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Accolades for Almut Beate Heinrich, our managing-editor

On Sunday 25 May 2008, our managing editor, Almut Heinrich, received the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Europe Environmental Education Award at its Europe Annual Meeting in Warsaw, Poland. This is a singular distinction in that this award is traditionally given to academic teachers, not the managing editor of four journals. The nomination for this award highlighted Almut’s incredible career of contributions to environmental education:

Almut Heinrich was educated in Heidelberg, Germany, where she received the master’s degree at the University of Heidelberg and started her career in publishing at Springer-Verlag Heidelberg. While at Springer-Verlag, she had the unique opportunity to work as a publishing editor in the chemistry department under the leadership of Dr. Friedrich L. Boschke, one of the leading science editors of his time. She was responsible for the development of a program on applied chemistry that increasingly focused on environmental chemistry (e. g. The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry by Otto Hutzinger), food chemistry (e. g. Zeitschrift für Lebensmittel-Untersuchung und -Forschung) and analytical chemistry (e. g. Fresenius’ Zeitschrift für Analytische Chemie). Under Almut’s guidance, the program eventually comprised monographs, textbooks, advances series, handbooks (e. g. Handbuch der gefährlichen Güter by Günter Hommel) and journals (e. g. the Bulletin of Polymer Chemistry).

After 14 years with Springer, Almut moved to ecomed publishers Landsberg/Lech (Bavaria), where she started in 1989 Umweltwissenschaften und Schadstoff-Forschung (UWSF) with Professor Otto Hutzinger as editor-in-chief. This was the first German scientific journal devoted to chemicals in the environment. The success of this journal prompted the launch of an English-language sister journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research (ESPR) in 1994, which developed rapidly. Already in 1996, ESPR was selected for coverage by Science Citation Index (ISI). Today it is recognized as one of the leading journals in environmental science and is distributed in more than 50 nations.

In 1996, Almut Heinrich started a completely new field: life cycle assessment (LCA) with Walter Klöpffer as editor-in-chief. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment has been the only international journal devoted to LCA exclusively and was accepted by ISI services in 2000. The latest journal initiated and currently published with Almut Heinrich as managing editor is the Journal of Soils and Sediments (2001). Again, a novelty, since this journal treats – as indicated by its name – soils and sediments together. All four of the journals are now available online, and the website has become an important Internet portal that also offers access to the Internet journal Environmental and Health Science (including the Global LCA Village and a free discussion forum). This may seem common now, but certainly not when she started these activities in the second half of the 1990s.

This is the right place to also recognize those individuals that have contributed so much to Almut Heinrich’s very successful career, namely Udo Graf, the managing director of ecomed publishers, and then, after the merger of ecomed with Hüthig Jehle Rehm Publishers in Heidelberg, Clemens Köhler and Peter Habit, the executive and managing directors of the Hüthig Jehle Rehm Company. The three of them provided the platform for Almut’s work to be conducted in a most effective way. They brought her back to Heidelberg and gave her the freedom for a self-dependent and creative work. Almut’s return to Heidelberg has led to a new joint venture with Springer-Verlag, where under Paul Roos’ direction, the journals are published and the editors, the authors, and Almut have found a new home. For Almut, it is the closure of one chapter and the beginning of a new one. To her great pleasure, Hüthig has offered her hospitality in that she can keep her well-loved office at Hüthig house.

There are several links between the journals and SETAC: UWSF is the associated journal of SETAC Europe, German Language Branch (GLB) and Int J Life Cycle Assess is the associated journal of the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative. Many SETAC members serve as members of the editorial boards of the journals and/or act as reviewers. ESPR is the official organ of the EuCheMS Division for Chemistry and the Environment (EuCheMS DCE).

As previously noted, to propose a managing editor for the “Education Award” is unusual, but so is Almut Heinrich’s work. The journals she has created are the “scientific contributions” that she has accomplished in co-operation with her scientific editors, editorial board members, and thousands of authors and reviewers. In the very competitive world of publishing, these journals would not have survived without her inspiring ideas, her endurance, and an enormous workload that she maintained for more than a decade with minimal personal assistance. The journals form a “family” with clear stylistic similarities and belong to those journals that combine scientific contributions with debate and information on related items. In that way they have contributed to environmental education on a high level. For those of us who have had the privilege of working with Almut Beate Heinrich, we can truly say that we are in the presence of a “master” in the knowledge and experience of publishing environmental science journals that have made worldwide contributions to improving the quality and sustainability of our global community!

Congratulations Almut! We are very proud of you and honoured to be associated with you!

Your Editors-in-Chief,

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Correspondence to A. L. Young.

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Young, A., Hollert, H., Klöpffer, W. et al. Accolades for Almut Beate Heinrich, our managing-editor. Environ Sci Eur 20, 157–158 (2008).

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