Now There’s a GEMS-to-ESSOAr Link

AGU is implementing a feature in GEMS for authors to seamlessly submit their manuscript to ESSOAr, the Earth and Space Science Open Archive. In case you haven’t heard about ESSOAr, it is a preprint server specifically for our field. It is developed by Atypon with AGU being the lead society behind its creation, and another dozen or so societies on the ESSOAr advisory board participating in its design and implementation (including EGU). My initial blog post about ESSOAr gives some details about this preprint server, and I have written a couple other posts about preprint servers in general.


I am told that this new transfer from GEMS to ESSOAr would occur right after the quality control check by AGU staff. As it is sent to me for editor assignment, the author will get an email asking if they want a PDF of the manuscript to be uploaded for public availability to ESSOAr. If they agree, it would then be forwarded to the ESSOAr editorial board for approval before being posted. A serious submission to JGR Space Physics should not be denied from ESSOAr.

I am excited about this and I agreed to let JGR Space Physics be one of the first journals to pilot this option. It goes live next Monday (June 17).

I hope that you like this new feature and I hope that you confirm simultaneous submission to the ESSOAr preprint server. Posting to a preprint server is not considered dual publication by AGU and overlap from manuscripts at such servers is ignored in the cross-check report. The historical average is that ~70% of manuscripts submitted to JGR Space Physics eventually being accepted, simultaneous release at ESSOAr will make your study available to readers a few months sooner than the current editorial-publication timeline.

Also regarding ESSOAr, after you log in with your ORCID account info (via the button in the upper right of the page):


you can conduct searches. After you run a search, you can then save it by clicking the “search-plus” icon in the upper left:


You can then set the frequency of receiving new content alerts from ESSOAr with these search terms. Like getting an email from Wiley with the JGR Space Physics table of contents (they send out three levels of TOC alerts: accepted, early view, and issue info), you can also get content alerts for new manuscripts uploaded to ESSOAr. I hope that you take advantage of this feature and the earlier availability of manuscripts submitted to JGR Space Physics.





You can still apply to have this job

AGU has extended the deadline for accepting applications for the Editor in Chief positions for both JGR Space Physics and Space Weather. The new deadline is June 30.

While I am certain that some applications have been received, this delay is necessary because the positions were not widely publicized until just a week or so before the original deadline. To have a full-scale and fully-open search process, with proper time for people to contemplate the pros and cons of being EiC, they have pushed the timeline back a month.


This image lies; I had nothing to do with extended the deadline. It seemed fitting because I am guessing that many of you were in a panic about this deadline slipping by you. (Just smile and nod.)

I have written about the EiC and editorial workload, and even advice for applicants, in recent weeks.  Here, I will mention one more good thing and one more bad thing about being EiC.

The good thing: when at a conference, a lot of people will simply come up and talk to you. Okay, this is a good thing for me, being slightly more extroverted than introverted. Or, conversely, I can walk up to strangers, introduce myself, and be nearly always admitted to their conversation circle. This means that you get to meet a lot of people in the field that you otherwise probably would not have met. Since I am one that, in general, likes other people, this has been a hugely positive experience and a much appreciated added bonus perk of being EiC of such a major journal in the field.

The bad thing: I have lost time with my family and friends. I took this job with the assurance of a reduced service load in my department, but that didn’t last all 6 years of my tenure. Plus, I have accepted other service roles, like being the chair of NASA’s Heliophysics Advisory Committee and serving on the Jack Eddy Steering Committee. I took on the development of a new course during my EiC term, too, which was not particularly easy to squeeze in there. The time to be EiC and do these other tasks has to come from somewhere. Some of the time has come at the expense of my first-author publications, but only some. It has definitely cut into my time to “do my own research,” and I am now even more into the manager mode of guiding my students and only occasionally getting to conduct my own investigations. In addition, though, I think this job has also cut into my time away from the normal work hours.  I spend quite a few hours during evenings and weekends doing editorial tasks.

