The June issue of SPEJ contains papers on a wide variety of topics related to the science of petroleum engineering. As usual, most of the papers are related to the porous media aspects of petroleum engineering, but the subjects range from laboratory measurements to simulator method development. Each paper represents a great commitment of time on the part of the authors, reviewers, and editors. Each group, whether of authors, reviewers, or readers, comes to this journal with a set of high expectations that we try to satisfy. This month, I would like to outline some of the primary expectations.
The authors have generally put a large amount of time and effort into the preparation of a manuscript. They expect that their manuscripts will be fairly reviewed, that the reviewers will be unbiased. Authors also have an expectation that the comments and requests for revision will be reasonable and consistent with the focus of SPEJ. (We do not, for example, require demonstrations on field cases for publication.) The authors then generally expect that if they satisfy the requests of the reviewers, their manuscript will be published. It is not surprising that authors take pride in their work, and for most, the publication of the manuscript in SPEJ is a significant accomplishment. For university professors, the importance of timely publications is particularly important and can be critical to a junior-level faculty member who is attempting to get tenure. Timeliness of reviews is an issue with which we struggle. Although I would like to believe that the difficulty is largely attributable to the applied nature of the petroleum engineering field, in reality, timeliness of reviews is an issue with academics as well as with industry employees.
Reviewers expect that authors have familiarized themselves with previous literature when they submit a manuscript. The authors should be familiar with the focus of the journal to which they are submitting. Although petroleum engineering is an applied field, the papers in SPEJ should represent fundamental research in the science of petroleum engineering. This criterion alone accounts for more than half of the initial declines--many papers that are submitted to SPEJ are simply unsuitable because they do not relate to petroleum engineering or because they are routine applications of a previously developed technology. Reviewers also expect that an author would not submit a manuscript containing an error of which they were aware. Reviewing is a voluntary job for which there is no pay, little recognition, and no personal reward other than the reward of occasionally reading some very fine papers in greater depth than is typically possible. As a result, the reviewer expects the author to try to make their job easier by carefully and honestly highlighting changes in their manuscript when it is resubmitted.
Readers should expect that a paper that appears in SPEJ has been thoroughly reviewed so that the conclusions can be trusted, the results are novel, the paper is understandable, and the references are appropriate. For that, we rely on our editorial board and on the reviewers. Our board is somewhat different from the boards of the other SPE technical journals. We have nearly 30 Review Chairs with a range of areas of expertise. All of them are authors and readers in addition to their responsibilities as reviewers and editors. Without the Review Chairs, the journal would not have the reputation that it currently enjoys.
With this issue we acknowledge several changes to the Editorial Board. Santosh Verma (ExxonMobil Upstream Research) and Mike Christie (Heriot-Watt University) have both recently retired after years of valuable service as Review Chairs. Four new Review Chairs have been appointed. Bill Rossen is a professor at Delft University of Technology. He is an expert in many aspects of flow in porous media, with particular focus in the areas of pore-level behavior, EOR, foam, and gasflooding. Srdjan Nesic is a professor at Ohio State University with expertise in corrosion and multiphase flow technology. Ning Liu is a lead reservoir engineer for Chevron Energy Technology Company. Her areas of expertise include uncertainty quantification, experimental design, parameter estimation, history matching, and production optimization. Jing Wan is the Supervisor of the Advanced Well Simulation Section at ExxonMobil Upstream Research. Her areas of technical expertise include reservoir simulation, well-performance analysis, geomechanics, completions design, and upscaling.