Editor-in-Chief status

October 9th, 2014

Just to avoid rumors, let me give you an update. The new JAWRA Editor-in-Chief has been selected and is awaiting final ratification by the AWRA Board of Directors at their November 1 meeting. An official announcement will be made shortly thereafter.

I know who was selected and am absolutely delighted. We already are working towards a smooth transition.

What is the most rewarding experience as Editor?

September 15th, 2014

[Another in the series on editing.]

That’s easy: When reviewers take a good manuscript and provide comments that make it a great manuscript!

What is the most distasteful experience in editing?

September 15th, 2014

[Another in the series on editing.]

Doesn’t happen often, but dealing with ethical issues is the worst. Once a red flag is raised, it gets my complete attention. Perhaps it’s to our disadantage, but we in the water field are not afflicted with the big-bucks research pressure and temptations like medical research. However, we still have problems of “honorary” authorship, duplicate submissions, and plagiarism. There are no winners when these situations are discovered.

Speaking of plagiarism, it’s amazing how stupid some authors can be. Our Associate Editors and our reviewers follow the literature quite thoroughly. We also have tools available to us for cross-checking manuscripts.

How has ScholarOne Manuscripts™ changed your workflow?

September 15th, 2014

[Another in the series on editing.]

I became Editor in 2006, and we switched to ScholarOne Manuscripts™ in 2007, so I’ve seen both sides. There is no comparison: it’s John Henry against the steam drill. First year, the new system knocked seven weeks off our time-to-first decision. I consider this a major competitive advantage in attracting quality submissions.

I’ve heard some criticism in the publishing blogs about authors becoming frustrated by the automated systems, unable to get timely help. JAWRA Managing Editor Susan Scalia, however, has been wonderful in helping steer everybody smoothly through the system. I think we’ve struck a good balance between automation and a personal touch.

How important are Featured Collections?

September 10th, 2014

[Another in the series on editing.]

A featured collection is a group of 3 or more related papers on a topic organized by guest associate editors and published together in an issue. Most Featured Collections are connected to an AWRA conference. I work closely with conference organizers to make this happen. The conference connection allows top authors to present cutting-edge research in an oral presentation and follow up with a fully peer-reviewed paper.

More so than most journals, JAWRA is intimately tied to our Association’s conference program. I’d even say Featured Collections are our signature characteristic, a key publishing advantage. Papers in Featured Collections are cited at about twice the rate of papers not in collections.


How do you deal with the many science fields in a multidisciplinary journal?

September 8th, 2014

[Another in our series on editing.]

The Associate Editors have the real specialized knowledge. My job is to manage the process. I’m watching to see that the reviewers give thoughtful and constructive comments, that the authors respond diligently to the reviews, and that the Associate Editor’s recommendation critically evaluates the comments. If all these folks do their job, my job becomes easy!

2014 Boggess Award Winners

August 27th, 2014

AWRA President Mark Dunning has announced the 2014 Boggess Winners:

Using Multiple Watershed Models to Predict Water, Nitrogen, and Phosphorus Discharges to the Patuxent Estuary (pages 15–39) FEB, Kathleen M.B. Boomer, Donald E. Weller, Thomas E. Jordan, Lewis Linker, Zhi-Jun Liu, James Reilly, Gary Shenk and Alexey A. Voinov.

It was a tough choice, so congratulations to all the nominees! The Award will be presented at the AWRA 2014 Annual Conference.


How is the Boggess Award selected each year?

August 26th, 2014

[Another in the series on editing.]

Selecting the winner is one of the more enjoyable aspects of my job. In Spring, I ask the Associate Editors for nominations, and nominate some myself. We then go through a series of ballots eliminating the less popular until a clear winner emerges.

The final ballot usually comes down to 2-4 finalists, all excellent papers. Recently, I’ve published the finalists in my blog to give them some degree of recognition

Once we select a winner, I send the name to Ken Reid, who prepares a letter by the President announcing the winner. The award is presented during the luncheon at the AWRA Annual Conference.

Why will the new Editor be titled Editor-in-Chief?

August 25th, 2014

[Another in my series on editing.]

There’s no real change, just a new title. Modern usage would call this position, “Editor-in-Chief” to reflect its managerial responsibilities. ”Editor” as used today  typically connotes actual manuscript markup, something I rarely need to do myself.

We probably should have changed the title some time ago. But, I figured if “Editor” worked for Randy Boggess, it was good enough for me. With the coming changeover, it’s time to correct the title.

Clinch River Featured Collection

August 20th, 2014

IMG_2403Jennifer Krstolic writes us, “The Featured Collection  (August 2014 issue – KJL) looks fabulous! I didn’t send you, Ken, or Greg Cope a photograph of our ‘Collaboration Cake’. I was extremely pleased at how well this group of authors worked together and the quality of the manuscripts that resulted. When we met for the Clinch Powell Clean Rivers Initiative meeting, I ordered a cake so we could celebrate the release of the papers. I think you’ll like how it looks.  :) –Jen”

And thanks to Jen and her colleagues for putting this together!