On Friday I checked in at the JGR-Space Physics GEMS site and cleared out the “initial assignments” section. As Editor-in-Chief, I look at every paper that is submitted and make the decision about which of the five editors will handle the paper. If I assign it to another editor, then that is the last time I see that manuscript. It was a big list and I assigned myself a couple of them. I also saw that I had 5 manuscripts in my “With Editor for Decision” inbox. Apparently a bunch of reviews came in the night before…thank you very much for getting those done! Anyway, I postponed both of the pending tasks, assigning potential reviewers or deciding the fate of these manuscripts, until later in the day. I often take time in the late afternoon for this task, after a quick look at GEMS in the morning.
On Friday afternoon, however, the announcements about NASA’s HGCR program came out, and my proposal was not selected for funding. I was rather disappointed because I felt we had a very strong science objective and work plan and some of the panel evaluation comments back to us were, well, less than satisfactory to me. Rather than log into GEMS and decide about your papers, I took a jog. I hope you don’t mind, but occasionally I take a day off from being an editor (or, in this case, a couple days). I am usually unflappable and there are really only a small number of things that get me annoyed. Negative proposal reviews are one of them, especially when I poured my soul into making it a solid proposal and I disagree with the criticisms. These get to me more than negative manuscript reviews because there is no “Reply to the Reviewers” option or appeal to the decision maker; it’s either selected or not. My grad student’s paper was just given a “reject with encourage to resubmit” decision last week; we’re okay with that because most of the suggestions are good, we will make the changes, and, hopefully, eventually see it published. With a proposal, especially one this big that only comes around every 3 years, it is frustrating to not have that resubmission recourse.
Now it’s Sunday and I feel much better. I will go back to being your EiC and will make decisions on those pending papers. JGR-Space Physics is still one of the fastest journals across the AGU titles with respect to assigning reviewers, getting referees to accept and return reviews (thank you!), and time to first (and eventually final) decision. However, I will occasionally take a day off from this service role, as much for your sake as for mine.