Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 30 Issue 01

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Volume 30, No. 1
Pages 5 - 5


The Federal[scient]ist Papers

Ellen S. Kappel | Oceanography Editor

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As readers know, Oceanography is published by The Oceanography Society, a private nonprofit organization. But in light of the ongoing vigorous discussion and debate about the size and scope of the federal government, and particularly about the appropriate funding levels for US science agencies, this may be a good time to acknowledge the essential support that federal agencies have provided for special issues of Oceanography over the past two decades. Since 1996, the Office of Naval Research, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation, and the United States Arctic Research Commission have sponsored most issues of Oceanography. Most frequently, special issues have reviewed the science that resulted from a particular program that an agency supported, some of which were multinational. Other special issues have had invited papers on specific ocean-related topics that were cross-program and cross-agency. US agencies also generously sponsored publication of both issues devoted to women in oceanography and the March 2016 special issue on graduate education in the ocean sciences. 

These special issues of Oceanography have been useful outlets for disseminating information about government-supported ocean science research outcomes both within and outside our community. Our science articles are peer reviewed, are written in more accessible language than a technical journal, and are freely and openly available on the web, creating the potential for expanding the magazine’s audience. As an example, recent articles in The Washington Post and The Guardian specifically mentioned articles from the NASA-sponsored December special issue section on Ocean-Ice Interaction. The online versions of the newspaper articles linked to the Oceanography articles. Thanks to social media, the articles generated an enormous spike in hits to the Oceanography website.

Whatever the future may hold, I hope that Oceanography will remain able to disseminate information about the valuable oceanographic research conducted by federal agency scientists as well as scientists at academic institutions who are funded by federal agencies. Given that TOS membership represents 66 countries, it would be appropriate to balance US coverage with more articles that describe research funded by government agencies outside the United States. 

I encourage submission of review articles about your government-​funded research program that articulates why your research is important and provides an accessible overview of your results and how they affect the future of our planet (see author guidelines at https://tos.org/oceanography/guidelines). When published, everyone can then aid in dissemination by promoting the articles and special issues on social media. As a famous American said, “It takes a village.”

– Ellen S. Kappel, Oceanography Editor


Kappel, E. 2017. The federal[scient]ist papers. Oceanography 30(1):5, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2017.101.

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