Kirsten Gram-Hanssen comments on Richard Lorch’s “End of an Era” editorial
As Richard Lorch writes in his editorial, when he leaves BRI, it will be the end of an era. For those of us who were the readers, writers and reviewers of the journal the question unavoidably is: what comes next after BRI? The purpose of scientific journals is to secure quality and transfer of new research to the rest of the research community and, in the case of BRI, to other users of research as well. Scientific journals are one way to ensure this quality and transfer of research, though it only works if the research community support the journal to a high degree. The review process is the backbone of securing quality and as an established researcher, you are asked to contribute with this time-consuming unpaid work ever more often, as the amount of journals and issues are continually increasing. Delivering this service to a journal makes very good sense, for a journal with which you have a connection, because the journal serves a higher purpose for the research community, of which you are a part. Though this loyalty to a journal includes a two-way dialogue and this is now lost in one of the journals which to a high degree previously have relied on this.
Will BRI survive? Maybe, but not without severe loses from the undoubtedly many researchers who will no longer find it relevant to send papers to or serve as reviewers for the journal. The questions are thus also: Where do we now take our manuscripts; which journals do we now contribute with reviews to and where will we in the future find the most relevant papers from other researchers to read? One answer to these questions is, that we atomise and individualise, and send our papers to numerous different existing and new-coming journals within a variety of related subjects. Or, is there a possibility of making a more collective move?
Kirsten Gram-Hanssen is a Professor at the Danish Building Research Institute, Aalborg Unviersity