College of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences

Double the impact factor

Established in 1917, the South African Geographical Journal (SAGJ) is the flagship journal of the Society of South African Geographers. It publishes novel and original research on all aspects of geography, both physical and human, with particular relevance to southern Africa. With an impact factor of 1.45 in 2020, the journal has shown itself to be a leading South African periodical and has a wide distribution across the world with the publishers Taylor and Francis.

Prof Ashley Gunter (Geography Department, CAES) is joined at the helm of the South African Geographical Journal by Prof David Hedding (Geography Department, CAES).

In 2020, Unisa’s Prof Ashley Gunter from the Department of Geography in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES) was appointed Editor-in-Chief Human Geography for the journal, joining Prof Trevor Hill from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, who was the Editor-in-Chief Physical Geography. While it is a fantastic feat for Unisa to have a member of staff on the editorial team of the journal, a remarkable change to the editorship was about to take place.

The South Africa Geographical Society began looking for a new Editor-in-Chief Physical Geography in mid-2020 to start in 2021. A total of five applications were received for the position from leading academics from South African universities. These applications were assessed by members of the journal’s international advisory board and the SSAG council. After a rigorous selection process, Prof David William Hedding, also from the Department of Geography at Unisa, was confirmed as Editor-in-Chief Physical Geography of the SAGJ.

For the first time in its modern history, the journal is now 'hosted' by Unisa, thanks to the remarkable achievement of these two academics. Hedding and Gunter will provide editorial oversight, leadership and vision for the journal into the future.

Asked about the significance of this achievement, Gunter noted that "it is a privilege for the two of us to take over the editorship of the journal". It is the first time that academics from Unisa are editors of the journal and the university follows in the footsteps of the departments of Geography at UCT and UKZN, amongst others, as host.

It is a significant achievement that academics from CAES have been selected by their peers to act as the editors of the SAGJ. Hedding indicated that "as editors, we look forward to pushing the geography agenda in South Africa and Africa, and thank both the department and the college for their support".

* By Poppie Khoza, Communication and Marketing Specialist, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences

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Publish date: 2020/10/16