As the application of systems approaches to agriculture has become more widespread, it has become easier to find journals that will publish the outcomes of this research. Many journals routinely publish agricultural systems work. Furthermore, publications that favor experiments isolating cause-and-effect relationships have expanded their coverage to include different types of systems-based research.
Journals that Publish Articles on Agricultural Systems Research
Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment Agronomy Journal Ecology and Society Ecological Applications Ecosystems Human Ecology International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability Journal of Environmental Quality Journal of Sustainable Agriculture Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems Organization and Environment Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems Society and Natural Resources
Begin planning for publication in the very early stages of the project, particularly if collaborators need to publish to receive favorable performance evaluations. Try to ensure that everyone who needs to be a first author has the opportunity to do so. This can be challenging in a complex project, so develop clear criteria for authorship that the research team agrees on. Consider using the following steps to determine authorship:
- Before addressing the details of authorship for specific papers, have an open discussion about authorship in general as it applies to the team, including a discussion of cultural norms within disciplines. The ranking and expectations of authorship can vary across disciplines; make sure that everyone becomes familiar with such differences.
- Sketch out and provide an approximate time line for the expected papers from each major section of the project.
- Identify the first author for the most straightforward cases (e.g., graduate student subprojects, components that have a clear leader).
- For projects that have an identified lead author, add the expected coauthors without determining the sequence. It usually becomes easier to determine the order of coauthors as the work progresses. When several coauthors have made equal contributions, use alphabetical listing.
- Discuss the remaining papers and determine who will contribute to the work. When assigning first authorship, consider the usual factors (e.g., level of contribution, expertise, career stage) as well as the overall distribution of authorship within the project.
- As the work progresses, revisit authorship agreements and make adjustments as needed to reflect actual contributions and avoid misunderstandings.
- As with any other type of jointly authored publication, clearly spell out the responsibilities of each author during the writing stage.