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An open source applied to packaging research

An open source applied to packaging research
The packaging-focused open source JAPR is free and growing.

The Journal of Applied Packaging Research is a useful and open resource with strong ties to packaging industry educators that's available free to anyone.

Among other things, familiarity can also breed renewable resources when it comes to working with industry contacts who I’ve worked with in the past. Such was the case recently with Bruce Welt, Ph.D., of University of Florida, who I had gotten to know during a tour of the UF facility and labs 11 years ago.  I most recently reconnected with Dr. Welt via a patent he had coauthored that originated in UF research and had been commercialized as an analytical device to measure gas permeation that now has an ASTM standard associated with it (see UF helps set new standard in package film testing).

Now that’s applied research, and Dr. Welt pointed to another, broader resource in a similar vein that is worth noting: The online Journal of Applied Packaging Research published by The Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY.

As a brief backgrounder, the concept was sparked during a packaging trip to Italy in 2004, according to Dr. Welt, who knows the story like it happened yesterday. As with ideas both good and otherwise—and this is most certainly the former—the concept was fleshed out over a bottle of wine.

“Stan Dunn (then director of the packaging program at Rutgers and now Provost at Renssellaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY) and I conceived the idea in Italy while we were chaperoning a group of students touring Italian packaging industry as a result of an essay contest sponsored by the Italian Trade Commission,” relates Dr. Welt. “After bemoaning the fact that the only available scientific journal was the Packaging Science and Technology Journal, Dunn made the case for a more applied journal to serve packaging.”

Upon returning stateside, the idea gained traction.

“We drew up plans for the Journal of Applied Packaging Research (JAPR) on the back of a napkin and then approached DesTech,” continues Dr. Welt. “DesTech published 6 volumes before advising of their intention to stop due to lack of subscriptions. 

“At this point, RIT was developing an Open Source Journal system. ChangFeng Ge of RIT came to JAPR’s rescue and shepherded JAPR into RIT’s Open Source Journal world. It was Ge who has really made JAPR a growing success.”

JAPR’s move to an open-source website was made in 2010-2011.

Broad topics include trials and undergrad research

Welt sees it as a great alternative to the Packaging Science and Technology Journal. “It is recognized to be an excellent journal, however subscriptions are expensive and readership is relatively low. As an applied journal, JAPR can accept manuscripts with broader topics that relate to packaging and there is no need for heavy theoretical development to publish. While JAPR does publish highly theoretical research papers, it is also comfortable publishing trial results and even undergraduate student research.  Since it is an open source, content is about as available as it gets. 

“Also, publishing in JAPR is free to authors, which obviously makes it affordable.”

Being an open source, “anyone with a properly formatted manuscript that contains information, data, insightful hypotheses, test results, theories that may be applicable to the art, science and engineering of packaging may submit.  All articles are peer reviewed in much the same manner as any other scientific journal,” continues Welt. “I love the interface, reporting and open source format of JAPR.  Papers published in JAPR are easily found, shared and cited.  For the cost, quality and convenience, JAPR offers a compelling value for both authors and readers of packaging related applied research.”

Welt, who has aimed to submit at least one manuscript per year to JAPR, has about 10 papers in JAPR at this point. “I see that my papers are being viewed and downloaded quite a bit,” he says. “The system provides timely reports to authors about reader activity from the site.  For example, a paper published last year on plasticized polylactic acid (PLA) has been downloaded more than 500 times already from locations all over the world.  I think that’s pretty incredible.”

Ge reports that 22 papers have been posted to the site with a total of more than a 9,500 downloads, with most of those being in the last year, which seems to indicate that a tipping point has been reached.

The current issue of JAPR offers these articles featuring several familiar educator co-authors and others:

Predictive Modeling of Oxygen Transmission Through Micro-perforations for Packaging Applications
Ayman Abdellatief, Bruce A. Welt, Jason Butler, Eric McLamore, Arthur Teixeira, and Sanjay Shukla

Measuring and Analysing the Effect of Openings and Vibration on Reusable Pharmaceutical Insulated Boxes with Daily Distribution

Péter Böröcz, Ákos Mojzes, and Péter Csavajda

Evaluation of Distribution Environment in LTL Shipment between Central Europe and South Africa
Peter Borocz, Paul Singh, and Jay Singh

Consumer Perceptions Towards Package Designs: A Cross Cultural Study (image from paper appears above)
Romica Chandra Lal, Fritz Yambrach, and Lucy McProud

Packaging Design Elements and Users Perception: a context in fashion branding and communication
Heer Vyas

Effect of compatibilisers on mechanical, barrier and antimicrobial properties of iPP/ZnO nano/microcomposites for food packaging application
Sossio Cimmino, Donatella Duraccio, Antonella Marra, Marilena Pezzuto, Ida Romano, and Clara Silvestre

For more information, see The Journal of Applied Packaging Research.

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