Encyclopedia of Earth: Call for Topic Editors and Authors

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Young environmental experts around the world, in concert with the goals of the World Academy of Young Scientists, I invite you to help build what is fast becoming a seminal reference on understanding and managing the environment.

In September 2006, the Encyclopedia of Earth was launched as a free and comprehensive web-based encyclopedia intended for a general audience. Content spans the physical, biological, economical, and social aspects of all environmental topics with particular emphasis on the interactions among society and the natural spheres of the Earth.

The Encyclopedia of Earth (EoE) is being created and updated by an international collaboration of scientists and other experts in all fields related to the environment via a specially adapted version of the same open-source software platform used by the popular, but "not-quality-controlled”, Wikipedia.

Unlike other wikis, access to the Encyclopedia’s wiki is restricted to approved experts. Expert contributors then review and approve all content prior to publishing it at the free public site.

The EoE combines:

* environmental experts from around the world writing, reviewing and publishing articles in a collaboration known as the Environmental Information Coalition;

* review of each contributor for appropriate expertise before being permitted to join this effort;

* policies and guidance to produce objective, science-based, balanced, non-ideological and non-partisan information in an easy-to-understand language;

* independent peer review for scientific accuracy and objectivity before publication to the EoE's public site;

* attribution of all authors backed by their biographies; and

* free and open content under a Creative Commons license.

Just three months after its public launch, the EoE has recruited over 500 experts from thirty countries. They have published over 1,000 articles on the public site. Our current trajectory suggests thousands of experts contributing tens of thousands of entries in the near future.

With this in mind, we invite you to inspect the EoE and gain an appreciation of its potential.


I also invite you to apply to become a contributor for the EoE. The qualifications are simple. First, you are a recognized expert in a subject area of the Encyclopedia. This means you are a scholar, educator, professional, or other expert from the natural, physical, and social sciences, the arts and humanities, the professional disciplines, the public or private sectors, or the nongovernmental organizations whose work focuses on some aspect of the environment. Second, you are willing to work in a very dynamic, highly collaborative authoring and editorial environment. Third, you embrace the Encyclopedia's commitment to fairness, objectivity, and quality.

There are several roles you can play.

* Authors contribute content by writing articles and expanding on existing articles in their areas of expertise; and
* Topic Editors oversee specific subject areas in the Encyclopedia, often as part of a larger group of editors on a given subject. They approve, recommend for revision or decline articles for publication, as well as help set overall content and governance policies. Topic Editors are also encouraged to contribute articles in their areas of expertise.

Workloads are commensurate with an individual's time constraints.

You can write on or edit any topic that interests you and that falls within the scope of the Encyclopedia. Entries are from 250 to 5,000 words, geared to a general audience. Your articles can be drawn directly from existing material you have written, subject to any copyright restrictions. The Encyclopedia is built, maintained, and governed by experts like you via a specially adapted "wiki," an online resource that allows users to add and edit content collectively.

Significantly, unlike other wikis, access to the Encyclopedia wiki is restricted to approved experts, and all content is peer reviewed and approved prior to being published at the free public site.

There are also roles for non-environmental experts in many areas. We need volunteers with skills in copy-editing, design work, or image gathering.

Why allocate your scarce time to this initiative? There are many potential rewards:

1. Your work will reach a wider and more diverse audience than with traditional print publications.
2. Your work remains up-to-date.
3. Your work will enhance your scholarly and professional development.
4. You will be part of a publishing model that is rapidly changing the world of scholarly publication.
5. Your professional networks will be enhanced.

If you are interested in becoming either an Author or a Topic Editor please fill out and submit our online contributor form: http://www.eoearth.org/eoe/contribute

The Encyclopedia's oversight comes from an outstanding group of international scholars, our International Advisory Board (see below).

Contributing is easy, simply go to http://www.eoearth.org/eoe/contribute and follow the guidelines. The Encyclopedia of Earth site also contains additional information about the project.

I encourage you to circulate this invitation widely within your community.

Contact, Editor in Chief, Cutler Cleveland, cutler@bu.edu or
Editorial Assistants:
Alejandra Roman, eoe@earthportal.net; or
Ida Kubiszewski, ida.kub@gmail.com with questions.

Thanks for your consideration.

Sidney Draggan, Ph.D.
Encyclopedia of Earth Stewardship Committee
Secretariat to the Environmental Information Coalition


Rita Colwell, Chairman, Canon U.S. Life Sciences, Inc., former Director of the National Science Foundation, USA

Robert W. Corell, Chair of the Steering Committee for the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment

Robert Costanza, Director, Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, University of Vermont, USA

Mohamed H. A. Hassan, President, African Academy of Sciences, Nairobi, Kenya

Thomas Homer-Dixon, Director, Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University College, Canada

Andrew J. Hoffman, Holcim Professor of Sustainable Enterprise, Ross School of Business, The University of Michigan, USA

Steve Hubbell, Distinguished Research Professor, University of Georgia, USA

Simon A. Levin, Moffett Professor of Biology, Director, Center for Biocomplexity, Princeton University, USA

Bonnie J. McCay, Distinguished Professor of Human Ecology, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, USA

David W. Orr, Chairman, Environmental Studies Program, Oberlin College, Ohio, USA

Rajendra K. Pachauri, Director-General, The Energy and Resources Institute, India

F. Sherwood Rowland, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, University of California - Irvine, USA

B. L. Turner, Director, School of Geography, Clark University, USA

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