ATON - History

Among Hungarian scientific journals, those celebrating the 60th anniversary of their foundation, are very rare. This short review welcomes the readers, authors, reviewers, editorial board members and cooperating partners of the 60th volume of AGROKÉMIA ÉS TALAJTAN (Agrochemistry and Soil Science). Their interest in the journal is highly appreciated and gratitude is extended to all for the work done during the journal’s 60-year history. At the same time, we welcome you on the web page of ATON (Agrokémia és Talajtan ON-line), which aims to be the connection between the traditional and modern journal.

The history of the scientific journal Agrokémia és Talajtan

AGROKÉMIA ÉS TALAJTAN (Agrochemistry and Soil Science) is a scientific journal in the field of soil science, agrochemistry, soil microbiology and agroecology. Its publishing mission from the early years to the present time has been determined by three main goals:

  • to serve as an international level forum of the above-mentioned disciplines of science, to disseminate Hungarian scientific results in Hungary and world-wide;
  • to foster the Hungarian terminus technicals (special terms used in the above-mentioned disciplines of science);
  • to focus on international trends, main foreign scientific results and achievements and most important events in this field of science.

The extent to which these aims were satisfied during the sixty-year period is to be judged by the readers. The Editorial Board, with its professional enthusiasm – always trying to maintain a continuous international standard – considerably contributed to the development, the internal and international recognition of Hungarian soil science, agrochemistry and soil microbiology.

The foundation of AGROKÉMIA ÉS TALAJTAN was not without preliminary history. In 1949 the newly established Institute of Agrochemistry recognized the necessity of publishing a new scientific journal, as the soil science–agrochemistry–soil biology field lacked a specialized periodical. The scientific results of these disciplines were given account of in different publications of the Ministry of Agriculture („Kísérletügyi Közlemények”, „Mezőgazdasági Kutatások”, „Öntözésügyi Közlemények”), in other scientific journals, and the Annales of the Institute of Agrochemistry. The Institute published an updated version of the mimeographic series „Talajvizsgálat” (Soil analysis) under the title „Agrokémia” (Agrochemistry) in August 1949. The keen interest and growing scientific demand for the high level publication induced the appearance of the first issue of AGROKÉMIA ÉS TALAJTAN (Tom. 1., No. 1) in November 1951.

The first Editor-in-Chief (responsible editor) of the journal was Károly Páter, the Director of the Institute. István Szabolcs took charge of the task in 1960 and acted as Editor-in-Chief for more than 35 years, to 1997, to the end of his life. In early 1970 György Várallyay took over the Assistant Editor work from János Walger, and he became Editor-in-Chief of the journal after István Szabolcs’s death.

Károly Páter (1951–1959)

István Szabolcs (1960–1997)

György Várallyay (1997)

From 1981 to 1983 György Füleky, between 1984 and 1988 Attila Murányi acted and from 1988 on Mrs. Viola Laczkó acts as Technical Editor.

There were many changes in the members of the Editorial Board, which continuously expanded. In addition to the prominent staff members of the Research Institute for Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry (RISSAC) of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences the representatives of research institutions and university departments were always among the editorial board members. Perhaps, from the point of view of the history of science, it is interesting to list all members in alphabetical order:

Attila Anton, Sándor Arany, Albert Bacsó, Róbert Ballenegger, István Buzás, Béla Debreczeni, Géza Doby, Zoltán Fekete, Vilmos Ferencz, György Filep, Ernő Führer, György Füleky, László Gerei, Károly Géczy, János di Gléria, Barna Győrffy, Béla Győrffy, László Hargitai, István Hegedűs, Zoltán Járó, Márton Jolánkai, Imre Kádár, János Kátai, Mihály Kecskés, Andor Klimes-Szmik, Sándor Kúthy, Irene Latkovics, István Láng, Ferenc Ligetvári, Jakab Loch, József Lőrincz, László Márkus, Attila Murányi, Tamás Németh, György Pántos, Károly Páter, Imre Prettenhoffer, Kálmán Rajkai, János Sarkadi, Katalin Sárdi, Sándor Sipos, Pál Stefanovits, István Szabolcs, István Mihály Szabó, Gábor Szász, József Szegi, György Várallyay and László Vermes.

A folyóirat megindításában és szerkesztési koncepciójának kialakításában megkülönböztetett jelentőségű szerepet vállalt Ballenegger Róbert. Stefanovits Pál pedig 1951 óta folyamatosan, aktívan részt vesz a Szerkesztőbizottság munkájában.

Róbert Ballenegger played a significant role in the lauching of the journal and in the development of its editorial policy. Pál Stefanovits has actively taken part in the work of the Editorial Board since 1951.

AGROKÉMIA ÉS TALAJTAN is a refereed scientific journal published in Hungarian language. It is abstracted/indexed in CAB Abstracts, EMBiology, Global Health and SCOPUS. Contributions to the journal may be: papers concerning original research results or methodology (with English summaries); state-of-art reviews of the represented disciplines; information on international relations; reports on international or Hungarian scientific events; birthday greetings, necrologies of highly esteemed researchers, and book reviews in the field of soil science, agrochemistry and plant nutrition, soil biology and biochemistry, as well as agroecology. The journal also gives place to papers, expressing different opinions in actual scientific discussions (e.g. soil amelioration, soil cultivation, plant nutrient supply, soil classification, soil evaluation etc.).

