by Nick Comerford, PhD, Dean and Director for Research and Cooperative Extension
Last October, we overhauled the way Cooperative Extension publications are published, and after 12 months of piloting this new process, it is an unqualified success.
Extension publications are fundamentally important to CTAHR as the land grant college of the University of Hawaiʻi system. We have a federal obligation to provide practical, research-based information and education for the people of Hawai‘i. Our Extension agents and specialists fulfill this very important “community outreach” function – and Extension publications are a primary tool for getting applied science and practical recommendations into the hands of residents and businesses across the state.
A committee of faculty and administration defined a publication process. We set a publishing goal of 90 days from submission. For the 30-odd manuscripts that were processed from October 2020 to October 2021, the average time has been much shorter – 11.6 days – and that figure includes weekends and holidays.
Quality is not suffering, but rather, has improved. The new process includes a basic level of review that was previously missing (however, it is not designed to match the level of rigor in national, peer-reviewed journals). We also raised the standard of scientific editing and formatting. The resulting papers have a consistent and recognizable look, and are higher in readability, clarity of information conveyed, and aesthetics.
Feedback is remarkably positive, from faculty authors to agency officials to state legislators to UH leadership to my professional contacts in industry and at other land grant universities. If you haven’t visited the Extension publications site recently, I suggest you do.
I’ve instructed CTAHR’s Office of Communication Services to drop “interim” and trim down the guidelines to further streamline the process. The OCS Advisory Council will provide input before the revised guidelines are disseminated. This 24-seat council represents all six departments, as well as CTAHR units, programs, Extension, and administration.
During the interim, authors could choose between an older publication design and a new one. The majority chose the latter. Moving forward, all Extension publications will use the new format. This will increase efficiency and maintain timeliness, as well as uniformly brand CTAHR Extension Publications for our broad community of readers.