Australian Rangeland Society

Ron Hacker, Chair, Publications Committee.  Email: ron.hacker @crt.net.au

The Rangeland Journal

Last year was a good one for the Society’s flagship publication. We maintained our target of publishing six issues for the year, including special issues on the Australian Feral Camel Management Project and Climate Clever Beef. The journal’s Impact Factor for 2015 (published in 2016) was 1.194, the highest since 2012. Papers from the two special issues, particularly the feral camel issue, are being heavily cited which bodes well for our Impact Factor in the next two years. In fact, five papers from the feral camel issue have received Highly Cited Paper trophies from Web of Science, having been cited sufficiently to place them in the top 1% of papers in the Environment/Ecology field. This is a great result for the authors concerned, and for the journal.

In July 2016 the journal released on-line its first ‘virtual issue’, made up of papers drawn from recent issues, with the title Managing the World’s Rangelands: Future Strategies and Socio‐economic Implications. Papers in this issue were made available free for six months. Our publisher has recently advised that papers in this collection were downloaded more than five times as frequently as the average paper published in the journal in 2016, providing excellent publicity for the journal.

With two more special issues currently in preparation for 2017, and a steady flow of ordinary submissions, the prospects for the journal are good for this year and beyond.

The Society’s contract with CSIRO Publishing to publish the journal will end in December this year. We have received tenders for three publishing houses for a new 5-year contract to operate from 1 January 2018. The Publications Committee will consider these offers over the next few weeks before making a recommendation to Council.

Range Management Newsletter

Under Noelene Duckett’s editorship the newsletter also met its target of three issues for 2016. Obtaining interesting articles for the newsletter is always a challenge but one that has been consistently met, helped in the last year by articles contributed by delegates to the IRC in Saskatoon, Canada, who had received ARS travel grants to attend.

Web site and social media

For the first time this year the web site, managed by Web Site Editor Camilla Osborn, is being used as the site for the Biennial Conference. Previously, conference organising committees have maintained an independent web site. This new arrangement, and the use of social media attached to the ARS site for conference publicity, will draw more people to the Society’s home page and expose them to the range of material on offer there.  Hopefully some new memberships will result.

The Society’s social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, managed by Social Media Editor Amber Marshall, is continuing to grow steadily and the tone of engagement is positive.  The Society’s reach via social media extends well beyond the membership, with the most extensive reach achieved by a recent post being 1466 individuals.

Vacancies on the Publications Committee

Ken Hodgkinson elected not to extend his appointment at the end of his term in December. Ken had been a member of the committee for many years, and Chair during the period when the shape of the Society’s current Internet presence and publishing arrangements took shape. His leadership in these matters is greatly appreciated and has left a lasting legacy. As a result of Ken’s decision to stand down, and the untimely death of Steve Blake in 2016, there are currently two vacancies on the Committee. I would welcome contact from any member who would like to contribute to the Society in this capacity. I am sure you would find the involvement interesting and rewarding, and not too onerous.  Appointments are usually for three years but are extendable.