Disaster and Prevention Management Journal – 30th Anniversary podcast

To celebrate 30 years of publishing, host Fiona Allison speaks to the current editors of Disaster and Prevention Management.

Speaker profile(s)

JC Gaillard and Emmanuel Raju are the current co-editors of Disaster and Prevention Management.

JC Gaillard is Ahorangi / Professor of Geography at Waipapa Taumata Rau / the University of Auckland. His work focuses on power and inclusion in disaster and disaster studies. It includes developing participatory tools for engaging minority groups in disaster risk reduction, with an emphasis on ethnic and gender minorities, prisoners, children and homeless people.

More details can be found at his WordPress site

Emmanuel Raju, is director of the Copenhagen Centre for disaster research COPE, and associate professor of disaster risk management in the Global Health section, the University of Copenhagen. He is also an extraordinary Associate Professor at Northwest University, South Africa. His research interests include urban disaster risk creation, disaster recovery processes, and intersections of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Emmanuel is also the Co-editor of Disaster Prevention and Management Journal.

You can follow him on Twitter @DisasterPrevenM

In this episode:

  • The history of the journal
  • The open access special issue to celebrate 30 years of publishing
  • The changing nature of the field of disaster and prevention management
  • The need and aim of the journal to go beyond the traditional academic article

See all current podcasts

Browse podcasts

Disaster and Prevention Management Journal – 30th Anniversary: transcript

Fiona Allison (FA): Welcome to the Emerald Podcast Series. Today I'm joined by JC Gaillard and Emmanuel Raju, Editors of Disaster Prevention and Management Journal to celebrate its 30th year of publication. JC Gaillard is Ahorangi / Professor of Geography at Waipapa Taumata Rau / the University of Auckland. His work focuses on power and inclusion in disaster and disaster studies. It includes developing participatory tools for engaging minority groups in disaster risk reduction, with an emphasis on ethnic and gender minorities, prisoners, children and homeless people. More details can be found at his WordPress site, which is hyperlinked in this transcript.

Emmanuel Raju, is director of the Copenhagen Centre for disaster research COPE, and associate professor of disaster risk management in the Global Health section, the University of Copenhagen. He is also an extraordinary Associate Professor at Northwest University, South Africa. His research interests include urban disaster risk creation, disaster recovery processes, and intersections of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Emmanuel is also the Co-editor of Disaster Prevention and Management Journal. You can follow on Twitter @DisasterPrevenM. Thank you both for joining me on this episode today.

JC Gaillard (JC): Thank you, Fiona. Thank you for having us.

Emmanuel Raju (ER): Lovely to be here.

FA: Oh, you're very welcome. Absolute pleasure. So thirty years, that's, that's really exciting for a journal, very significant anniversary. So what I'd like to just start off with is JC if you want to start with give me a bit of a history of the journal, and Emmanuel, if you have anything to add to that, that would be fantastic.

JC: Yes, sure. So the journal is one of the oldest in our field of disaster scholarship, the oldest ones started back in the late 70s. So we're just a decade behind that schedule. So we're still kind of part of the early movement of publication in our field. And that gives us some sort of nice viewpoint on how our field has evolved, I think over the past 30 years, starting with back in the 90s, early 2000s, a lot of papers and reports and conferences that were focusing on a very diverse range of topics, sometimes a bit scattered in terms of theory and epistemologies. A lot were back then even by what we call in our field that has a driven approach. So looking at natural phenomena as the main cause of disasters. So a lot of papers were published on landslides and earthquakes and how to forecast these phenomena and how to mitigate the impact. It was a big thing then. And then things have progressively changed in the 2000s. And starting mid 2000s. In 20005, 2006, 2007, we started to have a lot of, or more papers in the critical social science space. And when I had the privilege to take over editorship, 11 years ago, now, we really took a critical social science term. So moving towards what we call now the root causes of people's vulnerability in dealing with the hazards. So we've published over the past 10 years, some papers that have been more focused somehow and more driven by critical social sciences in their diversity because we've been publishing things from a diverse range of disciplines from psychology and sociology, to anthropology, geography and political sciences and a wide range of theories and epistemologies. And they're these disciplines. We've taken that kind of critical social science space between 15 and 10 years ago, basically.

