“Why on earth did I get this cumbersome manuscript/review/decision?” – A discussion about the sometimes diverging expectations of authors, reviewers and editors, and ways to improve publication experiences 

Publishing is an essential and integral part of scientific life. During a scientist’s career, one may act as author, reviewer and editor. In each of these roles one may experience frustrating moments because of diverging expectations regarding one’s own and another person’s role in this agent triangle during the publication process. It is frustrating as author and editor to get ten lines of review text, or reviews that are merely copy-editing notes. It is frustrating as reviewer to be left with unclear definitions of quality thresholds, recommendation guidelines, and obviously bad manuscripts that should have never gone out for review.

Often, such frustrations arise from a lack of common agreements – across journals and across disciplines – on the expectations and limitations of the roles of all three publication agents (author, reviewer, editor, but all of them scientists by training and at heart). What may be an expected task in journal A could be a don’t-do for journal B, and quite often there is no way to infer that expectation from a journal’s website. Thus, in an environment of ever increasing publication numbers, pressure on all three roles is intense. A consensus regarding transparent, generic and helpful guidelines on the definitions, duties and expected deliverables of authors, reviewers and editors is needed and overdue.

The goal of this Townhall meeting is to shed light onto experiences of authors, reviewers and editors across geoscientific disciplines. We want to collect and share examples of good practice and debate a minimum set of guidelines for each of the three groups of publication agents. We invite researchers from all geoscience disciplines to share their experiences and ideas with the audience and the panel, and intend to share the outcomes of this community-driven discussion transparently and widely.

Convener: Michael DietzeECSECS | Co-conveners: Anouk Beniest, Katja Fennel
Fri, 23 Apr, 17:30–19:00 (CEST)


  • Georgina E. King, University of Bern, Switzerland
  • Ulrich Pöschl, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Germany
  • Nadia Pinardi, University of Bologna, Italy
  • Kyle Frischkorn, Springer Nature, United States of America