Sl. No.

Authors Name

Manuscript Title

Page No.

1

H.O. Nwankwoala and T.E. Daniel

 

Physico-Chemical Evaluation of Groundwater in Ogbia, Bayelsa State Nigeria

 

 

1-15

2

Shekhar Gupta, B. Saravanan, Mayank Agarwal, G.S. Yadav and Pramod Kumar

 

Hydrogeochemical Constraints on Uranium Solubility and Groundwater Quality in Aquifers of Central and Western Parts of Singhbhum Shear Zone, Jharkhand, India

 

 

16-36

3

Chanchal Shakya, Manish Kumar Pandey and K. N. Prudhvi Raju

 

Institutional Responsibilities to Recharge Ground Water, Need for Policy Implementation: A Case Study of Banaras Hindu University Campus

 

 

37-43

Editorial

Groundwater Modeling and Management: Which approaches are more pertinent?

Vijay P. Singh1 and Mritunjay Kumar Singh2

1Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Groundwater Research

Caroline and William N. Lehrer Distinguished Chair in Water Engineering, Distinguished Professor and Regents Professor

Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering &

Zachry Department of Civil Engineering

Texas A and M University, Scoates Hall, 2117 TAMU

College Station, Texas 77843-2117, U.S.A.

[Email: vsingh@tamu.edu]

 

2Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Groundwater Research

Associate Professor, Department of Applied Mathematics

 Indian Institute of Technology (Indian School of Mines), Dhanbad-826004, Jharkhand, India [Email:drmks29@rediffmail.com]

 

Modeling and management of groundwater in real world is difficult and sometimes quite impossible because of a number of technical as well as non-technical reasons. Groundwater is a precious natural resource and is unevenly distributed across the globe. The supply of and demand for groundwater for various purposes if often out of balance and the imbalance of growing due to over exploitation and uneven rainfall. Therefore, proper management of groundwater is urgently needed, especially in developing countries where monitoring and government controls are often ignored. This will be possible only when policy makers will appreciate the science of groundwater and apply it when formulating policies. Good science and good policy often go hand in hand. The purpose of Journal of Groundwater Research is to promote good science and in turn good policy. 

 

Journal of Groundwater Research

The Journal of Groundwater Research (JGWR) came into existence in December of 2012 under the sponsorship of Association of Global Groundwater Scientists (AGGS). From the beginning, JGWR has been a six-monthly publication but the expectation now is that it will soon become quarterly. It is expected that there will be a number of inquiries from authors whose manuscripts are under review and who would like to know the status of their manuscripts. These authors, readers, as well as other potential contributors would perhaps like to know the procedures that are followed in conducting manuscript reviews for JGWR, and what is being planned and done for improving the reviewing efficiency. At the outset, it may be worthwhile to provide some background information.

 

1.      Editorial Board

JGWR has an editorial board consisting of one editor-in-chief (EIC); one deputy editor-in-chief (DEIC); section editors (SEs) one for each of the following sections: (1) Groundwater Geology and Hydrogeology; (2) Groundwater Prospecting and Exploration, and Aquifer Characterization and Mapping; (3) Groundwater Recharge, Managed Aquifer Recharge, Wells, Well Design and Tube wells; (4) Groundwater Chemistry and Pollution and Solute Transport Modeling; (5) Groundwater Flow Modeling and Ground Water-Surface Water Interaction, Statistics, Probability and Stochastic Processes; and (6) Groundwater Systems Planning and Management, including Ground Water Economics, Politics, and Sociology; and a number of associate editors (AEs) representing different parts of the country. These AEs are distributed amongst academia, government sectors, and the private sector; and they have expertise encompassing virtually the entire spectrum of groundwater science and engineering.

            The EIC bears the ultimate responsibility of accepting or rejecting a submitted paper. Of course, this is based on the recommendations of the concerned SE and AE or DEIC. He is responsible for appointing the editorial board members. He responds to the AGGS Executive Committee on all matters related to JGWR. The DEIC is responsible for developing and maintaining the journal website; developing instructions for preparing articles for submission to JGWR; developing a system for assigning manuscript numbers submitted to AGGS; developing a database of potential reviewers; liaising with the AGGS Executive, EIC, SEs and AEs; recommending potential editorial board members; assisting the EIC in the appointment of board members; soliciting special issues of JGWR; inviting state-of-the art papers from well-known groundwater specialists; soliciting papers for JGWR; working with the SEs and AEs in selecting papers for awards; and so on. He responds to the EIC. The SEs are the people who assign papers to the AEs in their fields for handling reviews. It is the SEs who synthesize the reviews and recommendations on papers received form the AEs and make their recommendations for accepting, revising or rejecting papers. The AEs are the people who have the primary responsibility for handling reviews and making recommendations on accepting, declining or revising individual papers. They also assist the SEs in selecting award winning papers. They help the DEIC in developing the reviewer database. Theirs is perhaps the important job. 

