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.