Best Article Award Procedure

ISDRS “Best Sustainable Development Article Award 2017”

Revised version including the feedback received for the ISDRS board to check, improve and endorse and the executive to start the process according to the time schedule

FINAL December 11th, 2017

Basic concept and its benefits
The basic idea is to elect annually the best article on sustainable development by a membership vote, and making the nominated journal articles available on the homepage for members only (for copyright reasons). This will be something attractive in the run-up to an ISDRS conference.
We will invite the winner for a keynote and give her/him a price (not really monetary, but symbolic, a certificate or something else to hang on your office wall and mention in your CV). This would attract – if successful – some very high-level speakers to our conferences. And by making the articles available, it could be a service to our members which other societies do not offer, and as access is for members only, it might be another little incentive to join or stay connected to the ISDRS. (For the articles elected we can urge the publisher to make it open access….).
Another benefit of a broader approach will be that it makes it easier to convince different publishers to put up booths at ISDRS Conferences, which would enrich the conferences and generate some additional income for us. How our SD, BSE, BSD, CREM journals can best be promoted in that context is of course something we should discuss with Richard. The award is not limited to these ‘home’-journals.

As a society activity, the procedure could be something like:

  1. ISDRS will ask all members to nominate 1 article (not being their own…) published in 2017, according to specified criteria published in advance and provide us with a pdf copy;
  2. All articles suggested will be considered under the condition that they can be accessed by the ISDRS jury as pdf for free (nominated authors can be asked to provide a pdf copy);
  3. ISDRS informs the scholars whose articles have been nominated, on what the competition is about (many will hear for the first time from ISDRS that way) with a very appealing message;
  4. Depending on the number of responses there are three ways to proceed: we have a ‘procedure a’ for receiving 1-40 suggestions and a ‘procedure b’ for 41-80 suggestions and a ‘procedure c’ for 80+ suggestions;
  5. Pre-selection step 1 (depending on number of received suggestions (see point 4):
    1. the Award Jury reviews the suggested articles briefly and nominates a shortlist of 10 nominated): each Jury member reviews a batch of a quarter of the suggested articles, assessing these on a 1-10 points scale. Each article is assessed by 3 Jury members;
    2. the Award Jury reviews the suggested articles briefly and nominates a shortlist of 10 nominated): each Jury member reviews a batch of a quarter of the suggested articles, assessing these on a 1-10 points scale. Each article is assessed by 2 Jury members;
    3. the 8 members Award Jury reviews the suggested articles briefly and nominates a shortlist of 10 nominated): each Jury member reviews a batch of 1/8th of the suggested articles, assessing these on a 1-10 points scale. Each article is assessed by 1 Jury member.
  6. Pre-selection Step 2:

The 10 nominations are selected based on the two parameters:

    1. number of suggestions for the specific article by ISDRS members;
    2. the score of the Award Jury assessment (described in -5-).

    7. The nominated articles will be made available on a special website page;

    8. An online voting, by all members (as open as possible, so also via our followers and LinkedIn group members - up to 3000 professionals) will determine the winner: members will be able to select 1 best article to their opinion. We have to assure that people can only vote once;

    9. ISDRS will invite the top 1-3 to come to the conference (no fee, but also no travel allowance).

    10. ISDRS will announce the 1st price (“The Best SD Research Article of 2017”) during the conference (with big certificate, hall of fame on our website etc.);

    11. ISDRS will announce the winner, maybe with a small video of the ceremony, on the homepage, via LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.

    Best Article Award Criteria:

    1. The article has been accepted and published (including online early view versions) in the year 2017 in a scientific peer-reviewed journal, accepted by commonly used scientific literature databases (like ISI, Scopus, etc.);
    1. The articles should be in English[1];
    1. The content of the article addresses a sustainable development topic with an inter-disciplinary or transdisciplinary perspective;
    2. The article makes a well-defined contribution to academic debates and shows awareness of the complex nature of sustainable development;
    3. The article offers or at least provides hints for possible solutions to sustainability problems;
    4. The article enables positive societal impacts, bridging between science and society.

    These criteria are endorsed by the ISDRS Executive Committee.

    The ISDRS Best Article Award Jury:
    The ISDRS Board appoints an Award Jury consisting of at least 8 members, of which at least 4 are ISDRS Board Members, and the others are Green(+) members. In case of high numbers of articles nominated, other ISDRS Board members can be asked to assist the Jury, and be part of the Jury too.
    Members of the Awards Jury are excluded from the competition and are excluded from proposing and reviewing their own article.

    Current members of the ISDRS Best Article Award Jury:

    Board members

    • Walter Vermeulen
    • Tomas Ramos
    • Anne Wallis
    • Joachim Spangenberg
    • Wale Olayide
    • Marlen Arnold

    ISDRS members:

    • Arun Sahay
    • Dr. T.A. Butt (t.b.c.)
    • Vacant
    • Vacant

    The Executive Board sends an open invitation to Green(+) member for the Award Jury membership. If this results in too many candidates we the ISDSR Executive Board selects candidates, aiming for diversity in the membership and offering those who are not selected a place the next year.

    Time schedule

    October 2017                         Announcement in the newsletter and other media

    October 2017                         Invite members for Jury

    December 2017                       Full announcement in Newsletter and by mail to all members and LinkedIn group.

    01/1/2018 – 15/2/2018           Nomination period

    15/2/2018 – 15/3/2018           Selection of shortlist by the award committee

    15/3/2018                               Publication of shortlist, invitation to vote on best article

    1/4/2018 – 30/4/2018              Voting period for members and affiliates, plus by the Awards Jury

    01/5/2017 – 15/5/2017           Analysis of the vote, identification of No. 1 to 3 articles

    15/5/2018 – 30/5/2018            Communication with conference organisers, inviting the winner to receive the     price at the conference


    Call: The Executive Board initiates and oversees the process. The assistant prepares the communication and the handling of the suggested articles. The Award Jury will be responsible for the assessment and the selection.

    Selection criteria: The criteria should be published with the call. They are approved by the Executive Committee.

    Selection process: The same criteria should guide the selection process for the short list (multiple nominations may indicate a good article, but this is not the voting stage yet). Regional and gender balance are no selection criteria, but the call should encourage submissions by such authors. If the numbers are far higher than 80, the selecting of the short list may easily become a task too heavy for the Award Jury to shoulder; in that case the whole of the Board should be parachuted in to save the day.

     Possible complements

    • In addition, elect best conference article, nominated by the thematic working groups/track. Maybe an early career and an advanced version??
    • Using the journal(s) to announce the winner and for publishing her/his bio could be an attractive way of drawing the attention of the journal’s community to ISDRS and vice versa.

    [1] For the time being we do not have the capacity to assess articles on diverse languages (which might be one option for the future).