Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
The aims of Planet@Risk are “to support the establishment of a worldwide risk community, committed to sharing know-how and expertise by a constant process of dialogue – a crucial but still insufficiently implemented element of a truly integrative approach to risk reduction and disaster management.” It does this by quickly collecting and then presenting the results of transdisciplinary research: ‘grey literature’, scientific reports, case studies, book reviews and working papers. This makes hitherto difficult to find and access data easily findable and accessible – and also provides a means for judging the quality of the information presented through rapid review by an impressive international editorial board. The mission of the journal’s publisher, Global Risk Forum GRF Davos, is to “promote the worldwide exchange of know-how and expertise, create solutions and foster good practice in integrative risk management and climate change adaptation,” and the journal is sponsored by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC, Switzerland’s international cooperation agency within the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), which is “responsible for the overall coordination of development activities and cooperation with Eastern Europe, as well as for the humanitarian aid delivered by the Swiss Confederation.”
Planet@Risk publishes findings in seven sections: a State of the Art Collection (in which expert correspondents keep readers up to date with the most recent developments in different fields of risks reduction, disaster management and global change); Grey Literature Summaries (condensed papers/summaries on government, agency or industry reports, on working papers of committees that has not yet been published in scientific journals); Case Studies for Good Practice (focusing on projects whose outcomes can be regarded as good or best practice examples); Scientific Reports (with articles about past disasters, summarizing lessons learned from these incidents); Working Papers (documents with well-focused themes, including introductions and conclusions, presenting research that has been summarized but not yet written up and submitted to a refereed journal); Book Reviews (of recent, interesting books on a wide range of topics pertaining to risk, safety and security, and global change); and Event Reports (announcing upcoming conferences and events and reporting on outcomes of conferences and workshops).
The premiere issue of Planet@Risk contained a “welcome to the journal” editorial by Walter J. Ammann, Editor-in-Chief and President / CEO of the Global Risk Forum GRF Davos; three State of the Art Collection pieces (“Extreme Weather, Risk and `Social Crisis': An Analysis of Un-Answerability,” “Dynamical Diagnosis and Solutions for Resilient Natural and Social Systems,” and “Application of the Information Transfer Model to Evacuation Guidance and Agent-Based Simulation”) as well as two Case Studies for Good Practice (“Enhancing Forest Fires Preparedness in Portugal: Integrating Community Engagement and Risk Management” and “Evaluating Disaster Preparedness in West Sumatra through Media”) and a book review of Wildfire and Community: Facilitating Preparedness and Resilience by Paton and Tedim (2012). Four of the five issues since have been special issues focused on a single theme, including: Special Issue for the Post-2015 Framework for DRR (Disaster Risk Reduction; the issue was done in preparation for the 3rd United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction WCDRR to be held in Sendai, Japan, in March 2015); two Special Issues on One Health; and a Special Issue on Desertification. They have included a variety of material organized across the seven sections in which the journal publishes. Reports and papers come from experts and practitioners around the globe, and illustrate that the journal is very much in the process of carrying out its goal of “sharing know-how and expertise by a constant process of dialogue.”
Librarians will want to bring this journal to the attention of any researcher working on risk reduction and disaster management. It is the embodiment of what one hopes to find in an open access journal: rapidly produced, high-quality, easily shared information of great utility to many.