In January I took over as Editor in Chief of JGR: Space Physics. It’s a great honor to serve in this position and I will continue the work of my predecessor, Mike Liemohn, in maintaining high scientific standards, upheld through a vigorous peer review process, and the commitment and expertise of the editorial board.
JGR: Space Physics is the leading scientific journal in the broad field of space physics. Key to its stature and success are the scientists who submit the exciting results of their novel and original research. To ensure that the journal represents and publishes the latest developments in space physics, I would like to see growth and evolution in three particular areas.
First, I would like to encourage papers relating to spacecraft scientific instrumentation and computer simulations. Many space missions focus on important and unsolved problems of space physics, and the lion’s share of the best scientific results are published in JGR: Space Physics. These results are based on data generated by the scientific instruments onboard these missions. Thus, the journal should also be a natural home for publications describing these instruments. Such publications would be useful for promoting and understanding the potential (and limitations) of past, current, and future instrument data sets.
Second, I welcome submissions of reports that describe novel developments of numerical models. At the very beginning of the era of in-situ space measurements, most space physics results published in the journal were based either on observational or theoretical studies. Since that time, scientific results achieved by exploitation of numerical models have grown immensely. If the results of a numerical model are published in JGR: Space Physics, then the opportunity for the model developers to familiarize the space physics community with this model can also be provided.
Third, I am keen to increase the proportion of papers in the journal relating to solar physics and to theoretical results. Looking at the subject matter of papers published in the journal over the decades, the proportion devoted to various aspects of solar physics and to the development of theory have been decreasing. One of my objectives is to reverse these trends.
In addition to diversifying the breadth of topics in JGR: Space Physics, I would like the journal to publish more review articles. Reviews present a comprehensive summary of the current state of understanding in a particular field, and also provide extra exposure to the most recent advances and significant findings. The editorial board will select topics and identify scientists to deliver these reviews over the coming years.
Commissioning some new special collections is also planned. AGU statistics show that papers in special collections tend to have a higher number of citations and greater impact than papers on similar topics that are not part of a collection. For researchers with interests in a particular topic, it is easier to find and explore thematic collection but easy to miss an individually published paper.
Space physics is a very broad scientific field and our community is large and diverse, thus it’s a challenge to be the publishing home for everyone.
To remain the flagship journal of the space physics community we must be flexible in response to evolving trends, and welcome papers in new and underrepresented fields.
Together with the editors I will also be supporting the community in understanding how the FAIR data standards apply to our data, models, and instruments.
I will only be able to advance towards these goals with the support of the scientists who submit their best work to our journal. I welcome feedback on these ideas as we take JGR: Space Physics forward over the next few years.
—Michael Balikhin ([email protected]), University of Sheffield, UK