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Meet the PLOS Water Co-Editors-in-Chief

In this blog post find out about PLOS Water’s Co-Editors-in-Chief, Jenna Davis and Pierre Horwitz. Learn about their specific expertise, what new research is currently exciting them and their vision for PLOS Water.

PLOS Water Co-Editor-in-Chief Jenna Davis

What does PLOS’ vision for Open Science mean to you?

JD: There is growing support for the idea that knowledge production and dissemination should be more inclusive. How we actually operationalize that ideal is the challenge that PLOS is tackling, and I’m excited by the opportunity to both learn from and support those efforts.

What specific expertise do you bring to PLOS Water?

JD: I’ve been teaching and carrying out research in the water and sanitation field for more than 20 years. Most of my group’s work has been in countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Having the opportunity to examine issues across a variety of contexts has really shaped the way I think about research design and the interpretation of findings

PLOS Water Co-Editor-in-Chief Pierre Horwitz

PH: My earliest training was in aquatic zoology; I’ve developed a strong interest in the variety of inland aquatic ecosystems, including water chemistry and water resource management. My research is increasingly focused on social ecology, place-based, and policy dimensions of our interactions with water.

What is the most exciting part of your job as an Editor-in-Chief?

PH: Most of us are aware of the challenges we face in terms of planetary resources and inequality, and the inadequacies of our existing institutions to tackle them meaningfully. Since journals are institutions that structure the delivery of knowledges, we have both responsibilities and opportunities in this regard. The most exciting part of my job as Co-Editor-in-Chief is to be equally attentive to each of these many ways of knowing. Sometimes that will involve challenging our societal and organisational structures.

JD: Working with my Co-EIC Pierre Horwitz to develop a vision for PLOS Water that catalyzes cross talk between the water services and water resources communities, and that supports historically under-represented researchers in publishing their work. I’ve also loved meeting new colleagues and learning about their work–there is an amazing amount of scholarship in the water field!

What will PLOS Water add to the field in the coming decade?

PH: Water permeates, and is nearly universal in a disciplinary sense. The combined forces of industrialisation and population growth have meant a flourishing of types of water knowledge that belong, more often than not, to a set of languages and technologies. While they are essential coverage for the field of water, they have come at the expense of a diverse array of water knowledges that have been marginalised, and are more place-based, culturally defined, and ecologically literate. They include knowledges of Indigenous and local peoples, even formed over thousands of years and hundreds of generations, embedding understandings of water as the world has changed, and how societies have responded.

By addressing this imbalance, and providing a re-acquaintance for an international audience, while maintaining strong coverage of conventional and emerging fields, we may well be in a better position to contribute to a regenerative global agenda over the next ten years.

What’s a common misconception new authors have about the peer review or publication process?

JD: I think some new authors may forget that reviewers, while very knowledgeable and typically more seasoned than they, are also colleagues in their scholarly community. Engaging them in constructive debate can benefit everyone.

What developments are occurring in your field of expertise that excite you at this time?

JD: First, increased data availability and advances in data science are expanding opportunities for measuring and monitoring water resources, services, and access. Ideally this will enable better management and policy choices. I’m also excited to see a broader conception of health being incorporated into the water services arena. Evaluating effects of service deficits on, for example, mental health and the quality of child caregiving helps paint a more complete picture of the costs and benefits of water sector investments.

Want to know more about the journal and how to submit your research? Find out more information at PLOS Water! and follow the journal on Twitter.


Jenna Davis is a Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the Higgins-Magid Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment, both of Stanford University.

Pierre Horwitz is the Professor of Environmental Sciences at Edith Cowan University, Western Australia, and founding Co-Director of the University’s Strategic Research Centre for People, Place & Planet.


Featured image by esudroff on Pixabay.

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