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Review Criteria: Geophysical Research Letters

Review criteria for GRL

Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) aims to provide rapid publication of forefront research that has an immediate impact on the science community. The journal features articles from a broad range of disciplines and our reviewers help in evaluating both the scientific content (Categories 1-4) and the presentation quality (Categories A-C) to determine if a submitted manuscript meets GRL standards. The final decision on a manuscript is made solely by the Editor using the expertise of several reviewers and the established criteria. Read this Eos article for tips on writing a solid peer review.

We welcome and will pass on to authors any specific suggestions that materially improve the quality of a manuscript. Reviewer comments are conveyed anonymously to the authors unless you indicate that you wish to make your identity known.

GRL highlights several manuscripts in each issue. If you feel a manuscript is particularly exciting and deserves to be highlighted, please include a short note about its importance in your review.

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Science and presentation categories

GRL uses science and presentation categories to evaluate manuscripts. Please read the following criteria to help decide which categories most accurately describe the manuscript you’re reviewing.

The manuscript meets one or more of the following criteria. If the manuscript falls in Category 1, please give sufficient detail as to which of the below points are applicable and why.

  • Important new science at the forefront of an AGU discipline
  • Innovative research with interdisciplinary/broad geophysical application
  • Instrument or methods manuscript that introduces new techniques with important geophysical applications

The manuscript is potentially Category 1 but significant clarification/revision is needed. If possible, please specify the significant revisions that might allow this manuscript to meet Category 1 criteria. For example, the manuscript presents:

  • Some unclear or incomplete scientific reasoning;
  • Inadequate presentation of data; or
  • An instrument/method where the geophysical application is not obvious.

The paper is publishable in the refereed literature but is unlikely to become a Category 1 paper. It is:

  • A scientifically correct paper but not obviously a significant advance in a geophysical field;
  • A solid paper with little immediate impact on the research of others: e.g., a routine application of a standard research technique or a new measurement or laboratory method with limited geophysical application; and/or
  • A good, clear paper but basically incremental improvement to existing data sets, models, or instruments.

This paper is not publishable in an AGU journal.

  • There are major scientific errors in the manuscript.
  • The same material has essentially been published or is being considered for publication elsewhere.
  • The technique is not useful.
  • The research area is not representative of an AGU discipline.

Category A manuscripts should meet each of the following criteria:

  • The abstract is succinct (<150 words), accurate, and understandable to a non-specialist;
  • The manuscript is generally well-written, logically organized, and adequately illustrated;
  • The figures and tables are understandable and readable (when sized for GRL); and
  • English usage and grammar are adequate, with few spelling/typographical errors (however, reviewers should specify any minor fixes).

The paper is potentially a Category A manuscript with revision. If you select Category B, you should give explicit direction as to which sections/features need revision, and extension or reduction, for example:

  • The abstract needs to be rewritten/shortened;
  • The manuscript is not well written, it is not logically organized, or is inadequately illustrated;
  • The manuscript needs to be (and can be) shortened; and/or
  • English usage, grammar, or spelling errors detract from the paper.

The manuscript cannot readily be revised by the authors into Category A. The following may be true:

  • Specific ideas cannot be adequately presented within the GRL limit of 12 publication units;
  • The organization and illustration of the manuscript make it too difficult to review fairly;
  • English usage, grammar, and/or spelling errors are endemic and require substantial copyediting before this manuscript can be published (or even reviewed adequately).

Does the paper comply with AGU's Data Policy?

Reviewers must:

  • Read each Acknowledgments section carefully to verify that ALL data used in the research have been included.
  • Check any hyperlinks that have been provided in the Acknowledgments to verify the accessibility of data.
  • Report any failure to comply with the data policy when submitting a review or making a recommendation to the editor.