Congratulations to Norm Catto: INQUA Distinguished Service Medal recipient 2023

The INQUA Distinguished Service Medal is awarded to individuals with a recognized record of sustained and outstanding contributions to the maintenance or development of INQUA’s important functions.

From Norm’s nomination:

Norm has had a distinguished career in Quaternary science, publishing more than 50 papers and 35 book chapter, along with a well-used Canadian undergraduate geomorphology textbook “Geomorphology: Landscapes we live in” from Oxford University Press. While these accomplishments are significant and evidence for Dr. Catto’s scholarship, his nomination highlights his contributions to the INQUA community from his years of service as Associate Editor (1989-1999), and later Editor in Chief, of Quaternary International (1999-2016).  During his time, he was involved with publishing more than 400 issues of the journal including being a named Editor of 90 special issues.

Quaternary International was proposed on a trial basis for a four year period by the INQUA Executive following the 1987 INQUA Ottawa meeting.  Its intent was to provide a venue for the publication of the activities of its members as reflected in its commissions, sub-commissions, working groups, symposia and congress sessions (Rutter and Catto, 1989). Under its founding editor, Nat Rutter (University of Alberta), the journal was intended to provide access to high quality publications representing the diverse research areas and activities of INQUA.  To say the least the journal has been an unqualified success and has been one of the most important venues to promote the values of INQUA across its membership and research domains.

This growth and impact of the journal was remarkable under Norm’s guidance and all the more so in light of the Special Issue format of Quaternary International. The Special Issue format has meant that the Editors and Associate Editors have needed to work with a constantly changing group of Guest Editors and be sufficiently hands-on to maintain the publication standards of the journal.  And secondly, unlike traditional journals which fill their issues largely based on the first over the line through the editing/review process, scheduling of special issues represents a challenge distinct from traditional journals. When considering the format and the revolving guest editors, it is noteworthy that under Norm’s tenure QI was able to increase its reach so significantly, while seeing growth in its impact factor.  This growth in impact factor is a strong reflection of the high quality standards that Norm has maintained for the journal.  As Norm described his job as Editor-in-Chief:

The job involves much coordination, some patience, and a little worrying, interspersed with bursts of pleasure and relief when finished volumes appeared  (Catto, 2019).

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