Which SSA Journal Is Right For You?

Whether you’re a new or established author, you may have questions about submitting a paper to the SSA journals. Both BSSA and SRL are international peer-reviewed journals in terms of content, readership and editorial staff. Our website offers detailed submission guidelines for both BSSA and SRL to guide authors, but BSSA Editor-in-Chief Thomas Pratt and SRL Editor-in-Chief Zhigang Peng also have put together a comprehensive list to answer the most important question: Which journal is right for your paper?

BSSA publishes research papers relevant to seismology and seismic hazard analyses, mostly in the form of articles. The journal does publish “Short Notes” with brief topical contributions or commentary on previous research, as well as occasional “Review” articles summarizing important research topics. BSSA also provides a venue for “Comments” and “Replies” on papers published earlier in BSSA.

Pratt lists the kinds of papers that belong in BSSA, including:

  • theoretical seismology
  • seismic wave propagation including development of models and methods for computation and simulation
  • seismic source studies including earthquakes, volcanic, geothermal, and non-earthquake sources (e.g., landslides, explosions)
  • deep Earth structure and dynamics
  • forensic seismology including nuclear explosion monitoring
  • development of new geological or geophysical methods to understand seismicity or seismic hazards
  • use of geological or geophysical methods to understand Earth processes influencing seismicity
  • characterization of fault systems and seismotectonics relevant to understanding seismicity and carrying out seismic hazard assessments
  • development of new instrumentation to study seismicity and earthquake effects
  • investigations of important earthquakes, and earthquake effects such as tsunamis, landslides or damages
  • computer or analog modeling of earthquake processes or effects

BSSA does publish special issues on major recent and historical earthquakes, and input from the community on these issues is welcome.

SRL emphasizes keeping readers current by publishing papers and columns that feature research and informational articles that highlight recent events or topics, and short-format research articles in special Focus Sections about important recent earthquakes and contemporary topics (e.g., induced seismicity, large-N sensors, nuclear tests). SRL also features a subsection that focuses on topics relevant to the seismology of central and eastern North America and intraplate tectonics.

From Peng, here is a closer look at the kinds of papers published in SRL:

  • informal or informational articles about recent earthquakes or new analyses of broad interest to the seismic community
  • documentation of interesting or important observations about damages or effects from significant earthquakes
  • descriptions of, or new information about, historical earthquakes
  • short descriptions or assessments of new instrumentation, methods, and available tools
  • focus sections about important recent earthquakes and contemporary topics (e.g., induced seismicity)

SRL also differs from BSSA in offering a variety of columns, including: Opinion, Electronic Seismologist, EduQuakes, Data Mine and In Memoriam. Brief descriptions of the content for each can be found on the SRL submissions page.

Pratt and Peng do query each other to see if a specific paper might fit better in the other journal. “SRL and BSSA sometimes send papers back and forth, so don’t lose sleep worrying that you sent it to the wrong journal — the editors will move it to the appropriate journal if necessary,” said Pratt. “However, authors can always query the editor of the journal in advance of submission to get advice as to which journal it should go to.”