Amy East (left) and a cover of JGR: Earth Surface
Dr Amy East, who works for the United States Geological Survey, is the incoming Editor-in-Chief of JGR: Earth Surface. Credit: Amy East / AGU

We are delighted to announce that Amy East, a Research Geologist for the United States Geological Survey will become the next Editor-in-Chief of JGR: Earth Surface. She will officially start on 1 January 2019 but has already begun the transition process. We asked her some questions about her own research interests and her vision for the journal.

What are your own areas of scientific interest related to Earth’s surface?

Many and varied, to be honest! Most of my present work focuses on landscape evolution in response to perturbations, such as anthropogenic activity or hydroclimatic changes, whether individual extreme events or change over multi-decadal scales.

At Glines Canyon Dam on the Elwha River, Washington. This 64-meter high dam is the largest dam ever intentionally removed. Amy and her colleagues at USGS spent 12 years studying fluvial processes there before, during, and after its removal. Credit: Josh Logan, USGS

I’m very interested in considering the magnitude and time scales of disturbance response in a holistic landscape context. Sorting out whether, and how, these disturbance signals make it into the sedimentary record is also interesting.

Several recent and long-term projects of mine include investigating links among fluvial, aeolian, and hillslope processes in a dryland river corridor, and figuring out how dam-imposed sediment-supply limitation propagates through the whole system.

For the past decade, I’ve also worked to quantify sedimentary and geomorphic responses to large dam removals in gravel-bedded rivers. I especially enjoyed working with a great team of colleagues to synthesize what is known about physical and ecological responses to dam removal.

Previously, I worked extensively on the sedimentary and geochemical record of active margins, focusing especially on arc-continent collision processes and their differential preservation in the geologic record.

What does it mean to you to serve as Editor-in-Chief of JGR: Earth Surface?

It’s a tremendous privilege to serve the Earth-surface-process community in this role. The disciplines that the journal covers have been undergoing almost explosive growth for the past few decades, with rapidly improving techniques and quantitative depth and breadth. JGR: Earth Surface has been at the forefront, publishing rigorous and high-impact scientific advances for 15 years.

The quality of the peer review process is critical to continuing growth and I greatly enjoy working to facilitate and shape that process. Having served as an Associate Editor for JGR: Earth Surface since 2013, and as an Editor for two other publications previously, I’ve discovered how deeply I appreciate the value of excellent peer review and the absolute intellectual integrity it requires from everyone involved. I consider it an honor to lead this journal, particularly at a time when scientific peer review in general is undergoing rapid changes, and as the needs and expectations of the community evolve.

How do you plan to take the journal forward in the coming years?

Authors have many options as to where they may publish, including several excellent journals specializing in Earth-surface processes. I want to ensure that JGR: Earth Surface remains at the top of the list when authors consider where to send their best work. To grow high-quality submissions, we must maintain a highly rigorous review process while imposing a reasonable burden on authors, particularly in terms of timeliness. In this regard especially, I will revise some aspects of our current structure to promote greater efficiency.

I will also work to increase the impact of published papers by making use of AGU’s fora for featuring certain articles, such as Research Spotlights, Editors’ Highlights, and other communication outlets reaching a broad network of Earth scientists.

Like many journals, JGR: Earth Surface is navigating a challenging landscape as the burdens on authors and reviewers have increased. Scientists increasingly require full public access to their publications, need rapid turnaround times for submission and review, and have choices as to whether reviews are publicly available, blind, etc. Despite such challenges, I am encouraged by the breadth and quality of advances occurring in our field and that are being published in JGR: Earth Surface.

I am also strongly encouraged by AGU’s leadership in the effort to increase diversity within scientific publishing. Doing the best possible science requires drawing participants from the largest possible talent pool. As an essential part of moving this journal forward, I am committed to improving representation in the publishing process – authors – reviewers, editors – from a diverse array of scientists.

—Amy East (email:, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey


East, A., E. (2018), Introducing the new Editor-in-Chief of JGR: Earth Surface, Eos, 99, Published on 06 December 2018.

Text © 2018. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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