I joined AAPG to build my reference library.
Understanding the role that AAPG and similar organizations would play in my scientific and professional development throughout my career was an appreciation I came to quite a bit later in my journey. No, at first, I joined AAPG to build my collection of Bulletins and get other scientific publications at a discount.
Collecting books was not a new pursuit – I’d been a book-hound since childhood – but in terms of building a professional library, my thesis adviser and first boss after graduate school, Dave Wavrek, served as a role model with his own meticulously curated collection of journals and books.
This was in an age – you know, the early to mid-‘90s – before the Internet was ubiquitous and your only options to finding a reference was to either have it on your own shelf, send a request by mail to the author for a paper reprint, or head to your research library, hoping you could find what you were looking for on the shelves or on microfiche.
Dave was generous with his library. There was an expectation that I’d return an item in the (typically) pristine condition I received it, but otherwise he gave me free rein to explore.
Surveying the peer-reviewed and “gray” literature – reports, survey circulars, and the like – it was clear that he actually read the publications on his shelves, evidenced by the marginalia I found: his own observations and notes captured in fine-point pencil in the margins of papers and chapters. And, as I thumbed the pages, I found my own mind interacting with the material, considering other scientific questions to investigate and papers to write.
Now, truthfully, my track record of pursuing those scientific questions and writing those papers was pretty abysmal.
But working with Dave and my colleagues in the lab, I gained an appreciation for how science advances: we had the main projects we were working on – the pursuits that were paying the bills – and always a few side-projects, too, testing ideas based on curiosity or hunches: doing science. My master’s thesis grew out of one of those side-projects. And, some of them did get written up as papers.
An On-demand Era
Students today do not have the same experience that I had 25 years ago, nor do they have the same expectations.
We live in a world of on-demand access to information, and from a wealth of sources, some more credible than others. Accelerating computational capacity is making possible analysis that was heretofore impossible. And the next generation of scientists and professors are assessing whether the current model of vetting and publishing science suits their needs and interests. These trends and more pressure scholarly publishing to evolve.
I expect these changes will affect AAPG’s publishing activities, too, though it’s not clear precisely how. Still, we are watching and learning, and positioning the organization to continue delivering valuable scientific publications no matter how the publications space evolves.
Speaking of evolution, the market for print books – AAPG Memoirs – continues to shrink, but our response has been to be more selective in the volumes that we print and to offer access through several online portals, including the ability to print-on-demand our back catalog, as well as seeking sponsorship support to underwrite production costs.
In 2017 Bob Merrill, now our elected editor, and past AAPG President Charles Sternbach released the “Giant Fields” volume for 2000 to 2010 (Memoir 113) and they are hard at work on the follow-up volume covering 2011-2020. This long-running series is a great way to stay abreast of the largest discoveries are industry is making.
“Siliciclastic Reservoirs of the Arabian Plate” (Memoir 116) is a new volume published this year, covering one of the most petroliferous regions on the planet, and includes 11 papers from a Geoscience Technology Workshop of the same title held in 2015 in Kuwait.
This year we also partnered with the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology to co-publish “Anatomy of Paleozoic Basin: The Permian Basin,” USA, Volume 1 (Memoir 118), an in-depth analysis of a basin that has transformed U.S. oil production.
AAPG’s scientific publications are overseen by Bob Merrill who succeeded Barry Katz as AAPG’s editor. In this capacity, Bob sits on the Executive Committee, ensuring a strong representative voice for science in the Association’s deliberations. He also interfaces directly with his associate editors, authors, reviewers, and our publications staff to publish these memoirs, as well as the monthly Bulletin.
You’ll be hearing from Bob directly in coming weeks and months with encouragement to get involved by submitting your science to AAPG for publication, reviewing manuscripts to maintain AAPG’s high scientific standards, and participating directly in advancing the science of petroleum geology.
The best way to ensure that AAPG publishes something you’re interested in reading is by submitting a manuscript that fits that criterion.