A word from the Editor

It is my great pleasure and honour to have been appointed as the new Editor-in-Chief of the journal Građevinar.  I would first of all like to extend my sincere thanks to the Croatian Association of Civil Engineers, which publishes this journal, and which has entrusted me with this important duty.  The journal has been continuously appearing under the same name since 1949.  Credits for this laudable achievement go to numerous authors who have been publishing their papers in the journal, to previous editorial board members who have invested, together with the editorial staff, a high level of expertise and diligence into preparation of high-quality materials, to reviewers who have helped in the selection of valuable papers, to readers who have been pointing to rare oversights and, of course, to all former editors-in-chief.  Here I wish to commend my immediate predecessor Professor Emeritus Veselin Simović who has been at the head of the journal since 1975.  To succeed someone who has been editing the journal for 36 years is for me a great responsibility, but also a privilege and a real challenge.

To be the editor-in-chief of a scientific & professional journal is a very demanding and serious responsibility.  This responsibility is not limited to performing journal-editing tasks, defining rules the authors should respect when sending their papers to the journal, and taking care about timely and thorough review of papers.  It also includes a huge responsibility towards the readers of the journal.  The editor must respond to their needs and interests, but should at the same time be ready to take criticism.  Of course, editors are also required to improve quality and make future plans for the journal, and especially to make sure it is recognized as an outstanding publication on an international plan.  All these requirements and responsibilities oblige editors to be ready for hard, systematic and long-lasting work, as only such attitude may result in continuous publication of the journal, and constant quality improvements.

At this point, please allow me to briefly introduce myself.  I am employed with the Transport Department of the Faculty of Civil Engineering – University of Zagreb, where I am the Chair of the Railways Section. My principal educational, scientific and professional activities have been focused on the field of railways, and on the noise and vibrations generated by the road and railway traffic.  In addition to my lecturing and research activity, the cooperation with commercial operators is the path I am always trying to pursue, as this is the best way to obtain useful ideas for scientific research, and also to implement research results into the everyday engineering practice.  I am currently heading a scientific research project, a research technology project, and an international project.  I am also in charge of several seminars for professional advancement in civil engineering, among which the Days of Transport Facilities deserve special mention.  As to international research and professional gatherings, I am inter alia highly active in the scope of the International Conference on Road and Rail Infrastructure (CETRA), which I have initiated, and which has aroused a great interest this year as well (papers from 44 countries have been registered for the conference).

When considering various duties of editors-in-chief, then it can rightly be said that a great deal of courage is needed to take on this position, especially if some modifications to the journal are planned.  In fact, already from the first issue I am editing, new features include a novel look of the journal, bilingualism of the on-line edition, and appointment of younger colleagues as members of the Editorial Board.  When selecting the Editorial Board members, I was guided by the idea that the Board should include members from scientific institutions (four faculties of civil engineering in Croatia), professional societies (Croatian Association of Civil Engineers, and Croatian Chamber of Civil Engineers), and the Society of Graduate Civil Engineers (AMCA-FA), who are certainly very much interested in ensuring regular publication of the journal Građevinar, and who would want it to remain the leading journal in the sphere of civil engineering.  Newly appointed members of the Board have already published papers in this journal, and are willing to assist and support its development, so that the journal can reach even a higher level of recognition.  Members of the Editorial Board are not only of big assistance to the editor, they are also the promoters of the journal, which they represent by encouraging their colleagues to publish in this journal the results of their scientific work, and the fruit of their valuable expertise and experience.

In order to ensure better recognition of the journal on an international plan, an international editorial council will also be formed, so as to give a new boost to regional and international cooperation, which is in the best interest of us all.  The work on promoting and improving quality and recognisability of the journal in the today’s highly competitive environment is the greatest challenge for each editor-in-chief.  In order to achieve this objective, it is first of all necessary to have interesting research and professional papers, but also to ensure a successful cooperation between the editorial staff, Editorial Board, reviewers, authors, and readers.

A fierce competition can today be noted in the sphere of publication of research and professional journals.  Despite this situation, an increasing number of authors from surrounding regions are deciding to publish their papers on the pages of this journal, mostly thanks to its seriousness and excellent repute.  This is why we have to strive towards increasing the number of international authors and reviewers, which will no doubt contribute to the recognisability and successfulness of our journal.  My program for leading the journal, as adopted by the Croatian Association of Civil Engineers, aims at improving quality of the journal by increasing the influence factor, while also focusing on strengthening cooperation between scientific institutions and commercial operators.  The synergy between scientists oriented toward research and development, and the experience and expertise provided by practical engineers, will undoubtedly guide us to the path of success.  Publication of papers co-signed by researchers and practical engineers is the cooperation that is easiest to establish.  In order to make the content of the paper up to date and topical, it is significance to follow new trends in civil engineering.  This is certain to attract new readers, particularly through the Internet, because, as already mentioned, all papers in the on-line edition of the journal will, as of this issue, be fully published in English language.

I wish to extend my thanks in advance to all authors who are going to recognise our journal as a proper medium for spreading and presenting their research results, experience, and expertise relating to all phases of construction process.  Today, in times when civil engineering is going through a big crisis, there is no magic wand that would miraculously lead us to success: on the contrary, we have ahead of us an arduous, systematic and long-lasting work, if we really wish to achieve our objectives.  On this occasion, I would also like to invite all persons connected with civil engineering to support development of the journal in the oncoming period.  My obligation is to provide them with an environment that is sure to enable transparent and efficient cooperation.

Prof. Stjepan Lakušić, PhD C.E.