Photograph of Lisa Beal giving a tour aboard RV Knorr
Professor Lisa Beal from the University of Miami aboard RV Knorr in Cape Town harbor in 2013 giving a tour to South African schoolchildren. Credit: Lisa Beal

We are delighted to announce that Lisa Beal, Professor of Oceanography in the Department of Ocean Sciences at the University of Miami, has just taken over as Editor in Chief of Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans. We asked her some questions about her own research interests and her vision for the journal.

What are your own areas of scientific interest? 

I’m probably best known for my interest in the Agulhas Current, which is in the south Indian Ocean, where I have led three expeditions and seven cruises over the course of my career. Along the way I have been able to contribute to a better understanding of the Agulhas Current’s intensity, water mass characteristics and mixing, variability, property fluxes, and decadal trends. I also have long-term interests in the reversing monsoon circulation of the Arabian Sea, and in estimates of overturning and heat transports in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.  

Currently I’m excited to be moving towards more multi-disciplinary research, some of it closer to my home in Miami. I’m interested in building collaborations to investigate the influence of western boundary current variability and change on shelf-slope environments and ecosystems and on coastal sea level and flood risk. 

What does it mean to you to serve as Editor in Chief of JGR: Oceans? 

As a physical oceanographer I have published many papers in the Journal of Geophysical Research over the years, beginning with my thesis work over twenty years ago, so it’s a real delight and honor to serve the community in this way!  

Most important for me in serving as Editor in Chief is a chance to represent some diversity, as a woman and as part of the LGBTQ community. I want to help create space for more diverse voices in the journal and at AGU into the future. 

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

My first ambition is to build on the previous Editor in Chief’s efforts to diversify and expand the editorial board of JGR: Oceans so that we are closely aligned with the demographics and interests of our authors and readers. This keeps the journal relevant and inclusive and able to provide the best service and resource for our community. So, to anyone with ambitions to join JGR: Oceans, please send your CV, because we are recruiting Editors and Associate Editors! 

Of course, excellence is not only about diversifying who we recruit, but also about how we tackle some of the current big issues in the scientific publication process, such as lack of cogency, reviewer burn out, and journal access.  

With respect to the issue of cogency, for more than a decade I have led annual science writing workshops at my home institution, alongside author and science communicator Dallas Murphy. I’m excited by the potential to bring some of the ideas and experiences from this workshop to the JGR: Oceans editorial team. For instance, by asking ourselves, What is the job of a science paper? Who is the audience for our journal? and What makes a good abstract? we may be able to develop a more confident and homogeneous approach to our editorial advice and decisions.  

I am looking forward to learning more about current challenges from the JGR: Oceans editorial team, and from the AGU editor, author, and reviewer community at large. Together we can develop ways to move the journal forward! 

—Lisa Beal (; ORCID logo 0000-0003-3678-5367, incoming Editor in Chief, JGR: Oceans, and University of Miami


Beal, L. (2021), Introducing the new editor in chief of JGR: Oceans, Eos, 102, Published on 25 February 2021.

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