This is my first column as Executive Editor (EE) of SPE Journal
(SPE J.). Firstly I should state that I am honored to serve as one of
the co-EEs of this esteemed premier journal of SPE, which has been always at
the top of the list of the journals that I prefer to read and publish. Without
a doubt, SPE J. is one of the few highest quality journals, with a very
long history focusing on publication of high-quality fundamental and applied
research on the subjects related to Science of Petroleum Engineering. For sure,
the articles published previously in SPE J. lay the foundations of the
technology that is used today or underdevelopment. I strongly believe that
SPE J. is quite important for the Petroleum Engineering Community.
Effective 2013, due to the volume of papers submitted to the journal, the
SPE J. becomes a bi-monthly publication rather than quarterly. Hence,
the SPE Board Committee on Publications and Electronic Media (PEM) has decided
to assign two co-executive editors for SPE J. Dr. Yucel Akkutlu of Texas
A&M University and I have been invited as EEs, and we have started to serve
as co-executive editors of SPE J. for the next three-year term effective
October 2012, right after the 2012 SPE ATCE held in San Antonio, TX, USA.
As EEs of the journal, we are responsible not only writing the Executive
Editor column in each issue but also assuring timely peer-review of the papers
submitted to the journal and publication of high quality papers with the help
of the Associate (AEs) and Technical Editors (TEs) who work voluntarily for the
journal, and the SPE's experienced Publication Staff. Yucel and I have decided
that each of us takes alternating months to write the EE column in total of 6
issues. As SPE J. will be published February, April, June, August,
October, and December, I will be responsible to write the EE columns for the
February, June, and October issues, while Yucel will be responsible for the
columns in the alternating issues. Of course, for establishing coherence in the
contents of the EE columns, Yucel and I will always be in touch and
communication. In the April issue, Yucel will be with you.
As commencing our role as EE, both Yucel and I would like to thank and
acknowledge Professor Anthony Kovscek who has passed the flag to us in this
"relay race." During his tenure as a single EE of SPE J., Anthony’s
achievements are quite significant and remarkable; not only the peer-review
process is further improved but also the number and quality of fundamental
papers reviewed and published in SPE J. further increased. Under his
executive editorship (during the past three years 2012), around 1000 papers
(conference plus direct to Peer) were reviewed for and 298 papers were
published in SPE J. He managed to reduce the time to initial decision
for a paper (about 81 days) less than 112 days, which is the target time to an
initial decision for all SPE journals in aggregate. The acceptance rate for
publication during his term is around 30% on the average. Like the previous EEs
of SPE J., Anthony has left his imprint on the journal, and his
significant contribution to the Journal will be difficult to replicate. We are
happy and fortunate that Anthony has agreed to continue to be on the board in
the role of an AE.
During the tenure of all the previous EEs, the focus of SPE J. has
been on publication of the results of high-quality fundamental and applied
research, R&D, and novel solutions that span all technical disciplines in
the upstream oil and gas industry. We have every intention of maintaining this
focus during our three-year term.
With this issue, you may notice some changes in the Editorial Review Board.
New associate editors are joined the board and some completed their services
and retired. SPE J. currently has 45 Associate Editors. Their main role
is to identify whether the manuscript merits publication in SPE J..
However, this role is very critical to the timeliness of the reviews, as it is
their responsibility to identify potential reviewers (or TEs) and summarize the
reviews when they come back. I sincerely thank each of our AEs for their
valuable times and dedication. For timeliness and the quantity of reviews and
retirements that we may face, we believe that we need to invite more AEs to the
board. We are always open to suggestions for new associate editors in
appropriate areas. It is important that AEs are authors of papers in
peer-reviewed journals and have experience in reviewing papers. Currently, we
request from an AE to review five to eight papers per year, though some of the
AEs may handle considerably more than that. Adding more AEs to the board will
reduce the workload of the AEs and reduce the turnaround time (from submission
to first decision) to say 75 days. If you are interested or nominate someone
for this role, please do not hesitate to send your requests/nominations with a
CV attached to me (email@example.com
With this issue, we would like to welcome new outstanding AEs to the
Editorial Board; Albert C. Reynolds of U. of Tulsa, OK, USA; Dean Oliver of the
Uni Centre for Integrated Petroleum Research in Bergen, Norway; Anthony Kovscek
of Stanford U., Yildiray Cinar of U. of New South Wales, Australia; Xiaolong
Yin of Colorado School of Mines; and Rami M. Younis of U. of Tulsa. They are
all worldwide well-known experts in their respected fields of study, and their
addition to the board certainly will further enrich and strengthen the SPE
J. We would also like to recognize the services of Matt Ja Jackson, Yu Shu
Wu, Mohammad Piri, Dongxiao Zhang, Hong-Quan Zhang, and Srdjan Nesic who have
completed their services and retired.
The impact factor seems to be a standard tool for measuring the influence
that the articles in a journal within its field have on the advancement of
knowledge. It measures the way a journal receives citations to its articles
over time. It is calculated by dividing the number of current citations a
journal receives to articles published in the two (or five) previous years by
the number of articles published in those same years. So, for example, the 2011
impact factor (based on 2-year) is the citations in 2011 to articles published
in 2009 and 2010 divided by the number articles published in 2009 and 2010. The
2-year impact factor is referred to the impact factor or ISI-impact factor,
where ISI represents the Institute of Scientific Information.
Many universities, research bodies, librarians, and higher education
councils use it as a proxy to assess their staff performance and rank the
institutions and the journals. As pointed out by Dean Oliver and Anthony
Kovscek in their EE columns in SPE J. in the past, the impact factor as
a metric makes sense only if it is used to make comparisons of the journals in
the same subject area or discipline. This is often misunderstood or misused.
Nevertheless, it is important to improve the impact factor of a Journal, though
there are some short comings associated with it and there are alternative
metrics (for example see, Anthony's
column in 2010-September issue).
Among publications in the petroleum engineering science, the SPE J.
scores well using the impact factor. Our 2-year and 5-year impact factors
through 2011 are 1.145 and 1.52, respectively. This corresponds to about 5%
increase as compared to the corresponding impact numbers in 2009. In
comparison, the 2011 2-year and 5-year impact factors for the SPE Reservoir
Engineering and Evaluation (SPE REE) are 0.944 and 1.033,
respectively, and the Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
(JPSE) are 0.869 and 1.177, respectively. Other journals in related
fields have the following 2011 impact factors [e.g., Water Resources
Research, 2.957 (3.246); Computational Geosciences, 1.348 (1.538);
Mathematical Geosciences (formerly Math Geology), 1.354 (1.585);
Transport in Porous Media, 1.811 (1.643)]. The numbers in parentheses
represent 5-year impact factors.
One common issue that the authors often complain is the long publishing
times and turnaround times in SPE journals, though significant improvements on
this have been achieved compared to very past. I believe that this issue has
caused some researchers to publish more in other journals in related fields.
Another reason is that the access to SPE journals seems to be fairly difficult
compared to the other journals preferred by the researchers. As a result, it
seems that research in SPE journals does not get the exposure that is available
in other journals. So, this is something that we have to think about it during
our tenure together with the SPE Publication Staff and Managers. In fact, we
are open to any suggestions to make research in SPE J. to get the
desired level of exposure so that the researchers prefer more to publish in
In closing, I hope that you enjoy the February issue and its 15 manuscripts.
See you in June 2013 issue. Cheerio and thank you.