Archive for September, 2014

What is the most rewarding experience as Editor?

Monday, 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?

Monday, 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?

Monday, 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?

Wednesday, 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?

Monday, 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!