FA: Thank you. It's really interesting. Emmanuel do you have anything to add to that?

ER: I think JC summed it up quite well. And I think recently, we were skimming through the 30 years. And I think that was an interesting exercise, right JC like for the virtual issue that we put together for to celebrate and mark the 30 years. And that really tells a story of where we are today and sort of the discussions debates where we are going as well. And I think that was an interesting exercise to definitely encourage our listeners to take a look at that.

FA: That special issue is open access, isn't it?

JC: It is indeed.

FA: Perfect. Then we will link that into the transcript so our listeners can go and have a look at that special issue. Fantastic. So what I also like is you sort of have a different approach as editors than more traditional journals do, in terms of you know that the sort of papers and going beyond what is expected in academic paper, I wonder if Emmanuel you could maybe speak a bit more about that?

ER: Sure. I think we've recently launched a new editorial policy for the journal, which is on our journal website. And we definitely encourage listeners to take a look at it. And I think it goes in line with what JC was talking about in taking a much more solid social science critical approach. But I think we're also moving in the direction of saying the creation of knowledge itself. And I think that process is important. And I think we really want to engage in in diverse conceptual theoretical reflections looking at a diverse portfolio of epistemologies. ontologies, how can these come into the play? And I think we are strongly encouraging people to look at that recently, a number of people signed what we call the Disaster Studies Accord with very interesting questions to reflect on how we do disaster studies, the methods we use, and those questions also informed some of the discussions we're having in the journal. And that's definitely something that's informing the kind of papers we're looking for. And that will definitely set the tone as we go along the way.

JC: Yes, absolutely. I mean, this is something we're really keen on in the years to come. So in our field of disaster scholarship, I think it's it's valid for for many journals being, these are studies, many publications have become somehow apolitical or being a bit neutral in terms of ideologies, and in terms of the political agenda, and we really want to stand out and to be hopefully unique, in the sense that we want to push for something we believe is meaningful, is grounded, and is genuine in terms of research and disasters. We believe that over the past 30 years, or even 40 years, our field has largely been rehashing or inventing the wheel in in many ways. And we really want to move beyond sort of means of research, the wisdom to research informed by Western concepts and Western epistemologies and Western methods, we want to open up some space for other worldviews, other ways of studying what we call disasters in the West. And we want to offer the support needed not only in terms of contents, but in terms of formats as well, because we, from now on won't look only at papers that are structured after what we expect to be an academic paper necessarily. So we want to accommodate pieces that maybe are not structured with a formal introduction, review of methods, blah, blah, blah. But if locally, it makes more sense for some local researchers wherever in the world to write a paper in a way which allows their argument to unfold in a more grounded perspective, then we will be very happy to accommodate that. And it might be beyond just a written piece of text as well, if someone wants to submit a photo, and we've published that already, if someone wants to publish a comic strip, or something that breaks the usual rules of publication, we are very open to that. And we are very open to provide some support as well to researchers who may lack of confidence and especially young researchers who are so used to be very formatted and to be normalised somehow in the way they approach research. So we are here to help them and to give them confidence that they can they can break the rules and submit to DPM, if they wish. And we are so grateful that Emerald allows us to do this somehow and that we have that kind of institutional support that we know other publishers wouldn't necessarily provide us with. So this is a big thank you as well to Emerald.

