Interpretation stimulates publication using theme-based special sections. Opinions vary on whether the journal should limit its number of pages or the number of special sections per issue. Limiting the journal’s size or the number of special sections hinders the journal’s ability to serve the interpretation community.
The current resources for publishing the journal do not require an explicit size limit. Unlike conferences and workshops that have finite facilities, Interpretation as a primarily online journal has virtually unlimited space. Its funding is based on subscription and author page charges; the cost of producing the journal is not currently an issue. A key responsibility of the board is to recruit organizers/guest editors for special sections. Unlike that of many other journals, Interpretation’s editorial board thus has practically unlimited editorial resources from the world-wide pool of subject-matter experts.
One belief is that the journal should not have long papers (e.g., pages) or be thick (e.g., pages) — no one would have time to read many long papers. It is true that articles need not be excessively long to make their points. On the other hand, limiting the journal’s size may compromise the integrity of its content. Besides, an archival journal, unlike a book, is not meant for reading from cover to cover. Denying publication of papers deemed acceptable by peer review is a loss of opportunity to disseminate ideas. Placing a limit on paper length may force authors to reduce content essential to their presentation. Writing should always be concise and the length should be commensurate with the content of the presentation.
Another belief is that publishing more papers now as a result of strong efforts in special sections would reduce the number of good papers two or three years down the road. Such a reduction would happen (1) if materials written after a few years of delay (if ever) would still make good papers and (2) if publishing more ideas through special sections were to decrease the rate of new ideas. Experience suggests the opposite. The more ideas are shared, the more ideas are generated. Timely writing is important for fresh content to have the greatest impact. Authors are more likely to pursue the publication of their work if their memories of the ideas are still fresh, their project data are still accessible, and they still work for the same employers.
Still another belief is that Interpretation should focus only on seismic interpretation. While it is true that seismic data provide the primary means of imaging the spatially extended subsurface, interpretation is multidisciplinary. The need for integration of multiple types of data and multiple disciplines is well recognized. Seismic imaging of complex geology requires anisotropic velocity analysis that would be incomplete without well data. Interpreters can ill afford to overlook drilling hazard analysis for their well location recommendations. If AAPG and SEG, the organizations that serve exploration geoscientists in general, were to have separate interpretation journals on electromagnetics, gravity and magnetics, geochemistry, and petroleum engineering, those journals would overlap substantially with a journal focused on seismic interpretation.
Capping the number of special sections would tie the hands of board members when they recruit organizers. With a restrictive cap, an individual board member might be hesitant to approach a potential organizer without first seeking a preliminary approval from the board. The enthusiasm of the volunteers could be damped when their topics relevant to interpretation were delayed or declined. Capping the number of special sections would lead to not only extra work for the board but also losses of future opportunities. Almost every special section topic receives submissions. Some submissions may happen after the special section is published, and some manuscripts may take a longer time to review and revise than allotted to be included in the targeted special section. Even when a scheduled special section is not published for not meeting the minimum number of accepted papers, the papers accepted for the section are still published as general technical content of the journal.
Interpretation needs to keep a strong pace of special sections to span the broad scope of the interpretation-relevant subject areas. The coverage of geology is still growing and needs to continue to grow to gain balance with the geophysical topics. This is being facilitated with appointments of more geologists to serve on the board. The multidisciplinary combination of various subject areas (geophysics, geology, geochemistry, petroleum engineering, etc.) presents rich options for future special sections, not to mention refeaturing topics from time to time to capture and stimulate new developments.
Interpretation aims to foster a culture of active publication within the community of interpreters. This long-term goal requires sustained and broad-based effort from its editorial board members and the expert community. It can only achieve its highest goal if journal submissions are of top quality. Ultimately a high-quality journal requires the support of a large pool of submissions.
The current issue
The current November 2014 issue contains 35 papers, a new record. It features the following special sections:
Interpretation and integration of gravity and magnetic data; editors: Ran Zhang, Rao Yalamanchili, and Alan Aitken; 10 papers published.
Detection of hydrocarbons; editors: Alistair Brown, William Abriel, Rocky Roden, and Tim Berge; 5 papers published.
Salt tectonics and interpretation; editors: Mark G. Rowan, Thomas E. Hearon, Francis J. Peel, Simon Stewart, Oriol Ferrer, J. Carl Fiduk, Steve Holdaway, Webster U. Mohriak, Van Mount, David G. Quirk, and Tim Seeley; 8 papers published.
Salt basin model building, imaging, and interpretation; editors: Jacques Leveille, Dave McCann, David Bartel, Scott Morton, Jerry Young, Brian Horn, Rob Wervelman, Sverre Brandsberg-Dahl, Adriana Ramirez, Gabriel Ritter, Paul Williamson, Mark Rhodes, and Bill Hart; 3 papers published.
Interpretation invites you to contact a member of the Editorial Board or e-mailto submit your ideas for new special sections.