Organic Farming | 2014 | Volume 1 | Issue 1 | Pages 1–2
A Fresh Start for Organic Farming Research
Thomas F. Döring
Faculty of Agriculture and Horticulture, Humboldt University of Berlin, Albrecht-Thaer-Weg 5, 14195 Berlin,
Germany; E-Mail:
Submitted: 5 December 2013 | Published: 13 December 2013
Welcome to
Organic Farming
, a New Open-
Access Peer-Reviewed Journal!
Over the past few decades the area of farmland under
organic management has significantly and continuously
increased [1]. This trend, observed across all conti-
nents, has been accompanied by a strong expansion
of the market for organically produced goods, and a
substantial increase of organic farming research efforts,
funded through national and international programmes.
At the same time, with the tremendous expansion of
organic agriculture and food systems the organic sector
has experienced a remarkable diversification and it is
therefore essential to conduct research in, and find
practical solutions for, an increasing diversity of organic
farming systems across the globe.
Research findings from organic food and farming
systems have had a significant impact on conventional
agriculture, on agricultural policies and of course on
the adaptation and optimisation of organic systems in
practice [2]. However, organic ideas have not remained
unchallenged: from the inception of organic farming
research, there has been an intensive and dynamic
controversy, both within and outside of academia, over
the benefits of organic farming and food systems, and
the potential and actual contributions of organic farm-
ing to the solution of global challenges such as food
security [3-5], biodiversity conservation [6-8], and
climate change [9]. It is likely that the years ahead will
be no less dynamic, as organic food and farming sys-
tems will need to balance mounting economic pressures
with organic principles and find their way between
inspiring conventional agriculture and simultaneously
competing with it.
With these past and expected future developments
in mind it is clear that a solid research basis is needed
for the progress of the organic sector and related
areas. In fact, these thoughts highlight the pressing
need to strengthen and expand the forum for research
on organic farming. Thus, we are launching Organic
Farming as new open-access peer reviewed journal to
complement, enrich, and challenge current academic
publishing in the area of organic food and farming
systems. As the scientific community intensifies its ef-
forts to solve global problems in agriculture and food
systems, our journal will strive to facilitate this process,
acting as an amplifier and focussing lens to highlight
promising innovations and significant insights from or-
ganic farming research.
Following the spirit of the organic farming principle
of fairness [10], all articles in this journal are free for
readers, so as to decrease barriers to sharing knowl-
edge. Publishing costs are met via membership fees
paid by authors. This model is based on the idea that
the community of contributing researchers jointly bears
the costs of publishing; through this membership system
[11] we offer a low-cost option to open-access pub-
lishing and hope to foster a close identification of con-
tributing authors with the publishing process.
At the same time, establishing this new journal on
organic farming offers a unique opportunity to shape the
editorial process in a fresh and innovative way and to
tackle the well-known problems associated with current
academic publishing [12-14]. In particular, Organic
© 2013 by the authors; licensee Librello, Switzerland. This open access article was published
under a Creative Commons Attribution License (
Farming is committed to promoting and highlighting
the impact of organic research in practice, alongside
the promotion of traditional measures of visibility. We
are dedicated to ensuring the highest quality standards
through fast and rigorous peer review and editorial
policies, and processes are designed to facilitate inter-
and transdisciplinary exchange, e.g. by building bridges
between research on agricultural production on the one
hand and food culture systems research on the other.
The members of the editorial board, with their shared
enthusiasm for organic farming research, are committed
to scientific quality and service to authors and readers.
On behalf of the editorial board I would therefore like to
invite you to submit articles to Organic Farming.
1. Willer H, Lernoud J. Organic Agriculture World-
wide: Key results from the FiBL-IFOAM survey on
organic agriculture worldwide 2013. Available from: (accessed on 6 December
2013). Frick, Switzerland, Research Institute of Or-
ganic Agriculture (FIBL); 2013.
2. Ekert S, Döring T, Häring AM, Lampkin N,
Murphy-Bokern D, Otto K, Padel S, Vieweger A.
Abschlussbericht zum Projekt 10OE027—Evaluation
des Bereichs Forschung und Entwicklung im Bundes-
programm Ökologischer Landbau. Report for Bundes-
anstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung (German
Federal Agency for Food and Agriculture). Available
/evaluierung (accessed on 6 December 2013).
3. Seufert V, Ramankutty N, Foley JA. Comparing
the yields of organic and conventional agriculture.
Nature. 2012;485(7397):229–232.
4. Godfray HCJ, Beddington JR, Crute IR, Haddad
L, Lawrence D, Muir JF, Muir JF, Pretty J, Robinson S,
Thomas SM, Toulmin C. Food security: the challenge
of feeding 9 billion people. Science. 2010;327
5. Tomlinson I. Doubling food production to feed
the 9 billion: a critical perspective on a key discourse
of food security in the UK. Journal of Rural Studies.
6. Fuller RJ, Norton LR, Feber RE, Johnson PJ,
Chamberlain DE, Joys AC, Mathews F, Stuart RC,
Townsend MC, Manley WJ, Wolfe MS, Macdonald DW,
Firbank LG. Benefits of organic farming to biodiversity
vary among taxa. Biology Letters. 2005;1(4):431-434.
7. Hodgson JA, Kunin WE, Thomas CD, Benton TG,
Gabriel D. Comparing organic farming and land
sparing: optimizing yield and butterfly populations at a
landscape scale. Ecology Letters. 2010;13:1358–1367.
8. Gabriel D, Sait SM, Kunin WE, Benton TG. Food
production vs. biodiversity: comparing organic and
conventional agriculture. Journal of applied ecology.
9. El-Hage Scialabba N, Müller-Lindenlauf M. Organic
agriculture and climate change. Renewable Agriculture
and Food Systems. 2010;25(SI2):158-169.
10. IFOAM. The Principles of Organic Agriculture.
Available from:
principles/ (accessed on 6 December 2013), 2005.
11. Librello Membership Program. Available from:
/membership (accessed on 6 December 2013).
12. Döring TF. Correspondence: Quality evaluation
needs some better quality tools. Nature. 2007;
13. Couchman JR. Peer review and reproducibility.
Crisis or time for course correction? Journal of Histo-
chemistry and Cytochemistry. 2013; doi: 10.1369/
14. Pautasso M. Worsening file-drawer problem in
the abstracts of natural, medical and social science
databases. Scientometrics. 2010;85(1):193-202.