We are delighted to announce that Isabelle Manighetti has just taken over as Editor in Chief of Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth. We asked her some questions about her own research interests and her vision for the journal.
What are your own areas of scientific interest?
My main domain of expertise is active tectonics. My earliest research looked at rifting and spreading in East Africa, and crustal faulting in the West Indies subduction zone. However, I felt increasingly concerned about seismic hazards and therefore progressively moved my interests towards fault and earthquake mechanics.
When I started this line of work in the 2000s, faults and earthquakes were generally treated on a case-by-case basis, with the implicit belief that each was specific and unique. Also, faults and earthquakes used to be studied separately by geologists and seismologists, who hardly interacted. This seemed strange to me since faults are the objects producing earthquakes. I thus spent most of my career analyzing faults and earthquakes jointly using empirical data, seeking their common, generic properties, and looking for the intricate relations between fault properties and the resulting behaviors of the large earthquakes these faults produce. I think I have now demonstrated that, although earthquakes are complex and have specificities, they share some generic behaviors, and most are governed, at least partly, by the intrinsic properties of their causative faults. This opens a promising avenue for understanding earthquake physics, and for early warning systems.
What does it mean to you to serve as Editor in Chief of JGR: Solid Earth?
JGR: Solid Earth is very special to me. I always considered it as the best geophysical journal in my field and on the international scene. My very first papers were published in JGR: Solid Earth in 1997 and 1998, as well as most of the key papers in my career. Actually, I have always been so enthusiastic about JGR: Solid Earth that some of my colleagues used to call me “Miss JGR”!
I have been an Associate Editor for JGR: Solid Earth for more than 15 years so I am extremely honored to have been offered the tremendous privilege to serve as its next Editor in Chief. Also humbled to walk in the footprints of my predecessor, Uri Ten Brink, who has been such a great Editor in Chief of the journal.
What makes JGR: Solid Earth special?
The journal has a number of strengths. First, it is “all included”: every article provides the complete scientific story, with no need to dig into supplementary documents to find the science. Second, the journal welcomes papers on all aspects of the science including data, modeling, methodologies, and conceptual ideas, which provides readers with a richer and more complete knowledge.
Third, as with the whole JGR family of journals, there is a guaranteed high-quality peer review process which guarantees excellence and integrity, thanks to a large team of Editors, Associate Editors, and reviewers, all of whom are high-level international researchers.
What are some of the challenges of leading this large journal?
The number of papers submitted to JGR: Solid Earth keeps on increasing. Recent years have seen 20 to 25 per cent growth in submissions every year. Almost 2000 papers were received in 2019. But we cannot publish everything.
The primary objective of the journal is to publish excellent, innovative research that advances the “Big Picture”.
Incremental or regional science, though useful and high quality, might not always fit into the journal’s scope. This often requires difficult decisions on the part of the editors.
We also face the challenge of moving with the times. The disciplines and missions of science are rapidly changing, pressed by global changes, increasing concern of societies, growing data volumes and computational power, and our awareness that inter-disciplinary research might be, in some cases, more efficient than classical mono-disciplinary approaches. JGR: Solid Earth needs to continue evolving to integrate these changes, for example by welcoming new science at interfaces with geophysics.
How do you plan to take the journal forward in the coming years?
I will work closely with the Editors, Associate Editors and reviewers to handle manuscripts in the very best way, to discuss and define the best strategy for the journal, and to expand its influence throughout the world.
In particular, I would like JGR: Solid Earth to remain the home of universal knowledge in geophysics. This requires that every article guide its readers from earlier works to current achievements, especially through the fair referencing of prior landmark works. This calls for a special attention from the Editors, Associate Editors, reviewers and authors, which I will encourage.
Highlighting the best science in JGR: Solid Earth will also be one of my main tasks; it is a great way to reward the excellence of our researchers as well as to disseminate fundamental knowledge.
Scientific talents exist throughout the world, including in developing countries where research is nascent, and I would like to enable more scientists to be part of the JGR: Solid Earth community. I plan to put significant efforts into identifying, meeting and attracting talented researchers from all over the world, particularly underrepresented countries, and invite them to be part of JGR: Solid Earth as authors, reviewers, Associate Editors or Editors. I have also started to improve the gender diversity of the editorial board.
I am proud of JGR: Solid Earth, and, as the Editor in Chief, I want to transmit that pride to the entire community.