FA: Well, you very welcome. I mean it it really ties in with Emerald’s stance towards publishing as well, you know, how do we move away from that traditional, very, as you say, very structured article, you know, opening up research from different corners of the world where we don't normally see research from. I think it's absolutely fantastic. And I think it can really speak to people because people will be like, put off by an academic article. So you know that the photo essay that has been published. Its groundbreaking, really for a journal, as you say, comic strips, and there's also the opportunity for contributors to publish a blog that we can host on the website or even policy briefs. And I think that just really speaks to not only Emerald’s publishing stance, but also the importance of the topic of the journal, what the journal deals with can save lives. It can change lives, it's very, very important. I love that. Thank you.

So as we said, we've gone beyond the article, we're looking at real impact, you alluded to the most recent special issue, which is the 30th anniversary issue. And this is, you know, the open access one, this journal has quite a lot of special issues published in its history, do you want to speak about those? Significance some of those that really stood out to you and sort of the future of the special issues that you're planning?

ER: Sure, I can start. And I think we have very, very exciting and interesting special issues coming up in 2022. Two of them are led by early career scholars. And this was an idea that came up during the PhD winter school at the Copenhagen Centre for Disaster Research, and JC was also there. So we just put out an open invitation to the PhDs and postdocs who were there to sort of put together a special issue from the papers that they were working on. And it turned out to be something extraordinary in the way it's going to come out now. So basically, what happened was, there were papers, the call for abstracts, and we received over 100 abstracts for a single issue, simply because the way the process was set up that there would be mentorship for early career scholars working on different topics working on their paper, and to receive some feedback from either senior colleagues or from their own peers. And also the way once they write the article, there was a small sort of commentary or rebuttal that was written, both from the reviewers and from the authors, two issues of this type will be coming out very soon. And we hope we'll be able to do more of these kinds of special issues. And I think that the fact that this issue gave us a lot of space for dialogue between scholars for people to engage not just in the writing, but also in real critical dialogue, to express opinion, to dialogue on a single piece of paper. And to also be able to publish some of these rebuttals, I think, I think will be really nice. And again, thanks to Emerald for sort of allowing us to play with the format a little bit every now and then. Also, what's interesting is that these special issues, we also have our colleagues who run a podcast called the Disaster's Deconstructed podcast, and they've been very kind to allow the editors of the special issues to sort of feature some of the work in and discuss the work through that podcast, which means that people are not only reading it, but also listening about it, and definitely has much more of a wider impact. Another issue that's coming out later this year is also what we call calling for change in disaster studies. And that's led by a team of senior colleagues, who basically asking for papers reflecting on on the manifesto reflect really trying to see how can we push the boundaries, theoretically methodologically, to discuss some of the current issues and debates in the field of disaster studies. So that'll be later in the year (2022), we definitely hope that this is a role that we will take and not just in terms of special issues, but that all our papers moving forward will have some of these reflections.

JC: These views from the communities papers are really important to us. And it took us some years to actually get it started. Because we were struggling to get practitioners to believe that they can publish in an academic journal, something that in the case of these papers, we didn't go through peer reviews, it doesn't there's no filtering of their voices, it's their voices as they wish that appear in the journal, it's very important to us to open up that space. Again. I mean, for us, it's all about opening up space beyond the usual publishing environment. But that being said, to come forward our perspective Young Scholars, we would like to submit to DPM regular academic papers, whether they are formatted as we expect in the ways, whether they are more creative as a photo essay or something else, they would still go through peer review. So in terms of credentials, and in terms of quality control, quotemarks, because I don't really like that word, but we would still apply what makes a very good academic journal. So we would obviously reach out to colleagues and potential reviewers who are sympathetic to our agenda to the Accord and the manifesto that Emmanuel mentioned. But we would still apply the same overall approach to publishing it just about, again, opening up the space. So I'm a bit repetitive about it. But this is really what we want to do.

FA: We're interested in sort of the practitioner papers because as we've reiterated in this podcast, it's an area that's very important in this field of study is the people who are they’re there on the ground in these situations and and working with affected people in affected countries. So it's really important to have that perspective of people, where maybe this is their job, they work in jobs where there has been a natural disaster or something else, it's really important. It's an absolute great job that you're doing as editors to really open up that to get the relative material in no matter what format it is in. And, you know, obviously, those articles that are more on the academic side they’re, obviously, are still going through, you know, the peer review. And that's all very, very clear on the journal website of those procedures. So we do really appreciate that and do not apologise for reiterating it. It's absolutely fantastic.

