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One Year as Editor of The Planetary Science Journal: An Inside Look at the Publication Process

Last January, Brian Jackson, Associate Professor of Physics at Boise State University and Computing Ph.D. faculty was selected to serve as an Editor for the Planetary Science Journal. Since being elected editor of PSJ, Jackson has edited hundreds of publications on developments, discoveries, and theories in planetary science, all in an effort to investigate the solar system and other planetary systems.

Among the exciting results recently published in The Planetary Science Journal, a recent study entitled “Refining the Transit-timing and Photometric Analysis of TRAPPIST-1” provided profound new insights into one of the closest planetary systems to Earth, TRAPPIST-1 ( This planetary system hosts seven Earth-like planets with three in the habitable zone of their host star, and the new study combined cutting-edge observations and Markov-chain modeling to provide the most accurate measurements of any set of terrestrial planets other than our Solar System —

As science editor, Jackson shepherded this and many other recent publications to press for The Planetary Science Journal. Jackson described the review process that makes PSJ unique: “We default to dual-anonymous review. That means that the authors aren’t told who their referees are AND the referees aren’t told who the authors are. This kind of approach has been shown to reduce implicit bias in the review process and to make the whole publishing experience more equitable.” PSJ has a unique commitment to supporting the work of under-represented groups in our journal.


Here’s how the publication process for The Planetary Science Journal usually works:

  1. A scientist submits an article to be published;
  2. Jackson would agree to serve as the editor for that article;
  3. Jackson puts out a request among colleagues who are knowledgeable in the relevant areas to read and comment on the paper;
  4. After several weeks, Jackson receives the comments, reviews them for appropriateness, relevance, etc., and then forwards them to the authors;
  5. After several more weeks, the authors submit a manuscript revised in response to the referee comments;
  6. These last two steps are repeated until the referees recommend publication of the manuscript;
  7. The last step is to inform the authors and pass the manuscript to the publishing staff.

Jackson found out about the journal through his professional society, the American Astronomical Society’s Division of Planetary Science. “My current contract runs until 2024, and I will likely continue on after that. Computer and data science are becoming more central to planetary sciences, and so the journal will (hopefully) be a venue for impactful work in all those fields.”

If you are interested in checking out the journal or submitting an article, visit: