EERI Annual Student Paper Competition: Call for Submissions

The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) is pleased to announce its Annual Student Paper Competition. The purpose of the competition is to promote active involvement of students in earthquake engineering and the earthquake hazards research community.

2015 EERI Student Paper CompetitionThe EERI Student Paper Competition is open to graduate and undergraduate applicants. Applicants must be enrolled at an accredited U.S. college or university and must be U.S. residents. Contest rules for graduate and undergraduate paper categories are available on the competition flyer (PDF) at external link icon.

Guidelines for preparing the manuscript are accessible on the EERI website at external link icon. All papers must be submitted by November 1, 2015, to the Student Paper Online Submission Form.

The graduate and undergraduate paper winners will be invited to the 2016 EERI Annual Meeting in San Francisco, April 5–8, 2016, and will receive travel support for this purpose. The top paper in the graduate category may be invited to be presented at the 2016 EERI Annual Meeting.

2016 EERI Board Elections: Meet the Candidates

The following candidates were nominated for the 2016 EERI Board. EERI members will vote for their candidates from October 1, 2015 to November 1, 2015. EERI members will be notified via email with voting instructions, including a unique link to an online ballot.

David A. Friedman, Senior Principal, Emeritus CEO & Chair of the Board, Forell/Elsesser Engineers Inc. (M. EERI, 1988)

Director A:
Gregory G. Deierlein, Professor, Stanford University (M. EERI, 1989)
Sri Sritharan, Professor, Iowa State University (M. EERI, 1994)

Director B:
Ross W. Boulanger, Professor, University of California (M. EERI, 1992)
Youssef Hashash, Professor, University of Illinois (M. EERI, 1999)

Below is a full list of the candidates’ biographies and vision statements


David A. Friedman: Biography

David A. FriedmanDavid is a Senior Principal, and emeritus President, CEO and Board Chair of Forell/Elsesser Engineers Inc., with over 40 years of professional practice (35 years at F/E!) in structural and earthquake engineering. His strength, gained over the breadth and depth of his career, is a holistic perspective of a projects’ planning, design and construction and the collaborative integration of creative structural solutions with architects, engineers and builders.

With a specialty in seismic engineering and retrofitting of existing structures, particularly those with historic designation, David has solved numerous structural and earthquake engineering challenges during his career with Forell/Elsesser Engineers. Principal examples of his projects include the base isolation retrofits of San Francisco City Hall and the Asian Art Museum, the adaptive reuse and retrofit for the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the seismic safety corrections and remodeling of UC Berkeley’s California Memorial Stadium.

David is devoted to world-wide seismic risk reduction and is a former director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, and a current director of Build Change. He is also deeply involved in many other civic, philanthropic and not-for-profit Boards including The San Francisco Foundation, SPUR, UC Berkeley Foundation, Jewish Senior Living Group, Faultline Foundation and the United States Resiliency Council (USRC).

David A. Friedman: Vision Statement

When the chair of the EERI nominating committee called, I was more than a little surprised. It is an honor and privilege to even be considered for the next presidency of EERI. When I said “yes” to being placed into nomination, it was with appreciation of and humility for the expressed confidence placed in me. And there is a deep sense of responsibility to continue the stellar leadership that has guided the Institute so capably in the past. Now I just need to win the un-opposed election. How embarrassing if I were to lose!

I credit EERI for profoundly broadening my professional career as a structural and earthquake engineer. Perhaps I had “engineering blinders” on early in my career, as I moved from design project to design project, limited to a building-by-building “vison” of my profession. Through EERI, I was the beneficiary of being on an incredible growth curve as I was “learning from earthquakes.” I went from being “just” a structural engineer to having an appreciation for the multi-disciplinary world of earthquake risk mitigation. I went from a very parochial viewpoint to a global perspective. And there was even a social justice lens: Just as an earthquake has an uncanny ability to hit the weak link in a structure, natural hazards seem to always hit the poorest and most-disenfranchised communities, cities and countries.

If I have a simplistic vision for EERI it would be to continue to strengthen the Institute’s programs to broaden and deepen the multi-disciplinary and global platform for earthquake risk education and mitigation. My hope is that all members will credit EERI with a similar growth to their careers.

