The Position Papers of EMS

Guariso, Giorgio and Rizzoli, Andrea Emilio (2006) The Position Papers of EMS. Environmental Modelling and Software, 21 (5). p. 601.

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As stated on the back of the front cover page of the journal, Environmental Modelling and Software has the aim of improving our capacity to represent, understand, predict or manage the behaviour of environmental systems. Such an ambitious aim can be only achieved thanks to the excellent scientific contributions of our authors, and to the unselfish dedication of our reviewers. These efforts are orchestrated by the Editor, assisted by the Editorial Board, by providing the ‘editorial line’ of the journal. Such a line can be kept and steered by soliciting contributions in the fields of interests to our readers and by a number of accompanying measures. One of these measures has been the creation, in year 2000, of the International Environmental Modelling and Software Society, which aims at promoting a closer interaction among the researchers and practitioners who are active in this field. This has proven to be a highly successful initiative with two biennial meetings held in 2002 and 2004, which were attended by more than 600 people. A third biennial meeting, a ‘Summit on Environmental Modelling and Software’ to be held in Burlington (VT, USA) next July, has an exciting program of workshops and presentation sessions addressing key challenges in our field (more information are available at In this issue, the Editorial Board has decided to adopt another measure to contribute to the aims of the journal and to attempt to provide a useful source of information to the readers: the Position Papers. Position Papers are a form of scientific contribution which adds to the currently available publication types: regular papers, short communications, and software and news items. The aim of Position Papers is to represent a view of a specific topic and issue, which is supported and shared by the Editorial Board of the journal. Yet, the Position Papers shall not be just academic exercises: on the contrary, they must be a source of useful information, building on and synthesising our knowledge, and contributing to the delivery of good practices in the difficult tasks of modelling, understanding, predicting and managing environmental systems and developing associated software applications. Any author can submit a Position Paper, but the suitability of a topic will indisputably be decided by the Editorial Board. Also the reviewing process is different. First, a standard review process by a set of reviewers external to the Board is performed. Second, if the paper passes this filter, it is evaluated by the Board members. Comments are gathered and discussed with the authors. Such a discussion will be an integral part of the paper and if a consensus cannot be reached, the different comments and opinions may be published as a follow-up to the paper. We do not expect to have a large number of Position Papers per year, since the requirements are that the paper must address a general issue or problem concerning environmental modelling and software. And it should not simply review the existing literature, but it should also indicate a way forward for scientists and researchers. In this issue, we publish our first Position Paper, authored by Tony Jakeman, EMS Editor-in-chief, Rebecca Letcher and John Norton. The paper is titled ‘10 Iterative Steps in Development of Evaluation of Environmental Models’. The Editorial Board thinks that this is a good example of a Position Paper, since it embodies its essential qualities, being informative and tackling important issues such as quality assurance procedures in model development. We hope that you will enjoy reading this contribution and we invite you to get in contact with the Editor and the Editorial Board if you have an idea for a Position Paper that you think could address the aims of our journal.

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