Get TOC e-Alerts From Earth and Space Science

Three years ago, AGU launched a journal called Earth and Space Science. If you haven’t already, it’s worth the time to sign up for table of content alerts from E&SS. This is easily done by clicking on the link in the in the upper right corner of the journal webpage, here:


            E&SS is a journal that spans the entire AGU scope of disciplines, a lot like GRL but not at that very high, cutting edge, must-publish-immediately level. It serves several functions but here are the top two: (1) it is a place for the publication of cross-disciplinary studies that don’t quite fit the scope of other AGU journals; and (2) it is a place for sharing and describing data sets, methods, and tools that might be of interest to those in more than one discipline.

It just released issue 1 of volume 4, which has a space physics paper in it. Not every issue has a space physics paper, but the others are often worth a perusal. One of my favorite recent articles is this one on the “geoscience paper of the future,” addressing the often-neglected topic of documenting your research, methods, and data. Yes, I have submitted to E&SS and it was published. This two-year-old paper already has 7 citations, so I am going back; I am closing in on completion of another manuscript for this journal.

It’s a fully Open Access journal, which means all papers are free to all readers. The nominal publishing fee is a bit higher than that of JGR Space Physics, $1800 instead of $1000 for a ≤25 Pub Unit Research Article, but this isn’t a fair comparison. JGR Space Physics actually charges $3500 for a new paper to be Open Access. So, really, E&SS is not twice but half the cost of publishing JGR.

I am not trying to persuade you to submit all of your space physics papers to E&SS instead of JGR Space Physics. For one, it doesn’t yet have an Impact Factor and its brand recognition is not fully established. It is a place for publishing descriptions of new methods and data sets for which the paper doesn’t have a substantial new science component. While JGR Space Physics will consider such papers, E&SS allows for an expanded readership beyond just our field, and many methods and data sets have a broader appeal, making E&SS a good journal for such articles. Similarly, if your study crosses over into other fields and doesn’t naturally fit in any particular section of JGR, then E&SS is a good place for that.

So, let me say it again: I highly encourage you to sign up for TOC e-Alerts to Earth and Space Science. It’s relevant and its paper titles are worth the glance each month.

AGU’s Pubs Highlights Website

In addition to the Highlights tab near the top of the JGR Space Physics journal homepage and other ways they highlight papers there, AGU has also assembled a “Recent Highlights Across AGU Publications” page.


            One of the links on this page is to a listing of all of the papers associated with recent journal cover art. Other sections of the page lists papers that have had news coverage in the mainstream media, papers trending on social media, and those highlighted by Editors (like the link above). There are lists of recent Commentaries, special sections, and AGU books.

It’s kind of like Eos but it’s just a single page and entirely focused on content in AGU’s peer-reviewed journals. In fact, the right-hand column has many links to Eos articles, especially that related to publications in other AGU journals.

It’s a good page to bookmark and occasionally visit. It’s one-stop shopping for what’s hot and new across the AGU scientific world.

AGU’s New Journal: GeoHealth

AGU has a new journal that’s now accepting articles, GeoHealth.


The Wiley website for the journal is here and there is a nice write-up about it at the AGU Publications pages here. There was also an Eos article about the launch of this journal and a From the Prow blog post by the AGU CEO Chris McEntee a year ago, when AGU started working towards this journal concept. Here’s the banner ad that you might have seen above a paper at the Wiley website:


            The full aims and scope statement:

GeoHealth, a new fully Open Access journal, will publish original research, reviews, policy discussions, and commentaries that cover the growing science on the interface among the Earth, atmospheric, oceans and environmental sciences, ecology, and the agricultural and health sciences. Key topics will be the impacts of global change on human and agricultural health and disease and ecosystem health and services, a wide variety of global and local issues will be covered, including air pollution, use and impact and environmental persistence of herbicides and pesticides, radiation and health, water pollution, and geomedicine. Many of these topics are of critical importance in the developing world.