I am a firm believer in not trying to fix that which is not broken. EERI has a robust portfolio of projects, programs, and publications which are singularly focused on educating and supporting the diverse EERI membership. Learning from Earthquakes, the Concrete Coalition, the World Housing Encyclopedia, and the Initiative Development Committee, to name just a few, are examples of thriving activities of the Institute. However, we must be willing to adapt and innovate in response to both the challenges and the opportunities that present themselves. And always with the primary filter of their value and relevancy to the EERI membership.

EERI needs to continue to sharpen its focus on creating resilient cities across the globe, and to use our skillset on technical and policy issues that will further make our cities robust, sustainable and seismically safe.

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Gregory G. Deierlein: Biography

Gregory G. Deierlein Greg is the John A. Blume Professor of Engineering at Stanford University where he directs the Blume Earthquake Engineering Center. He earned his B.S. from Cornell University, M.S. from the University of California at Berkeley, and PhD. from the University of Texas at Austin. Between his M.S. and Ph.D., Greg worked with Leslie E. Robertson and Associates in New York, where he was involved in the structural design of the 72-story Bank of China Building in Hong Kong and other landmark buildings. He maintains professional involvement as a consultant and peer reviewer on projects involving performance-based seismic design and nonlinear analysis and assessment.

Greg is active in technical and building code standards committees, including the Applied Technology Council, the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), the Structural Engineer’s Association of California, the Building Seismic Safety Council, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and other organizations. Greg and his students have collaborated with Geohazards International on outreach projects in earthquake risk mitigation in Indonesia, Pakistan, India and Peru. From 2000 to 2007, Greg served as the Deputy Director for the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research (PEER) Center where he helped lead development of the PEER framework methodology and enabling technologies for performance-based earthquake engineering.

Greg’s research involves design and behavior of structures with emphasis on nonlinear analysis, performance-based earthquake and fire engineering, fracture mechanics and stability, and development of seismically resilient building systems. He has led international collaborative research teams to develop, test and prepare design guidelines for innovative composite steel-concrete frame systems, self-centering braced frame systems, and seismically-isolated unibody light-frame systems. Over his twenty-five year academic career, he has advised/co-advised thirty PhD students.

The research and professional accomplishments of Greg and his students and other collaborators, have been recognized through several awards including ASCE’s Norman Medals, Walter L. Huber Research Prize, State-of-the-Art Awards, and Raymond Reese Research Prize, the AISC Special Recognition Award, EERI Spectra Best Paper Awards, an Engineering New Record 25 Top Newsmakers Award, and a Popular Mechanics Top 10 Breakthrough Award. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2013.

Gregory G. Deierlein: Vision Statement

My various involvements in EERI for over twenty-five years have been enjoyable and educational. Participation in EERI’s meetings and seminars has been intellectually rewarding, where I have especially appreciated participating in the EERI’s seminar series on Evaluation of Existing Reinforced Concrete Buildings and Performance-Based Design of Tall Buildings and presenting keynote lectures at the EERI 50th Anniversary Meeting and the 1906 Earthquake Centennial Conference. Most recently, I enjoyed co-chairing the technical program committee for the highly successful 10th National Conference on Earthquake Engineering in Anchorage. In 2009, I led the EERI earthquake reconnaissance team to the Sumatra earthquake in Indonesia, where a special effort was made to include students and younger members; proving to be extremely valuable to the team. At Stanford I advise the Stanford EERI Student Chapter and their educational outreach activities with EERI Student Leadership Council. I have also served on the Editorial Board of Earthquake Spectra and other EERI committees.

Throughout its 67-year history, EERI has promoted research and education, facilitated professional and scholarly exchanges, and instigated building code and policy initiatives that have dramatically reduced earthquake risks. But, many challenges remain. We need to move beyond minimum earthquake safety to dramatically reduce the risk of damage and disruption from earthquakes and promote community resilience. At the same time, we must address and not loose sight of the devastating earthquake and tsunami risks that persist for millions of people in economically less advantaged countries. My interest in joining the Board of Directors is to help ensure that EERI will continue to provide leadership to develop and promote effective solutions and strategies for earthquake risk mitigation by fully engaging its multi-disciplinary membership in worthwhile activities.