ER: Fiona, just to say that, I think since we talking about disasters in the journal and one of the oldest journal in the field, I think it's important to also say that we really do not use the word natural disasters. I think that because we distinguish very clearly between what are natural hazards and disasters, and which is where JC was talking about the root causes of vulnerability. So which is why and that is something that also the journal is looking out for is to be able to say that, how do we bring these root causes to disentangle these drivers of vulnerability and sort of push the boundaries? Theoretically, in that space?

FA: I think you both do have a good plan for the future of the journal. But where do you see the direction of the journal? Do you see more of these different non traditional articles and more from early career researchers and from you know, different areas of the world that wouldn't normally traditionally publishes? Is that the aim for the journal in the future to continue on this?

JC: Yes, definitely. We just launched this new editorial policy earlier this year. And we know we're aware, it's gonna take some time to make it fly. Because again, people are so used to a very normalised and normalising environment, that we will need to create that sense of confidence amongst colleagues that they can go beyond that and submit unusual things to DPM, it's not going to happen overnight, I can tell you, I'm pretty sure! 

We're confident somehow because we have more than 500 signatories of the disaster studies manifesto that Emmanuel mentioned. And almost 200 for the accord that was just launched late last year. So we're confident that these people who believe in our agenda, who believe in what we want to achieve, it's not only a journal, as Emmanuel mentioned, as well as a podcast series, which is promoting the same agenda, there are other journals, as well as starting to get interested in this. So it's a broader kind of change in our field of scholarship. But it's going to take some time to see actual changes in practice. So we will receive odd pieces in the coming months and years for sure. But I mean, we're aware that the majority will still be very regular academic papers. So our role as editors now in the months and years to come, will be to further create awareness and build that confidence amongst our colleagues that they can submit, there will be a safe space for them to be considered, there will be sympathetic reviewers to look at their pieces. And these pieces will be published in an academic journal published by an international publisher and that they are all universities or institutions will recognise these pieces as a very solid academic output as well, because we are aware that especially early career researchers have to be accountable to the institutions that expect some high quality journal publications. So we need to create that that space, that confidence as well,

ER: I think over the year will take some time to sort of get where we want to be. And I don't think we've set out a small task for ourselves, let's be honest about that. I do think we do have a very strong pool of young and senior colleagues in the field who sort of believe in this and people who came together to draft the Accord people who came together to draft the manifesto. And many of these other things that we're talking about. I think we're also very excited because we have a very strong editorial board. We have a lot of new members from different parts of the world on the editorial board, and they've all been part of this process. And so we definitely looking forward to sort of go on this journey with all of them. So it's gonna take a while. But and we also hope that this podcast will some of the listeners will think about some of the questions that we raise, and we'll submit to the journal as well, so let's hope for that.

FA: Yes, that's right, no, I do appreciate that. You're realistic about this. This will take time to embed in research communities, absolutely appreciate it. But we also really appreciate your enthusiasm for trying to change things and make it better. It really does align with what Emerald wants to do as a publishing company. I think on that note, I think in a very positive note, I want to thank you both for your time today. It's very exciting to have a journal publish for 30 years. And let's hope it will continue on this this great trajectory that it is. And again, I just want to say thank you for your time today.

ER: Thank you so much Fiona. Great conversations.

JC: Yeah, thank you so very much and to Emerald as well and for being so supportive and creative and for accompanying us in our journey.

FA: My thanks once again, to my guests, to you, the audience for listening and to Alex at This is Distorted studio for editing.

Our goals

Responsible management

We aim to champion researchers, practitioners, policymakers and organisations who share our goals of contributing to a more ethical, responsible and sustainable way of working.