This editorial will be published in AGU Advances.
Building on its legacy of high-impact journals, AGU has established a new journal that makes important scientific advances across the full spectrum of the Earth and space sciences more available and more transparent to a wider public. AGU Advances is a premier open access journal with transparent review and with commentary accompanying the research articles that places their results in a wider context.
AGU Advances will rapidly publish research that has broad and immediate implications and that is of interest not only to researchers across the Earth and space sciences but also to the larger science community and to the public at large. It will publish novel, innovative research in the form of approximately 150 full-length papers each year, all of them enriched by plain-language summaries and often with open access commentary aimed at elaborating and explaining the research to a wide audience. AGU Advances will differentiate itself from other highly selective journals by being fully open access: available for all to download, read, and share.
Why AGU Advances?
Rapid evaluation and publication. AGU Advances is a place for authors to get their work out into the world quickly and to be widely seen and understood. We will operate with the same production speed as with other letters/high-impact journals, and we plan to amplify the impact of every paper published in the journal with a combination of social media, associated commentary articles, and brief editors’ summaries of each paper that explain their significance.
Longer papers to allow for broader impact. AGU Advances will differ from other high-impact journals in allowing original articles to be long enough for adequate description of methods and elaboration of arguments, yet not forgoing the compulsion to articulate the broader impact of one’s findings. We also know that an article’s availability does not equal its accessibility, which is why we’ll devote so much effort to explaining the context and significance of each AGU Advances result in language that’s easily propagated. To achieve this goal and bring more attention to what we publish, most papers will be accompanied by a Perspective that describes how the research fits into the arc of the field’s progress and expands the frontiers of science more broadly. To dedicate this much effort to each paper is possible only by being highly selective.
Expert editorial board. AGU Advances is a journal “for the community and by the community.” Our belief is that by putting editorial decisions in the hands of active Earth and space scientists, AGU Advances will ensure that the development of our field, including hiring and promotion decisions that are influenced by publications in high-impact journals, will remain in the hands of the scientific community. We will provide a hub for research that offers a breadth of dissemination and quality of editorial promotion that is presently not available in our own scientific community’s family of journals. Thus, our goal is not to compete with our other excellent society journals. For example, AGU Advances will not publish long-form reviews, as they have a home in Reviews of Geophysics, and Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) will remain the major outlet at AGU for rapid dissemination of high-impact research in letter format. AGU Advances will publish 150–200 papers per year, only a tenth of what GRL publishes, and will emphasize long-form publications that have the space to elaborate on the broader context and implications of the research.
Gold open access. AGU Advances is a new gold open access journal, meaning that all articles and related content will be available for free immediately on publication on the journal’s website and where the Earth and space science community can quickly publish high-impact research of interest across the breadth of Earth and space science disciplines. In founding this new journal, we create a dynamic hub for Earth and space science research and commentary that reshape the way we perceive our world. We strive to attract substantive contributions that will benefit from AGU Advances’ commitment to help explain, promote, and disseminate the findings to the broader scientific community and the public at large.
Open Access, Open Data, and Transparent Review
We are in the midst of a major transition in scientific publishing. If researchers want their work to have the greatest reach possible, it should be available to the entire community and to the public from the very start. AGU has been an early supporter of the open science movement, of which open-access is a key part, and AGU expects to continue adapting in the future to the needs of researchers and to the way science will be done and supported in the future. AGU Advances will be gold open access, meaning that all articles and related content will be available for free immediately on publication on the journal’s website. To support the publication process, authors do not pay a publication fee but instead an article processing charge (APC) of $2,000. Many institutions have deals with Wiley to cover this fee. AGU offers automatic waivers for all Research4Life institutions, and there are a limited number of additional waivers that can be granted on the basis of need. All AGU Advances articles will be published under the terms of a Creative Commons license, meaning that copyright is retained by the author(s). Authors grant Wiley a license to publish the article and identify itself as the original publisher.
