering professor Zhen (Jason) He.

“We cannot do things the same way we have for 100 years — we need innovation. New technologies like annamox and anaerobic granular sludge, a lot of them come from research,” He said. “We need a platform to bring the newest information to water professionals. To me, that’s the value of WER.”


The Best is Still To Come

While this sharp uptick in engagement is notable, the journal’s 2018 impact factor fails to reflect a host of recent changes to the way WER reaches its audience.

Click here to read the latest issue of Water Environment Research.

One change was He taking the role of WER editor-in-chief in October 2018. The change in leadership happened concurrently with a refresh of WER’s team of seven associate editors to add an international focus to the historically U.S.-focused journal’s appeal. This team of editors, for the first time, includes scientists from Europe and mainland China. Efforts are also underway to attract more studies from researchers outside the U.S., He said.

WEF also entered into a publishing partnership with John Wiley & Sons (Hoboken, N.J.) in January 2019. Readers can now access WER through the Wiley Online Library platform alongside more than 1,600 other leading academic publications, which He expects will help bolster next year’s impact factor.

“Wiley is one of the top three academic publishers in the world. Our partnership has really increased the visibility of the journal,” He explained. “More people are reaching the work published in WER. That’s very important.”

Increasing a journal’s impact factor is a long-term process. He hopes the 2019 impact factor, due for release in June 2020, will be even higher because of these recent changes.

“This year, I’m happy about the increase, but I don’t want to celebrate too early,” He said. “Next year is the time to show our efforts.”


Greasing the Wheels of Water Research

One factor behind WER’s strong reputation within the industry is its narrow focus on applied research rather than fundamentals. For many years, however, WER also had a reputation within the scientific community for its sluggishly paced publishing decisions.

“In the past, WER has been known for being slow,” He said. Before rising to a leadership role, He submitted several research papers to WER for consideration. At times, it would take up to 5 months to receive a decision from WER’s team of editors on whether to publish, He recalled.

“I’m also an author, so when I choose a journal to publish in, I look at reputation and speed,” He said. “If a journal takes several months to reach their first decision, I would stay away.”

With Wiley’s help, today’s WER team turns articles around in an average of about 32 days — a highly competitive timeframe for any journal. The shift has made WER a more attractive publishing option for researchers interested in getting the word out about their breakthroughs as quickly as possible to the water professionals that value them most, He said.

Read the latest issue of Water Environment Research at the Wiley Online Library.

— Justin Jacques, WEF Highlights


Get your work published in Water Environment Research

Water Environment Research (WER) staff will attend WEFTEC 2019 in Chicago, where they will host a workshop for prospective authors looking to publish their work in WER. Attendees will learn strategies to help create strong submissions, navigate the peer‐review process, and maximize the discoverability of articles published in WER.

Author Workshop: How to Publish Your Research
Mon., Sept. 23, 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
McCormick Place, Room S104

Download the WEFTEC Mobile Planner app for more details.

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