Giving to AGU – One Last Pitch

I have written several times about donating extra money to AGU; I am writing one more time. Why? Because I believe in what AGU does. It is our scholarly society and I want it to thrive.


In addition to paying annual dues, I give to several of the funds. Here are the ones to which I have given over the past few years:

  • Space Physics and Aeronomy Section Fund
  • Carl “Max” Hammond Student Travel Endowment Fund
  • Basu Award Fund
  • Austin Student Travel Endowment
  • Ashour-Abdalla Scholarship in Space Physics Fund
  • Education and Career Services Fund:

Note that I have not given to the “AGU General Fund” in recent years. I target my giving to specific causes within the long list of funds. Here is some more info about the funds I have chosen in recent years:

Giving to the section allows SPA to have flexibility in creating new events and programs targeted at our research community.

The Max Hammond Fund helps first-time student attendees, and was created in memory of a space physicist who died in the 9/11 tragedy.

Giving to the Basu Award Fund increases the annual award amount for the two early career awards that Sunanda and Satimay Basu have set up for our section, the US focused one and the international one.

The Austin Student Travel Endowment is new this year to increase student travel support to the Fall AGU Meeting. Every dollar donated to it by December 31 is matched by Jamie Austin (this is his Austin Challenge), an AGU Board member who believes in the cause of our society. I am told that this Challenge has over $600K donations already, but there is still plenty more room for additional donations that will be matched.

For the last one on my list, here is the description from the website: “This fund supports teacher workshops, student programs, and diversity initiatives.”

Maha Ashour-Abdalla was a longtime space physics faculty member at UCLA. After her untimely death a few years ago, this fund was established in her memory to give out scholarships to women starting graduate careers in space physics.

For the last one on my list, here is the description from the website: “This fund supports teacher workshops, student programs, and diversity initiatives.”

These are just the ones I like. There are lots of funds that AGU has created and they continue to create new ones. Go to the AGU Giving site and, a bit down the page, click on the “Funds” tab, and start scrolling and clicking to learn more.

Finally, AGU has an incentive program for donations based on the percentage of the section’s membership that gives (to any AGU Fund). If 5% or more of a section’s membership donates to AGU, then AGU contributes $1,000 to $5,000 to that section (from the general fund). Any level of gift to any AGU Fund contributes to this percentage of participation.


Membership gets you access to the digital archive of AGU journals

Hello from the Fall AGU Meeting in San Francisco. In a recent From the Prow article, AGU Executive Director Chris McEntee revealed a new benefit of AGU membership for 2020: free access to the “digital archive.” This archive being referred to is the collection of journal volumes from 1996 and older.


The story is that a peculiar thing happened on the way to journal digitization. In 2002, AGU went digital, making the online paper the version of record. At that time, they did away with full-issue page numbering (which is being resurrected…that might be tomorrow’s post) and digitized a few years back of all journal content (to the beginning of 1997). A few years later, then hired a company to scan all of the older volumes of all of their journals, completing the digital archive. This cost AGU quite a bit of money, however, to digitize 100 years of journal content and the two-step process created a dichotomy in the PDFs. When AGU partnered with Wiley for the publication of all of their journals, they announced that the newer set of papers, from January 1997 onward, would have a different accessibility deal than the older papers. In fact, there are three stages of accessibility: those papers less than 24 months from publication require a subscription unless the journal is open access or the authors paid extra for open access. From January 1997 to a rolling timeline of 24 months before the present, all of these papers are made open access. From December 1996 on back to the first issue of JGR (actually, Terrestrial Magnetism and Atmospheric Electricity) in 1896, one must have a personal or institutional subscription to get access. It seems a bit strange but I think that they wanted to recoup some of the cost of that massive digitization effort.

With this new announcement, that older digital archive will now be open access with an active AGU membership. This includes all journal content across the family of AGU publications. I commend this move and greatly appreciate the new availability to these older papers. There are many “classics” among this archive and I applaud the move to allow AGU members full access to these seminal papers (and all of the others from the time).

I see another zinger of a line in McEntee’s article: “AGU will also continue to offer a free book annually as another member offering.” Continue?! I know about the free e-book on Writing Scientific Research Articles but is this something different? I will have to ask about this and get back to all of you. By the way, I have a couple of vouchers for this Cargill and O’Connor e-book that I can give you if you ask for it. I think that I can still get more.

Yet another “by the way,” in the “From the Prow” banner image above, that’s the top corner of the AGU building, with a conference room named “The Prow” that has a nice view of DC.

New Editor Search for JGR Space Physics

The incoming Editor in Chief of JGR Space Physics, Dr. Michael Balikhin, has opened a search for new editors of the journal.


The application process is quite easy…send a letter of interest and a curriculum vita to with “JGR: Space Physics” in the subject line. The hard part is the letter, as this should convey your willingness and enthusiasm for wanting this rather large service role. You should also comment on any previous editorial experience you have had. If you don’t have such experience, then comment on times when were faced with a similar role of assessing the acceptability of another person’s work, perhaps in a managerial situation or with proposals.

