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Life Sciences - Agriculture | Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems – incl. option to publish open access (Press)

Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

Editor-in-Chief: Johannes Lehmann

ISSN: 1385-1314 (print version)
ISSN: 1573-0867 (electronic version)

Journal no. 10705

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Call for papers: “Technological and Methodological Advances in Measuring, Mapping and Monitoring Soil Carbon and Nutrients in Space and Spacetime”

Special issue editors: T. (Tom) Hengl, M. (Madlene) Nussbaum and P. (Pierre) Roudier

Soils have been identified as one of the most promising carbon sinks. Sequestering more carbon in soil can lead to improved fertility while removing carbon from the atmosphere. Agricultural soils could play a crucial role in the context of food security and climate change. Consequently, there has been an increasing interest in novel technologies for measuring, mapping and monitoring of soil carbon and soil nutrients. But, how to organize sampling and monitoring of soil carbon and nutrients to achieve objective answers to key soil carbon management questions? What is happening with nutrients over large areas and over longer time scales? Which nutrients are in deficit and which might lead to supply risks? How significant is soil pollution and soil degradation and how is it related to soil fertility? Can advanced and now widely available, Open Source Machine Learning frameworks (e.g. Machine Learning packages in R and Python, Tensor-Flow, H2O), Data Mining and High Performance Computing combined with soil sensing technologies and publicly available Remote Sensing land products be used to boost accuracy of carbon and nutrient maps without significant additional costs? What are the optimal statistical / Machine Learning frameworks and best practices for producing reliable soil carbon and nutrient maps? How does use of accurate spatial information impact the value of soil resources? How will such technologies impact food production and land management in 20 to 30 years? In which directions will technology and applications develop in the next 10 years?

This special issue invites researchers in the field of soil science, agronomy, ecology, data science and pedometrics to submit original research work connected with development and application of novel technologies and methods that can help answer some of the questions above. Our special interest is in using novel technologies such as soil sensing and image recognition, automated sensor networks, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and publicly available Remote Sensing land products (NASA's Landsat 7 & 8 and ASTER missions, ESA's Sentinel 2 and other Copernicus land products, JAXA's Advanced Land Observing Satellite ALOS, LiDAR, TanDEMx and similar missions), in combination with machine learning, data mining and High Performance Computing.

First five (5) accepted papers for this special issue will be awarded a waived registration fees (names to be chosen by the contact author of the paper) at the next OpenGeoHub Summer School 2019 (former GEOSTAT Summer School, see: https://geostat-course.org/2018


Specific topics include but are not limited to:
- Direct-to-digital soil mapping, from soil sensing to dynamic maps of soil carbon and nutrients,
- Integration of regional and global soil data, incorporation of scale into soil carbon and nutrient mapping,
- Ensemble methods / model averages for operational mapping,
- Estimation of uncertainty of spatial predictions in space and spacetime,
- Combination of expert-based soil evaluation and numeric approaches to soil mapping including soil sensing,
- Development of methods for predicting soil carbon and nutrients in space and spacetime (deriving soil carbon loss and gain),
- Development of sampling schemes for monitoring changes in soil carbon and nutrients,
- Interdisciplinary developments spanning fields of pedometrics, econometrics and environmetrics,

Submission requirements 

We require that all articles submitted for this issue come with documented computational steps (code) and/or data processing tutorials which are available publicly (github, Rpubs, Launchpad and/or Bitbucket) and can be used to reproduce at least 2/3rd of key results (key tabular and graphical results). We also require that the submitted works involve using or distributing Open Data (meaning that the input and/or output data is registered under some of the https://opendefinition.org/licenses.By requiring maximum transparency and reproducibility, we hope to attract the highest quality submissions in the field.
Figure 1: This special issue requires simultaneous submission of (a) manuscript, (b) code and (c) data. The reviewers will be involved in evaluating all three components of the work.
Reproducibility check — conditions and workflows:
1. At least 2/3rd of key results (listed in the cover letter by the authors) must pass the reproducibility test. Key results should comprise between 5–12 items. Reproducibility test will be organized by the special issue editors who will also comments on directly on the code submitted together with the article.
2. Key results (including tables and graphs) that do not pass the reproducibility check will be returned to authors.
3. For the final submission, all input data, processing steps (the code) and final manuscript must match exactly before the paper can be accepted for publication. This corresponds to Level 2 or 3 standards of the RR as defined in http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aab2374
Read more about reproducible research in:
- Nosek BA, et al. (2015) Promoting an open research culture. Science 348:1422–1425. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aab2374
- Stodden, V., Seiler, J. and Ma, Z., (2018) An empirical analysis of journal policy effectiveness for computational reproducibility. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(11), pp.2584-2589. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1708290115
- Somers, J. (2018) The Scientific Paper Is Obsolete, here’s what’s next. https://www.theatlantic.com/science

