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Rock Star articles are published by the Geological Society of America in GSA Today. A complete set is maintained at the GSA web side (www.geoscience.org under "History of Geology Division"). Their purpose is to provide a two-page profile of a notable geoscientist whose contributions have influenced the development of our specialty. The emphasis is on their early life, the circumstances of choosing geoscience, and their early career history. The Series is under the supervision of an editorial committee, whose membership is approved by the GSA History and Philosophy of Geology Division. Final copy editing is carried out by GSA editors.
Authors wishing to prepare profiles should first provide a one-page prospectus of the proposed profile, which should be sent to the Chair of the Rock Star editorial committee (Robert Ginsburg: email@example.com ). It will then be circulated to members of the committee for review and approval. The proposal should state why the subject is a suitable Rock Star and what sources are available for the profile (e.g. obituaries, biographies, archive information, etc). Potential Rock Stars should have been deceased for at least ten years, and the emphasis in the series has been on North American geologists. Authors who would like further advice can contact one of the committee members.
These profiles are required to fit into a two-page spread in GSA Today. To keep within those two pages, the character count (available in all word-processing programs) for the text should be approximately 10,000, including spaces between words, and blank space after headers. A profile with two column-width images should be no more than 1700�1800 words, including the title, author�s name and address, acknowledgments, figure captions, and references. For details, see the example calculation in the Appendix. Please include headings in the text, for they make articles more readable.
With the first draft, three or four photographs should be submitted, from which the Committee can choose two. A short (25-word maximum) caption should be included for each illustration. The series is aimed at younger geologists and students in the hope of providing inspiration and role models. Accordingly, preferred photographs are from the early careers of our subjects, and especially ones showing the subject doing something geologic in the field or laboratory. The manuscript should be submitted in electronic form, preferably in Word or rtf (for either Mac or PC). It should be sent as an attachment to Robert N. Ginsburg, Chair of the Editorial Committee ( firstname.lastname@example.org ). For questions about format, contact Kristen Asmus ( KAsmus@geosociety.org ). Kristen supervises the final copy editing for GSA TODAY.
The First Draft:
When a Prospectus has been approved, one committee member is designated as the R-S Editor responsible for that particular MS, and two other committee members are chosen as referees. The R-S Editor can help the author with advice on preparing the draft profile. The author then prepares a draft of the profile and sends it to the chair, who circulates it for comments to all members of the committee. Based on these comments the R-S Editor recommends acceptance, modification or rejection to the chair, who makes the final decision.
The profile should be written in a simple narrative style, and NOT in the style either of a laudatory obituary or of a scholarly article. In most profiles, only one or two references should be listed. Original archival research is not required, but it is certainly welcome. Where a publication or experience was critical in career development and deserves special explanation, help from colleagues may be needed. Authors should give only minimal information about the Star�s administrative positions and awards.
Insofar as possible, authors should try to address the following questions to some extent: What influences in the subject�s family and early life led him/her to science and geology? What were the turning points in his/her development as a geologist? Who influenced him/her? Certainly the profiles should include the signal accomplishments and influences upon colleagues, students, and our science, but these should not be the main focus of the profiles. Some authors have been lucky enough to have found or discovered a �red thread,� or seminal experience, which connects the Star�s life and accomplishments with his or her early life. For example, Darwin�s cruise on the Beagle or Walcott�s fossil collecting. Many of our older Stars lived when geoscience and life were quite different than they are today, and these differences should be explained in terms that younger readers can understand.
After the first draft has been reviewed, but is in revision, the author should obtain copyright releases of illustrations, if required, and include these with the revised manuscript. Photocopies of photographs are acceptable in the review stage of the manuscript, but for publication, photographic prints or computer scans are required.
Most profiles go through more than one draft (three is normal). After the R-S Editor has approved the final draft, he/she informs the chair, and the R-S Editor or author then forwards it to the GSA editor for copy editing.
Prepared by the Rock Star Review Committee (Ginsburg, Dott, Middleton, Bork) November 2005.
GSA Today Manuscript Sizing
The page width of GSA Today is 43 picas (pi); for two columns, each column is 21.5 pi; for three columns, each column is 14 pi. The total height (depth) for two columns is 113 pi; for three columns, 169.5 pi. In the example below, a column-width figure with a height of 28 pi will occupy 28/113 = 0.25 page. The total number of characters (including blank space) per page is 6500. In the example below, the character count was 9600, but 200 more must be added for blank spaces not counted by the word processing software.
Below is an estimated sizing for a typical two-column Rock Stars profile.
(1) 21.5 pi wide � 28 pi high @ 100% = .25
(2) 21.5 pi wide � 28 pi high @ 100% = .25
Total pages for figures: .5
9600 + 200 for extra space around headers, author credits � 6,500 = 1.5
Total pages: 2.0
GSA HPG Division