Survey on gaps to be filled by "Genetic Resources"

Below follow the results of a survey among selected audiences about the main gaps that a journal on genetic resources would be expected to fill. This survey was conducted within the GenRes Bridge project, which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 817580 and the summary below was registered as a milestone on 27 June 2019. Its results represent the basis and support of stakeholders within the European genetic resources networks on which the journal "Genetic Resources" was built.  

 

Survey on gaps to be filled by a new journal

By Lorenzo Maggioni

Introduction

As part of the EC-funded H2020 project ‘GenRes Bridge’, the project consortium will establish a new online scientific journal dedicated to the community of practitioners of plant, animal and forest genetic resources (GenRes) involved in monitoring, collecting, conservation, characterization, breeding, valorization and use of in situ or ex situ GenRes.

Inspired by the late FAO/IPGRI Plant Genetic Resources Newsletter, the intention is to offer free online publishing of ‘grey literature’ original articles, reviews or short communications of interest for this community, that would not easily find an alternative publishing channel. The GenRes Bridge project will guarantee electronic publication of the first three issues of the journal in June 2020, December 2020 and June 2021 and develop proposals for long-term sustainability of this new journal.

A survey has been prepared to define the scope and features of the journal, based on the real needs of the community. The survey was sent on 14 May 2019 with deadline on 25 May 2019, in the form of a surveymonkey to ca. 1600 persons. Most contacts were provided by the crop network (49%) and the botanic gardens network (45%), while very few contacts were provided by the forest and animal networks (3% each).

Results

The results cannot be analysed in terms of comparison of replies from the different genetic resources domains, since the majority of respondents belong to the agricultural or botanic gardens sectors. However, the rate of reply from the forest and farm animals’ stakeholders is assumed to be high, as 72 people expressed interest in forestry although the survey was sent to only 50 EUFORGEN contacts. Similarly, 27 people expressed interest in farm animals, although the survey was sent to only 46 EFRP contacts.

A total of 297 replies were received (17% of survey recipients), of which 60 anonymous. The trackable answers were received from 43 countries: Albania (4), Armenia (3), Austria (5), Azerbaijan (3), Belarus (1), Belgium (3), Bosnia Herzegovina (6), Bulgaria (4), Croatia (5), Czech Republic (7), Denmark (4), Estonia (7), Finland (4), France (6), Georgia (4), Germany (13), Greece (9), Hungary (8), Ireland (2), Israel (2), Italy (17), Latvia (7), Lithuania (5), Luxembourg (1), Mauritius (1), Montenegro (1), Netherlands (4), Norway (6), Poland (6), Portugal (11), Moldova (1), North Macedonia (1), Romania (10), Russian Federation (2), Serbia (9), Slovakia (13), Slovenia (6), Spain (10), Sweden (8), Switzerland (6), Turkey (4), Ukraine (1), United Kingdom (7).

Below follows a detailed account on the responses to the questions in the survey. 

1. Would you find a new free online scientific journal publishing 'grey literature' articles on multiple domains (plant, forest, animal and other) genetic resources useful (297 replies)?

  • Yes: 269 (91%)
  • No: 28 (9%)

2. Which type of genetic resources domain are you interested in (294 replies, multiple responses possible)?  

  • Agricultural plants: 238 (80%)
  • Biodiversity for food and agriculture: 210 (71%)
  • Wild plants: 173 (59%)
  • Agricultural production systems: 120 (41%)
  • Ecosystems: 96 (33%)
  • Forestry: 72 (24%)
  • Microbial diversity: 30 (10%)
  • Farm animals: 27 (9%)
  • Aquatic diversity: 8 (3%)
  • Other: honey bees: 1 (0.3%)
  • Other: wild animals: 1 (0.3%)

3. Which gaps do you think the journal could cover in terms of the type of articles that you would like to read/publish (286 replies, multiple responses possible)?

  • Ex situ conservation methods, strategies, guidelines, case studies: 206 (72%)
  • Evaluation of genetic diversity for breeding purposes: 195 (68%)
  • In situ conservation methods, strategies, guidelines, case studies: 194 (68%)
  • Phenotypic characterization: 181 (63%)
  • Documentation of genetic diversity: 175 (61%)
  • Assessment/review of genetic diversity status/trends: 165 (58%)
  • Genetic resources and broader biodiversity linkage: 164 (57%)
  • On-farm management methods, strategies, guidelines, case studies: 152 (53%)
  • Genomic characterization: 139 (49%)
  • Breeding: 136 (48%)
  • Cultural/historical studies: 100 (35%)
  • Ethnobotanical and ecogeographic surveying: 96 (34%)
  • Policies and regulations: 90 (31%)
  • Valorization and marketing: 85 (30%)
  • Ecosystem services: 77 (27%)
  • Any other genetic resources/species/breed case studies: 68 (24%)
  • Socio-economic studies: 61 (21%)

Other replies: germination and seed tests for conservation; crop wild relatives; a database of markers used in different organisms; ABS in practice; PGR in education; there are already tens of journals on each topic

4. Considering that the journal will be in English, would you wish to read at least the abstract also in a different language (291 replies)?