Applications will be accepted until mid-January, 2020. Yes, this is past the end time of my editorship and that of several current editors for the journal. Without immediate replacements, the number of editors will drop temporarily down to three. I think that consideration of the applications will start as soon as they are submitted, with the hope that all positions are filled by the end of January. I don’t think that he has a target number of new editors that he wants to appoint, but it is probably at least two. Space physicists from all disciplinary fields within the scope of the journal are encouraged to apply. For discipline breadth that complements that of Balikhin and the other two continuing editors (Drs. Viviane Pierrard and Natalia Ganushkina), I would guess that there is a high chance of appointing editors in the fields of ionosphere-thermosphere physics or planetary space environments. But again, researchers from all space physics fields are encouraged to apply.

This is a four-year appointment, the same as Balikhin’s EiC appointment, going through December 31, 2023. For more info on what it means to be an editor, AGU has written guidelines for the roles of a journal editor. Also, I have written quite a bit about the editorial workflow here at this blog.

Please consider applying and if you would like to discuss the position, then please feel free to contact me. If you want to talk in person, I am already in San Francisco for the Fall AGU Meeting and will be here through the last session on Friday.

At the AGU Building

I’m at AGU HQ for the Meetings Committee meeting. Yes, such a thing exists, and yes, I am on it, as an editorial liaison between publications and meetings. It was an excellent meeting, talking about strategic directions for AGU.

The AGU building has undergone a renovation over the past 2+ years and staff are now fully settled into their new spaces back at 2000 Florida Avenue. I like this building. They have turned it into a net-zero energy building, which will be fully completed very soon, once the solar panels are installed on the roof. It includes an urban twist on geothermal energy and plant-centered air purification, electrochromic windows, rainwater collection and usage, and a massive recycling and reuse effort as part of the renovation. Here is a view from the top floor “Prow” conference room:


Okay, it’s a gray day here in DC today. Maybe not the best at selling it, but trust me, it’s a nice view.

You can learn more about the renovation of the AGU building and all of its innovative technologies and features. More pictures and info are at these two blog posts from March 2019 and May 2017, too. Once fully complete, energy usage and production can be remotely followed on a virtual dashboard, so you can see how AGU is doing towards its net-zero goal. I am told that this renovation is a first-of-its-kind in DC (renovating a commercial building to be net-zero) and it is serving as a model for other urban renovation projects.

Remember, too, that the first floor has a very nice member lounge, so if you are ever in DC, feel free to stop by AGU HQ and hang out. The first floor and lower level have meeting rooms that can be reserved, too. In fact, next year, there will be several Chapman Conference here in the big first-floor room! I think that this is a great move for AGU, opening up the building to the society membership and the local community.


Recapping my Editorials

In an earlier post, I mentioned how Gombosi wrote several editorials during his time as Senior Editor (the former title for Editor in Chief). I could not find an editorial written by the next EiC after Gombosi, Janet Luhmann, and then I found only one editorial each for the next three EiCs – Art Richmond, Amitava Bhattacharjee, and Bob Lysak. The first two are introductory articles at the beginning of their terms, while the third is a detailed exposition of “how JGR works” that I have written about before.


Like my predecessor, I did not write an introductory editorial. In 2015, however, AGU started encouraging editorial boards to write an annual reviewer thank you editorial, which I have done each year starting in 2016 (four, so far). In 2016, I included an extra listing of the Associate Editors whose terms were ending, thanking them for their service to the journal and the community. In 2017 and 2018, I included a table of reviewer statistics within this thank you editorial. In 2019, AGU created a standard template for this thank you editorial and so it has a very short introductory paragraph of thanks and praise before the listing of reviewers.

I have published one other editorial along the way. In 2016, soon after the first thank you editorial, we wrote one on the reviewer selection process and the new “Areas of Expertise” categories within GEMS. More details of this are also given in this earlier blog post.

I have two more editorials coming out soon. One is on the impact of special collections. I made it one of my initiatives to solicit more special collections for JGR Space Physics. I succeeded in doing this, especially in the middle of my term as EiC. We now have the statistics to see if this experiment was worth it, addressing the question, should we even have special collections in journals anymore? I think the answer is yes. I will have a full post on this paper when it is accepted, but the preliminary version of this manuscript is available at ESSOAr, the Earth and Space Science Open Archive. If you don’t know what that is, then read more about it here. I used the new automatic transfer feature now in GEMS to send a new submission directly into the ESSOAr system.

The next one, which could be my last, is on reviewer statistics. This will be similar to what I have shown in previous years but in this editorial the yearly numbers are all given together (as figures), showing the progression over time in the various values and metrics. I am about to finalize it and submit. Again, I’ll have a blog post dedicated to that one when it is accepted.