Reviewer Guidelines for the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS)

Thank you for agreeing to review a manuscript for the Bulletin of the AMS (BAMS). Your recommendations are essential to maintaining the quality of  BAMS and are an important form of feedback for the author(s). Please note, as outlined below, that reviews for BAMS should cover considerations beyond those typical of other AMS journals.

The Editor in Chief and Subject Matter Editor in charge of the manuscript have already deemed the subject matter of this article appropriate for BAMS. Nonetheless, often much work remains to be done to ensure that the manuscript meets the general readability standards for the publication—including length and organization. This often entails substantial editing and revision.

You are an integral part of this editing process. In your review, you are asked to make an evaluation and provide recommendations to

1. Ensure the scientific quality of the manuscript, including figures.
2. Enhance the readability and interest of the article to nonspecialists

In some cases the Editor in Chief or Subject Matter Editor will pose specific requests about these matters for your guidance. With or without such requests, we are looking to make articles accessible to as many AMS members as possible. Our readers are both busy and diverse, so articles should be

  • Clear and concise--as short as possible—in particular in the main text.
  • Accessible to undergraduate science students (sophomore/junior level), at a minimum
  • Interesting and relevant to readers in all of our particular sciences (hydrology, oceanography, and atmospheric sciences), and if possible to educated and influential readers beyond these fields and the sciences

Note that in addition to full Articles, BAMS has several types of shorter submissions. If the manuscript you are reviewing is one of these types, you should take into account the specifics of the submission type:

  • Essays based on experience, opinion, and qualitative or quantitative analysis. These peer-reviewed contributions are designated within the Articles section as a “Forum” selection. They should be less than 5,000 words and average about 3,500 words. Guidelines for reviewing BAMS Essays.
  • In Box is for articles that inform and analyze in a brief, informal mode. The “In” refers to “innovative” and “insight,” not just “informative” and “informal.” In Box articles are limited to roughly 2,500 words.
  • Nowcast is the magazine within the magazine, covering developments in the atmospheric and related sciences and services. Nowcast articles are notable for their simplicity, urgency, or importance, and should promote ideas and good work by being informative.
  • Map Room features interesting forecast situations in relatively straightforward language. The discussion is akin to a “map room” briefing with good visual documentation, with discussion of models where necessary, but with emphasis primarily on concepts: lessons learned or applications of science to everyday or unusual weather scenarios. The articles are usually less than 2,000 words.
  • In Box, Nowcast, and Map Room type submissions all use citations sparingly. The citations are not the linked citation–reference system used by AMS journals and Articles in BAMS; the references are replaced by a brief bibliographical listing called “For Further Reading.” If the author has submitted References in Article format, these will be changed at revision or acceptance.


If you have any questions about BAMS goals and style, check the BAMS Authors page (or request a copy from melissa.fernau@ametsoc.org.) Some basics we hope you will take into account in your review:

  • The main text (not counting abstract and reference) of BAMS Article submissions should average around 4,500 words (about 15 double-spaced manuscript pages). Overall, 7,500 words is a maximum for rare and strongly justified cases.
  • The main text should be the most broadly readable portion of the article. Authors should use appendices, footnotes, and sidebars to help control the length and technical sophistication of the main text. Sidebars are limited to about 500 words.
  • Online appendices are encouraged to help shorten printed portions of articles to a readable length. All parts of the article will be archived online together and are peer reviewed.
  • We encourage active voice in writing; first person where necessary; relatively short paragraphs are helpful.

Your input about these matters is vital.

BAMS aims to be useful to the broad membership of the AMS. As the official organ of the Society, the BAMS is the Society’s scientific and technical news medium. It publishes articles reviewing scientific progress and history; state-of-the-art surveys; correspondence and reports on research needs, programs, and projects; and notes on interesting weather phenomena. The Society's other journals are its scientific media for original research papers, notes, and related correspondence.

Please take the above distinctions into account when you make your recommendations regarding the enclosed manuscript. If you feel strongly that, despite the initial screening by the Editor-in-Chief, the manuscript is better suited to another AMS journal, a recommendation to transfer the paper to the appropriate journal is welcome.

As always, your review should begin with your overall recommendation: Accept as is; accept with Minor Revisions (no need to see the revised manuscript); reconsider after Major Revisions (need to see the revised manuscript); Reject, or Transfer (please specify the appropriate journal if possible).

In your review, please furnish both specific and general criticisms, and suggestions that might be helpful to the editorial board and author (in revising his or her manuscript). Our policy is to withhold a reviewer's identity from the author unless the reviewer explicitly requests identification.

All reviews should be submitted through the Editorial Manager system at http://www.editorialmanager.com/bams/ There you will find spaces for confidential comments to the editor, comments for the author and specific questions to be completed. You will also have the option to upload attachments (your formal review, or an annotated manuscript, for example).


We greatly appreciate your time and effort in preparing the review. Please contact Melissa Fernau in the Bulletin office if you have any questions.

e-mail: melissa.fernau@ametsoc.org

Voice: 617-226-3954