Looking forward, EERI should be more proactive in establishing a compelling vision for earthquake risk mitigation and resilience – one that can help shape a national agenda on research, professional practice, and governance that will benefit all of humanity. This may involve focused EERI activities at regional, national and international meetings, sponsoring special issue papers in Earthquake Spectra, and engaging the talents of Housner Fellows and other younger members. EERI should also pursue strategic collaborations with scientific and professional organizations, community-based groups, and government agencies and representatives. EERI is fortunate to have an outstanding national and international reputation and a talented and diverse membership. We should continue to strive for ways to put our talents and resources to good use.

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Sri Sritharan: Biography

Sri SritharanDr. Sritharan is the Grace Miller Wilson and T. A. Wilson Engineering Professor in the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering (CCEE) at Iowa State University (ISU), where he began his academic career as an assistant professor in December 1999. He previously served as the associate chair and director of graduate education for his department and the director of the wind energy initiative for the College of Engineering at ISU. Sritharan joined ISU after serving for 18 months as the Project Manager for the PREcast Seismic Structural Systems (PRESSS) program, which promoted the use of unbonded post-tensioning to establish self-centering structural systems for seismic-resistant design. Sritharan served in this capacity at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD), where he obtained his PhD in 1998. Sritharan obtained his Master’s degree with Distinction from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and worked in New Zealand as an engineering seismologist for four years for what is currently known as GNS Science.

Sritharan joined ISU when there was no significant seismic activities in the department. He introduced a graduate level course on seismic-resistant design and served as the inaugural faculty advisor for the EERI student chapter at ISU. Under his advising, Sritharan has graduated several of his students with doctoral and MS degrees specializing in seismic topics related to bridge design, advanced building systems and soil-foundation-structure interaction.

Sritharan has served on a number of professional committees associated with earthquake-resistant design. From 2009 to 2015, Sritharan served as the Chair of the Earthquake-resistant Concrete Bridge Committee of the American Concrete Institute. As part of the Learning from Earthquakes program, he participated in the EERI multidisciplinary reconnaissance team to New Zealand following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

Sri Sritharan: Vision Statement

I was exposed to earthquake engineering as a student in the late 1980’s. Since that time, I have closely followed the activities of EERI. I passionately believe in the broad vision of EERI in reducing potential earthquake losses and in its leadership role in earthquake damage investigations and dissemination of earthquake risk reduction information in the US and globally. Because of my passion for EERI’s ideals and achievements, I am deeply honored and humbled to be a candidate for the Board of Directors.

Today we know that several parts of the US have the potential to experience large earthquakes; the same can be said for various regions of the world. Since moving to the Midwest, it continues to amaze me how uninformed the public is about the seismic risk in this part of the country. The majority of the engineering professionals and policy makers are also unaware of two facts: 1) the most violent earthquakes in the continental USA, including three exceeding a magnitude of 8, actually occurred in the Midwest along the New Madrid fault in 1811-1812, and 2) this region of the country poses a major seismic hazard. A study completed in 2009 suggested a 7.7 mag. event would likely result in 3,500 fatalities, 715,000 damaged buildings, and more than $300 million direct economic losses. A similar significant loss due to a seismic event is possible in South Carolina and other parts of the East Coast.

As a member of the Board of Directors of EERI, a priority of mine will be to increase awareness of critical seismic hazards in the US (especially in regions outside of the West Coast) and engage professionals from these regions through EERI activities. I believe this approach will significantly advance EERI’s objective to reduce earthquake risk at a national level. This effort will need a multi-prong approach involving researchers, practitioners, and students of different engineering disciplines, as well as policy makers and the public at large.

EERI serves a number of key roles among the earthquake engineering communities. As a Director (and with a clear understanding of EERI’s goals), I will promote active research collaboration among researchers from different disciplines and help educate state and federal agencies about seismic risk and their respective roles in managing this risk.

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Ross W. Boulanger: Biography

Ross W. BoulangerRoss W. Boulanger is the Director of the Center for Geotechnical Modeling and professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Davis. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 1990 and 1987, respectively, and his B.A.Sc. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of British Columbia in 1986. He became a registered professional engineer in the State of California in 1992.

