IJAGR specializes in studies from applied geography that interface with geographic information science and technology

Interview with Dr. Don Albert, Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research (IJAGR)

By IGI Global on Jan 21, 2014
Dr. Don Albert, professor in the Department of Geography and Geology at Sam Houston State University at Huntsville, has contributed years of research and written and edited many publications and proceedings in the developing area of geospatial applications. Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research (IJAGR), Dr. Albert was recently selected for IGI Global’s 2013 InfoSci®-Journals Distinguished Fellowship Award.

In order to qualify for this honor, an editor-in-chief must exhibit a record of success in raising citation, visibility, and scholarship of their journal. They must also secure an adequate quantity of submissions from leading authors and publish each journal issue on a timely basis. The fellowship honors exceptional work in gaining recognition of the journal in top indices. Dr. Don Albert recently took some time to speak with IGI Global about his journal, continuing research, and career.

IInterview With Dr. Don Albert, Editor-In-Chief Of The International Journal Of Applied Geospatial Research (IJAGR)IGI Global: Tell us a little about your area of study and expertise. How long have you been involved in the field of medical geography and geographic education?

Dr. Don Albert: Yes, I have two fields of studies, the first is medical geography and the second is geographic education. These interests overlap with the field of Applied Geography, which encompasses using geographic principles and concepts for problem solving and supporting decision making, and it is the rubric of applied geography where I have chosen to integrate medical geography and geographic education.

Photo: Dr. Don Albert (left), Department of Geography and Geology, Sam Houston State University at Huntsville, and Dr. Darrel McDonald (right), Social and Cultural Activities Department, Stephen F. Austin State University at Nacogdoches, Texas, standing astride signage recognizing Sliver Level Sponsors (IGI Global and esri) of the SWAAG/Mid-South ASPRS 2013 Conference.

I have a publication record that spans twenty years beginning with my first peer-reviewed article titled “Physician office locations and land use planning: Asheville, North Carolina, 1948-1993” that appeared in the North Carolina Geographer in 1994. In the field of geographic education I have developed materials that illustrate linkages between art, music, regional cuisine, literature, and a host of other topics that students enrolled in undergraduate geography courses might find interesting.

I read that you also specialize in dispatching naturopathic and holistic physicians; will you explain what that means, exactly? What does that entail?

Beginning around 2000 I began to shift my interests within medical geography from the distribution of medical doctors (MDs) and western biomedicine, to naturopathic physicians and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). There were several factors responsible for this research shift. The first spark came from an anonymous reviewer bored at evaluating just another manuscript on the location and distribution of MDs. This reviewer suggested that the rising interest in natural health and the reemergence of holistic practitioners such as naturopathic doctors (NDs) might be a timelier topic since the number, location, and distribution of NDs were in flux. The second flash occurred at a conference while chatting with a fellow geographer over dinner about gaining tenure, promotion, and recognition within the discipline. He encouraged me to develop a more focused research portfolio and become known for a particular topic. The last burst directing me to holistic health is from an emerging personal interest at that time to improve my health and lifestyle via diet, exercise, and natural supplements. I therefore credit an anonymous reviewer, a geographer from a conference, and personal interest in directing me to ultimately explore the geography of naturopathic physicians and the diffusion of state licensing. This research focus, after almost a decade of publishing peer-reviewed articles, cumulated with the The Geography of Naturopathic Physicians in the United States: A Rising Profession, a book co-authored with statistician Ferry Butar Butar and published by The Edwin Mellen Press.

Tell us a little about the International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research. Why is research in the area of geospatial applications so important?

IJAGR just completed is fourth volume. It has been well received by two applied geography organizations and strong linkages have been established with the Applied Geography Conferences, Inc., and the Applied Geography Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers. IJAGR enjoys tremendous support from applied geographers and other scientists around the world with contributing authors from or engaged in research activities across all seven continents (see IJAGR volume 5 number 1 for an account of Dr. Chasteen’s visit to Antarctica). This is an important journal for at least two reasons. First, there is a cyclical connection between theory and application with each spurring the other on. This journal demonstrates numerous applications that then inspires the development of more basic research and subsequently more applications. Second, the International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research offers another publication outlet for applied geographers striving for tenure and promotion or just a place to showcase their research. Finally, one of the greatest benefits of being a journal editor is the opportunity to correspond with and sometimes meet applied geographers and other scientists from around the world. IJAGR’s initial success would not have been possible without the support from associate editors, editorial review board members, ad hoc reviews, IGI’s editorial team, and of course the authors. I am overwhelmed at how generous scholars from around the world have been in sharing their time, expertise, and support to the International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research.

What findings have you found most fascinating in your research experience?

I found that my research on the geography naturopathic physicians was actually useful to interested parties. I received numerous letters, emails, and phone calls from naturopathic physicians, graduate students, a magazine editor, a blogger, a lawyer, an executive director, and even a university president excited that I focusing on the reemergence of naturopathic medicine and the growth in the number, distribution, and state licensing of naturopathic physicians.

The International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research (IJAGR) is a quarterly, peer-reviewed journal specializing in studies from applied geography that interface with geographic information science and technology. Including both regular and special themed issues, this journal presents policy analysts, geospatial practitioners, and academicians with high-quality articles exemplifying various application domains within applied geospatial research. IJAGR is interested in research highlighting various GIS&T application domains that span the social and physical sciences. The limiting factor is less topical, but more whether such studies incorporate geospatial technologies (geospatial statistics, global positioning systems, geographic information systems, remote sensing, etc.) to answer practical, utilitarian, and applied geographic questions.

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