World Multidisciplinary Civil Engineering-Architecture-Urban Planning Symposium– WMCAUS 2016

Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Website: http://www.wmcaus.org/

IABSE Conference Guangzhou 2016: Bridges and Structures Sustainability

Location: Guangzhou, China
Website: http://www.iabse.org/

Solving the Long Spectra Publication Wait: An Editorial

by Jonathan P. Stewart
Editor, Earthquake Spectra

stewartjonAs I wrote in my August 2013 Editorial, the state of Earthquake Spectra is strong in many respects, especially in regard to the quality of papers submitted and published in the journal, and the excellence of our dedicated Editorial Board Members who manage the manuscript reviews. However, we now face a significant challenge that I want to communicate to the EERI membership and to Earthquake Spectra’s readership, along with what is being done to address the issue.

The problem is publication queue time, which is defined as the time between when a manuscript is accepted and when it appears in the printed journal. Some of the papers that were published in the May 2015 issue were originally accepted as early as September 2013, meaning that queue times for papers in this issue are as long as 20 months (approximately 6 to 7 issue cycles). Similarly long waits have become standard for manuscripts in recent ordinary issues (special issues typically have shorter queue times). These long waits damage the journal—and by extension, EERI—in several respects:

  1. Critical and often time-sensitive research results are delayed before archival publication for the betterment of EERI’s membership. Although this effect is somewhat mitigated by the online publication of preprints launched in 2013, many readers continue to rely principally on the paper version of the final manuscript and its accompanying online record.
  2. Earthquake Spectra competes for submissions from top authors. Our long publication queue time is no secret, and some authors may be dis-incentivized to submit their best work to our journal. Competing journals are often publishing papers within a matter of weeks to a few months following acceptance.
  3. Like other journals listed in the Web of Science, Earthquake Spectra is regularly evaluated for the impact of its articles. This is quantified with an Impact Factor that is computed as the average number of citations received annually for articles in the journal during the two-year time period following publication. Because we are taking almost two years to publish papers following acceptance, it is unusual for citations of Earthquake Spectra articles by subsequently published Earthquake Spectra articles to count toward our Impact Factor. This artificially suppresses Earthquake Spectra Impact Factor, and hence the appearance of impact relative to competing journals.

We can and must do better, and I have worked with EERI’s Executive Director Jay Berger and the Board of Directors to formulate a solution strategy. I am pleased that the Board of Directors has been willing to invest substantial resources to help in this regard.

The source of the long queue time is that we accepted significantly more manuscripts than we published over a four-year period, starting in 2009. Although these numbers are now in approximate equilibrium, we have a backlog. To reduce the backlog, we are publishing issues with significantly more papers (about 30) than our historical norms (about 16) during the 2015 and 2016 publication years. This will not eliminate the backlog entirely, but will reduce it such that papers are published approximately 1 to 2 issues cycles (3 to 6 months) following final acceptance.

I conclude with a message to authors considering Earthquake Spectra as a publication venue. We acknowledge the queue time problem and we apologize sincerely to those of you who have had papers wait for too long for publication in recent years. We have implemented measures to solve the problem. If you submit a quality manuscript now, you are likely to have final acceptance (assuming two rounds of review) in early 2016, online publication 1 to 2 weeks following acceptance, and in-print publication within about 3 issue cycles (9 months). By the Fall of 2016, our goal is to be publishing papers within the target range of 1 to 2 issue cycles.

With the queue time problem on its way to being solved, authors should not hesitate to submit their best work to Earthquake Spectra. By doing so, they benefit from the excellence of the Editorial Board during the review process and the exposure afforded their published work by the reputation and unparalleled breadth of readership of the journal. EERI members should continue to look to Earthquake Spectra as their go-to venue for the most innovative and impactful work in Earthquake Engineering and related fields affecting their professional practice.

EERI Reconnaissance Team Wraps Up Mission in Nepal

Damage to heritage sites in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Patan is less than some media reports have implied, but still significant. Nearly 750 monuments were damaged by the April 25, 2015 earthquake and its aftershocks, with approximately half collapsed. (Photo by EERI team member Suraj Shrestha.)

Damage to heritage sites in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Patan is less than some media reports have implied, but still significant. Nearly 750 monuments were damaged by the April 25, 2015 earthquake and its aftershocks, with approximately half collapsed. (Photo by EERI team member Suraj Shrestha.)

 

The EERI Reconnaissance Team concluded their nine-day mission in Nepal on June 8. After visiting outlying regions, the team finished its reconnaissance with meetings and detailed observations in Nepal’s capital city, Kathmandu, and the surrounding valley.

Colleagues at the Nepal Department of Education provided a special tour of several retrofitted schools, where team members learned about the retrofit program and met with both administrators and masons responsible for the projects. The program’s success was evident both in the observed performance of the retrofitted buildings, and the stakeholders’ positive attitudes towards seismically resistant construction practices.

