50 Years of Environment and Planning – new website, launch of EPE: Nature and Space and 50 free-to-access articles


A new website for the journals, launch of Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, renaming of A, B and C, and 50 free to access articles from the journals.

First published in June 1969, the first issue of Environment and Planning was one of two issues that year. An immediate success, the journal quickly expanded, spawning a second series, Environment and Planning B in 1974 and adding Environment and Planning C and D in the 1980s. The launch of Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space in 2018 speaks to the extraordinary vitality of this family of journals, as well as to the remarkable contributions that the Environment and Planning series has made to the interdisciplinary study of space; the stuff of not only of human geography but today a matter of concern for a growing number of related social-science disciplines.

These achievements are those of the community of researchers, readers, reviewers that has grown up around, and with, the Environment and Planning journals. To celebrate this, and 50 years of Environment and Planning, we have invited the editors of the suite of journals, including the newly appointed editors of EPE: Nature and Space, to make a selection of articles from the now-extensive back catalogue. To mark the 50th anniversary, we are making each of these 50 articles free to access throughout 2018. We will continue to augment and develop this new website in the coming months, so that it can become a conversation space for the multidisciplinary communities that engage with the Environment and Planning journals. Please celebrate 50 years with us!

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4 Responses to 50 Years of Environment and Planning – new website, launch of EPE: Nature and Space and 50 free-to-access articles

  1. But now, despite the announcement, we end up with five firewalled journals run by a major for-profit publisher. All the articles should be free -masses of professional societies, departments, and individuals manage to make their journals so, but not these ones. You will find some geographers on this new initiative, still in its early days http://freejournals.org/

    • stuartelden says:

      Yes, but these were always commercial journals. Pion was a small publisher, but they owned the journals right from the start, commissioning people to become the editors. Unlike some journals, the editors never owned the journals. When the inheritors of the estate of the original owners decided to sell, it was clear that it would be a commercial press that bought the company and the journals. There was never any serious discussion of these being made available open access – it would have required either Pion to give up rights, or Sage to purchase them and then not make money back. So I agree in principle on the idea that this content ‘should be free’, but practically the content of these journals was never likely to be made available in the way you’re suggesting. I’m no longer involved in the journals, but I was at the time of the sale. If there had been another way forward it would have been great, but there wasn’t at the time. Another journal I used to be involved with, Foucault Studies, was set up without a commercial press, and remains free-to-access to this day. So I’ve seen both sides of this process.

      • It could have been a worse outcome. But it could have been better – when Symposium sold its education journals to Sage several have retained OA article availability after an embargo period at least .
        More generally, many times I hear the argument that social justice publishing is a great idea. But the critical left in geography don’t actually do all that much of it-look where the work is published -overwhelmingly (c70%, article in PloS, 2015) with 4-5 publishers. The dissonance is particularly striking with these EP journals given the animosity towards neoliberalism and unfettered markets seen in the work of some of the editors. Yet where are the profits from publication now going? Not much to the editors who do a good job, but certainly none to the authors or university libraries paying subscriptions. I have argued that this is a spectre haunting the discipline, but I am a small voice and there are very few taking it on. Mind you, look what has happened in response to USS pension reform in the UK!

      • stuartelden says:

        Not sure I have much to add – the key decision seems to me to have been when the journals were set up. If only the initial editors had owned the journals then… But Pion did, and that limited choices when that company decided to sell.

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