Sustainability in scientific publishing

About the project

Sustainability is an issue in every aspect of life, and there are endeavours to promote and evaluate sustainable handling in all areas.

There exist various definitions of sustainability, and therefore it is extremely difficult to answer the question: Is scientific publishing sustainable? Sustainable actions are meant to keep our earth in a good condition for future generations. Therefore, sustainability concerns not only the environment, but also factors that are not obviously related to it. For example, if we take care of the well-being of all humans, animals and plants in the world, they will in turn change the environment.

The development of a Sustainability Factor aims to facilitate the selection of sustainable publishers for scientists. In the scientific publication process there are numerous aspects that open questions of sustainability - but which aspects are important?

In order to comprehensively identify and evaluate these aspects, stakeholders and opinion leaders in the field will be involved. Publishers, universities, environmental associations, editors, reviewers of scientific journals, research institutions, funding agencies and publishing scientists are asked to identify and evaluate the importance of sustainability aspects in scientific publishing. Based on the result of this step, a questionnaire and evaluation scheme will be developed that allows to create a Sustainability Factor ranking of the examined publishers and journals.

This project was started at the University of Salzburg in 2017, as a collaboration between the Paracelsus Medical University and the Paris Lodron University of Salzburg. In May 2018 the project was honoured with the sustainability award.

The project team at the University of Akureyri is now running a survey on what aspects should be important when creating such a Sustainability Factor (S-Factor) for scientific publishers and journals.


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