New Editor Search for JGR Space Physics

The incoming Editor in Chief of JGR Space Physics, Dr. Michael Balikhin, has opened a search for new editors of the journal.


The application process is quite easy…send a letter of interest and a curriculum vita to with “JGR: Space Physics” in the subject line. The hard part is the letter, as this should convey your willingness and enthusiasm for wanting this rather large service role. You should also comment on any previous editorial experience you have had. If you don’t have such experience, then comment on times when were faced with a similar role of assessing the acceptability of another person’s work, perhaps in a managerial situation or with proposals.

Applications will be accepted until mid-January, 2020. Yes, this is past the end time of my editorship and that of several current editors for the journal. Without immediate replacements, the number of editors will drop temporarily down to three. I think that consideration of the applications will start as soon as they are submitted, with the hope that all positions are filled by the end of January. I don’t think that he has a target number of new editors that he wants to appoint, but it is probably at least two. Space physicists from all disciplinary fields within the scope of the journal are encouraged to apply. For discipline breadth that complements that of Balikhin and the other two continuing editors (Drs. Viviane Pierrard and Natalia Ganushkina), I would guess that there is a high chance of appointing editors in the fields of ionosphere-thermosphere physics or planetary space environments. But again, researchers from all space physics fields are encouraged to apply.

This is a four-year appointment, the same as Balikhin’s EiC appointment, going through December 31, 2023. For more info on what it means to be an editor, AGU has written guidelines for the roles of a journal editor. Also, I have written quite a bit about the editorial workflow here at this blog.

Please consider applying and if you would like to discuss the position, then please feel free to contact me. If you want to talk in person, I am already in San Francisco for the Fall AGU Meeting and will be here through the last session on Friday.

At the AGU Building

I’m at AGU HQ for the Meetings Committee meeting. Yes, such a thing exists, and yes, I am on it, as an editorial liaison between publications and meetings. It was an excellent meeting, talking about strategic directions for AGU.

The AGU building has undergone a renovation over the past 2+ years and staff are now fully settled into their new spaces back at 2000 Florida Avenue. I like this building. They have turned it into a net-zero energy building, which will be fully completed very soon, once the solar panels are installed on the roof. It includes an urban twist on geothermal energy and plant-centered air purification, electrochromic windows, rainwater collection and usage, and a massive recycling and reuse effort as part of the renovation. Here is a view from the top floor “Prow” conference room:


Okay, it’s a gray day here in DC today. Maybe not the best at selling it, but trust me, it’s a nice view.

You can learn more about the renovation of the AGU building and all of its innovative technologies and features. More pictures and info are at these two blog posts from March 2019 and May 2017, too. Once fully complete, energy usage and production can be remotely followed on a virtual dashboard, so you can see how AGU is doing towards its net-zero goal. I am told that this renovation is a first-of-its-kind in DC (renovating a commercial building to be net-zero) and it is serving as a model for other urban renovation projects.

Remember, too, that the first floor has a very nice member lounge, so if you are ever in DC, feel free to stop by AGU HQ and hang out. The first floor and lower level have meeting rooms that can be reserved, too. In fact, next year, there will be several Chapman Conference here in the big first-floor room! I think that this is a great move for AGU, opening up the building to the society membership and the local community.


Recapping my Editorials

In an earlier post, I mentioned how Gombosi wrote several editorials during his time as Senior Editor (the former title for Editor in Chief). I could not find an editorial written by the next EiC after Gombosi, Janet Luhmann, and then I found only one editorial each for the next three EiCs – Art Richmond, Amitava Bhattacharjee, and Bob Lysak. The first two are introductory articles at the beginning of their terms, while the third is a detailed exposition of “how JGR works” that I have written about before.


Like my predecessor, I did not write an introductory editorial. In 2015, however, AGU started encouraging editorial boards to write an annual reviewer thank you editorial, which I have done each year starting in 2016 (four, so far). In 2016, I included an extra listing of the Associate Editors whose terms were ending, thanking them for their service to the journal and the community. In 2017 and 2018, I included a table of reviewer statistics within this thank you editorial. In 2019, AGU created a standard template for this thank you editorial and so it has a very short introductory paragraph of thanks and praise before the listing of reviewers.

