In 2012, ITC researcher Prof Dr Alfred Stein founded the scientific journal Spatial Statistics. It publishes articles at the highest scientific level concerning important and timely developments in the theory and applications of spatial and spatio-temporal statistics. “We’re living in the golden age of statistics.”
In the early 2000s, it became clear it was time for a journal in the ever-growing field of spatial statistics. “It wasn’t hard to convince Elsevier of the need for a new journal, however, at the time, there was limited momentum to start new journals at all,” says Stein, founder of the journal and researcher at ITC. To investigate the potential of launching a new journal, Elsevier requested a conference.
In 2011, 350 scientists from all over the world visited Enschede to attend the conference called Spatial Statistics for Mapping the Environment. “We attracted high-quality researchers who presented their latest development in the field,” says Stein. The success of this conference convinced Elsevier to publish the journal. Its first issue, Mapping Global Change, marked the start of a successful journal.
From the start onwards, all issues of the journal were completely digital. “This was a new development at the time,” says Stein. All the contributions in the first two issues were from nine different countries. Since then, the journal has grown and it attracted contributions from many other countries as well. From fifteen manuscripts and a few handfuls of citations to 78 manuscripts and nearing a thousand citations in 2021. Also, the impact factor has been steadily growing from 1.605 in 2014 to above 2.0.
Spatial Statistics follows the policy of its publisher regarding open science. It is moving from subscription papers towards offering more opportunities for open science. “The journal is not fully open yet, however, we want the number of open papers to increase. The increasing amount of open science and open data studies is a blessing for statistics. Open science is a wonderful new opportunity for spatial statistics with spatial big data in particular,” explains Stein.
Prof Dr Alfred Stein is a professor in Spatial Statistics and Image Analysis at the department of Earth Observation Science. For more information about the history of Spatial Statistics, read the full paper from the special issue online.