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Editorial Operations for the Online Glossary of Meteorology
The AMS’s Glossary of Meteorology (GoM) is one of the most important scientific documents produced by the AMS, particularly for students and young scientists. It was first published more than 41 years ago as a reference book that was sold by the AMS and contained about 7,900 distinct terms. In the late 1990s it was updated through a society-wide effort under the leadership of an ad-hoc committee of the Council (to more than 12,000 terms) and published as a book and reference CD-ROM. Subsequently, the GoM was placed online for members to use. A web-based search engine was developed by Tim Keefer of Allen Press. Except for minor typos, the GoM has not been updated since the 2nd edition.
Allen Press, a scholarly journal publisher that provides online services to the AMS journals and the existing GoM, has created a “wiki-like” interface for the GoM, which allows for feedback from readers in the form of suggested changes and new terms. The object of this document is to provide a description of the procedure for changes and updates to the GoM. It is important to note that this proposal for GoM updates does not involve an organized attempt to develop a 3rd edition of the GoM. Rather, suggestions originate in an organic fashion from users of the GoM. The GoM open access went live in early January 2013.
2. Editorial Operations – Key Players
Unlike a regular “wiki,” which allows for dynamic changes to web content, the AMS needs to retain oversight (i.e., “ownership”) of its GoM to insure integrity. The Publications Commission and the Scientific and Technological Activities Commission (STAC) jointly proposed a mechanism for updating the GoM through the 36 STAC Boards/Committees, which represent the expertise necessary to vet proposed changes (and create new terms). A schematic representation of the editorial process for updating and revising the GoM is shown in Fig. 1. The three key individuals in the editorial office of the GoM are the Chief Editor of the GoM (appointed by the Publications Commission and approved by Council for a 3-year term), the Assistant Chief Editor of the GoM (the STAC Commissioner), and a Peer Review Support Associate (a member of the AMS staff).
Together, the editorial office of the GoM would evaluate proposed changes and suggested new terms for the GoM (usually from an email originating from a link on the wiki), select an appropriate writing team or review team from the appropriate STAC Boards/committees as well as other experts as needed, and have proposed new terms and changes vetted through a peer-review if new terms or changes result from actions of a STAC committee.
Once new terms and/or changes are vetted, the Chief Editor of the GoM would authorize them to appear on the GoM wiki.
- Fig. 1. Flow chart of how the editorial office of the GOM functions.
• A reader of the GoM wiki notices an error or omission in the definitions. The reader clicks on a “suggest changes” or “new terms” link. The suggestion generates an email to the GoM Editorial Office. The PRSC would note the suggestion in a tracking spreadsheet and pass along the suggestion to the Chief Editor and Assistant Chief Editor. Note that unlike the submission of a manuscript to one of the scholarly journals the suggestion and the person making the suggestion are disconnected at this point. No further contact with the suggester is necessary. The two Chief Editors would decide if the suggestion is appropriate, and if so, select an appropriate writing or review team from the various STAC Boards/Committees. Once the writing team completes its work, the Chief Editor could have the term reviewed by another recognized expert or, more likely, just post the new or revised term on the GoM wiki.
• One of the STAC Committees takes it upon themselves to revise a term, or suggest new terms and definitions. The GoM Chief Editors will then select appropriate reviewers from other peer-review experts to vet the proposed definitions. Suggested revisions from the reviewers would be passed back to the STAC suggesters much like article reviews for journals. Once the Chief Editor is satisfied that the review comments are addressed, the terms are posted to the GoM wiki.
—Mary M. Cairns, Chief Editor, Glossary of Meteorology