Ross’ research and professional practice are primarily related to liquefaction and its remediation, seismic soil-pile-structure interaction, and seismic performance of dams and levees. His research over the past 25 years has produced over 200 publications, including co-authoring with I. M. Idriss the EERI Monograph MNO-12 on Soil Liquefaction during Earthquakes. He has served as a technical specialist on seismic remediation and dam safety projects for private, state, and federal organizations. His honors include the TK Hsieh Award from the Institution of Civil Engineers, and the Ralph B. Peck Award, Norman Medal, Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize, and Arthur Casagrande Professional Development Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

Ross’ professional service includes being a member of the Board of Directors for the United States Society on Dams (USSD) from 2009-2015, member of the Earthquake Engineering and Soil Dynamics Committee of ASCE since 1996 (chair from 2004-2009), vice-chair of the Technical Committee on Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering of the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) since 2009, co-leader with Nick Sitar on the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) team for the 2011 Tohoku earthquake in Japan, and member of the Research Committee for the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research (PEER) Center from 2003-2010.

Ross became a member of EERI in 1992, and has served on the Nominating Committee (2012-2014), the Proceedings Committee of the 100th Anniversary Earthquake Conference (2004-2006), and the Publications Policy Committee (1999-2004). He was a speaker for EERI’s seminar series on Learning from Recent Major Earthquakes in 2012 and on Soil Liquefaction during Earthquakes in 2010.

Ross W. Boulanger: Vision Statement

I am honored to be nominated for the EERI Board of Directors. I have always appreciated the vision and leadership that EERI has provided for the broader community and am grateful for the opportunity to stand as a nominee for the Board.

I am committed to EERI’s vision of a world in which potential earthquake losses are widely understood and prudent steps are taken to address seismic risks, and to EERI’s envisioned role as a global leader in the investigation of earthquakes and dissemination of earthquake risk reduction information. I believe a key factor in the success of EERI’s four strategic initiatives toward realizing this vision will be the continued and strengthened ability to bring together and lead a community of related organizations with shared and overlapping visions. Partnerships with a wide host of national and international organizations are a vital way of leveraging financial and human resources toward enhancing our educational programs, expanding outreach and advocacy, strengthening international activities, and broadening our membership – i.e., all four of EERI’s strategic initiatives. In my career, I have found that partnerships across local, national, and international geotechnical and earthquake engineering related organizations have been highly effective and satisfying means for achieving goals for all involved. I believe that I can effectively contribute to EERI’s success in working toward its vision through building effective partnerships and leading the broader community.

In closing, I thank the nomination committee for this opportunity to be considered for membership on the Board. I believe I can support and contribute to EERI’s strategic initiatives and would consider it a great honor to serve the EERI community if elected.

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Youssef Hashash: Biography

Youssef HashashYoussef Hashash, Ph.D., P.E is the William J. and Elaine F. Hall professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from MIT after which he worked in Dallas, Texas and San Francisco, California on a number of underground construction projects in the U.S. and Canada including the Boston Central Artery/Tunnel project and seismic retrofit of the Webster and Posey Street Immersed Tube Tunnels in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a registered professional Engineer in California.

Youssef joined the faculty of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1998. He taught courses in Geotechnical Engineering, Numerical Modeling in Geomechanics, Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering, Tunneling in Soil and Rock, and Excavation and Support Systems. His research focus includes deep excavations in urban areas, earthquake engineering, continuum and discrete element modeling and soil-structure interaction. He also works on geotechnical engineering applications of visualization, augmented reality, imaging and drone technologies. He has published over 85 journal articles and is co-inventor on four patents. His research group developed the software program DEEPSOIL that is used worldwide for evaluation of soil response to earthquake shaking.

A member of EERI since 1999, Youssef has been involved in a number of EERI activities. He was the EERI liaison to the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS) from 2005-2012. He has also been the faculty advisor of the University of Illinois EERI student chapter since 2001. Youssef has been part of seven post-disaster reconnaissance teams including six earthquakes events and Hurricane Sandy. Most recently he was the co-leader of the GEER (Geotechnical Extreme Event Reconnaissance) Team to Nepal and coordinated closely with the EERI Team deployed to that event.

Youssef Hashash: Vision Statement

EERI is a unique professional organization that has been and continues to be at the forefront of advancing earthquake risk reduction through a cross-disciplinary approach. I am excited about the opportunity to serve the organization as a member of the board of directors. EERI has played a key role in my professional development. As a board member, I plan to continue this important role that EERI plays through increased professional engagement, enhancement of the Learning from Earthquakes program and consideration of earthquake resiliency in a multi-hazard world.