How to make room for being EiC is your choice, of course, and perhaps my fate will not be yours. My choice is certainly not the only one that could be made; other things could have been shrunken in my schedule and some of the new things I did while EiC could have been postponed. You will definitely have to think about this, though, and strongly encourage you to do that thinking before taking the job. If my memory is correct, then I am pretty sure that I was asked about this time management issue during my interview with the search committee.

EiC Reality Check

I have to say it one more time: my position as Editor in Chief of JGR Space Physics (and Space Weather) is open, the announcement is here, and I have written a few posts recently explaining what this job means.  Here is one more – the less-than-good elements.  I should probably wait and post this after the application deadline has passed.  No, that would be mean.  I want all applicants to know as much as possible – I firmly believe in communication and transparency.  You should not only know your duties and benefits of enlistment but also the tough tasks.

This reminds me of a recent xkcd comic, “waiting for the but”:


            I have already mentioned that it is a part-time job that takes 5-10 hours a week.  This time has to come from somewhere.  If your employer is good enough to give you relief from other duties during work hours, then great.  For most people, though, I suspect that the reduction in normal work duties will not match the hours you put into being EiC.  This is a big service role and will most likely cut into something else that you do.  It definitely comes with an opportunity cost and if this will incessantly bother you, then perhaps this job isn’t for you.

Along with this time commitment – it is relentless. If you ignore it, the workload does not somehow go away but rather accumulates.  You cannot say, “oh, I let that deadline pass, I guess I won’t write that proposal/paper/email.”  No, the work sits there, and the GEMS submission system even tells you how many days that task has been sitting in at that step, waiting for you to act.  I try to purge my GEMS page of “red arrows” but getting it to zero is perhaps a once-a-month occurrence; most of the time I work for a while and get through some tasks but have to stop before all of them are done.  There is a constant feeling of being behind and if this will exasperate you, then perhaps this job isn’t for you.

I have a strong sense of fairness, justice, and equality, which means I think that each member of the research community should help the journals and funding agencies with regular service as a peer reviewer.  As an editor (not just EiC), in GEMS, I see everyone’s information about their authorship on manuscripts in AGU journals as well as their reviewing requests from AGU journals.  The only things that are systematically removed are reviewing assignments on papers for which I am a coauthor.  I see when people submit many papers but don’t agree to review.  I see when paper agree to review and then are habitually late.  I see when people write less-than-adequate reviews, either short and unhelpful or mean and disrespectful.  If I dwell on this, then I can get frustrated with those that don’t “pull their weight” in the peer reviewing service load.  I shrug it off, though, and never let this influence my role as editor on a manuscript in the system.  If you do not think that you can let that frustration go, then perhaps this job isn’t for you.

Also, with this access comes the responsibility to keep this information in the strictest confidentiality.  AGU clearly defines the ethical standards for editors and expects every one of their appointees to abide by the highest levels of professionalism.  I sincerely hope that every person in our research community could handle this requirement, but if you think that this temptation to abuse the power vested in you might pose a problem, then perhaps this job isn’t for you.

Back to peer review – as an editor, I am constantly asking others to do things for me. The journal would not run without an army of volunteers, and we write thank-you editorials to those reviewers every year. We have lots of methods and tools for helping us find experts on the topic to serve as potential reviewers, but in the end, I send an email with a request. When reviewers are late, I send a request. I am constantly asking for other people to do things for me. If you think that this mindset will annoy you, then perhaps this job isn’t for you.

