My Submission to JGR

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  A holiday that is apparently truly American and uniquely celebrated here.


To commemorate it, I submitted a manuscript to JGR-Space Physics today.  This is my first time doing this as Editor-in-Chief of JGR-Space, so I thought I would take a breather from the Impact Factor series and write a short note about my experiences with the GEMS submission system and my feelings about submitting to a journal that I edit.

Let’s start with feelings: really, nothing weird.  It was a straightforward process and the only slightly bizarre answer was in the “conflict with editor” box, where there is a space for me to leave a note for myself addressing the conflict that I am one of the editors.  I am the only one that sees these notes, so it was a little silly to type anything into that box.  Once past quality control with the AGU staff, I then saw the paper in my GEMS folder with a red arrow asking me to assign it to an editor.  This is the last time I get to see it as EiC.  It has been assigned to Larry Kepko, who will check the similarity report, assign potential reviewers, and handle the decision process.  Because I am an author, all of the special viewing tabs that I have as an editor are disabled for this manuscript. So, potential reviewers, please know that you are indeed anonymous to me.

As for actually submitting the paper: it took a bit longer than I expected, but in general, I really like the GEMS manuscript submission system.  It systematically steps you through the process with clear instructions and the ability to save and exit if you need to take a break from it.  I am regularly interrupted at my desk at work and this continual saving of information along the way helps me a lot.  As an editor, I really like the amount of digital information about the manuscript that authors have to enter at submission, so I am happy to enter it.  Also, GEMS very clearly tells me where things are incorrectly entered and what I have to fix before submission.

I do have a few things that I would like to change about the process, though. For one, some of the entry boxes were a bit too small, and scrolling in a tiny window-within-the-window was a bit frustrating.  Another onerous task was downloading all of the files I just uploaded to “validate PDF;” a very necessary but cumbersome process, especially since I had 28 supplemental files along with the manuscript. While I really like the automatic search for authors in the database, I found the number of duplicate entries for some of my coauthors to be perplexing, with too little information listed to distinguish which entry was most correct/complete.  Finally, I would have really liked to have a similar automatic search for the suggested reviewers; it was a pain to have to find email addresses for all of them.

Special note about this topic: AGU is very soon undertaking an evaluation and modification of GEMS.  I will certainly be suggesting these comments above to the design and development team.  If you have any suggestions, comments, complaints, or compliments (!) about GEMS, then please share them below or send me an email and I will make sure it gets a serious consideration in the next version of GEMS.



7 thoughts on “My Submission to JGR

  1. An improvement to GEMS… if I upload a PDF myself I shouldn’t have to validate it. Only validate it if it wasn’t a PDF originally.

    Also, why are the merged PDFs so huge? I once had one that with text and figures merged was close to 80 Meg – not convenient to email to co-authors. The PDF I created in Adobe by appending the separate PDFs I’d uploaded was about 5 Meg. Clearly it’s doing something behind the scenes, but I’m lost to what…

    And finally a wish list item, when I upload a revised paper can the figures section already be pre-populated with those from my original submission? If I’ve updated a figure I can replace it, but having to go through the many figures, cut/paste the captions and correct the symbols/super-/sub-scripts each time, etc. repeatedly when they’ve not changed begins to make time drag…

    Helpful blog to get the insiders perspective though!

  2. Thanks for the suggestions! Item #3 is definitely going to happen; AGU staff know that this is a complaint and will include file migration from one revision to the next in the new version of GEMS. I will pass on the other two as well. And thanks for reading the blog…glad you enjoy it!

  3. It would be wise and ethical for you not to publish on JGR while you are in charge as EiC. What do you think, in general, of editors that publish in their journal? I am not saying any wrongdoing is actualy done, but it will always give the impression of ‘preferential treatment’. Much better and easier to simply avoid it.

    • hmm… after about one month I am wondering around here again, curious to see what your reply is to my previous comment.
      No reply whatsoever!
      What is the purpose of having this blog if you don’t reply to comments (and yes, not all comments will praise your work…such is life…)

      • @Anonymous: I apologize if you felt neglected. I thought I answered your question in the post itself: in general I am fine with it, although you make a good point that there could be the appearance of a conflict of interest.

        For AGU journals, however, the system is excellent at eliminating this conflict. There are multiple editors and the GEMS manuscript management system puts up a strong firewall so that an editor can only see the “regular author” level of content for papers on which they are a coauthor. It is then up to the integrity of the assigned editor to make an objective decision about the manuscript. Reviewers remain anonymous and the author-editor cannot influence the editorial decision.

        Regarding your note about comments that don’t praise my work…I see all comments on the blog posts and have to click approve or reject on each one. I will approve all relevant comments to my blog posts; the only comments that I am rejecting here are those that are clearly unrelated spam. However, I do not promise to respond to all comments that I approve; sometimes I get busy and don’t make time for it. Such is life.

  4. Pingback: Details of a Similarity Report | Notes from the JGR-Space Physics Editor-in-Chief

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