I have published one other editorial along the way. In 2016, soon after the first thank you editorial, we wrote one on the reviewer selection process and the new “Areas of Expertise” categories within GEMS. More details of this are also given in this earlier blog post.

I have two more editorials coming out soon. One is on the impact of special collections. I made it one of my initiatives to solicit more special collections for JGR Space Physics. I succeeded in doing this, especially in the middle of my term as EiC. We now have the statistics to see if this experiment was worth it, addressing the question, should we even have special collections in journals anymore? I think the answer is yes. I will have a full post on this paper when it is accepted, but the preliminary version of this manuscript is available at ESSOAr, the Earth and Space Science Open Archive. If you don’t know what that is, then read more about it here. I used the new automatic transfer feature now in GEMS to send a new submission directly into the ESSOAr system.

The next one, which could be my last, is on reviewer statistics. This will be similar to what I have shown in previous years but in this editorial the yearly numbers are all given together (as figures), showing the progression over time in the various values and metrics. I am about to finalize it and submit. Again, I’ll have a blog post dedicated to that one when it is accepted.

And The Winner Is…

…Dr. Michael Balikhin of the University of Sheffield will be the next Editor in Chief of JGR Space Physics. Please join me in welcoming him to this position!


He is currently one of the editors on my board, serving with me from the beginning. So, serving the nominal 4-year term as EiC will mean that he will put in a 10-year stint with the journal. That’s a hefty time commitment to the space physics research community.

From his University of Sheffield website, his research specialties are collisionless shocks, nonlinear systems, radiation belts, plasma waves, and space weather predictions. He is also the PI of the Digital Wave Package on the Cluster satellites.

His term as EiC will start January 1, 2020. Yes, you still have me for a little bit longer. In the two months between then and now, he has several tasks that he must complete. The first is conducting a search for several new editors. Of the 7 current editors, only 2 have appointments beyond December 31, Dr. Viviane Pierrard and Dr. Natalia Ganushkina (well, now that number is 3, because Balikhin will also continue). This will be an open search and I encourage those interested, from across the world, to look for this job announcement and to apply. If you are interested in learning more about what it is like to be an editor, then please select the Life as Editor category from the pull-down menu on this page, you will get many posts to read.

I would like to extend a big thank you to the search committee to conducting a thorough assessment of the candidates and to AGU HQ staff for coordinating the logistics of this search. I would especially like to thank all of you out there that applied for the position. Please seriously consider applying for one of the open JGR Space Physics editorships.

Being a Good Peer Reviewer

Every year, the Society for Scholarly Publishing celebrates Peer Review Week, sometime in September.


 They often has several posts about peer reviewing at their blog, The Scholarly Kitchen. One of the posts that week was “How to Be a Good Peer Reviewer” by Jasmine Wallace, the Peer Review Manager at the American Society for Microbiology. Please read it.

Some highlights from the advice that she gives:

  • Mind the time: please do not keep your research peers waiting. Pay attention to the deadline for submitting your report and make time to get it done by that date. If you foresee a delay, then either don’t accept the invitation to request or ask for an extension.
  • Be intentional: strive to add value to what is presented in the manuscript, rather than simply criticizing it. Go into it with the idea of making the research community stronger by helping the authors publish a good study.
  • Read the guidelines and scope: you should not treat all reviewing assignments the same. Not only is each journal different, but different paper types have different criteria for acceptance. For JGR Space Physics, our reviewing guidelines are here with more information here, plus a description of paper types is here.
  • Educate and grow your community: peer reviewing for a journal is a service to your research community, so go into this with the mindset that it is not just about you, the authors, and the editor, but rather you are improving the quality of research in your community.
  • Say No: is it fine to say no to a reviewing request. Well, not all the time, but if you are not willing and able to get the review done on time, then it is better to say no and suggest colleagues who might have interest and availability.
  • Be Bold and Constructive: be bold in that you should not be intimidated to offer criticism of a senior colleague’s work, yet be constructive in that you should be specific and detailed in how to improve the work to make it publishable.
  • Get Credit: if you haven’t already, please sign up for ORCID so that there is a public record of your reviewing service to the community.

For the most part, reviewers for JGR Space Physics adhere to these good-reviewer guidelines. I am fortunate to get to work with so many thoughtful, thorough, and considerate researchers. Thank you for being such a great community.