Saturday, August 21, 2010

How MWR Editors make decisions

If you want to read more about the decision-making process at MWR and how it works in a subset of 500 manuscripts, check out this recently published article in the August 2010 Scientometrics.

Schultz, D. M., 2010: Are three heads better than two? How the number of reviewers and editor behavior affect the rejection rate. Scientometrics, 84, 277-292. doi: 10.1007/s11192-009-0084-0.


Editors of peer-reviewed journals obtain recommendations from peer reviewers as guidance in deciding upon the suitability of a submitted manuscript for publication. To investigate whether the number of reviewers used by an editor affects the rate at which manuscripts are rejected, 500 manuscripts submitted to Monthly Weather Review during 15.5 months in 2007–2008 were examined. Two and three reviewers were used for 306 and 155 manuscripts, respectively (92.2% of all manuscripts). Rejection rates for initial decisions and final decisions were not significantly different whether two or three reviewers were used. Manuscripts with more reviewers did not spend more rounds in review or have different rejection rates at each round. The results varied by editor, however, with some editors rejecting more two-reviewer manuscripts and others rejecting more three-reviewer manuscripts. Editors described using their scientific expertise in the decision-making process, either in determining the number of reviews to be sought or in making decisions once the reviews were received, approaches that differ from that of relying purely upon reviewer agreement as reported previously in the literature. A simple model is constructed for three decision-making strategies for editors: rejection when all reviewers recommend rejection, rejection when any reviewer recommends rejection, and rejection when a majority of reviewers recommend rejection. By plotting the probability of reviewer rejection against the probability of editor rejection, the decision-making process can be graphically illustrated, demonstrating that, for this dataset, editors are likely to reject a manuscript when any reviewer recommends rejection.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Social media as a source of meteorological observations

Appearing in the August 2010 issue of Monthly Weather Review:

Otto Hyvärinen and Elena Saltikoff of the Finnish Meteorological Institute have an article about their novel uses of Flickr to collect and verify hail reports.


An increasing number of people leave their mark on the Internet by publishing personal notes (e.g., text, photos, videos) on web-based services such as Facebook and Flickr. This creates a vast source of information that could be utilized in meteorology, for example, as a complement to traditional weather observations. Photo-sharing services offer an increasing amount useful data, as modern mobile devices can automatically include coordinates and time stamps on photos, and users can easily tag them for content. In this study, different weather-related photos and their metadata were accessed from the photo-serving service Flickr, and their reliability was assessed. Case studies of hail detection were then performed, the position of hail detected in the atmosphere by radar being compared with positions of Flickr photos depicting hail on the ground. As a result of this preliminary study, we think that further exploration of the use of Flickr photographs is warranted, and the consideration of other social media as data sources can be recommended.

Review Articles in Monthly Weather Review

Monthly Weather Review has a history of publishing great review articles. As Chief Editor, I wanted to see more reviews published. Here are some of the recent review articles that have been published recently.

Houze, Robert A., 2010: Clouds in Tropical Cyclones. Mon. Wea. Rev., 138, 293-344.

van Leeuwen, Peter Jan, 2009: Particle Filtering in Geophysical Systems. Mon. Wea. Rev., 137, 4089-4114.

Bocquet, Marc, Carlos A. Pires, and Lin Wu, 2010: Beyond Gaussian statistical modeling in geophysical data assimilation. Mon. Wea. Rev., 138, to appear in the August 2010 issue.