Please give us some background information on yourself and how you became involved in Civil Engineering research.
I was born in Hunan, China, and received my Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1999. Currently I am a Faculty Member at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Washington State University (WSU) and direct the National Center for Transportation Infrastructure Durability & Life-Extension (TriDurLE) sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
You can say that I am an unconventional Civil Engineering professor as I do not hold any degree specifically in Civil Engineering. I hold three degrees in the fields of Chemistry and a second M.S. in Industrial and Management Engineering.
Starting my professional career in early 2003, I joined a University Transportation Center at Montana State University to work on understanding and mitigating the environmental impacts of snow and ice control operations.
Then I spent about a decade conducting research mainly in two areas: sustainable winter road operations and infrastructure durability in cold climates.
Since joining WSU in 2014, I have focused my research more on the preservation and resilience of transportation infrastructure, because I am increasingly fascinated by the challenges we researchers in this field could take on, and the impact we could make.
What is the aim and scope of the Journal of Infrastructure Preservation and Resilience (JIPR)?
JIPR aims to become the flagship journal in the multidisciplinary field of infrastructure preservation and resilience (IPR), providing a cross-disciplinary forum for researchers to disseminate innovative research and engineering practices that preserve the integrity, performance, and resilience of infrastructure systems.
This journal covers a broad scope, with the focus on new materials, new technologies, and new perspectives, as well as holistic solutions that would benefit various infrastructure assets amid diverse climatic conditions, man-made and natural hazards, and other risks and uncertainties.
What real-world implications and improvements are you hopeful to see as a result of the research and discussion this journal will provide?
We hope this journal will facilitate in-depth dialogue between the infrastructure engineering community and the risk and resilience management community. As a result of the research and discussion this journal will provide, we hope to see new knowledge being produced, new approaches being inspired, new technologies being engineered, new collaborations being forged, and ultimately new solutions being implemented, to enhance the durability, reliability, performance, and resilience of infrastructure systems.
What are the challenges standing in the way of implementing better IPR practices, and what are the benefits and implications we could see if we conquer these challenges?
The challenges I see in implementing better IPR practices lie in both technical and non-technical domains. In the technical domain, we need to work on better integration of the most up-to-date knowledge from different disciplines relevant to IPR, because these disciplines currently do not communicate or collaborate with each other sufficiently.
We also need to redefine our research needs in the bigger context of infrastructure preservation and resilience and examine them through a different lens. In the non-technical domain, many other challenges stand in the way, such as those in policy, finance, education, and workforce development.
If we are able to conquer these challenges, the benefits and implications we could see are substantial to say the least. Because better IPR practices would lead to longer-lasting, better-performing, and more reliable infrastructures that will cost less over their entire life cycle and are able to recover from disruptions and risks more quickly. These, in turn, translate to considerable cost savings as well as benefits to the natural environment, human safety, and society as a whole.
Why is an Open Access publication model best for relaying the information in this research area?
The Open Access publication model with a reputable publisher like Springer Nature works great in facilitating the flow of information and knowledge in this inherently multidisciplinary research area. The main benefits to the authors include timeliness of publication, high visibility, likelihood of high citations, and thus broader impacts.
What are the main goals you would like to accomplish within the journal’s first year? What are some milestones you hope to have reached by the time the journal celebrates its fifth year?
Within the first year, I would like to have at least twenty high-quality papers published in this journal, and more importantly, start to build the name of JIPR in the stakeholder groups and establish the journal’s visibility and reputation.
By the time the JIPR celebrates its fifth year, I hope to have this journal considered by the IPR scholars as a highly trustworthy and reputable platform for disseminating their research and knowledge. Some of the milestones may include JIPR being indexed by EI Compendex and Web of Science databases.
Dr. Xianming Shi is an Associate Professor at Washington State University, USA, and Director of the National Center for Transportation Infrastructure Durability & Life-Extension. The Journal of Infrastructure Preservation and Resilience launched on March 23rd, 2020.