September 2019 OES Beacon

Earthzine reboots activities

Hari Vishnu, Earthzine Editor-in Chief      

Earthzine is the science outreach e-magazine of the Oceanic Engineering Society, providing up-to-date information on Earth observation science and technology, and those contributing to its advancement. Oceans and other water bodies that cover a large portion of Earth are intuitively a key component of our coverage.

Earlier this year at OCEANS Marseille, I was appointed as the new Editor of Earthzine. My name is Hari Vishnu, and I am currently a Research Fellow at the Acoustic Research Laboratory in the National University of Singapore. The title of Earthzine Editor comes with great responsibility, and also the power to make a great impact on society. It is something I have always wanted to do, and I hope I do justice to this prestigious position. I have often felt that good science and research is not enough in isolation – it must translate into impact on the common man/woman and to the leaders of society, and thereby translate into policy and action. And it is our intention for Earthzine to fill this role.

The Earthzine team members who were able to make it to OCEANS Marseille.

I thank the OES Administrative Committee and the Earthzine board-of-directors for reposing their trust in me for the job. I also thank my mentors who helped me learn and become what I am, including but not limited to my colleagues at the IEEE OES Singapore chapter. A bunch of thanks to Brandy Armstrong who managed the publication in its interim period, brought a large energetic bunch of volunteers on board to get things running and played a pivotal role in hatching the magazine into its new form. I also thank our webmaster, Rajat Mishra, for optimizing, updating and maintaining the cool new website for Earthzine. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s here: . Go check it out!

Earthzine boasts a good coverage with a large readership. Our new website has been seeing increasing activity over the last few months. Earthzine was previously run under funding from NASA as a grant to the Group on Earth observations. We have ported the existing legacy articles from our previous system and made this large historical set of articles accessible to readers. Some website revamp activities remain to be done to clean up the website, but we are working to ensure these are done soon. We have also been getting excellent coverage on our social media channels (Facebook Earthzine and Twitter @earthzine), which will go towards promoting our reach further. So, things are looking good.

For readers, Earthzine aims to become an online source for news, articles, information and educational materials about Earth and Ocean science. We will have science communications, and articles covering scientific events and people involved. We will also have technical coverage of Earth and Ocean science-related events such as robotics competitions and conferences, with an aim to spread this information to the common man/woman. As one of our AdCom members put it, while our OES publication Beacon is the society’s primary promotional product and an inward-looking publication with extensive coverage of society activities, Earthzine aims to become more outward-facing and reach out to a common reader with more general information. We write for readers who are not necessarily experts on Earth/Ocean sciences, and focus on the learning experience involved. We hope to do justice to our large reader base by continuing to bring out quality articles henceforth.

Readers need no introduction to the IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering (JOE) run by OES, which publishes technically peer-reviewed technical articles pertinent to this field. We see Earthzine as complementary to the JOE and envision a good Earthzine-JOE synergy. Authors publishing articles in JOE can use Earthzine to make the research accessible to a general reader, and enhance the impact and visibility of their publications. They can do this by submitting Earthzine articles that summarize and interpret their JOE articles. Earthzine articles are carefully edited for readability by a general reader, but not peer-reviewed for technical content.

Page views on Earthzine website. We have been getting a large number of page views since the new site was launched in Sep. 2018. As of July 2019, we have roughly 8000 views per month, at the rate of 3 pages per visit. Obviously there’s a long way to go, but it’s been a great start.

For writers: Here’s my pitch on why you should write for Earthzine:

  • Ideal medium to get others excited about what science you do and how it impacts them.
  • Good addendum to your published technical papers so that the research is accessible to a wider audience.
  • Increase the impact of your research. Fulfill funding application open-access requirements and improve your citations.
  • Great way to give back to the community by sharing your learning and expertise with the rest of the wider world.
  • Improves your writing skills, which is helpful for all types of careers.
  • Explaining research to a general reader helps to clarify your thought process and fine-tune your pitches.
  • Get a boost on your CV, show-off your writing skills to potential employers. We can provide authors with performance statistics such as number of reads and geographic readership to help you advertise the potential of your writing.
  • Earthzine articles will be further shared and publicized via our social media outreach portals, getting a larger visibility.

To submit, head over to our submission portal and get started!