And, finally, the last thing that I’ll write about in this rather long list, is that the editor is a judge.  For those papers assigned to you (as EiC, you assign them to yourself), you will be the decision maker on the final fate of each of those manuscripts – accept or reject.  There will be times when an author refuses to make requested changes, and you will have to decide whether to publish anyway or reject it.  There will be times when a reviewer demands a change be made, and you will have to decide whether the author must make this change in order for the paper to be acceptable for publication. We usually seek two reviewers, and there will be times when one will recommend “publish as is” and the other will recommend rejection; yes, this happens.  You will have to choose how to proceed, siding with one or the other, splitting the recommendation down the middle, or seeking a third reviewer.  You will occasionally get phone calls from authors, reviewers, or even readers, sometimes with easy questions but more often with some complaint. In all of these cases, all of the authors and reviewers think that they are correct in what they are writing, saying, or doing.  When you side with them, you rarely get a thank you, because they believe that they are right and that I made the obvious decision.  When you side against someone’s position, however, that person will become frustrated and think I am foolish or idiotic. As editor, you are being entrusted as a gatekeeper of the journal, and authors think their paper is worthy (or they would not have submitted it) and reviewers think their recommendation should be upheld. Every rejection and every acceptance despite a negative review means that someone is now frustrated with you. That is, you will not make many friends being editor, at least not in our field. If you think that this will trouble you, then perhaps this job isn’t for you.

Yeah, this post has been a long one, and a bit of a downer. How about another xkcd about how cool it is that we get to study space:


I like the “pew pew pew” space laser sound. That makes me smile.


The Perks of Being EiC

I have been remiss in telling you about the perks of the Editor in Chief job.  Well, I mean beyond the personal satisfaction of doing all of the other duties that I have written about in previous posts.  Here are the more tangible rewards for serving as EiC of JGR Space Physics or Space Weather.  Actually, this list is for all editors, so those considering an editor role with either journal, to be opened shortly after the EiC is selected, this is for you, too.


The list:

  • An honorarium, paid quarterly, a little bit for being EiC and another component that depends on the number of manuscripts you’ve assigned to yourself. I have no idea what it is for Space Weather, but for JGR Space Physics, we handle a lot of papers, so this a few $K each time (so, > $10K/year).
  • Up to $3K in travel funds to attend a non-AGU conference of your choice. This is to be a visible and active member of the research community and promote the journal to the conference attendees, either explicitly by advocating for special sections, or implicitly by your presence and participation.
  • Waived registration to the Fall AGU Meeting, waived AGU membership dues, and open access to all AGU journal content.
  • Access to the Editors’ Lounge at the Fall AGU Meeting. This is a quiet room with breakfast and lunch provided to the editors, and beverages available all day. It’s a place for you to get some editorial work done while at the meeting and to have a private conversation about a manuscript, review, or editorial topic.
  • Invitation to the Publications Dinner at the Fall AGU Meeting. This event, held on Monday evening, is a nice meal with an open bar, and a brief awards ceremony to celebrate that year’s publications achievements.
  • Invitation to the Reviewer Appreciation Reception at the Fall AGU Meeting. This is usually on Thursday late afternoon, and is a chance for the AGU journal EiCs to thank those community members that have done exceptional work to make the journals successful.

It’s a pretty good list. It doesn’t fully compensate you for your 5-10 hours a week of effort, but these benefits are pretty nice.

A non-financial perk that hasn’t really been mentioned yet is that you get to see the full scope of new research being done across the breadth of space physics.  I don’t read every paper appearing in the journal, but I do read every abstract of every submission.  Please don’t quiz me, JGR Space Physics gets over 1000 manuscripts a year for the duration of my EiCship, so I don’t remember every abstract, but at least saw it once.  Being EiC has been a huge learning experience for me, and I have really liked this aspect of the position.

Advice for EiC Applicants

The job ad is posted seeking my replacement as Editor in Chief of JGR Space Physics, and I have recently posted about my duties as EiC and editor.  Also note that the EiC of Space Weather is also open right now.  Yeah, now is the time for the space physics community to seriously consider this service role – the community needs good applicants for these positions!

I have no idea who is on the two search committees, so I don’t know their exact criteria for selecting the next EiCs for these two journals, but in the hope of getting the most diverse applicant pool that we can, I would like to point out some resources and give some advice to those considering this position (or to those that should be).