A second major transition is in the way data and metadata supporting research publications are archived and made openly available. At AGU Advances, we will adhere to AGU’s data policies, including guiding principles to make data curation consistent with the norms of good scientific practice. AGU has endorsed the Coalition for Publishing Data in the Earth and Space Sciences (COPDESS) and supports the Enabling FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) Data Project. Because norms and policies are rapidly changing, it can be difficult for authors today to know what is required. For AGU Advances, authors will be given the space to articulate their use of data and their methods in ways that make it as easy as possible for others to replicate their findings. Papers that are not transparent in their use of data, or which are insufficiently clear in their description of the methodologies they use, will not be reviewed.
AGU Advances will also be the first AGU journal to implement transparent review. Transparent review is the process of publishing the record of reviewer (anonymous or self-identified) reports and author responses as an additional supplement to the published article. We join the growing number of journals implementing transparent review because of the potential benefits of increasing editor and reviewer accountability and the additional insights that reviews and responses can give to the published article.
What Kinds of Papers Will Be Published?
We seek original research papers that will be of broad interest because of their ability to challenge our preconceptions and help reshape the way we think about Earth and space science. AGU Advances will publish approximately 150 full-length research articles per year, accompanied by a highlight in the form of a summary and often a Perspective (see below). In addition, we welcome short commentaries that highlight recent publications and place them in the context of changing understanding or trends in Earth and space science. We will also publish editorials that represent individual or group points of view related to research, the research enterprise, or ties between research and society.
- Full-length research papers. AGU Advances’ primary goal is to publish research papers that clearly advance science and that communicate across fields in the Earth and space sciences. Once in full production, AGU Advances will publish 150–200 full-length research articles per year (~8,000 words with multiple figures and an in-depth description of methods), so we plan to be highly selective. A paper submitted to AGU Advances should have one or more of the following hallmarks:
- Immediate impact: Researchers in this field will read this result and change course or embark on further new studies as a result.
- Convergent impact: The reported discovery required the collaboration of scientists from multiple fields to solve a problem that rises above disciplinary pursuit.
- Societal impact: The findings reported demand societal action, changes in policy, or the start of discussions between previously unconnected groups.
- Commentaries. Another important goal is to provide a platform for communicating exciting trends in our science and explaining implications for society and policy. Commentaries are shorter pieces (~2,000 words, one to two figures) that address the state of the science and how recently published research advances it in a way that is accessible to nonspecialists. They can be submitted or be commissioned by the editorial board.
- Perspectives. Commentary-length summaries will often be commissioned or written by the editorial board to accompany original research papers published in AGU Advances. These Perspective pieces will frame results in the broader context of our evolving science and explain their importance across disciplines.
- Editorials. AGU Advances will publish editorials about science that reflect the opinion of the author(s). These should be concise, informative, and on topics of broad interest across Earth and space science. These will often be written by members of the editorial board, and they may also be proposed through the AGU Advances submission site (as a presubmission inquiry).
Streamlined Review Process for Fast Decisions
We are committed to rapid processing of manuscripts. The editorial board will perform a first round of review for the initial decision of whether to send a paper out for expert peer review. Several editors will comment on each paper, with the goal of supporting a decision within 10 working days. Expert in-depth reviewers will be asked to comment within 14 days.
Because we plan to be highly selective, we anticipate that many excellent and scientifically sound papers will not be sent for review. For such papers, there will be an assisted process to submit to another AGU journal of the author’s choice.
Submit Your Best Science
As the inaugural editorial board for AGU Advances, we are excited by the promise of this new journal, and we welcome you to submit your best work to us.
—Susan Trumbore ([email protected]), Editor in Chief, AGU Advances; and Ana Barros, Eric Davidson, Bethany Ehlmann, Jay Famiglietti, Nicolas Gruber, Mary Hudson, Tissa Illangasekare, Sarah Kang, Tom Parsons, Paola Rizzoli, Vincent Salters, Björn Stevens, Donald Wuebbles, Peter Zeitler, and Tong Zhu, AGU Advances