Like the other journals, it has a “swoosh” logo. Simple yet clear:


            The Founding Editor of GeoHealth is Rita Colwell. Yes, that Rita Colwell, the former Director of the NSF. She is now a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, in their Institute for Advanced Computer Studies.

While it is only tangentially relevant for most JGR Space Physics readers and authors, I thought I would publicize it here because it is the first new journal launch in a couple of years, since Earth and Space Science in December 2014. Also, publication fees are waived for all eventually-accepted manuscripts that are submitted by January 31, 2017. Yes, it has a GEMS website up and running.

Paper Publicity

In every decision letter from an AGU journal, including JGR Space Physics, now has a paragraph about publicizing your paper. Specifically, the wording looks something like this:

The “Publicity Information” link is in the lower left corner of this page, under the “Resources” heading. You get a page with this heading:


            There are two kinds of information on this page: the first paragraph is on how AGU might promote papers in their journals. I had a post a few months ago on how the JGR Space Physics webpage has several features intended to highlight and promote some papers, but this list mentions some others, like social media posts and Eos Research Spotlights.

The rest of the page describes the process of working with the AGU Public Information Office to make a press release, press conference, or some other more formal announcement about your study. If you think that your paper is worthy of a press release, then please contact this office immediately after acceptance, or even after the first revision decision, so they can start working with you on the best way to promote the findings to the public and the press. One of the things they might do is to “embargo” the manuscript, i.e., not post the accepted preprint version of the article on the JGR Space Physics website, until there is an official announcement about it. Nanci Bompey, the AGU Public Information Manager, is very good at working with both the press and with authors to market Earth and space science findings beyond our own community. She and her team can help, so please don’t be shy about promoting your work.

Let me stress again, though, that the embargo is critical to retain the anticipation and excitement around the official release of the study. So, if you want to pursue this route for one of your papers, then please fill out their form either during the editorial process or immediately after acceptance.

New Paper Type Descriptions

AGU has updated the paper type descriptions, and they are available at the Author Resources webpage.


The updates are minor tweaks from what is was before, so the big news is that a listing is now easily available on the AGU publications page.

I will very briefly go over those that JGR Space Physics accepts:

  • Research articles: the standard paper in the journal. I don’t know the exact number, but my guess is that over 95% of papers in JGR Space Physics are of this type, presenting a new scientific advancement within our research scope.
  • Commentaries: providing a perspective on a particular topic in the field, intended to spur discussion and new research in that area. These are by editorial invitation only, but if you have a willingness to write one, then please contact an editor.
  • Reviews: Yes, JGR Space Physics publishes the occasional topical review article, usually in conjunction with a special section. These are also by editorial invitation only, and are pitched at a more technical level than those written for Reviews of Geophysics, which are written to appeal to a broader AGU-wide audience.
  • Comments: specifically directed to “elaborate, criticize, or correct” a recently published paper, this are usually very short and should be submitted within a year or two of the original paper.
  • Replies: the rebuttal from the original authors when a Comment is written about their paper.
  • Technical Reports: Data: presents a new and significant data set for community availability and usage. It has to have a clear example demonstrating its relevance to the field, but the paper does not have to include an advancement of the space physics understanding.
  • Technical Reports: Methods: presents a new and significant model, data analysis technique, or experimental methodology that enable new scientific advancements.

Note that JGR Space Physics does not accept “research letters,” and no journal has a paper type called “brief reports,” which was removed a couple of years ago. Also, special section prefaces or introductory articles now fit under the Commentary umbrella, as do editorials.

You can find the paper type designation for a particular article just above the title. Most will say “Research Article” like this example,


because that is, by far, the most common paper type in JGR Space Physics. You have to scroll through the list a bit but you can find other paper types, such as Commentaries like this one:


or Reviews, like this one:


            Happy writing, and reading!

