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Life Sciences | Position and Opinion Papers: two new types of papers in the journal

Position and Opinion Papers: two new types of papers in the journal

This editorial announces two new types of publications that can be submitted to Biology and Fertility of Soils: position paper and opinion paper. The intention is to promote: i) hypothesis-driven research by considering the state-of-the art of a target topic in a scientific age dominated by technology-driven research; ii) the revision of topics studied in soil science decades ago since decades; iii) the reconsideration of some neglected keystone concepts in soil biology and biochemistry. Indeed the ignorance of bibliography published before the arrival of the electronic age has led to the negligence of important concepts developed by soil biologists and biochemists

Position Paper: 

It is a short contribution focusing on topics needing or calling for discussion or reconsideration of forgotten topics. It should report a clear position on the target topic and should also suggest a proposal or actions regarding the target topic. It should stimulate imaginative and hypothesis-driven research. A position paper is written by one or two internationally reputed scientists proposing views and possible solutions on the target topic. The length of the contribution is a maximum of 4 typed pages (Times New Roman 12 pt font, double spaced) plus 1 figure, 1 table, and a maximum of 10 references and information sources. Citation of official statistics, events (e.g., special symposia, conferences) and outcome from international organizations working in the field are highly welcome.
The proposed structure of a position paper is:
  • the problem faced and its relevance;
  • a brief state-of-the-art (also considering the often neglected bibliography that existed before the arrival of the electronic searches), so as to interpret today’s challenges, with citations and solutions to the problem and authors’ outlook on the future work.
The structure may slightly vary but each paragraph should develop a single item. Individuals or representatives of organizations directly cited in position papers have the right to respond with a position paper in order to rectify affirmations or to refute eventual concept misinterpretations.

Opinion Paper: 

It reports original and personal views on a given subject. Authors should outline and craft selected arguments by bringing original and groundbreaking ideas and imaginative research solutions.
The proposed structure of an opinion paper is:
  • introduction to the topic;
  • presentation of innovative and original hypotheses, and discussion of published data;
  • analysis of the impact of the proposed hypotheses and of the target audience.
Opinion papers should be based on published data, and should not expand on opinions by others, and should be written in a logical, professionally sound and convincing way. The structure may slightly vary but each paragraph should develop a single item. The length of an opinion paper is a maximum of 5 typed pages (Times New Roman 12 pt font, double spaced) plus 1 figure, 1 table, and a maximum of 10 references including factual articles and reports.
One of the co-authors of this Editorial, Dr Giancarlo Renella, will be the solicitor and the Editor of both opinion and position papers.
We wish to thank both Regional Editors, Professors Kazuyuki Inubushi and JK Ladha, and the Review Editor, Professor Johannes A. Van Veen for their comments in the preparation of this editorial article.
Giancarlo Renella
Paolo Nannipieri