GRL Review Criteria

Geophysical Research Letters 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 geophysical disciplines we ask your help as a reviewer in evaluating both scientific content (Categories 1-4) and presentation quality (Categories A-C) to determine if a submitted manuscript meets GRL standards.

We welcome and will pass on to authors any specific suggestions which would materially improve the quality of a manuscript. Your comments will be conveyed anonymously to the authors unless you clearly indicate in your review that you wish your identity to be made known.

For more information or tips for writing a solid peer review please see this Eos feature article.

Science and Presentation Categories

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

Science Category 1. 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

Science Category 2. 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
  • An instrument/method where the geophysical application is not obvious

Science Category 3. The paper is publishable in the refereed literature but is unlikely to become a Category 1 paper.

  • 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
  • A good, clear, but basically incremental improvement to existing data sets, models, or instruments

Science Category 4. This paper is basically not publishable in an AGU journal.

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

Presentation Categories

Presentation Category A. Category A manuscripts should meet ALL of the following:

  • Abstract is succinct (<150 words), accurate, and comprehensible to a non-specialist
  • Manuscript is generally well-written, logically organized, and adequately illustrated
  • Figures and tables are understandable and readable (when sized for GRL)
  • English usage and grammar is adequate, with few spelling/typographical errors (please specify any minor fixes)

Presentation Category B. 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,

  • Abstract needs to be rewritten/shortened
  • Manuscript is not well written, is not logically organized, is inadequately illustrated
  • Manuscript needs to be (and can be) shortened
  • English usage, grammar, or spelling errors detract from the paper

Presentation Category C. The manuscript cannot readily be revised by the authors into Category A.

  • Specific ideas cannot be adequately presented within the 12 publication unit GRL limit
  • 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)

We strongly encourage reviewers do the following to ensure compliance with  AGU’s Data Policy, which requires authors to include information on data availability regarding the paper.

  • Read each Acknowledgments section carefully to verify that ALL data used in the research have been included in a repository
  • Confirm that any data in supplemental material is also deposited to a repository
  • 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

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

Please recognize that the final decision on a manuscript is made solely by the Editor using the expertise of several reviewers and based on the above criteria.