Reviewer Selection Editorial

The Editors of JGR Space Physics just published an Editorial on our reviewer selection process. The big point in this article is that we often use the Areas of Expertise, a menu of space physics topics within GEMS specific to this journal, for identifying experts within the community who might serve as qualified reviewers of a manuscript.

I wrote a month ago about our expansion of this list. We now have 18 more items in the list, bringing the total to 73. These new Areas of Expertise will only help us if members of the research community update their GEMS profile and click on whichever of the new topics falls within their specialty. Here’s the full list, with the new ones in green:

Areas of Expertise v3.jpg

            Updating your Areas of Expertise selections in GEMS helps you as a reviewer because the Editors will be better at sending you papers within your specialty. Without this, we either have to know you very well or we have to guess a bit based on the papers that you have authored or reviewed in the past. Filling this out will hopefully cut down on the number of times we request a review from you for something outside of your comfort zone.

Also, from a communal perspective, the more people that fill out the Areas of Expertise, the higher the quality of reviews that you should have on your submitted manuscripts. With high participation of researchers selecting their Areas of Expertise, then all of the manuscripts will be better matched with specialists in that field.

Yes, filling this out means that you might get asked to review more often. But, as seen in our statistics for 2015 and for 2014, the average number of reviews per reviewer per year is ~2.5, so we are trying not to overwork you. If you feel overworked as a reviewer, then you always have the option to decline our request.

So, I encourage you read the Editorial and then log in to GEMS for JGR Space Physics and check out the new Areas of Expertise.

Highlighting Papers

At the JGR Space Physics homepage, there are several ways in which we promote papers. Here’s a snapshot of the website, as of this morning:


The most prominent way that we highlight papers is with the Image Carousel. I select 5 to 7 figures from papers published each month for eye-catching displays of the science that we do.

to the right of the Image Carousel is the current issue cover art. This is sometimes a figure, or composite of images, from a paper published that month, but more often these cover graphics are author-supplied enhanced artwork to their study. The one circled above was produced for a JAXA press release about this paper on Jupiter’s aurora. Some think this image looks like a Flutterbye Fairy but, hey, I’m okay with science having similarities to popular toys. Please keep submitting your author-supplied graphics for consideration as cover art, they are very impressive and I usually select one of those.

Just above the Image Carousel is a link called Highlights. Here are paragraphs describing an interesting science nugget from some of the papers in JGR Space Physics. Studies are selected for this page by reviewers or editors. Yes, reviewers, clicking that radio button indicating that a paper is worthy of a highlight will often get it promoted on the journal website with a highlight on this page. These paragraphs are written by freelance writers hired by AGU to help convert from the text we write in the editorial/review process into something that a broader audience might understand and find interesting. These people are often young scientists with a desire to promote space physics both within and beyond the research community. Note that if an article is lucky enough to get a Research Spotlight article in Eos, it will also have a highlight paragraph on this page.

Finally, there are the two tabs below the Image Carousel, Most Cited and Most Accessed. For both of these, you can filter these “top paper” lists over an interval back in time. For Most Cited, that interval range is years, for Most Accessed, the range is months. It’s a way for you to see what other people are reading.

Happy reading!

No More Editorial Thank Yous

I mentioned in a post a couple of months ago that the editorial thank you to reviewers has stopped being added to the Acknowledgments of papers, as of the fall of 2015 (about 6 months ago). That’s right, this little sentence:


is now no longer added to papers in AGU journals.

As an author: if you think the reviewers deserve a thank you for their suggestions to improve the paper, then please add that to the Acknowledgments section yourself.

Some people have asked me about this, so it is a useful to clarify the reasons for this change. The main points:

  1. They were written individually by AGU staff, requiring a couple of minutes to dig up this information for each paper. That doesn’t seem like much but it adds up for the more than 5000 papers in AGU journals each year.
  2. Many reviewers choose to remain anonymous, so most of these statements were simply identifying the assigned Editor for the paper.
  3. It was decided that the Acknowledgments section is for the authors to thank those who helped make the study possible, including funding sources and data providers, and not an AGU or editorial comment.
  4. In searches of paper content, the editor’s name would be found, lessening the usefulness of some search tools.