EERI student chapters have been very successful in engaging students early in their careers with issues related to seismic safety through a number of activities including the seismic design competition. As student members graduate and engage in professional practice, we want them to continue and grow their engagement with EERI and its committees. I would like to explore new ways of engaging young professionals, worldwide, to contribute to the mission of EERI beyond conferences and through virtual networks.

The Learning from Earthquakes (LFE) program provides the community with valuable information about the impact of earthquakes on the built infrastructures and the affected communities and unique opportunities to engage the membership through participation in reconnaissance missions as well as through timely dissemination of findings. I would like to explore the use of new technologies and community partnerships to further support the LFE program, reconnaissance activities and dissemination of findings.

Earthquake resiliency is part of broader community resiliency in a multi-hazard world. EERI can play an important role in this broader resiliency concern and engage other parties involved with resiliency for other hazards such as flooding and fire. Through these partnerships earthquake risk reduction can be further advanced.

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2015 Technical Seminar Series: Update on Vulnerable Concrete Buildings

The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) invites practicing structural engineers and researchers, building and government officials, students, architects, and urban planners to the 2015 Technical Seminar Series, Update on Vulnerable Concrete Buildings: What You Need to Know and Where Should We Go from Here?

2015 EERI Technical Seminar Series: Update on Vulnerable Concrete BuildingsNumerous earthquakes around the world have demonstrated that concrete buildings constructed before the implementation of modern building code provisions are among the most vulnerable to serious damage and even collapse. This seminar will update the EERI community on the status of ongoing efforts to reduce the risk posed by these buildings and provide insight and appropriate actions to take. Sessions will cover:

  • Efforts to improve our ability to identify the most vulnerable buildings through laboratory and field research activities by EERI, NEES, ATC, and others.
  • Updates to the processes and documents used to evaluate the risks posed by these buildings; recent and upcoming code and guideline changes; retrofit designs, and retrofit techniques.
  • Ongoing community level efforts to reduce hazards through inventory development, public education, policy and legislation.

The seminar will conclude with interactive sessions between the presenters and seminar attendees to discuss the implications of these efforts and how the EERI community can continue to engage and impact the reduction of risk posed by this inventory of buildings.

Dates and Locations
Thursday, October 29: San Francisco, CA
Tuesday, November 3: Seattle, WA
TBA (Spring 2016): Los Angeles, CA

Register online for the 2015 EERI Technical Seminar Series at external link icon and read the technical seminar flyer (PDF) external link icon.

Co-sponsors of the 2015 EERI Technical Seminar Series include:

EERI Regional Chapter of Northern California
EERI Regional Chapter of Southern California
Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER)

Nepal Earthquake Live Briefing and Webcast on August 13


On Thursday, August 13, 2015, 11:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., EERI will co-host, with the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER) and the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance Association (GEER), a live briefing of reconnaissance observations from the Nepal Earthquake of April 25, 2015.

The briefing will take place on the campus of University of California, Berkeley, and be streamed live on the Web. Visit the PEER website for details on the program, and connection information to view the webcast:

PEER-EERI-GEER Nepal Earthquake Briefing Information

As part of the program, EERI reconnaissance team co-leader Bret Lizundia and team members Judy Mitrani-Reiser and Courtney Welton-Mitchell will present findings from the EERI mission to Nepal.

Learn more about the team efforts by:

EERI Briefing Videos About Nepal Earthquake Now Online


An EERI Briefing video series about the April 25, 2015 Nepal Earthquake is now available through the Nepal Earthquake Clearinghouse. The video playlist features an introduction on EERI’s response to the event, presentations in different topic areas by each member of the reconnaissance team that visited Nepal in June, and a summary of the mission’s findings. Briefing videos range in duration from 10 to 35 minutes, and can be watched individually or in a series.