In addition, there is an international board of advisors. These advisors are essentially conscience keepers whose role is to guide the journal and its direction, and to keep it on track. The front of the journal lists the editors and advisors.

 

2.      Instructions for Manuscript Submission and Correspondence

            Instructions for submission of manuscripts are given in abbreviated form in the front of the journal but complete information can be found at web site: http://www.aggs.in. AGGS-JGWR assigns a manuscript number to each manuscript and this is the number that should be used in all correspondence about the manuscript. Also, it is important to note that AGGS-JGWR board communicates with the corresponding author. Therefore, it is advisable if the manuscript has multiple authors that the corresponding author is not switched, without prior notification during the review cycle, because it creates unnecessary confusion. Also a manuscript should be submitted only once, not multiple times.

 

3.      Before Manuscript Review

            When a manuscript is submitted on line, AGGS assigns it a number and acknowledges its receipt and informs EIC and DEIC about its submission. EIC or DEIC reads the manuscript abstract and takes a quick glance at the text, and evaluates if the manuscript is deserving of review. The manuscript may fall in one of the four categories: (1) outside of the scope of the journal, (2) borders on being marginally related to the journal, (3) within the scope of the journal but not prepared following AGGS standards and guidelines, and (4) prepared well enough to warrant review. In the first case, EIC or DEIC decides whether to send the manuscript to AGGS for communication to the manuscript author, stating that the manuscript was not suitable for review.  In the second case EIC either by himself or in consultation with DEIC and an SE determines if the manuscript should go forward for review. Unless the manuscript is on the fringes, its review is conducted as a regular manuscript. EIC, DEIC as well as SEs opine that groundwater hydrology, science and engineering should be as inclusive as possible.

 

4.      Manuscript Review:

The flow of a manuscript is from author to AGGS to EIC to DEIC to SE to AE to reviewers, and reverses when the review is completed. First, consider a case when a manuscript is authored or co-authored by an editorial board member. If a manuscript is authored or co-authored by EIC, then DEIC directly selects an SE or AE to handle the review of the manuscript. Sometimes AGGS selects an SE to conduct the manuscript review. In the entire review process, EIC is treated like any other author and has absolutely no direct or indirect influence on the review or its outcome. Similarly, if an SE authors/co-authors a manuscript, then EIC or DEIC bypasses him and directly selects an AE to handle its review. SE exercises no influence on the manuscript review or outcome thereof. The same process applies to AEs. Every effort is made in all sincerity to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.

In other cases, depending on the subject matter of the manuscript, EIC or DEIC chooses an SE who then selects an AE by matching the AE expertise with the manuscript theme and the work load of the AE. The selected AE seeks at least three reviewers who can provide timely reviews of the manuscript. When reviews are completed, the concerned AE reads and synthesizes them and formulates his or her recommendation for the SE. The recommendation can be “accept as is,” “accept after revision,” “re-review,” “conversion to a technical note and re-review,” or “decline.”  The SE then goes through the reviews and AE’s recommendation, and then develops his own recommendation and transmits all these to EIC. EIC then reads the reviews and recommendation and makes a decision which he sends these to AGGS which then informs the corresponding author and sends reviews and recommendations.

It may be noted that AGGS requires a majority opinion when making a decision. That is, two negative reviews for rejection and two positive reviews for acceptance, and mixed reviews for a decision in between. However, this is not as simple as it appears for several reasons. First, reviewers’ recommendations are not always clear cut and the same may apply to AE’s recommendation and to SE’s recommendation. When making a decision the EIC takes a composite view and digests reviews and recommendations and then makes the final decision. Second, disagreement amongst reviewers, AE, SE and EIC is not uncommon, but ultimately the buck stops at the EIC. Indeed, it frequently happens that an AE disagrees with one or more of the reviewers, the SE disagrees with the AE, and the EIC disagrees with either the AE or the SE or both. In all of this two principal points are never lost sight of. First, the quality of the journal is uppermost in priority. Second, the authors expect a constructive, critical and informative review of high quality. The editors want, in all sincerity, to help the authors improve their papers and present them in publishable form. After all, it is the authors on whose shoulders the journal rests and survives, and knowledge grows. Without them the journal would not survive and the growth of information would cease. Therefore, the authors’ work is held in high esteem, but it must be peer-reviewed and be acceptable to the outside world.