The Department of Education has report that approximately 250 schools were retrofitted prior to the earthquake and generally performed well during the April-May earthquakes. The team visited three retrofitted schools including one in Nandikeshwor and two in Sanhku. (Photo by EERI team leader Bret Lizundia.)

The Department of Education has report that approximately 250 schools were retrofitted prior to the earthquake and generally performed well during the April-May earthquakes. The team visited three retrofitted schools including one in Nandikeshwor and two in Sanhku. (Photo by EERI team leader Bret Lizundia.)

 

Team members visited numerous lifeline agencies and providers, reporting new insights on resilience. Members who visited hospitals during the trip have similarly noted many lessons and best practices transferable to other countries around the world. Architectural heritage structures yielded interesting observations expanding and enhancing what had been reported in international media coverage.

As a final team activity before the team’s departure, the National Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET) arranged a meeting with more than 60 representatives from Nepalese government departments and agencies. The team shared preliminary observations, insights, and discussed strategies to aid recovery and rebuilding.

On return to their homes, team members, with support from their Virtual Team Collaborators, will process photographs and data for uploading to EERI’s data map.

A briefing on the reconnaissance trip and its findings will likely be presented in mid July. Members will be notified of the time and date of any webcast scheduled for the briefing.

A published report on the EERI trip, findings, and recommendations will be released in the fall.

EERI Reconnaissance Team Begins Work in Nepal

Dr Thomas Kirsch and Surya Narayan Shrestha at Bir Hospital, a large complex with six medical buildings, staffing quarters, and other support structures in Kathmandu (Photo by Judy Mitrani-Reiser)

 

EERI’s initial reconnaissance mission to study the effects of the April 25, 2015 Gorkha earthquake is underway.

The team’s first day was spent in coordination and strategy sessions with various colleagues in Kathmandu. The National Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET) arranged a meeting with representatives from Nepalese agencies responsible for response and recovery from many sectors, including schools, cultural heritage sites, and lifelines. The team also held a coordination meeting with members from the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) Team B1, who made time to collaborate, share their insights, and provide travel recommendations. This information proved extremely valuable to the team, and is greatly appreciated by EERI.

The EERI team split into four subgroups June 1–4, to observe earthquake impacts in Sindhupalchok, Gorkha and Dolakha Districts.

A hospital observation team is traveling in impacted communities and hospital facilities in the Gorkha District, June 2–3, and to the Sindhupalchok District on June 4. Team members include Judy Mitrani-Reiser, Hari Kumar, and Surya Narayan Shrestha, along with colleague Dr. Thomas Kirsch of Johns Hopkins University Departments of International Health and Emergency Medicine.

Team members Bret Lizundia, Courtney Welton-Mitchell, Jan Kupec, Suraj Shrestha, and Hemant Kaushik, along with colleague and social worker Rubina Awale, are traveling in Sindhupalchok. The team has visited the communities of Banepa and Dhulikhel on the way to Chautara, where it will conduct a detailed study of impacts before returning to Kathmandu on June 3.

Team members John Bevington, Ganesh Kumar Jimee, and Kishor Jaiswal, along with GEER colleague Chris Madden Madugo, are studying community impacts and landslides in the Dolakha District. Jan Kupec will join this team on June 3. The group plans to visit Charikot in Bhimeshwor Municipality and travel towards Singati on June 4 before returning to Kathmandu the next day.

Team members Chris Poland and Rachel Davidson, with a colleague from NSET, spent June 1–2 in the Kathmandu Valley holding meetings with Build Change and other nonprofit groups conducting recovery efforts. The team plans to travel to Chautara Municipality on June 3 to observe resilience issues, especially surrounding lifeline performance, and return to Kathmandu later that evening.

Despite limited bandwidth, team members have managed to submit several geolocated images now posted to the data map and photo gallery on the Nepal virtual clearinghouse site:

View data map on Nepal Earthquake virtual clearinghouse

View the photo gallery on the Nepal Earthquake virtual clearinghouse

Nepal Earthquake virtual clearinghouse data map, with geotagged reconnaissance information.

Nepal Earthquake virtual clearinghouse data map, with geotagged reconnaissance information.

Upon the team‘s return from the field, with support from their virtual team collaborators, full image collections will be posted on the clearinghouse website.

EERI’s initial reconnaissance mission will conclude with activities in Kathmandu and the surrounding valley from June 4–8, 2015.

Questions about the Learning from Earthquakes program and EERI reconnaissance activities may be directed to Heidi Tremayne: heidi@eeri.org

 

10th Pacific Conference on Earthquake Engineering

Location: Sydney, Australia
Website: http://www.aees.org.au/10pcee/

XIX Inqua 2015 Congress

Location: Nagoya, Japan
Website: http://inqua2015.jp/

11th Canadian Conference on Earthquake Engineering

Location: Victoria, BC, Canada
Website: http://www.canadianearthquakeconference.ca

6th Int’l Conference on Recent Advances in Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering & Soil Dynamics

Location: Roorkee, Uttarakhand, India
Website:http://6icragee.com/nw6ic/

2016 EERI Annual Meeting

Location: San Francisco, California