This issue marks the beginning of the second year of the Journal of Hydrometeorology (JHM); volume 1 is now behind us. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the authors of papers in volume 1. It is an impressive cast; we are lucky that such a prestigious group has chosen to publish in JHM. For the record, 50 papers were submitted in 1999 (prior to publication of the first issue), and another 60 have been submitted in 2000. Of the papers submitted, 35 articles and 1 note have appeared in the first year.
Congratulations are in order to Katie Hirschboeck (Tree Ring Laboratory, The University of Arizona), who was the recipient of the first Editor’s Award for JHM. I have been impressed by the high quality of the reviews we receive and by reviewers who, like Katie, have “gone the extra mile” in providing critical and insightful reviews that have made the papers published in the journal better.
I would like to say a little about the JHM review process, some aspects of which might not be known to authors. When a paper comes in, I decide the editor to which it should be assigned. This decision is based on the topic of the paper and the areas of expertise of the editors. Also, if there is a potential for conflict (real or perceived), this possibility enters into the decision; for example, if the paper comes from an author at one of the editor’s institutions, it would be assigned elsewhere. Once the paper has been assigned to an editor (or to me), the editor identifies three potential reviewers. Suggestions of reviewers by authors are always welcome; although I make it my policy never to rely exclusively on reviewers suggested by authors, the suggestions almost always are good ones, and typically I use at least one reviewer from the group suggested by the author(s). The editor then attempts to reach the reviewers by e-mail to ask if they are willing to do the review within the journal’s time frame (I usually ask for a 4–6-week turnaround). This is a step I did not originally take; instead I simply had the papers mailed out. I have found that some reviewers (myself now included!) are a bit put off by having papers arrive for review unsolicited. More important, this step allows us to identify cases in which potential reviewers are not available for one reason or another, and we avoid wasting time having papers returned. What has particularly pleased me is that most potential reviewers, well over 80% in my experience, agree to do a review when asked. Of course, when we receive an affirmative response, we also have the reviewer on record as to when the review will be returned!
One aspect of the publication process that may be somewhat different for JHM than for other American Meteorological Society (AMS) journals is the absence of a backlog. This absence is both a blessing and a curse. Certainly, we do not have the situation other AMS journals have experienced with a relatively long time (now being substantially reduced; see Bulletin of the AMS, April 2000, p. 842) between receipt of papers at AMS to begin the editorial process and their eventual appearance in the printed journal. On the other hand, without a backlog, managing the issue schedule can be difficult. To even out the number of papers appearing in each issue (and to meet the printer’s required minimum of 80 printed pages per issue), some papers are held over for an issue. As the submission rate increases, we expect that this procedure will no longer be necessary; in any event, the time lag between receipt of papers at AMS and their appearance in the journal is generally well less than the 150-day AMS target.
Last, I thank Efi Georgiou, who stepped down at the end of 2000, for her contributions to JHM as an Editor. I also welcome Ken Mitchell on board. Ken is a senior research meteorologist with the National Centers for Environmental Prediction Environmental Modeling Center, and his specialty is land surface, hydrology, and boundary layer physics in numerical weather prediction. We look forward to Ken’s involvement with JHM, which we expect will strengthen our ties with the operational forecasting community.