AGU Centennial

The American Geophysical Union is turning 100 years old next year. The society has launched a major campaign to celebrate this triple-digit milestone of existence. They even have a nice logo:


Details of the design of this logo are explained here.

There will be special events at both the 2018 and 2019 Fall AGU Meetings, one kicking off the festivities and the other wrapping it up. Note that the 2018 Meeting will be in Washington DC, with tours of the renovated now-net-zero AGU building. One of the big activities going on right now is the AGU Narratives Project, a joint activity with StoryCorps to record conversations about our experiences conducting Earth and space science.

JGR Space Physics is participating in the Centennial in several ways. Firstly, AGU is asking all of the journals to have a series of papers on Grand Challenges in their field. We are working on this. Secondly, we are making plans for a written version of the AGU Narratives project, a collection of papers from the pioneers of space physics. JGR Space Physics actually had a special issue on this exact topic over twenty years ago. There was also a book, a couple years later, entitled, “Discovery of the Magnetosphere.” We will be doing this again. We are also actively taking part in and coordinating with the AGU Centennial celebration planning.

To lead all of this, I have appointed one of the journal editors, Larry Kepko, to be the coordinator of our activities. He has fully embraced this role and is coming up with some good ways to have space physics to be integrally involved in the Centennial celebrations. If you have questions or comments about this, you can contact either him or me.

To make time for this, Dr. Kepko is pulling back a bit from the normal duties of being assigned “regular” submissions to the journal. I will still be assigning him a few papers, but far less than before. So, when you submit a manuscript, you can still request him as your preferred editor, but there is less chance that I will assign it to him because I am intentionally keeping his manuscript workload down.

This new role for Dr. Kepko, combined with a slowly increasing number of manuscript submissions over the years, is the need for adding two new editors to the JGR Space Physics board. The announced application deadline was yesterday (February 23), but you can still submit for a couple more days. I am off to the Editor-in-Chief meeting, which will occupy my time for the first half of next week. So, the deadline is unofficially extended until February 28. On March 1, when I am back in my office, I will start coordinating with the others on the search committee to begin the selection process. So, there is still time to apply for this position. If you have any questions, then please send me an email, or contact any of the current editors.


Annotating Manuscripts with

A few months ago, AGU introduced a new feature in GEMS – annotating the merged PDF of the manuscript. Senior AGU Pubs staff wrote an Eos Editors’ Vox article about it. AGU has partnered with, an online annotation tool, so that reviewers can highlight text and insert comments. Editors can then add additional comments before making a decision about the paper. The comments are labeled “reviewer 1,” “Editor,” etc., so that the author can identify which of the assessors made the remark. During the revision process, authors can respond to these comments directly in the annotated PDF.


            I have used it a couple of times and I have seen ~10 reviewers use it over the last few months. I think it works really well, so it is it time to publicize this feature and make the community aware of this powerful resource.

When you agree to review a manuscript, you will see this new section on the review page:


It’s just below the link to retrieve the paper and the link for submitting your review. When you click on it, you get a new browser window with the manuscript PDF:


This page already has several sections of text highlighted with example comments written. There are controls across the top bar for navigating around the document. When you highlight some text, a small pop-up window appears below it with the word “annotate” in it:


This opens a text box in the right-hand column in which you can type your comment:


The “You” at the top indicates the originator of the comment, then the highlighted text is repeated, and then a box for writing your comment, including rich text features like inserting hyperlinks, images, and LaTeX-based equations. Along the bottom of the text box is a row of buttons for specifying the type of remark you are making. Is it an overview comment? Pick “Summary.” Do you want to designate it as a “major” or “minor” concern? Go for it. Are you suggesting a small English usage correction? Then pick “Edit.” Are you suggesting a new reference or two, or commenting on a figure? Click that button, then. Finally, there is a “Confidential?” button that you can click if the remark is just to the Editor and not meant for the author. I promise to look through the comments and read these.

Back on the main reviewer page, you can actually see if there are annotations on the “annotated merged PDF.” It should appear as a new link, “Show Summary Table,” like this:


When you click on this, all of the comments in the PDF are shown:


Nice, huh?

