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Make your publication Special!


Jonathan Turner, Angharad Hills, Neal Marriott and Robert Pankhurst have a list of good reasons why you should publish in the Society’s prestigious Special Publications Series.

Geoscientist 20.6 June 2010

A glance at most Earth scientists’ burgeoning bookshelves will usually reveal a selection of distinctively colour-banded spines signifying the Special Publications series – the “SPs”. Now in their 46th year, the strength of the Special Publications brand has helped to establish the Geological Society as one of the world’s foremost Earth science publishers. SPs have achieved an unrivalled reputation for scientific excellence, clear layout and high-quality production. Librarians consider them essential acquisitions. This year, the Geological Society Publishing House will deliver some 23 new volumes, taking us to volume 346 and making it one of the most extensive geoscience book series ever published.

SPs cover an eclectic mix of Earth science topics, including world-class thematic sets in such diverse fields as petroleum geoscience, hydrogeology, tectonics and structural geology, igneous petrology, history of geology, and many more. Since 2007 the complete series has been available online via the Society’s Lyell Collection, the success of which has meant that the breadth of audience to which the SPs are exposed has increased massively. Online SP abstracts were accessed nearly half a million times in 2009 through the Lyell Collection, and about 250,000 full papers were downloaded - exceeding the hit-rates of many Earth science journals. The Society offers substantial discounts to its own Fellows, as well as members of some of the main geoscience societies, making these books very affordable.

SP editors and contributors are supported by a Society-appointed Books Editor and the dedicated Publishing House staff. Once final manuscripts for a book are received, we aim to publish within seven months. All surpluses are used to enhance the Society’s support and promotion of interest in Earth sciences.

SP But times are changing, for publishing especially. To ensure SPs’ future vitality, several new initiatives are being rolled out, designed to encourage would-be editors and authors to publish in them.
  • Free colour. For all new proposals, authors can have up to three free colour figures in their printed paper (all colour illustrations are free in the online version).
  • Citation data. From late 2010, citation data for SPs from 2005 onward will be available from the ISI Web of Knowledge; citation data can also be obtained from Scopus.
  • Online submission and review. The entire peer review process is now handled online using the AllenTrack software (similar to that employed by AGU and Nature) which means greater efficiency for authors and editors, particularly when they live in several different countries, and a much improved project planning - avoiding production bottlenecks and delivering faster service.
  • Electronic marketing. The shift in emphasis from print-based to highly focused electronic promotion of new titles is providing the series with exposure to new markets.
  • Conference and publication planning. New collaborative relations are being developed between the Society’s Conference Office and its Science and Publications Management Committees so that conveners of meetings can receive free assistance with organising the promotion and logistics of their conference, and in planning from the outset for an eventual Special Publication.

Furthermore, we are planning a “publish-ahead-of-print” process whereby individual articles are posted to the Special Publications site on the Lyell Collection within one month of acceptance, before the full book is collated for printing.

The SP series continues to flourish in an intensely competitive environment. Their continued success relies on a steady flow of scientifically exciting new proposals to the Books Editorial Committee. From the pleasure of having used SPs, most of us will, we trust, agree that they provide a permanent record of our very best scientific endeavours. Moreover, the new initiatives listed above will ensure that SPs retain their edge in the worlds of fundamental and applied geoscience.

So, next time you are deciding where to publish – whether the work arises out of a conference you convened or participated in, or indeed any other thematic set of papers - please give SPs serious consideration. You will be supporting the Society in its task of furthering Earth science research and communication. We are confident that you will be delighted with the result.
  • To find out more about publishing in the Special Publications, please contact the Commissioning Editor, Angharad Hills: E:; T: +44 (0)1225 476402.