            First off: the information from AGU.  They have a page in the pubs section of their website that defines the role of journal editors, but it is pretty brief. The full-length description is in the “EiC job description PDF” link on the page.  Here is the summary:

  • Be an ambassador. You will be the public face and voice of the journal, so you should be ready to take on this promotional spokesperson role.
  • Set the strategy. While AGU likes to have some level of uniformity across its journals, there is some flexibility.  For instance, will you actively pursue and solicit special section proposals or will you de-emphasize that aspect of the submission process?  Another important question is how you will use Associate Editors.
  • Select editors. The EiC has full discretion in the method of selecting editors and associate editors for the journal.  You can have an open search with a public call for applicants, appoint people to the posts without a search, or anything in between.
  • Assign the reviewing work load. You see every paper that comes in and assign it to one of the editors (including yourself).  You can distribute this workload however you want, taking into whatever considerations you want.
  • Decide on ethical concerns. While there are AGU HQ staff that specialize in handling and resolving ethical issues, the EiC is involved in all of these cases, too.
  • Monitor journal activity. While AGU HQ staff have the quantitative numbers on the submissions, accept/reject rates, and other stats, the EiC is asked to occasionally report on the “state of the journal” to HQ, in particular in relation to similar journals and the outlook for the scientific field.
  • Conduct and attend meetings. EiCs attend an annual EiC Meeting, early in the calendar year, plus hold an editorial board meeting at the Fall AGU Meeting, plus convene quarterly editorial teleconferences (or as needed). My first year, we also have a JGR-Space Physics editors meeting at AGU HQ.

That’s a decently long list.  Really, though, the editorial assignments role is the only daily task; all of the others are things you do or think about occasionally.  They are all important, though.

So, my advice to you as a prospective EiC of JGR Space Physics, Space Weather, or any other journal you consider leading:  think about your philosophy regarding all of these aspects before submitting your application.  For some, you might be “staying the course” and doing what I and other EiCs have done in the past.  For others, though, you might have a bigger, bolder, idea of what to do with the journal.  I strongly urge you to explain these potential new initiatives in your cover letter.  This will help to get you on the short list, so that you have a phone interview with the search committee.  If you make it to that step, then it is time to really think about all of these aspects of the job.

That is, have a plan for the journal and convince the search committee that you are the right person for this position at this time because you have a vision for where the journal should go, what it should become, or how it should function.  The search committee might not agree with your vision and so you might not get the job, but my guess is that those with no vision about what they would do as EiC will have a tougher time getting on the short list for the phone interview.

For me, I had two big things: the first role, being an ambassador, and the second role, setting the strategy.  Specifically, on the first point: I wanted to increase communication between AGU, the editors, and the research community. While I didn’t actually think I would write a blog at the time I applied, I knew that increasing transparency and communication would be a good thing for the journal and the space physics community. This blog is major part of that (but not the only thing).  For the second point: I wanted to increase the number of special sections.  For the first few years, I went out of my way to solicit and secure special section proposals, and the number of submissions to JGR Space Physics grew quite rapidly.

Finally (for today), here are some other things that I would encourage you to read in order to prepare your application to be EiC of an AGU journal.  First is the plethora of information at the author resources center; AGU sets a society-wide policy for authors, but it listens to EiCs about suggestions on manuscript submission requirements. There is a similar page of reviewer resources, which has the list of questions we ask all reviewers to consider when assessing a manuscript. These guidelines are occasionally updated, because of input from both the Publications Committee and the journal EiCs. Another page to read is the ethical guidelines for authors, reviewers, and editors; it is good to be fully aware of what is expected from each group in the manuscript workflow process. On this note, there is a page of many links about publication policy, which I would highly recommend to anyone considering an EiC position.  Any of these topics are also fair game for your vision for the journal and your role as EiC.

As always, if you want to talk, send me an email. I am happy to share my experiences with you to help you get your application ready.