Reaching Regions Launches on Iowa State University Digital Press

John Winters, Economics, 515-294-6263;
Nathan Cook, Communications, 515-294-3809;

May 13, 2024

Ames, Iowa – Researchers from Iowa State University, the North American Regional Science Council (NARSC), and West Virginia University have partnered to launch a new academic journal, Reaching Regions, hosted on Iowa State’s Digital Press.

John Winters, a professor of economics at Iowa State’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, recently completed a three-year term on the NARSC Executive Council and is a co-founding editor of Reaching Regions. He said that one of the goals of the journal is to make research more accessible to the general public. “Simply put, we want to do a better job of sharing research with the broader public. In economics and related social sciences, journal articles are the main research product, but most traditional academic journals have evolved in ways that discourage research dissemination rather than enhance it,” he said.

Winters said that academic journals typically limit access for non-subscribers and tend to use overly technical language that can alienate general audiences. “Our journal is freely accessible to anyone anywhere and will use non-technical language targeted to non-academic audiences,” he said. He also noted that the publication process for academic journals can be “painfully slow.” “We intend to review and distribute articles quickly to enhance the timeliness and usefulness of research,” he added.

Reaching Regions will publish peer-reviewed articles ranging from descriptive analyses, to non-technical summaries of published academic research, case studies with broader implications, research syntheses, data visualizations, and other items of interest to readers.

Winters said that Reaching Regions currently has no plans for a physical publication, but it is published under a Creative Commons license that permits readers to copy, adapt, and distribute materials with proper attribution. “If a reader finds a particular article useful, they are welcome to print and share with others. They can also share the article link and information via social media or email,” he said.

Heather Stephens, Director of the Regional Research Institute at West Virginia University, is a co-founding editor, and Kevin Kane of the Southern California Association of Governments, Amanda Weinstein of the Center on Rural Innovation, and Emily Wornell of the Center for Local and State Policy at Ball State University serve as co-editors.

For over 60 years, the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University has conducted innovative public policy and economic research on local, regional, and global agricultural issues, combining academic excellence with engagement and anticipatory thinking to inform and benefit society.