JGR Space Physics was one of the last to discontinue this editorial acknowledgment line. AGU had already stopped doing it for most other journals by the time it ended in JGR Space Physics last fall.

The omission of this sentence means that there is no archival record of which Editor handled the paper, nor is there any acknowledgment of the reviewers if they indeed wanted their names known to the community. For the first point: it is not about the Editor. Our names become well known to the space physics research community over the course of our term and that is enough credit (or infamy) for the task. For the second point: authors should include this thank you, if they so choose, and ORCID will now cover the task of public (but aggregated) recognition. By signing up for an ORCID number, the reviewing assignment tallies will be pushed to your ORCID account. The specific papers you reviewed will remain confidential, but the total number per year for each journal will be made public. This is a way for others to independently verify service activities listed on CVs and resumes.

Note that the information is not lost. The Editor and reviewers associated with a manuscript are kept in GEMS. At this point, all information since the beginning of GEMS (in 2002) is still available. This comes in very handy when papers in a series from an author are submitted over the course of several years. Whatever editor is assigned to each paper, they can look up the history of the paper series and see who has served as editors and reviewers in the past, and even read the reviews of those previous papers. This can be tremendously helpful for selecting the right people to serve as reviewers of the new manuscript.

Furthermore, the editorial “thank you” to the reviewers is not lost, either. From now on, AGU will be sending thank you emails to reviewers with a courtesy notice of the editorial decision about the manuscript. For public recognition, we also are now publishing an annual Editorial thanking all reviewers by name, as I mentioned in my last post on reviewer stats. Finally, there is the annual selection the Editor’s Citation for Excellence in Scientific Refereeing. Last year’s names (for 2014) are here, but this year’s Eos article is not out yet, so I will wait on posting the names for 2015. AGU allows us to select a number of reviewers equal to 0.1% of the number of new manuscripts submitted. For 2015, we were able to select 12.

As always, please feel free to comment below, or at Twitter to @liemohnjgrspace or on Facebook (I always post a link to these blog articles at the “AGU Space” page). We look forward to hearing your feedback on this issue.

Recently Closed Special Sections

To follow on with my last post on open special sections, I wanted to bring them to your attention the special sections of JGR Space Physics that have closed in the past year. A listing of “published” special sections can be found by clicking the “Special Issues” link near the top of the journal homepage. The central column of the Special Issues page gives descriptions and links to those that have recently closed or updated (i.e., a trailing paper finally published). Also on this page is a search mechanism for finding special sections based on their status or designated tags. For instance, clicking the “Accepting Submissions” filter yields “No results available.” This is because, as of today, there are no published papers for any of the five currently open special sections.


In the last 12 months, there have been 6 special sections closed for submissions and either at or nearing full publication of the manuscripts submitted to it. In order of how they appear on the page (as of today), they are:

Pulsating Aurora and Related Magnetospheric Phenomena: covering all aspects of observational, theoretical, and modeling studies of pulsating aurora, one of the major classes of aurora. There are 12 papers in this section.

Low-Frequency Waves In Space Plasmas: includes ground-based as well as satellite observational studies of low-frequency waves, not only in Earth’s magnetosphere but across the solar system. There are 26 papers in this section.

Long‐term Changes and Trends in the Stratosphere, Mesosphere, Thermosphere, and Ionosphere: joint with JGR-Atmospheres, this covers findings and insights on how the middle and upper atmosphere are evolving naturally and due to man-made climate change. There are 10 papers in this section.

Origins and Properties of Kappa Distributions: includes studies on the physical mechanisms leading to kappa distributions in plasma and wave distributions, and the non-equilibrium thermodynamics that describes these populations. There are 19 papers in this section.