Note that you still need to click the link on the main reviewer page to complete the review:


You should answer the pull-down-menu questions and fill in any comments you want in the review text box. It is helpful if you, at the least include a sentence like, “Please see my detailed comments in the online annotated PDF.” This reminds the Editor to go to the annotated PDF and see your comments there. It is also helpful to include a short paragraph summary of your review there. In fact, you can make your review a hybrid of the two, with major comments in the review text box and specific comments embedded in the annotated PDF.

In addition to the Eos article and this blog, there are also more detailed author instructions, reviewer instructions, and even editor instructions at the AGU website. The website also has a really good tutorial. Also, one caveat: it is an interactive web-based tool, so you have to be online to use it.

Also, this whole thing is optional. You don’t have to use it. So far, I’d say that most reviewers do not use it. But most reviewers could be using it, so please consider it. Many reviews include line-identified comments, and this new feature should be easier than typing the location coordinates into your review.

New JGR Space Physics Editor Search

We seek two new Editors to join the board of the Journal of Geophysical Research Space Physics. These are additional positions that will expand the editorial board from five to seven. The deadline for application submissions is 23 February 2018.


            Applicants should be dynamic, well-organized, independent-minded, and even-handed scientists with robust knowledge of space physics. As editor you should be committed to further strengthening JGR Space Physics as a leading journal in this field and be proactive in attracting innovative contributions in traditional disciplines and in emerging areas. Applicants from all fields of space physics across the journal’s full aims and scope are welcome.

Editors have several job duties. First and foremost is handling the reviewer assignments and decisions for manuscripts submitted to the journal. You could also be called upon for consultation about manuscripts assigned to other editors. There is an expectation of promoting the journal, especially at conferences you attend, and helping to write highlights of selected papers published in the journal. We hold regular teleconferences throughout the year, as well as a full editorial board meeting at the Fall AGU Meeting, to discuss management and strategic goals of the journal. The expected time commitment of a JGR Space Physics editor is ~5 hours per week.

The term for these new editors would be 4 years with a flexible start date soon after selection. This term extends past the end date of the other editors, creating a bridge to the next Editor in Chief and board. Questions regarding the scope of work and editorial philosophy should contact me. AGU has written guidelines to editors. The search committee is committed to diversity and highly encourages women and minorities to apply. The journal serves a world-wide community of space physics researchers and international applicants are welcome.

If you would like to be considered for one of these Editor positions with JGR Space Physics, please send your curriculum vitae with a letter of interest via email to If you would like to nominate a highly qualified colleague, then please send a letter of recommendation to the same email address. Please make sure that you specify “JGR Space Physics Editor Search” in the subject line of the email.

      Review of applications will begin immediately after the submission deadline. Again, the deadline for applications is 23 February 2018.

Top-10 Papers of 2007

Here is one more post in this set of three with my lists of top papers from past years of JGR Space Physics. Here is the list for 2007; so, ~10 year-old papers. As a final reminder, these citation counts listed below were taken from Web of Science on December 30, 2017.

The list of Top-10 Most Cited Papers published in 2007 in JGR Space Physics:

  1. Summers, D., et al., Timescales for radiation belt electron acceleration and loss due to resonant wave-particle interactions: 2. Evaluation for VLF chorus, ELF hiss, and electromagnetic ion cyclotron waves, 310 citations
  2. Zhang, J., et al., Solar and interplanetary sources of major geomagnetic storms (Dst <= -100 nT) during 1996-2005, 267 citations (note: has a correction)
  3. Newell, P. T., et al., A nearly universal solar wind-magnetosphere coupling function inferred from 10 magnetospheric state variables, 232 citations
  4. Li, W., et al., Dynamic evolution of energetic outer zone electrons due to wave-particle interactions during storms, 214 citations
  5. Summers, D., Timescales for radiation belt electron acceleration and loss due to resonant wave-particle interactions: 1. Theory, 183 citations
  6. Lei, J., Comparison of COSMIC ionospheric measurements with ground-based observations and model predictions: Preliminary results, 167 citations
  7. Vadas, S. L., Horizontal and vertical propagation and dissipation of gravity waves in the thermosphere from lower atmospheric and thermospheric sources, 146 citations
  8. Meredith, N. P., et al., Slot region electron loss timescales due to plasmaspheric hiss and lightning-generated whistlers, 128 citations
  9. Omura, Y., et al., Relativistic turning acceleration of resonant electrons by coherent whistler mode waves in a dipole magnetic field, 118 citations
  10. Fejer, B. G., et al., Equatorial ionospheric electric fields during the November 2004 magnetic storm, 117 citations

