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​​Interview with Nik Grü​nwald, Editor-in-Chief of PhytoFrontiers™

APS is in the process of launching PhytoFrontiers™, a gold open access journal with a broad scope. ​Leading this effort is Nik Grünwald, a USDA research plant pathologist affiliated with Oregon State University, who is serving as the first editor-in-chief of PhytoFrontiers. Nik answered some questions about his involvement with APS and his vision for this new journal. ​​

Q. Tell me about your history with APS? How long have you been a member? What leadership roles have you held?

Nik: I have been a member of APS and attendedGrunwald.jpg just about every APS meeting starting when I was a grad student at UC Davis. I have held numerous leadership roles with APS. I was most honored to serve as senior editor and editor-in-chief of Phytopathology and subsequently as a 2-term chair of the APS Publications Board. I have also been a member of Council and several boards. As chair of the Publications Board, I fostered a culture of constant innovation to keep our journals fresh and appealing. Many changes resulted from this approach, such as the introduction of lateral transfer of papers among journals, altmetrics, ORCID IDs, social media sharing, and the launch of Phytobiomes. Launching PhytoFrontiers is the next logical step in APS’s constant process of innovation.


​Q. PhytoFrontiers will be the sixth APS journal. Why does APS need another journal? What makes PhytoFrontiers different? 

Nik: There are several reasons why APS needs another journal. APS currently only publishes one open access (OA) journal, Phytobiomes, that publishes research on plant-associated microbiomes and their environments. APS currently does not have a traditional plant pathology journal that is gold OA. Thus, authors that are required to publish in OA journals, particularly under Plan S, cannot publish in our journals. Furthermore, some papers are out of scope in our core journals. PhytoFrontiers has the broadest and most inclusive scope. Another important aspect is that PhytoFrontiers does not judge manuscripts based on perceived impact or significance of results. In fact, we encourage publication of negative results explicitly because the scientific literature is otherwise biased in favor of positive and significant results. PhytoFrontiers will accept any rigorous study about any aspect of plant health. 


PhytoFrontiersCover300.jpgQ. Can you give me examples of studies that can be published in PhytoFrontiers that couldn’t have been published in any of the existing five journals?

Nik:  Some examples of studies that often are out of scope include: aerobiology of spores; phylogenetics and evolution of microbes; applications of robotics, artificial intelligence, and internet of things to plant health; interface of food safety and plant health; host plant resistance and molecular breeding; social and economic aspects of plant health; genomics, proteomics and metabolomics of microbes; abiotic impacts on plant health; and any other topics not traditionally considered by our core journals. 


Q. Who do you think will and should publish in PhytoFrontiers

Nik: I think all colleagues interested in rapid, open access publishing in the larger plant health community​. Overall, PhytoFrontiers is a great place for those of us that want to publish rigorous OA research quickly. I believe this journal will be very appealing to our graduate students and postdocs as well as seasoned APS authors that send papers outside of the APS family of journals for lack of scope. With PhytoFrontiers your work will be immediately recognized within our plant health community. This is your journal of choice if you cherish publishing OA plant health research with an immediate audience of plant health peers. 

Learn more about PhytoFrontiers.