  • No: 214 (74%)
  • Russian: 24 (8%)
  • French: 19 (7%)
  • Spanish: 11 (4%)
  • Other: 23 (8%)

Other is specified as: country of origin (1), German (7), Serbian (4), Portuguese (3), authors’ mother tongue (2), Romanian (2), Czech (1), Italian (1), Polish (1), Turkish (1)

5. Considering that the journal will be in English, would you be available to offer limited language editing support (1-2 articles/abstracts per year) in the following language (291 replies)?

  • No: 157 (54%)
  • Yes, English: 79 (27%)
  • Yes, Russian: 16 (5.5%)
  • Yes, Spanish: 9 (3%)
  • Yes, French: 6 (2%)
  • Other: 24 (8%)

Other is specified as: German (6); Italian (3); Portuguese (3), Serbian (3), Greek (2), Croatian (1), Estonian (1), Hungarian (1), Polish (1), Romanian (1), Ukrainian (1)

6. How many articles of your work would you be interested to publish in the new journal during 2020-2021 (289 replies)?

  • One: 141 (49%)
  • Two: 78 (27%)
  • None: 48 (17%)
  • More than two: 22 (8%)

7. Would you be available to peer-review for the journal a limited number of articles in your subject area (289 replies)?

  • Yes: 157 (54%)
  • Don’t know: 90 (31%)
  • No: 42 (15%)

8. Would you like to suggest a name for the new journal (286 replies)?

  • No: 223 (83%)
  • Yes: 45 (17%)

Suggested names (number of suggestions per group):

  • GenRes Journal / Genetic Resources Journal / Journal of Genetic Resources / GenRes / Genetic Resources / Genetic Resources Newsletter / Genetic resources Gazette / GenRes Review (19)
  • Genetic Resources Management and Valorization / Genetic Resources Practicality / GenRes Research / Genetic Resources for Future / Genetic Resources for Food and Forests / Genetic Resources in a changing world / Genetic Resources for Life / GR Talking & News / GR in depth / Genetic Resources for Bioeconomy / GenRes Now / GenRes Out and About / Diversity in Genetic Resources and Phenotype (13)
  • Journal of Agrobiodiversity / Genetic Resources and Biodiversity Conservation / Biodiversity Journal / Agro-biodiversity Journal / Agrobiodiversity in action! / AgroBiodiversity / The Biodiversity survey and management / Genetic Biodiversity Conservation / Briefings on genetic and Biodiversity (9)
  • European Genetic Resources / International Journal of Genetic Resources / World Genetic Resources / European Journal of Genetic Resources / European Genetic Resources Newsletter (7)
  • GenRes / GenRes Bridge / GenRes Bridge Journal (3)
  • Others (10)

Conclusions

The survey gives an indication of an existing interest for a new journal on genetic resources (91% of respondents). Although agricultural plants (80%), including wild relatives (59%) raised the highest interest, the forestry (24%) and farm animals (9%) domains also registered a significant interest, considering that only a minority of stakeholders from these domains were included among the survey recipients.

Biodiversity for food and agriculture also raised a very high interest (71%).

Among the gaps the journal should cover, ex situ (72%) and in situ (68%) conservation, together with evaluation (68%), characterization (63%) and documentation (61%) of genetic resources are the most quoted fields of interest, with a wide range of other aspects always quoted by more than 20% of respondents.

The need to provide articles in other languages than English seems desirable (26%), but after all not essential (74%). A good number of generous replies was received, offering editing support in many languages, specifically 79 people offered English editing! Equally generous was the offer to occasionally peer-review some article, with 157 people (54%) being certainly positive about this.

The number of articles that the editors can expect to receive during the GenRes Bridge project timeframe is quite high, should the expectation revealed through the survey (a total of more than 350 articles) materialize. Several suggestions were made for the journal’s name, the majority insisting on the words “genetic resources’ included in the title in one way or another.