Question to Consider at the AGU Meeting

If you see me at the Fall AGU Meeting, then please feel free to come up and say hello. Even if I don’t know you, then please be bold and introduce yourself. I am looking forward to meeting as many authors and potential authors of JGR Space Physics papers as possible this week.

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If you are at a loss for a conversation topic, then please consider this: should JGR Space Physics send out emails to referees about the fate of the manuscripts they review? There are pros and cons to this and I want to poll the community about whether it is a good idea.

One of the arguments for sending out such emails is that it is a courtesy to the referee. You have invested time in serving the space physics community by reading a manuscript and offering your objective assessment and comments/suggestions for improving the paper. Therefore, it is only fair to be told about the eventual editorial decision regarding this manuscript.

A negative aspect of receiving such emails is that it might annoy referees. It would be one more email from JGR Space Physics in your inbox and I don’t want to spam you with extraneous tidbits of information. Another annoyance would be learning that the editor didn’t follow your advice and made a different decision than what you recommended. This could be in either direction; perhaps you liked it and the editor rejected it, or perhaps you disliked it and the editor accepted it. So, the question should be asked…would you want to know the fate of papers you have reviewed?

Another negative would be that it would be one more thing for the AGU publications staff to do with each manuscript. While these would be form letters, it would probably require a human to click the button and initiate the emails going out, as the AGU staff do with all of the request emails you receive regarding manuscripts in GEMS. They click a lot of buttons sending out emails to the community! This would be another set of emails they would have to manage and could, however minor, delay the processing and flow in GEMS due to this added workload.

I am told that JGR Atmospheres started sending out these emails earlier this year. They send out a very short form letter that simply thanks the referee for their time and effort reviewing the paper and informs the person of the decision regarding the manuscript. There is no explanation about how that decision was reached, how many referees were involved, etc. Would you find that useful, or annoying?

Think about it, and if you see me this week, then please feel free to use this topic as a conversation starter. Alternatively, please feel free to bring up whatever topic you like.

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5 thoughts on “Question to Consider at the AGU Meeting

  1. “Another annoyance would be learning that the editor didn’t follow your advice and made a different decision than what you recommended.”
    The referee will find out anyway, maybe with a month delay.

  2. Very in favor of this idea. The black hole that some manuscripts fall into is bewildering. Expecting to review a resubmission and then never hearing about it again is more annoying than more JGR emails.

  3. I’m definitely in favor of notification; it’s especially irritating to have a rejected paper actually appear without any warning.

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