ERCIM News Call for contributions

ERCIM – the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics – has launched the call for contributions for the next edition of ERCIM News, with the special theme ‘Smart Farming’. Deadline for contributions is Thursday, 15 February 2018.


The sections of ERCIM News 113 are :

  • Joint ERCIM Actions
  • Special Theme: “Smart Farming”
  • Research and Society: “Research Evaluation”
  • Research and Innovation
  • Events
  • In Brief

The Special Theme and the Research and Innovation sections contain articles presenting a panorama of European research activities. The Special Theme focuses on a sector which has been selected by the editors from a short list of currently “hot” topics whereas the Research and Innovation section contains articles describing scientific activities, research results, and technical transfer endeavours in any sector of Information and Communication Science and Technology (ICST), telecommunications or applied mathematics. Submissions to the Special Theme section are subjected to an external review process coordinated by invited guest editors whereas submissions to the Research and Innovation section are checked and approved by the ERCIM News editorial board.

Special Theme: “Smart Farming”

Guest editors:

  • Christoph Schmittner (AIT Austrian Institute of Technology)
  • Mirco Boschetti (CNR – IREA National Research Council Institute of Electromagnetic Sensing of Environment)
  • Erwin Schoitsch (AIT Austrian Institute of Technology)

New technologies in the area of electronic components, systems, sensors, actuators and software (ECS) are converging to solve together complex tasks in a holistic manner throughout the whole life cycle, covering the complete supply chain. A fascinating example of the application of “Smart Anything Everywhere” as Digital Innovation is “Smart Farming”, from “Soil to Fork”, as it was formulated in the work program of the EC on IoT Large Scale Pilots. This is somehow “Farming 4.0”, covering everything from soil properties assessment and treatment, crop condition evaluation and management and livestock feeding and animal welfare in an optimized manner with respect to resources (e.g. irrigation and efficient water usage), sustainability (less fertilizers and pesticides) and food output and quality (e.g. in field pre-harvest assessment and yield monitoring and analysis). The process includes also harvesting, distribution and consumption, with relevant quality data and consumer information encompassing the whole life cycle. Furthermore, technological developments will also facilitate development of novel services.

Topics for short articles on ongoing research work and interesting applications of enabling ECS technologies in “Smart Farming” may include, but are not restricted to:

  • Sensors and actuators,
  • IoT particularly for Smart Farming (Agriculture)
  • Precision farming and site-specific crop management solution (e.g. managing production factors such as water, fertilizer and pesticides according to real crop needs as a function of microclimate condition and plant genetics)
  • Geo-positioning systems and mechanization
  • Earth Observation solution from satellite and UAV platforms to map inter and intra-field soil and crop variability
  • Related Big-Data issues
  • Automation (autonomous agricultural vehicles, special purpose machinery, robotics, drone applications) for livestock and crop breeding, cultivation and monitoring
  • Decision support systems and making (AI, Machine Learning)
  • Efficient exploitation and management as enabler for effective farming and traceability
  • Efficient, sustainable resource usage (water, energy, animal feed, health and welfare, crop health, protection, fertilizers application and soil conservation and pollution)
  • Storage, food processing and distribution with accompanying quality data and preservation
  • Communication/information exchange with food processing companies and consumers
  • Process and product safety, (cyber-)security, privacy and traceability issues
  • Automation and ICT enabling unusual or niche farming (vertical farming, small or complex spaces utilization, “family farming”, “city farming”)
  • Enabler of novel services.

Research and Society: “Research Evaluation”

This section is edited in cooperation with Informatics Europe.
Guest editors:

  • Hélène Kirchner (Inria)
  • Fabrizio Sebastiani (ISTI-CNR)

Research evaluation – from individual researchers to departments to universities – plays a crucial role in recognising and supporting research that can lead to advances in knowledge and impact on society.

To achieve the intended effects, research evaluation should follow established principles, benchmarked against appropriate criteria, and sensitive to disciplinary differences. Informatics research evaluation should indeed take into account its specificity and its rapid and pervasive evolution.

Informatics Europe recently published a report on this topic entitled “Informatics Research Evaluation“. The report focuses on research evaluation performed to assess individual researchers, typically for promotion or hiring. In order to provide constructive,  both qualitative and quantitative, criteria to evaluation committees, it is important to share experiences, best practices and recommendations.

To expand and complement this report, we call for contributions addressing for instance one of the following questions:
examples of multi-criteria evaluation in practice

  • how to measure the impact of research
  • how to take into account open science criteria
  • how to evaluate software, artefacts and outreach
  • how to evaluate quality and impact of publications
  • or putting forward any other question pertinent for assessing researchers in Informatics.

Reviewing: Articles submitted to the special theme and the research and society sections are subject to a review process.

How to submit

All articles have to be sent to the local editor for your country (see About ERCIM News) or to the central editor

ERCIM News editor for Luxembourg – contact: Thomas Tamisier (

Guidelines for ERCIM News articles

Style: ERCIM News is read by a large variety of people. Keeping this in mind the article should be descriptive (emphasize more the ‘what’ than the ‘how’) without too much technical detail together with an illustration, if possible.

Contributions in ERCIM News are normally presented without formulas. One can get a long way with careful phrasing, although it is not always wise to avoid formulas altogether. In cases where authors feel that the use of formulas is necessary to clarify matters, this should be done in a separate box (to be treated as an illustration). However, formulas and symbols scattered through the text must be avoided as much as possible.

Length: Keep the article short, i.e. 700-800 words.

Format: Submissions preferably in ASCII text or MS Word. Pictures/Illustrations must be submitted as separate files (not embedded in a MS Word file) in a resolution/quality suitable for printing.

Structure of the article:
The emphasis in ERCIM News is on ‘NEWS’. This should be reflected in both title and lead (‘teaser’).

  • Title
  • Author (full name, max. two or three authors)
  • Teaser:
    a few words about the project/topic. Printed in bold face, this part is intended to raise interest (keep it short).
  • Details describing:
    what the project/product is
    which institutions are involved
    where it takes place
    why the research is being done
    when it was started/completed the aim of the project
    the techniques employed
    the orientation of the project
    future activities
    other institutes involved in this project
    co-operation with other ERCIM members in this field
  • References:
    • 1 – max. 3 references are mandatory for special theme articles. For articles for the section “Research and Devlopment”, you can give up to three references (not mandatory)
    • Authors should preferably refer important sources only (i.e. journal papers, books) and avoid meaningless references such as article in preparation, unpublished presentations, personal communications, research reports, patents, or local conference publications not listed in the major scientific digital libraries (such as IEEE, ACM, Springer).
    • The selected EN style is the shortened IEEE Citation Style.
    • The references should be as concise as possible and restricted to the minimal information needed. Avoid all unnecessary words (pages x pp., year, editors, location,…). Use acronyms instead of full conference names – OOPSLA x Object-Oriented Programing Systems, abbreviations (e.g. Conf. x Conference, IEEE TPAMI x IEEE Transaction on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, etc.).
    • Use et al. when three or more names are given.
  • Useful Link(s) (URLs separated from the refrences)
  • Contact address with:
    – full name of the author
    – phone number
    – e-mail address
  • Photos, illustrations:
    ERCIM News is a full color print magazine. Each article should be accompanied by an illustration (photos, graphics), for example of the product, applications mentioned in the article, people working on the project, etc. (avoid as much as possible flow charts and screen dumps).
    Photos should be submitted in jpg or tiff format in a resolution suitable for printing (pictures taken from the web are usually in a quality suitable for printing), graphics in a vector format (svg, eps or ps).

More information

View this information on the ERCIM website

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