Launching a Conference to Reflect a Journal's Scope: An Exceptional Editor Case Study

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By: Penny Freedman, Fri Oct 18 2019
Penny Freedman

Author: Penny Freedman

Serving as an editor takes dedication, time, and passion. Regardless of the discipline, editors can learn a lot from one another’s successes.  We asked some of our exceptional editors at Springer Nature to share initiatives that took their publications to new heights. Their stories of success highlight the impact that even a small change can have. Whatever the goal may be, big or small, be it growth, a major change-up, or a refinement of a process, we hope that the stories from our Exceptional Editor Case Study Series will help inspire new ways that editors can help advance their publications. 

The goal:

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When Dr. Walter Lacarbonara was appointed as Editor-in-Chief in 2017 to Nonlinear Dynamics (NODY), it was already a successful journal thanks to the vision and leadership of his predecessor, Prof. A. H. Nayfeh. The previous Editor-in-Chief had progressively expanded the topics covered in the journal over two decades, making it a truly multidisciplinary journal of nonlinear dynamics research.

In order to reflect the broad coverage of the journal, Dr. Lacarbonara exchanged ideas with Michael Luby, the former Senior Editor of NODY during a conference in Tampa, Florida. They came up with the concept for NODYCON, a new international conference series that would share recent advances and discoveries in nonlinear dynamics research. The core idea was to bring together the diverse international scientific community of nonlinear dynamics overcoming the disciplinary fences often encountered in traditional conferences. 

The Process:

Dr. Lacarbonara put together two strong international advisory and steering committees made of 73 members chaired by Prof. G. Rega. He exchanged innumerable emails with the committee members as well as other colleagues in the field to share the main ideas about the selection of papers, as well as the conference proceedings publication and papers presentation policies. He attended several international conferences in 2018 to announce NODYCON and the launch of the prestigious Ali H. Nayfeh Prizes to be awarded to the best papers presented by graduate students and postdocs at the conference in honor of NODY's founding editor.

The Challenge:

The main challenges were associated with the organization of NODYCON since it was the first time Dr. Lacarbonara engaged with a team from his University and the international committees to organize an international event focused on nonlinear dynamics research in a very broad sense. There was the risk of only gathering a few participants due to several competing meetings in the field of nonlinear dynamics.

The Success:

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The first International Nonlinear Dynamics Conference (NODYCON) was held in Rome, Italy, February 17-20, 2019. It gathered 400 participants from 68 countries including important institutional (Sapienza University, City of Rome, AIMETA Italian Society of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics) and industrial sponsors (Polytec, COMSOL, MTS Systems), as well as Springer Nature.
The conference served as a lively forum for researchers worldwide who presented and discussed the most recent discoveries in nonlinear dynamics research, and engaged in an exciting networking experience.

The Results:

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The conference and related activities helped to build and reinvigorate a sense of large, global scientific community of nonlinear dynamics.  The inspiring keynote lectures and the brilliant talks from senior and junior delegates during the technical sessions at NODYCON sparked wide interest in the nonlinear dynamics community convened in Rome with a distinct geographical diversity and topical multidisciplinarity.

NODYCON 2019 received 450 short papers. Based on 467 reviews, 391 papers and 17 posters were accepted and published in the Book of Abstracts. To overcome the drawbacks of excessive topical fragmentation and to highlight the important unifying aspects, the diverse topics covered by the papers were organized in four major themes reflected also in the technical sessions layout: methods and concepts in nonlinear dynamics, mechanical and structural systems, nonlinear dynamics and control, recent trends in nonlinear dynamics.

Two special issues –  “NODYCON 2019” and “In Memory of A. H. Nayfeh” – were announced in conjunction with the conference and received about 120 high quality manuscripts from prominent researchers. In addition, over 200 papers were submitted for publication in the Proceedings of the First International Nonlinear Dynamics Conference within the Springer Proceedings of Engineering series. The collection features both well-established streams of research and novel areas and emerging fields of investigation.  After a rigorous peer review process the submitted papers were collected in three volumes: 

  1. Nonlinear dynamics of structures, systems and devices
  2. Nonlinear dynamics and control
  3. New trends in nonlinear dynamics 

As part of the conference program, an exciting and solemn moment was the Ali H. Nayfeh Award ceremony, which awarded three prizes for the best student papers to: 

  • Rui Wang (1st place), University of Maryland, USA
  • Alaa Eldin Ahmed (2nd place), University of Waterloo, Canada
  • Soheil Fatehiboroujeni (3rd place), University of California at Merced, USA

After the conference, and the first journal editorial board meeting held at the conference venue, the vision for the journal became clearer to the senior and newly appointed editors who got excited about the goals they collectively contribute to achieve.

Future Plans:

After the first highly successful event, the 2nd edition of the International Nonlinear Dynamics Conference will be held February 14-17, 2021 in Rome. Once again NODYCON 2021 will provide a unique platform for participants to present their innovative research thoughts and share their unique research work.

Have you organized a conference before? Let us know what you learned from the experience in the comments.

Penny Freedman

Author: Penny Freedman

Penny Freedman is a Marketing Manager on the Author Experience & Services team, based in the New York office. She works closely on sharing insight and guidance on the benefits and services available to our editors, reviewers, and authors.

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