New Michigan Journal of Sustainability co-edited by UMBS Researcher


Oct 07, 2013

Susan Cheng

Susan Cheng poses with the Biological Station's Zero Emissions Canopy Access Vehicle (ZECAV or "Zeke"), which she uses to gather data from the treetops.

Two Biological Station researchers are involved in the debut issue of the Michigan Journal of Sustainability. Susan Cheng, a U-M Ph.D. student, is one of the journal's editors. Alex Bryan, a doctoral student in the U-M Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, has an article in the publication.

Cheng was named a Graham Doctoral Fellow (now the Dow Sustainability Fellows Program) in 2012. The fellows -- and the journal -- are supported by the university's Graham Sustainability Institute

Cheng says the fellows are expected to collaborate on a project that both crosses their many academic disciplines and has the potential to impact the community. She and six other fellows worked together to start this new, open-access, peer-reviewed journal that translates academic research to readers with a variety of backgrounds. It is scheduled for publication once a year.

"It was a rewarding challenge to create and establish a new peer review and editorial process," Cheng says. One goal of the journal is to make the articles understandable to people outside the authors' fields of study. The editorial team addressed this by having three reviewers. The "in-field" reviewer comes from the author's discipline and checks the article for technical accuracy. An "out-field" reviewer looks at whether the article's connection to sustainability and over-arching issues is explained. The final editor, who is one of the fellows, integrates both sets of reviewer comments. Cheng was satisfied that the final articles are "readable outside the [author's] discipline and outside academia."

One such article was written by Alex Bryan.  "Canopy Controls on the Forest-Atmosphere Exchange of Biogenic Ozone and Aerosol Precursors" synthesizes information from Bryan's research at the Station's PROPHET (Program for Research on Oxidants: Photochemistry Emissions and Transport) tower with other forest gas studies.  

Cheng's doctoral research at the Biological Station examines forest carbon cycling under changing climate. She works in the lab of UMBS director Knute Nadelhoffer.