EiC Life: Alex Dessler’s Editorship

Alex Dessler was the editor for JGR from 1966-1969, back when it was only split into two sections, each with a single editor covering many disciplines of AGU. My post last week inspired Dessler to post a Comment on this blog. His words are:

            “Many, many years ago, I was editor of JGR – Space Physics. I had many of the same problems that you face. But I had advantages: I had more power than editors do now, plus JGR was, of course, smaller. If you are interested in how it was handled in the good old days, see: Dessler, A. J., Editing JGR – Space Physics, EOS, 53, 4-13, 1972.”

The link to his Eos article is here. It’s 10 pages of triple-column small font of varying resolution (some pages are quite poor quality), but it is well worth the read. It includes a few photos of him and his staff, like this one:


            Alex Dessler’s Eos article covers the full sweep of editorial activities. If you don’t have access to it, don’t worry, because I am going to start going through it with you. This Eos article on the details of being an Editor is inspiring me to write my own thoughts on this topic. I will be starting a series within this blog, with “EiC Life” in the post titles, essentially walking through the points in Dessler’s article. Some things are still very similar, some things have drastically changed, so it is worthwhile to create an updated version of his explanation of his editorship. I’m making this post the first of the series, so readers can easily find Dessler’s Eos article.

A year ago, I thought to myself to start just such a series of posts, probably in early 2017, my fourth and supposedly last year as EiC of JGR Space Physics. When I agreed to a two-year extension, though, the impetus was removed and I have not started it yet. With Dessler bringing this article to my attention, this is as good a time as any to start this series. It will take me many months and I will interrupt it regularly with unrelated posts on journal news, writing and reviewing tips, and other topics that I write about here. The “EiC Life ” series will serve, though, as a good discussion point for anyone interested in knowing the thought processes and inner workings of being an editor. Like Dessler states in his article, hopefully it will dispel the mystery around journal editing and will inspire the next generation of editors.

And, of course: thank you, Alex Dessler, for your years of service as JGR, Reviews of Geophysics, and GRL editor and, among your many other scientific contributions, for that handy relationship between inner magnetospheric plasma energy content and ground magnetic perturbations!



2 thoughts on “EiC Life: Alex Dessler’s Editorship

  1. Pingback: Brevity | Notes from the JGR-Space Physics Editor-in-Chief

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