Philip Earis on the Growing Citation Influence of Energy & Environmental Science

April 2012
Energy & Environmental Science

In a recent analysis of Essential Science Indicators data from Thomson Reuters, the journal Energy & Environmental Science was named a Rising Star in the field of Environment & Ecology. Its current record in this field includes 929 papers cited a total of 6,644 times between January 1, 2001 to December 31, 2011.

Energy & Environmental Science is published by the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, UK, where Philip Earis serves as its managing editor.

Below, talks with Earis about the Journal's history and citation record.

SW: Did you expect Energy & Environmental Science to become highly cited, or is this surprising to you?

The development of sustainable energy coupled with associated environmental impacts is the key problem facing the world today. Scientists, engineers, governments, research institutes, societies, and corporations around the planet are busy addressing this, leading to much research activity.  So whilst Energy & Environmental Science serves what is undoubtedly a very active research field, we have had to work hard to ensure the journal has become a top-tier home for the best, most important research.

SW: How would you account for the high citation rate of Energy & Environmental Science?

Under the direction of Editor-in-Chief Professor Nathan Lewis, we have consistently aimed to publish research of the highest quality, but moreover to act as a journal that spans and brings together many communities. Our belief is that true progress into more sustainable energy requires collaborative science, technology, and engineering research encompassing many fields. Energy & Environmental Science thus fulfils a very important role as the central home for high-quality results, analysis, and discourse.

SW: Would you give us a brief history of the journal?

“The development of sustainable energy coupled with associated environmental impacts is the key problem facing the world today.” 

The journal was launched in July 2008, following extensive consultation with researchers who felt that a high-profile, community-spanning new journal would be timely and lead to greater interactions between fields.

SW: What historical factors have contributed to the success of Energy & Environmental Science?

Any journal’s reputation rests on the quality of articles it publishes and the service it offers the community. Underpinning both of these is the quality of the peer-review procedure, and the Energy & Environmental Science Editorial Office consistently works hard to ensure we have a very rigorous, fair, efficient process. This ensures we publish the most important research, judged on scientific merit alone, and that we offer very quick publication times—extremely important in a fast-moving field.

Of course, our very visible Editor-in-Chief and outstanding Editorial Board have really helped to raise the profile of Energy & Environmental Science in a very short time, and the journal has been further bolstered at every stage by the reputation, international profile, and support of RSC Publishing.

SW: Have there been specific developments in the fields served by Energy & Environmental Science that may have contributed?

We cater to many communities, but I feel one field where we have become a true “journal of choice” for top work is the rapidly growing area of solar fuels. Energy & Environmental Science has helped bring together the different communities working in solar fuels, helping give the field a high profile and critical mass. The importance of the field was recognised when the US government made solar fuels one of only three critically important “hub” projects in 2010: the result is the $122M in funding to establish the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis  (JCAP), led by our Editor-in-Chief, Nate Lewis.

SW: What, in your view, is this journal's main significance or contribution in the field of Environment & Ecology?

We are not solely a chemistry journal, nor an exclusively physics, materials, biotechnology, environmental, engineering or catalysis journal. Acting as a forum bridging all these important fields, we are greater than the sum of our parts.

One of the key roles of the journal has therefore been to bring the environmental implications of new energy research to greater prominence, and also to ensure that researchers are mindful of technological, economic, and environmental consequences of their studies. Following a suggestion from Editorial Board member Professor Rob Socolow, we introduced a new article type, the “Analysis” article, to help achieve this, and it has been a very popular feature of the journal.

SW: How do you see your field(s) evolving in the next few years?

It’s an exciting time to be involved with cutting-edge energy and global environmental research.  The stakes are high, and so are the rewards. I feel scientists are becoming more aware that they can’t act in isolation—fundamental research is impacted by technological barriers, the scarcity of some important materials and resources, and so on. I think further collaboration between different fields which have previously had limited interactions is both necessary and inevitable.

SW: What role do you see for your journal?

We will continue to act as a very important central forum for the communities we serve, publishing outstanding new results of wide general interest.

Energy & Environmental Science
Philip Earis, Managing Editor
Royal Society of Chemistry, publishers


Krebs FC, et al., “Manufacture, integration and demonstration of polymer solar cells in a lamp for the ‘Light Africa” initiative,” Energ. Environ. Sci. 3(5): 512-25, 2010, with 162 citations.
Source: Essential Science Indicators from Thomson Reuters.

energy, environmental science, scientists, engineers, governments, research institutes, societies, corporations, chemistry, impact factor

The data and citation records included in this report are from Thomson Reuters Web of ScienceTM. Web of ScienceTM is a registered trademark of Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.