Submission guidelines 

We highly recommend following these guidelines (in addition to the submission guidelines at https://link.springer.com/journal/10705 to speed up processing of the papers:
1. Download the Springer template. For markdown documents please use the Springer template from https://github.com/rstudio/rticles
2. Once the paper is submission ready provide a list of key results in the cover letter. Then provide link to data and code for the at least 2/3rds of the key results.
3. Initial submission will go through pre-screening and once all technical criteria have been met, it will be sent for peer-review.
4. (Optional) after a submission has been accepted for publication, authors will be encouraged to place a copy of the whole project on http://osf.io including a preprint of the article (the Green Open Access publishing route). Contact authors that are employees of some of the government agencies or Universities that are under the Institutional Agreements can request Open Access without paying the processing chargers. Find out if your institution has an agreement with Springer. Read more in: The Springer Open Choice.The Springer Open Choice.
5. Send an e-mail to editors with all links to data and code that can help in the review process.


The special issue is scheduled to be released in end of 2018. The provisional schedule is as follows:
- First call: 2018, June 1st.
- Manuscript submission until 2018, December 1st.
- Manuscript evaluation until 2019, February 20th.
- Special issue publication in 2019, March.


For further details and questions, please contact Tom Hengl Tom Hengl

For authors and editors

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    2017 Impact Factor
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  • Aims and Scope

    Aims and Scope


    Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems considers manuscripts dealing with all aspects of carbon and nutrient cycling as well as management and examining their effect in ecological, agronomic, environmental and economic terms. Target agroecosystems include field crop, organic agriculture, urban or peri-urban agriculture, horticulture, bioenergy, agroforestry, livestock, pasture, and fallow systems as well as their system components such as plants and the fertility, chemistry, physics or faunal and micro-biology of soils. The scale of observation is the cycles in the soil-plant-animal system on or relevant to a field or watershed level as well as inputs from or losses to the anthroposphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere. Studies should thus consider the wider system in the examination of cycling and fluxes in agroecosystems or their components. These may include typically multi-year field observations, farm gate budgets, watershed studies, life cycle assessments, enterprise and economic analyses, or regional and global modeling. Management objectives may not only include the maximization of food, fiber and fuel production, but also its environmental and economic impact. The results must allow mechanistic conclusions of broad applicability and distinguish itself from empirical results or case studies of merely local or regional importance. If unsure whether a study fits into this scope, please contact the editor with a brief inquiry before manuscript submission.

    Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems provides timely publication of papers and rapid communications based on original research as well as reviews, perspectives and commentaries of interest to an international readership. Reviews cover important research topics by not only summarizing published research but by providing new insights and concepts through innovative data analysis and synthesis. Perspectives succinctly discuss emergent ideas, controversial concepts, or policy issues with respect to carbon and nutrient cycles in agroecosystems and typically focus on one issue rather than cover an entire topic. Commentaries provide very brief responses to previous publications in this or other journals by expanding on published data, raising questions or highlighting broader issues without primarily providing a critique to the data. Reviews are solicited by the editors, but proposals are highly encouraged. Proposals of perspectives and commentaries typically originate from authors but have to be approved by the editor. Detailed format requirements are outlined in the guide to authors. Special issues are solicited by the editor or proposed by individuals or groups to cover a specific topic and are subject to the same rigorous review as individual submissions. All contributions should be submitted in English.

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