WISA honours excellent contribution to science
Ingrid Buchan, science editor at the Water Research Commission (WRC) and editor of the WRC’s peer-reviewed scholarly journal, Water SA, was honoured by the Water Institute of Southern Africa (WISA) for her outstanding contribution to science. Ms Buchan, who will be retiring at the end of December, received the Aqua Vita Est Award 2009. The Award was presented by WISA President, Dr Kevin Pietersen, at a prestigious event held at the Water Research Commission on 9 December 2009.
According to Dr Pietersen, through the Aqua Vita Est Award WISA recognises the hard work that has been done by Ms Buchan ‘behind the scenes’ in order to make research outputs accessible and meaningful to the water sector.
Accepting the award Ms Buchan acknowledged the overwhelming support she had received from the authors, reviewers, WRC support staff, research managers, directors and the WRC CEO Dr Rivka Kfir.
‘Before I arrived at the WRC I had envisaged the science editor’s job as being the quiet pursuit of scholarly publishing, much intellectual discourse, promoting and upholding editorial freedom, stimulating readers to learn more, educating them about what is known, and informing them of new research’ says Ms Buchan. ‘While these lofty ideals certainly became part and parcel of the daily life of this editor, the sheer pace of the place came as a complete surprise’ she adds.
A few highlights of Ingrid’s career deserve mention: ‘The year 2005 was momentous for the journal Water SA: its first ever external editorial board was appointed, and the journal moved from being mainly print-based to being primarily electronic, becoming a free online journal’. Although Ingrid had had reservations about the move, and had anticipated a huge loss in readership, she was pleasantly surprised by the resilience and depth of the journal. Since then it has gone from strength to strength and surprised her once again when it achieved an ISI Science Citation Index Impact Factor of 1.120 in 2007, its highest ever, thereby setting its own benchmark.
‘I have no doubt that Water SA will achieve ever greater heights in the years ahead. Another highlight has been the move to digitise all back copies, creating a digital archive of the entire Water SA collection, dating back to its very first edition in 1975’ says Ingrid.
Ingrid adds ‘The WRC sets high standards and has great expectations of its staff members; however, no sooner has one met the expectations, the bar is raised, and one is spurred onto achieving even greater things. This has been the hallmark of the WRC and has made it what it is today − an exciting organisation to work for and to be associated with, and highly respected everywhere’.
‘I would like to express my appreciation and gratitude to each and everyone out there, as well as to WRC Executive, Management and great colleagues who have made it all possible. It has been an exhilarating rollercoaster ride of a lifetime!’ she concludes.
Contact: Hlengiwe Cele
Tel: 012 330 9006