The journal volumes (comprising 400–500 pages) were first published in four issues yearly, from 1972 on in two merged issues (No. 1–2 and No. 3–4), while from 2006 (with a renewed cover design) in two issues (No. 1. and No. 2.) twice yearly. For a long period Hungarian papers concerning original research results were supplemented with extended summaries in English, Russian and a third language (either German, French or Spanish), which included the titles of the figures and tables, the full legend to the figures, the headings of the numbered columns in the tables and the text of any parts designated with letters. This not only helped interested foreign researchers in understanding the discussed research topic, but quickened the indexing of papers in international abstracting journals [Soils and Fertilizers, Irrigation and Drainage (CAB International, Harpenden); Referatnuh Jurnal, Moscow, etc.]. Later, – mainly due to financial reasons – the summaries were reduced to two languages (English and German). At the present time summaries are available in English.

During the journal’s 59 year history, altogether 3150 papers were published on 32 thousand pages, including 1700 Hungarian and 490 foreign-language papers concerning original research results or methods, 750 review papers, 120 discussion papers and 90 other articles (reports, book reviews, birthday greetings, necrologies, etc.).

In addition to Hungarian authors, foreign authors from 40 countries of the World published their scientific results in the journal. Among them were internationally recognized eminent experts in the field of soil science; Hungarian researchers of the neighbouring countries; colleagues taking part in post-doctoral educational or bilateral research cooperation programmes (mainly from neighbouring or developing countries).

During the 59 years, the dissemination of the results of Hungarian soil science research on international level became more and more important. The journal reflected to this challenge by periodically publishing foreign language (primarily English) issues, while continuously editing Hungarian issues. Among the different types of Supplementum, or foreign language volumes are volumes that include selected papers; are dedicated to a recognized researcher; are the proceedings of bilateral workshops or international meetings, conferences; present Hungarian contributions to the Congresses of the International Society of Soil Science, later International Union of Soil Sciences. These volumes have always been a good forum for the wide-spread international broadcasting of the latest results of Hungarian soil science–agrochemistry–soil biology.

For satisfying the requirements arising from practice at the end of the 1960-s and in the early 1970s, a series called „Agrokémia és Talajtan Kiskönyvtára” was initiated for the practical application of the Institute’s research results. Within the series three thematic issues were published, as follows:

  • János Sarkadi, Irene Latkovics and Ferenc Máté, 1969. Urea, as mineral fertilizer. 40 p.
  • Ernő Manninger and Éva Bakondi-Zámory, 1971. Rhizobium inoculation of legumes. 47 p.
  • Irene Latkovics, Ferenc Máté and János Sarkadi, 1972. Calcium nitrate mineral fertilizer. 39 p.

AGROKÉMIA ÉS TALAJTAN has always been published by the Research Institute for Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry (RISSAC) of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. From 1972 to 1997 with the collaboration of the Hungarian Soil Science Society, from 1999 with the support of the Section of Agricultural Sciences of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, published under the auspices of the Akadémiai Kiadó. At the start, in 1952 the journal was printed in 500 copies, in the 1970s the number of printed copies reached 1150, while at present it appears in 500 copies. The number of Hungarian and foreign subscribers is around 100.

In addition to the subscriptions and presentation copies distributed at home and abroad, the journal’s exchange relations have been significant. The number of foreign exchange partners in the 1970s was more than 300, and the journals received in exchange greatly helped the high-level maintenance of the Institute Library even during the foreign currency restriction period. At present the number of exchange partners has been reduced to 150, but these still play an important role in the maintenance of scientific exchange relationships.

During the 60-year history of the journal, the original mission statement was successfully fulfilled:

  • dissemination of Hungarian scientific results in the field of soil science–agrochemistry–soil biology in Hungary and world-wide;
  • informing the readers of Agrokémia és Talajtan about the main foreign scientific results and achievements and most important events in this field of science.
  • keeping contacts with related disciplines of science; scientific research institutes, universities, as well as with the insitutions, companies and farms that will hopefully successfully apply the research results in their advisory and extension services.

The journal served as an efficient tool of knowledge transfer: for scientific research, education and practical application of the scientific achievements in the field of soil science–agrochemistry–soil biology.

In 2010 the journal’s merits were acknowledged by a special prize („Nívódíj”) presented by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Akadémiai Kiadó.

The journal could be successful only on the basis of the broad interest of its readers; the enthusiastic activity and precise work of its authors, Editorial Board members, referees, translators and technical staff. For efficient editorial activity the publishing policy and financial support of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and of the Research Institute for Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry (RISSAC) of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences represented the stable background, in cooperation with the members of the soil science–agrochemistry–soil biology–agrocology scientist society. We wish to express our thanks for this support and hope to have it in the future!

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