Variability of the Sun and Its Terrestrial Impact VarSITI: VarSITI, SCOSTEP’s new international research program, focuses on three big chains in solar-terrestrial relations: (1) the mass chain in the form of plasmas and particles emitted from the Sun, (2) the electromagnetic chain in the form of fields, irradiance (total and spectral) and flare emissions, and (3) the intra-atmospheric chain representing energy flow and coupling. There are 20 papers in this section.

New perspectives on Earth’s radiation belt regions from the prime mission of the Van Allen Probes: includes not only strictly observational papers focused solely on the Van Allen Probes data sets but also comparative mission studies and related theoretical and modeling studies. There are 41 papers in this section.

If any of these subjects interests you, then I highly encourage you to browse these pages and read some of the papers. It’s one-stop shopping for the latest (and greatest!) on that topic.

New Scope for JGR Space Physics

We have a new “aims and scope” statement for JGR Space Physics. It reads:

JGR: Space Physics is dedicated to the publication of new and original research in the broad field of space science. This embraces aeronomy, magnetospheric physics, planetary atmospheres, ionospheres and magnetospheres, solar and interplanetary physics, cosmic rays, and heliospheric physics. Science that links interactions between space science and other components of the Sun-Earth system are encouraged, as are multidisciplinary and system-level science papers.

JGR: Space Physics welcomes theoretical, numerical, or observational manuscripts as well as submissions on new instrumentation, numerical models, or analysis methods, as long as such papers include an illustrative example demonstrating direct and timely relevance to space research. Authors are strongly encouraged to make very clear in their manuscript the new science or technology contribution to the field.

JGR: Space Physics also encourages the members to the space science research community to submit proposals for topical reviews, commentaries, and special collections to the Editors.


The old scope was quite brief, basically a short version of the second sentence. This new scope clarifies the full range of topics included in the journal as well as the types of papers that can be submitted. Here are some notable changes from the old version.

We have dropped the word “external” in front of “solar physics.” We are encouraging the submission of papers that span the entire breadth of phenomena that influence solar, interplanetary, and planetary space environments. This includes processes within the convective zone of the Sun that influence the solar magnetic field and solar atmosphere.

We have included explicit mention of multidisciplinary, cross-disciplinary, and system-level science studies. As long as there is relevance to a core discipline within space science, then papers including connections to other fields, or even focused on something beyond the normal scope, are welcome.

Not every paper has to have a significant original scientific contribution to space science. JGR Space Physics accepts submissions of several other types of papers for which the publication criteria do not include this “high bar” of original research. First, there are Technical Reports, oriented towards either “data” or “methods,” that should describe a new resource or capability that others in the community should find useful. These papers must include a discussion that demonstrates how it could be used to advance understanding of space physics but it does not have to include the scientific advancement in the Technical Reports paper.

Another paper type in this category is the Topical Review. Again, this does not have to include an original research component, in fact they shouldn’t, but it should include a discussion of the relevance and timeliness of compiling the review now. Note that these are not meant to be as lengthy as a Reviews of Geophysics article, nor written for the broader audience of that journal, but rather focused on a particular issue and written for those in the field. Note that these need editorial board approval before submission; please send us an email.

Finally, there are Commentaries, about which I have recently written. A Commentary is a short “perspectives” article that addresses a particular space science topic and does one of the following: explain the importance of that issue, synthesize recent developments, discuss a controversy, or provide context around an unresolved mystery. They can also be used to provide a scientific evaluation on a recent meeting, a classic paper, or a notable anniversary or event in the field. Until we see how they work in this journal, we are requiring editorial board approval before submission. Like topical reviews, send us an email.

The last thing mentioned in the new scope are special collections, also known as special sections or special issues. These also require editorial board approval, but there is actually an AGU form available for these. The list of published special collections is here and the list of open special collections is here.