The new open access journal Frontiers in Earth Sciences recently appeared. Its first published article in the Structural Geology and Tectonics section is an overview piece by Chief Editor Agust Gudmundsson about Great challenges in structural geology and tectonics. The article provides a nice round-up of some basic questions in tectonics that are still not well enough understood and which definitely need to be addressed in the (near) future. It starts from questions which sound easy to be answered (How many tectonic plates are there?), but actually aren’t. Other challenges include energy/driving forces, physical conditions for fault slip and fault creep, the initiation of subduction zones and many more.
I am personally curious about how this journal will perform. Until now, only two great challenges articles were published in the tectonics section and in atmospheric sciences, but I guess more will follow, soon. Frontiers claims to use an innovative and much more effective reviewing system compared to the traditional peer review, and they promise very fast publication. The review shall consist of two stages: a rather classical one and a kind of open discussion as second step. Let’s see how this will work, it reminds me about similar approaches, e.g. for some EGU journals like Biogeosciences. They teamed up with Nature, which could mean that there’s some infrastructure behind. The good thing is that all articles will be open access, but the publication fees might be an obstacle for some researchers. However, they are lower than in some other journals if you go for the open access option. There’s no information about indexing yet. (Or should this be an old-school concept, too?)
What do you think about this attempt?
Gudmundsson A (2013) Great challenges in structural geology and tectonics. Front. Earth Sci. 1:2. doi: 10.3389/feart.2013.00002.