Pastoralism: a must-read journal

Pastoralism has been publishing open access since 2011. It is a must-read source of high quality, peer-reviewed material on pastoralism. It covers a great diversity of topics, and has an impressively international authorship. So far over 230 articles have been published.

To give a flavour, topics covered in 2019 include economic valuation, indigenous weather and climate forecasting, perceptions and measures of milk health and quality, meat processing in Kenya, access to health care in Jammu and Kashmir and snow leopard predation in Bhutan. Quite a range! Over the last years, and for the most recent period, the most read articles can be found here.

One of the most recent contributions is a short research report on PASTRES. This provides an overview of the project and our aims and ambitions. It’s already a bit out of date, as it features only the original three PASTRES study sites – in Qinghai, Tibet, China; Isiolo, Kenya and Sardinia, Italy. Now we have even wider scope, with PhD students joining working in Borana, Ethiopia; southern Tunisia and Gujarat, India. However, as a short, accessible overview it provides a good starting point, so do have a read.

And while you are at it, do have a look at the other articles in the impressive archive. I have to admit I have a conflict of interest – as does another PASTRES colleague, Michele Nori – as we are both on the editorial board, but I genuinely can say that this journal provides an important service to the scholarly (and indeed practitioner) community working in pastoral areas. Since the demise of the Overseas Development Institute’s fabulous Pastoral Development Network series in 1996 (started in 1976 – and still an amazing archive), there has been nothing equivalent.

Open access publishing means that readers can read any for free, but authors must pay a processing charge. This amounts to around $1500 per article, which is steep if you don’t have a generous grant. Luckily Springer, the publisher, has a waiver policy for authors based in low income countries (defined according to World Bank criteria). It is good to see many African scholars taking advantage of this.

So do go ahead and read and submit articles. The online system is a nightmare (with the computer regularly saying, ‘no’!), but there are some great, real people behind this perennial user unfriendly barrier. Not least the two main editors – Carol Kerven (editor-in-chief) and Roy Behnke (book reviews editor) – for whom the journal is a labour of love.

Carol and Roy of course know a thing or two about pastoralism in many different parts of the world. This makes the review and editorial process very rigorous, which shows in the quality of the final products. When PASTRES was undertaking a big review of pastoralism during the past year (see the two recent PASTRES papers by Michele Nori here and here), many of the key recent papers turned out to be published in Pastoralism. Here’s the link again: do have a browse!

Main image credit: Gongbuzeren, PASTRES

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