Minutes of the System Dynamics Review Editor's Meeting

21 July 1998

Québec City, Canada

1. Call to Order.

The meeting was called to order by John Sterman at 12:10 P.M.

2. Report of the Executive Editor.

Mike Radzicki read a written report submitted by Executive Editor Graham Winch. The report made five main points:


The current backlog of articles is relatively healthy.


Due to its length, Volume 14:2, a special issue on sustainable development edited by Khalid Saeed and Mike Radzicki, is being expanded into a double issue.


Given the current page limitation per issue (384 pages per year) and the current range of materials published in the Review, the prospects for expanding the number of full length articles presented in each issue is not good. Indeed, section editors have been asked to monitor article length and discourage the publication of full model listings.


Some new associate editors have been added to the Review's editorial board, but suggestions for additional associate editors are welcome. The Review will continue to print the institutional affiliations of associate editors, rather than their areas of specialization, on the journal's masthead because it emphasizes the geographic and institutional diversity of the board.


The Review has received a number of supportive comments from readers and members. The Executive Editor appreciates them and wishes to thank the Review's section editors for all of their work.

A short discussion of the points made in Winch's report followed.

In response to the issue of discouraging the publication of full model listings, Jay Forrester argued that full model documentation should be available from the Society at all times and into the distant future. A paper should not be published in the Review unless the equations have gone through the refereeing process and are made available in the Review, or on the Society's web site. It is not satisfactory to have the equations on the author's web site, because it is not a permanent and continuously accessible record. Without the full equations, it is impossible to judge the nature and quality of a model.

The editor's then expressed their thanks to Graham for his report and for his hard work on behalf of the journal and the Society.

3. Status of the Journal from Wiley's Perspective

Diane Taylor presented an informal report on the status of the System Dynamics Review from the viewpoint of John Wiley and Sons. Her comments focused primarily on two issues: (a) dues and (b) article backlog.

In terms of dues, Taylor asked that the Policy Council consider an increase in full-price membership dues of US$10.00 per year.

In terms of article backlog Taylor argued that, although the page limitation for the Review has occasionally been exceeded, the Review's backlog of articles is not healthy. At a minimum, the Review should have two full issues "in hand" at any one time and should (from a marketing perspective) publish four to five full length articles per issue. This is currently not being done and she wondered if system dynamics articles are being sent to other journals. Regarding page extent, Taylor pointed out that the current page limit can be changed with enough lead time, and primarily reflects Wiley's need to plan paper purchases and other logistical issues. The current page limit should not be viewed as an absolute constraint, and can be changed.

A discussion ensued about the size of the Review's backlog and article acceptance rate. John Sterman pointed out that a larger backlog raises the quality of the journal, not only by allowing weak articles to be rejected, but also by providing authors with the opportunity to go through more extensive revisions, which improves the quality of the papers that are published.

The discussion then turned to the topic of increasing submissions to the Review. Ideas ranged from publishing a "papers and proceedings" issue each year that presents the best papers from the annual system dynamics conference, to holding the Review's editorial board and the Society's publications committee responsible for using the journal to guide the field. The group also suggested that it would be very helpful if the associate editors would regularly receive a table showing the status of each article submitted to the Review and the journal's overall acceptance rate.

4. Other Business.

Electronic Presence of the System Dynamics Review.

Diane Taylor was asked about the journal's electronic presence and whether it was possible for the Society to make back issues of the Review available via its web site. Taylor responded that beginning in 1999, all Wiley journals will have web sites containing abstracts of all the articles they publish. Further, some Wiley journals will have the full text of all the articles they publish on their web sites. If the Society wishes to have the full text of all the articles it publishes placed on Wiley's web site dedicated to the Review, the Society should contact Wiley. Lastly, Taylor noted that it's okay for the Society to place back issues of the Review on the Society's web site, provided Wiley can link to them from its web site.

The consensus of the group was that a discussion of electronic access issues by the editorial board of the Review and the publications committee of the Society should take place as soon as possible (probably via e-mail) so that Taylor's questions regarding full text versus abstract availability can be answered.

5. Adjournment.

The meeting was adjourned by John Sterman at 12:50.

Respectfully submitted,

Michael J. Radzicki
Society Secretary