SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
  20 December 2012
Volume 13 Issue 12

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Revisiting the Classics: A Celebration of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry’s Top 100 Cited Papers and a Look Back at the Scientific Themes and Issues They Addressed

Gary Ankley and Joe Gorsuch, SETAC Publications Advisory Committee

As Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (ET&C) entered its fourth decade, members of SETAC’s Publications Advisory Committee (PAC) decided that it was time to celebrate the trailblazing success of the journal as a place to publish important papers in environmental chemistry, environmental toxicology and hazard/risk assessment.

We started in late February 2012 with a citation analysis of all 7,674 of the indexed papers published in the journal since its inception in 1982. From there we compiled a list of the 100 most cited ET&C papers (actually 102; there was a tie at the 100 position). All of these had been cited well over 100 times.

The seminal February 1996 paper by Susan Jobling, John Sumpter, David Sheahan, Julia Osborne and Peter Matthiessen on estrogenicity of nonylphenol in fish topped the list with 818 citations. That paper was part of the body of research for which the Institute for the Environment at Brunel University recently received The Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education (Globe 13(3)).

The ET&C Top 100 range across all three decades of ET&C. The two earliest, published in 1984 by Alan Nebeker et al. and Don Mount and Teresa Norberg, are classics in sediment and effluent test methods, respectively. The most recent–a review paper by Steve Klaine et al. on the behavior, fate, bioavailability, and effects of nanomaterials in the environment–was published in September 2008. As of February 2012 it already had been cited 249 times. More about ET&C’s leadership in publishing on nanomaterials in the environment can be found in Globe 13(1).

Taken as a whole, the Top 100 provide a very impressive record of the high-visibility scientific and regulatory issues that ET&C has tackled over the past 30 years. Recognizing this, the PAC has made plans to share and celebrate these important contributions to environmental science. Several prominent scientists involved with the Top 100 have graciously agreed to develop short essays in specific topic areas reflected in the highly cited papers. We collated papers from the Top 100 list into two dozen essay topics. Here are a few of the topical areas for which essays are being developed:

  • Occurrence, causes and significance of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the environment
  • Chemical and biological approaches for assessing effects of effluent or sediment-associated contaminants
  • Advances in risk assessment practices, detection and evaluation of contaminants of historical and emerging concern

ET&C will publish these essays throughout 2013. The essays will discuss the science/regulatory challenges addressed by the topical Top 100 papers, how they met these challenges, what practical impact they’ve had, and what comes next within these fields of research.

Publishing these essays will highlight and provide a unique historical perspective on the high-impact environmental research that has been published by ET&C over its first 30 years. The essays also will provide great insights into challenges awaiting the next generation of SETAC scientists. We hope that you will enjoy and benefit from this celebration of ET&C’s Top 100 of 1982-2012!

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