Learn more and watch the EERI Briefing Videos

As part of EERI’s Learning from Earthquakes program, a 13-member international team of experts visited urban and rural sites in Nepal following the M7.8 earthquake on April 25, 2015. Working in partnership with Nepal’s National Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET), and coordinating with nearly 30 other reconnaissance efforts, EERI’s multidisciplinary team examined topic areas that included seismology and ground motion; building performance; healthcare facility performance; societal, psychological, and cultural factors; geotechnical engineering and geosciences; emergency response; performance of cultural heritage structures; building codes; lifelines; and community resilience. The briefing videos represent the first published findings from the EERI team.

“These briefing videos from the Nepal reconnaissance team mark the beginning of a new chapter in the long history of EERI’s Learning from Earthquakes program,” said EERI Board president Mary Comerio. “I believe the accessibility, scale, and scope of these presentations—nearly five hours of findings from the trip—represent a terrific benefit to EERI members.”

EERI’s reconnaissance team has opened a period for questions regarding any of the briefing videos or the mission as a whole, with answers to be posted on a page of the Nepal Earthquake Virtual Clearinghouse. Submit your questions to the team before Wednesday, August 19, 2015, by emailing EERI Program Manager Heidi Tremayne at

Learn more and watch the EERI Briefing Videos

40th Annual Conference on Deep Foundations, Oct 12–15

EERI is a cooperating organization for the 40th Annual Conference on Deep Foundations in Oakland, California, October 12–15, 2015.

An anticipated 1,000 Deep Foundation Institute members and industry professional from around the world will attend a robust conference of technical sessions, committee meetings, award presentations, exhibits, and lectures. The conference is an excellent opportunity to gather and share experiences, exchange ideas and learn the current state-of-the-practice from various disciplines on deep foundations.

View the event brochure (PDF)

Preview the technical program

Register here

More information at Deep Foundations Conference website

Deep Foundations Institute Seminar in Los Angeles, August 5–6, 2015

EERI is a cooperating organization for a Deep Foundations Institute seminar, Practical Deep Foundation Design and Construction for Seismic and Lateral Loads, in Los Angeles, CA, August 5–6, 2015.

The seminar will present state of the practice in analysis, design, construction and testing of deep foundations subject to seismic and lateral loads. Industry leaders will overview the design approaches and challenges of seismic and lateral load design, address performance-based design for foundations in liquefiable and non-liquefiable soils, discuss practical soil-structure interaction solutions, and present case histories that highlight the use of conventional software packages and emphasize constructability issues for deep foundations subject to lateral and seismic loads.

View the event brochure (PDF)

Preview the technical program (PDF)

Register here

More information at Deep Foundations Institute website

New Program for School Earthquake Safety

Join us to protect the lives of all who inhabit school buildings. EERI’s new School Earthquake Safety Initiative (SESI) will leverage the Institute’s extensive expertise and reputation by conducting regionally appropriate actions to increase the seismic safety of school buildings.

EERI members are encouraged to actively participate in one of SESI’s subcommittees listed below.

• Safety Screening, Inventory, and Evaluation – Chairs: Ken Goettel and Barry Welliver
• Classroom Education and Outreach – Chairs: Lelli Van Den Einde and Thalia Anagnos
• Tsunami Mitigation for Schools – Chair pending, Heidi Tremayne is current contact
• Code Updating and Improvements – Chair: Rob Jackson
• Safety Advocacy and Messaging – Chair: Lucy Arendt

Utilizing member expertise through these subcommittees, the School Earthquake Safety Initiative can make a tangible, positive difference in communities around the world by advocating for school safety.

For example, the Classroom Education and Outreach Subcommittee plans to use education in the classroom to establish ongoing dialog with parents, teachers, and administrators, creating advocates for school earthquake safety. After developing a pilot education program with well-documented and easy-to-implement lesson plans, the subcommittee will recruit EERI regional and student chapters to deliver the activities and serve as expert resources for stakeholders.

The Safety Screening, Inventory, and Evaluation Subcommittee will facilitate and encourage implementation of risk reduction measures, developing stepwise screening methodologies that can identify school buildings with the highest seismic risk while minimizing the effort and expense for school districts. This summer, the group will document inventory and screening success stories in Oregon, Washington, Utah, Alaska, and Missouri, and review screening tools. The subcommittee will then develop a school screening activity in the fall, intended to be ready for use by EERI members in selected pilot regions in 2016.

To learn more about SESI activities and find contact details for the subcommittee chairs listed above, visit the SESI website:

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.