Peter Nielsen Production & Manufacturing Research: An Open Access Journal

How did you get to where you are now?

Growing up I was never in doubt that I wanted to work with math in the applied sense, so for me it was natural first to pursue a Master’s degree in Engineering (Industrial Management) and follow it up with a doctorate in Manufacturing Technology with an emphasis on production planning. I must admit that from the moment when I started pursuing my Engineering degree I have never looked back, but always just pressed forward and said 'yes' whenever I have been offered a new challenge (which is the reason I have so many different roles today). So it was natural for me to accept the challenge of being co-ordinating editor for a new Open Access Journal. It was simply an opportunity not to be missed.

How did you come to be editor, why did you take on the role?

Like most things in life it was a combination of coincidence, good timing and keeping the mind open for new opportunities. I was in dialogue with Taylor & Francis regarding another journal when it was mentioned that they had a new journal in the pipeline and would I perhaps be interested in taking on the role as co-ordinating editor? For me it was an easy choice since I have always enjoyed interacting with colleagues on research. This was actually one of my main motivations in pursuing an academic career in the first place. That the journal is open access was for me just an extra benefit as I am a big proponent of Open Access and Open Source in research.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors/editors in this particular subject area?

For the authors I would say that the fundamentals are always the same: have a clear message and contribution and demonstrate novelty of research in application or in method and in our field it does not hurt to stipulate the real life problem that motivated the research in the first place. For editors it is a bit more complicated. The journal has a rather broad scope in content matter, which give some challenges and I have found that keeping the following in mind has greatly assisted me:

  • Admit to yourself that you cannot be an expert in all subject matter.
  • Rely on your reviewers, but also be ready to call in an extra opinion if needed.
  • Your publisher is your best friend, contact them when in doubt.

What’s your vision for the journal?

The long term vision is to make PMR the top OA journal within its domain. To achieve this we need to keep publishing solid original research that actually makes a contribution to the field's body of knowledge. We have already reached our first goals for having a solid output of good papers and we can see that they are already having an impact both through citations and through reaching a very broad and large reader base. I hope that within five years we can state that there are no OA journals within the domains of Production and Manufacturing Research that have a bigger impact in downloads and citations.

What are you looking for in a paper?

In my whole career I cannot remember a single larger research project that I have been involved in that was not motivated by a problem found in industry (and typically directly in collaboration with industrial partners). So I think that a paper containing research within the Production and Manufacturing domain should be motivated by real life issues encountered in industry and demonstrate how this problem is relevant and previously unsolved. This does not mean that purely theoretical papers are not welcome, quite the contrary, but it does mean that even theoretical papers should be related to real life challenges.

What do you feel is the biggest achievement from the journal so far?

The journal came into existence in the spring of 2013. To date we have published 60 original research papers, six of which have already crossed the 1000 download mark – one even the 5000 mark. Even with the open access model the editorial process takes time, so having 60 papers with such an impact in less than two years is what I am most proud of – especially as all the credit is due to the authors’ and reviewers’ efforts.

What are the benefits of publishing via open access?

The benefits are easy to quantify. The average paper in the journal is viewed 48 times a month. I challenge you to find many journals following a traditional publishing method that achieves this amount of exposure of the research results. Open access of course also has the added benefit that you as an author maintain the rights to the published material and can use this to a much larger extent than allowed under normal licencing agreements. This gives the authors a whole new set of methods to disseminate their knowledge, share it with colleagues and get feedback.

What do you hope to see in the coming years from both the field and the journal? 

It is easy to associate production and manufacturing with environmental issues, price competition, low income vs. high income, trade barriers etc. However, few fields have the impact on international economy as production and manufacturing and few fields require a truly cross-disciplinary effort to address the big challenges we face as a global society. I personally look forward to how we can assist to some small degree in making sustainable efficient production methods and manufacturing systems to the benefit of the world as a whole.