For this crew, let’s suggest Totally Awesome stickers:


These are, like last time, from Zazzle.

Again, all of these papers have an average of over 10 citations per year. That’s high for any annual count of any paper in our field, but to sustain it for 10 years, that’s truly phenomenal. These papers, and their authors, deserve special acknowledgment. Congratulations on writing such highly-cited papers!

An interesting thing to point out is the one-two punch of the Summers et al. papers, both making it into this top-10 list. Paper #1 derives the formulas for the timescale analysis of several different combinations of plasma wave and energetic electron characteristics and then Paper #2 applies the specific wave properties for several magnetospheric plasma waves of particular relevance to the radiation belts. Danny and crew had a very good year!

Counting the research topics, I see one solar-heliospheric paper, one techniques paper (the “Paper #1: theory” one just discussed), one solar wind-magnetosphere coupling function study, three ionosphere-thermosphere papers, and 4 on radiation belt results. No planetary space environment papers made the top-10 list, but all of the other major disciplines within the journal scope are there.

Top-10 Papers of 2012

I’d like to continue with my lists of top papers from past years of JGR Space Physics. Here is the list for 2012. Again, the citation information used to generate this list was taken from Web of Science on December 30, 2017.

The list of Top-10 Most Cited Papers published in 2012 in JGR Space Physics:

  1. Meredith et al., Global model of lower band and upper band chorus from multiple satellite observations, 95 citations
  2. Usanova et al., THEMIS observations of electromagnetic ion cyclotron wave occurrence: Dependence on AE, SYMH, and solar wind dynamic pressure, 89 citations
  3. Min et al., Global distribution of EMIC waves derived from THEMIS observations, 89 observations
  4. Gjerloev, J. W., The SuperMAG data processing technique, 86 citations
  5. Schrijver, C. J., et al., Estimating the frequency of extremely energetic solar events, based on solar, stellar, lunar, and terrestrial records, 68 citations
  6. Jin, H., et al., Response of migrating tides to the stratospheric sudden warming in 2009 and their effects on the ionosphere studied by a whole atmosphere-ionosphere model GAIA with COSMIC and TIMED/SABER observations, 66 citations
  7. Jia, X., et al., Magnetospheric configuration and dynamics of Saturn’s magnetosphere: A global MHD simulation, 62 citations
  8. Dwyer, J. R., The relativistic feedback discharge model of terrestrial gamma ray flashes, 61 citations
  9. Fu, H. S., et al., Pitch angle distribution of suprathermal electrons behind dipolarization fronts: A statistics overview, 56 citations
  10. Park, J., et al., Effect of sudden stratospheric warming on lunar tidal modulation of the equatorial electrojet, 54 citations

You should go get yourself a Super! sticker:




Remember, all of these papers are only ~5 years old, so these citation numbers indicate a healthy rate of more than 10 per year since publication. That’s very high for our field.

I see one planetary study, one heliospheric, one techniques paper, three ionosphere-thermosphere related, and 4 magnetospheric physics focused papers in the list. So, the studies are distributed across all major themes of the journal’s scope.

That the top 3 are about plasma waves in the magnetosphere is probably not a coincidence; with the launch and commissioning of the Van Allen Probes in late 2012, this topic has become a central focus of the community since then. So, a stating-the-obvious take-away point from these examples: when there will be a flood of papers on a particular topic from a new spaceflight mission, it is perhaps useful to get a pre-mission paper published just before the prime mission phase.