Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems (G3): An Electronic Journal of the Earth Sciences

Edited by:
  • William White,
  • Henry Elderfield &
  • Richard O'Connell
American Geophysical Union. Access free

I, for one, greatly enjoy thumbing through my favourite journal. As a research scientist I already spend too much of my time in front of the (stupid) computer, and I am reluctant to concede the joy of the bound hard copy. But despite my old-world attitudes, I am very positively impressed with the new all-electronic journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems (G3) from the American Geophysical Union.

The journal serves a broad audience within the geosciences, from biogeochemistry to cosmology, and emphasizes cross-disciplinary approaches to understanding the Earth, and indeed the Solar System, as functioning, evolving, systems. The journal is backed by an extremely strong group of editors and associate editors who, together with the editorial advisory board, represent some of the top researchers in the geosciences.

Papers may be published as Articles, Research Letters (short papers with significant findings), Reviews, Data Briefs (unpublished data with minimal interpretation), Technical Briefs (methods including computer programs), Characterizations (models with minimal documentation), Commentaries and Editorials. G3 is clearly striving to maximize the dissemination of scientific information by embracing forms of publication, such as the Data Briefs and Characterizations, that previously had little place in the traditional literature. These formats, however, have not yet been exploited by authors in G3.

A particularly innovative aspect of G3 is the publication of 'special issues' whose papers are posted as they are accepted for publication. Thus, the special issues assemble papers as they become ready, eliminating the frequent frustration surrounding the delayed publication of thematic issues in traditional journals.

As a principal goal, G3 offers authors numerous potential advantages unique to web-based publishing. These include the publication of large databases, and innovative graphics such as movies, virtual-reality images and sound. Another particularly attractive feature is a short turnaround time from submission to publication. Research Letters can find their way into 'print' within a couple of months, whereas Articles are posted, on average, six months after submission, with about three months between acceptance and publication.

When posted, papers are assigned a volume number, a paper number (including number of words) and a publication year, and this is how the papers are to be referenced. No page numbers are assigned. The current citation format, however, is likely to be revised by the end of the year. To find a paper, one must either scroll through the posted papers or browse either the author index or the publication-date index. I find this somewhat cumbersome, and a more inter-active search engine is promised in the near future.

All in all, G3 is an innovative step into the future of journal publishing, and has been embraced by the geosciences community, with a number of first-rate publications already posted. The advantages of rapid publication, low cost (currently, the journal is free of charge) and non-traditional publication formats should ensure the continued growth and expansion of G3. I only wish I could put it on my shelf.