If the decision is re-review, then authors are expected to revise the manuscript and resubmit within an allotted time which is usually a month. Many a time, authors request AGGS to grant an extra time which is almost always approved. In this case, every effort is made to have the same team of reviewers provide the review. Barring a few exceptions, this is the case. Sometimes it may so happen that one or more of the original reviewers may not be willing to provide the review in a timely manner. Then, a decision may be made to seek another review. In the case of another re-review, it is almost always the case that a point-by-point reply to each review comment is required, explaining where and how review comments have been included in the revised manuscript. An important point to be noted here is that sometimes the authors do not pay as close an attention to the review comments as they should. Consequently, when the same reviewers review the revised manuscript, they tend to be even more critical in their review and may recommend “reject.” Thus, it is of utmost importance that the authors do an exceptional job at revising the manuscript following the reviews. In such cases the likelihood of a manuscript being accepted goes significantly high indeed. If there is a disagreement between the author and the reviewers, the author needs to explain and provide a rationale for disagreement. In all this process it is hoped that a sense of professionalism is maintained. Everybody is working for the same larger cause-furtherance of the groundwater science and engineering and hydrology profession-hence there is no room for rancor or back biting.

 

5.      Selection of Reviewers

 The selection of reviewers is one of the most important and key elements in the entire review process for several reasons. First, they are the single most important factor determining the timeliness of the manuscript review. Second, they provide quality, constructive, critical, and insightful review. Therefore, reviews constitute the basis for the recommendations an AE makes and then an SE makes to EIC.  Third, the quality of the journal is significantly influenced by the quality of reviews. In a vast majority of cases, reviewers do an exceptional job, with little appreciation for their hard work. Theirs is truly a labor of love for the profession of groundwater science and hydrology and engineering.

 

6.      Timeliness of Reviews

Timeliness of reviews entails three elements: (1) authors, (2) editors and reviewers, and (3) AGGS. The foregoing discussion outlines the steps involved in the review process. When a manuscript is accepted for publication, the author is asked to prepare the manuscript following AGGS guidelines and supply other associated material. Once AGGS receives everything and accepts the revised manuscript, it makes a determination when to publish it. It is believed that AGGS places it in the queue and publishes it in the order it is received, unless other manuscripts are on a higher priority determined beforehand. This is often decided by the journal’s page budget and its frequency of publication. In the case of JGWR, much improvement would be observed because of the journal is just taking off.

The time it takes for a manuscript from submission to review to revision, if any, to publication can be significant and this can be a cause of great concern to AGGS and all involved. The JGWR editorial board would continually strive to have manuscripts reviewed in time. In many cases one review may delay the entire review time by several months. In such cases, the AE, SE or EIC may end up conducting the third review. Unfortunately, for practical reasons these editors cannot review all papers and must therefore heavily rely on outside reviewers. Thus, reviewers play a key role in maintaining the timeliness of the review process. The principal aim is to provide a timely review and treat the paper with respect and professionalism. The reviewers are requested to provide reviews in a timely and ethical manner.

On the other hand, the authors also need to do their part by preparing the manuscript following AGGS guidelines and submitting quality manuscripts and revisions without delay. In addition, there is an international board of advisors. These advisors are essentially conscience keepers whose role is to guide the journal and its direction, and to keep it on track. The front of the journal lists the editors and advisors. 

AGGS also needs to do whatever it can within its budgetary limitations. It hoped that JGWR would witness a phenomenal growth in the years to come and would be respected throughout the world. It is up to everyone-authors, editors, reviewers, and AGGS staff members-to do their part in nurturing the journal and cultivate a culture of professional excellence. Except for AGGS staff, everyone-authors, editors, and reviewers-are volunteers and contribute to JGWR’s success without expecting anything in return. This volunteerism is a clear manifestation of the love of the profession and a sense of belonging to the AGGS family. Everyone makes his or her mark in a small way and can rest assured that his or her contribution is highly valued.

 

7.      Summation

            The Journal of Ground Water Research is the journal of the entire groundwater community and its members must take ownership of the journal and take pride in it. Information highways have dismantled geographical boundaries, and hence groundwater science knows no borders. People from as far away as Australia, Brazil, China, Canada, Europe, or the U.S. can make as much of a difference as those within India. Editors come and go, but the journal would stay as long as the groundwater community would like it to. Therefore, if any change is deemed then be that change, as Mahatma Gandhi used to say.                                                        

One final note, when soliciting reviews we encourage the reviewers to get registered in the AGGS data base. The editorial board constantly seeks additional reviewers. If anyone is interested in reviewing a manuscript for JGWR, he or she may get himself or herself registered in the data base. To get registered is a painless exercise and does not take more than a few minutes. Alternately, they can contact the EIC or DEIC with information on area of expertise, phone and fax number, e-mail address and affiliation. The EIC’s address and contact information is: Professor Vijay P. Singh, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Texas A and M University, 321 Scoates Hall, 2117 TAMU, College Station, Texas 77843-2117, U.S.A.; Office: (979)-845-7028, Fax: (979)-862-3442; E-mail: vsingh@tamu.edu.

Acknowledgment

 The section editors reviewed the editorial and made many helpful comments. Their assistance is most gratefully acknowledged.