How can we best promote rational discussion on the most compelling issues facing society in the arena of farming production and food systems? Experience with the RAFS Journal in recent years in the Forum section has shown that introducing an important but controversial topic with a well-documented and clearly written concept paper, accompanied by two or three short papers supporting and contesting the issue, can generate reasoned debate that goes far beyond the initial publication for our readers.
Organic Agriculture and the Global Food Supply [C. Badgley, J. Moghtader, E. Quintero, and E. Kakern et al., 2007] with following commentaries by a farmer and an academic was the most quoted paper in the journal (11,731 abstract views and 21,1762 full text views) in the past 10 years. The Potassium Paradox: Implications for Soil Fertility, Crop Production and Human Health [S.I. Khan, R. L. Muvaney, and T.R. Ellsworth, 2014] was the second most popular paper (1153 abstract views and 1064 downloads). The value of these forum papers is further enhanced by their use in the classroom to spur discussion, as we have both used them with success.
Based on this experience, we strongly urge our readers and associate editors to propose titles then work on manuscripts that will fit in this section of the journal and will raise awareness through discussion of controversial issues. Please write to the Editor of the Journal to propose a topic that you would like to see enter in the mainstream for discussion, and that you would like to write. We think this is a valuable role that RAFS Journal can play in the future.