New JGR Impact Factor

The Journal Citation Reports for 2013 have been released by Thomson-Reuters, which means the new Impact Factors are out. As I have posted before, this index is a commonly-used indicator of journal quality. It’s not the only one and perhaps not even the best for JGR, but it is arguably the best known and most widely quoted. For 2012, the Impact Factor of JGR was 3.17. Note that this index does not separate the various sections of JGR but rather calculates a single value for all of the sections combined. Remember that this is calculated by taking the citations in year x to papers published in years x-1 and x-2 and dividing by the number of papers in those two years. Four numbers…that’s it.

The new JGR Impact Factor for 2013 is 3.44, an 8% increase! Fantastic! The Five-year Impact Factor also rose by a similar amount to 3.71.

By the way, with the switch to Wiley, the separate sections of JGR were given distinct ISSN numbers. This means that in a couple of years, each section of JGR will have its own Impact Factor. It will be interesting to see what this reveals. Until then, however, JGR-Space Physics is lumped in with all other sections of JGR in these and most other metrics.



Group Photos of the JGR-Space Physics Crew

Just in case you have no idea what we look like, here is a picture of the JGR-Space Physics crew:


From left to right: Brian Sedora (JGR-Space Physics journal program manager), Alan Rodger, me, Larry Kepko, Michael Balikhin, Mike Crowner (JGR-Space Physics editorial assistant), and Yuming Wang. This was taken outside the AGU HQ building in Washington, DC, during our editorial board meeting last week. And here’s another one that highlights the cool patio area where we are standing:


Yes, that’s the solar system, laid out to scale. Something fun and special at the AGU building. If you ever visit AGU HQ, be sure to spend the time to see this courtyard, and if you have a minute, look for Pluto. It’s a bit of a walk past the front door. Yes, AGU put this in before the astronomers killed Pluto as a planet.

Fast Turnaround for JGR-Space Physics

I’ve made this point before, but I’d like to say it again: you are a fantastic community and I am very honored to be a part of it and to serve you. I am particularly talking about your willingness to agree to review papers and your timeliness with turning in those reviews.

I am specifically referring this chart, shown at our recent editorial board meeting and available online here:

I had a chart but now I am simply referring to the publicly-available data at this webpage.  JGR-Space Physics is about a 1/3 of the way down the table, the last columns of which lists the median time from submission to first decision, not including those that are rejected without review (i.e., these values only include those sent out for review).

As you can see in the chart, JGR-Space Physics is third, behind Space Weather and GRL. While several factors that go into this timescale, there are two main determinants that can greatly change value, namely those that I listed above: securing referees and getting reviews back from those referees. Relative to other AGU-related communities, space physics is exceptionally fast, both at agreeing to serve as a referee and at actually doing it. Thank you for being such a good service-oriented research community!

A motivating factor for this post is another chart I saw at the editorial board meeting that showed the stats from your responses to the post-decision author surveys. In general, you like JGR-Space Physics, but one of the questions with a slightly lower median score was the one about timeliness of the review process. Apparently, there is a perception out there that JGR-Space Physics isn’t that fast. Of course, the survey could be biased; less than 20% of authors complete the survey and the results could be skewed toward those with a negative comment to send back to AGU. Yes, you usually have to wait over a month to hear back from us, and JGR-Space Physics is slow compared to the other AGU journals in which we publish (specifically, GRL and Space Weather). However, compared to other disciplines, we are pretty fast.


JGR-Space Physics Editorial Board Meeting

We, the editors of JGR-Space Physics, just completed our editorial board meeting at AGU HQ. It was an excellent 2 days of presentations by and conversation with AGU and Wiley staff. I am continually impressed by these two organizations.

We heard from AGU Executive Director Christine McEntee about the state of AGU and the big-picture topics coming up for the Union, we heard from AGU Director of Publications Brooks Hanson about the state of publications at AGU and the many new developments in this area, including a long-range strategic plan for the society’s publication portfolio. Dana Rehm, the Director of Marketing, Communications, and Engagement, told us about new websites on the horizon, like, which I think will be an engaging new platform for both AGU members and the public. Barb Richman, the Eos Editor-in-Chief, also talked with us about the evolving nature of our society’s newspaper, especially focusing on the Research Spotlight blurbs about interesting papers in AGU journals. Peter Weiss, the Manager of Public Information for AGU, told us that the society gets roughly 20,000 media mentions per year, and reminded us of the existence of the GeoSpace blog, about science conducted by AGU members, including space physics. Joan Buhrman, Manager of Strategic Communications, informed us of resources available to AGU members for improving our abilities to talk to those beyond their own scientific community (other scientists, media, general public, policy makers, etc.). We heard from Wiley marketing managers Anne Stone, Mirelle Mascovitch, and Swapna Padhye about their efforts to increase the circulation of AGU journals. Brooks also walked us through the beta version of the soon-to-be-released new Wiley website for the journal, and our tireless journal-specific staffers, Brian Sedora and Mike Crowner, fielded questions about the GEMS website.

In addition, we had open-form conversations about pretty much everything regarding the journal. We talked about the review process, the Data Policy, Associate Editor functions, Smiilarity Reports, Impact Factors, website improvements, what meetings we’re attending the coming year, the hot topics in the field, and special collections. Of course, we developed a long list of action items to carry out in the weeks ahead.

I will be writing a string of posts on information from this meeting. I hope that you find it useful. I am very grateful that AGU allowed us to hold such an in-person meeting this summer and I am rejuvenated in my excitement to serve as your Editor-in-Chief for JGR-Space Physics.

Six Months of Submissions

The first half of 2014 is over already. Let me recap a few key statistics for you for the last six months.

The big number is 535. This is the number of new manuscript submissions to JGR-Space Physics (by AGU’s count). We are on pace for a record-setting year of submissions to the journal. Last year, there were 1014 new manuscripts received, and doubling the half-year count would put us at 1070, just a bit over this.

Some other interesting numbers from AGU: submissions by month. Here are the stats:

2014 (this year)          2013 (last year)

January                       78                                82

February                     79                                79

March                         91                                90

April                           105                              85

May                            84                                69

June                             98                                84


As you can see, the numbers are fairly close, with April and May accounting for the difference. I cannot explain this. I would have thought January would be a high-submission month, with people converting their AGU talks into papers. Looking across the numbers for the other AGU journals, this isn’t the case for any field. The other thing I thought would happen is that June would be a slow month, with the GEM, CEDAR, and SHINE Workshops all occurring around the same time within this window. The submission rate, however, is not significantly lower than other months, and is in fact the second highest for 2014.

I am very thankful that I have 4 other editors working with me on this task. I would like to thank them here, just in case you don’t them: Yuming Wang, from the University of Science and Technology China; Alan Rodger, most recently from the British Antarctic Survey; Larry Kepko, who is at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; and Michael Balikhin, from Sheffield University. These four have been fantastic with their efforts to serve the community, and I greatly appreciate their time and effort in working with me for JGR-Space Physics. The other two I would like to thank here are the staff at AGU HQ that work most closely with this journal: Brian Sedora, the JGR-Space Physics journal program manager; and Mike Crowner, our journal assistant. They work very hard to keep our journal running smoothly, and I am very glad we have such an efficient and dedicated crew.