AGU just revamped/updated/consolidated their list of “paper types”, making it much more uniform across their ~20 journals. This was needed because AGU had many different paper types as each journal editorial board created and deleted classifications.
I don’t see the list posted on the web, yet, but I could be missing where it’s located in the directory tree of author guideline pages. I will make sure that AGU posts the full list for all to see.
One of the bigger changes for JGR-Space Physics is that there are now two “Technical Reports” categories for papers. Actually, these are available as options for all journals except GRL.
One is Technical Reports: Methods. The formal description is as follows.
Technical Reports: Methods provide new analytical or experimental methods, data, and other technical advances, including computer programs and instrumentation, if applicable, that represent a significant advance and enable new science. These papers should not exceed 13 Publication Units and will typically include at least one illustrative example application.
The other is Technical Reports: Data. Its formal description goes like this.
Technical Reports: Data present new data sets with original and innovative features in terms of the monitored processes and/or extensions of the observation period and accuracy, therefore providing an opportunity to support innovative research and theoretical development. The paper may provide an example of a relevant scientific application to demonstrate the usefulness of the data. The data set may refer to experimental sites or virtual laboratories and environments. These papers should not exceed 13 Publication Units.
For JGR-Space Physics, we (the editorial board) have decided that these two types of papers must have an “example application” to space science. That is the ambiguous words of “typically include” and “may provide” should be replaced with “will definitely have.” However, the paper does not need to have a revolutionary original space science contribution to the field. The technique/data itself is the original contribution worthy of publication.
Also note the 13 PU limit to these papers, after which you will incur excess length fees. This is shorter than the standard 25 PU limit for JGR. These papers are intended to be detailed but concisely written descriptions of the new aspects of the model, observation, or processing technique that are accessible to a wide audience who might find the new methodology/data relevant to their work. Please take advantage of the “electronic supplementary material” feature of JGR to provide additional plots, movies, or overly-technical aspects of the design. Also, remember that a Publication Unit is 500 words (not counting title, author list, affiliations, acknowledgments, and references) or one figure or one table. You can calculate exactly how many PUs your manuscript is before submission and adjust accordingly, if you feel the need. I had a previous post on this.
We (the AGU Editors in Chief and AGU HQ publications staff) just adopted these in mid May. Over the last 6 months, though, I have fielded numerous emails about “techniques” papers, and I very glad that these new paper type descriptions are finalized and ready for broad dissemination and usage. I hope that AGU staff will officially roll it out in the very near future, and I will probably have more blog posts on the new paper type definitions in the coming weeks.