Journal cover Journal topic
Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

Manuscript types

In the following, "must" means that the stated actions are required, and the paper cannot be published without them; "should" means that we encourage the action, but papers can still be published if the criteria are not met; "may" means that the action may be carried out by the authors or reviewers, if they so wish.

Inclusion of Code and/or data availability sections is mandatory for all papers and should be located at the end of the article, after the conclusions, and before any appendices or acknowledgements. For more details refer to the code and data policy.

There a six different manuscript types accepted at GMD. During the submission process, authors will need to select the type which most closely matches the aims of their manuscript. The types are:

Updates: Minor version updates or correction of actual errors in a model, model development or experiment protocol should be submitted as a regular submission within one of the standard manuscript types. Authors may request that these form part of a model special issue including the previously published papers.

Model description papers

Model description papers are comprehensive descriptions of numerical models which fall within the scope of GMD. The papers should be detailed, complete, rigorous, and accessible to a wide community of geoscientists. In addition to complete models, this type of paper may also describe model components and modules, as well as frameworks and utility tools used to build practical modelling systems, such as coupling frameworks or other software toolboxes with a geoscientific application. The GMD definition of a numerical model is generous, including statistical models, models derived from data (whether model output or observational data), spreadsheet-based models, box models, 1-dimensional models, through to multi-dimension mechanistic models.

  • The main paper must give the model name and version number (or other unique identifier) in the title.
  • The publication should consist of three parts: the main paper, a user manual, and the source code, ideally supported by some summary outputs from test case simulations.

  • The main paper should describe both the underlying scientific basis and purpose of the model and overview the numerical solutions employed. The scientific goal is reproducibility: ideally, the description should be sufficiently detailed to in principle allow for the re-implementation of the model by others, so all technical details which could substantially affect the numerical output should be described. Any non-peer-reviewed literature on which the publication rests should be uploaded as supplementary information.
  • The model webpage URL, the hardware and software requirements and the license information should be given in the text. If papers are describing subsequent development to a paper already published in GMD, they will be electronically linked to the previous version(s) in a special issue, and an overview webpage will be created.
  • The model description should be contextualised appropriately. For example, the inclusion of discussion of the scope of applicability and limitations of the approach adopted is expected.
  • Examples of model output should be provided, with evaluation against standard benchmarks, observations, and/or other model output included as appropriate. In this respect, authors are expected to distinguish between verification (checking that the chosen equations are solved correctly) and evaluation (assessing whether the model is a good representation of the real system). Where evaluation is very extensive, a separate paper focussed solely on this aspect may be submitted.
  • All papers must include a section, at the end of the paper, entitled "Code availability". Here, either instructions for obtaining the code, or the reasons why the code is not available should be clearly stated. It is preferred for the code to be uploaded as a supplement or to be made available at a data repository with an associated DOI (digital object identifier) for the exact model version described in the paper. Alternatively, for established models, there may be an existing means of accessing the code through a particular system. In this case, there must exist a means of permanently accessing the precise model version described in the paper. In some cases, authors may prefer to put models on their own website, or to act as a point of contact for obtaining the code. Given the impermanence of websites and email addresses, this is not encouraged, and authors should consider improving the availability with a more permanent arrangement. After the paper is accepted the model archive should be updated to include a link to the GMD paper.
  • When copyright or licensing restrictions prevent the public release of model code, or in the cases where there is some other good reason for not allowing public access to the code, topical editors must still be given access to the model code. Access must also be granted to the reviewers whilst preserving their anonymity, if this is legally possible.
  • Although the source code and user manual will not be reviewed formally, the editors and reviewers are free to make general comments on the code if they so wish. During the review process, the ease of model download, compilation and running of test cases may be assessed.

Development and technical papers

These papers describe technical developments relating to model improvements such as the speed or accuracy of numerical integration schemes as well as new parameterisations for processes represented in modules. Also included are papers relating to technical aspects of running models and the reproducibility of results, e.g. assessments of their performance with different compilers, or under different computer architectures. In addition, papers focussing on data assimilation are welcome. Development and technical papers usually include a significant amount of evaluation against standard benchmarks, observations, and/or other model output as appropriate.

In the case where new code is described in the paper, this is subject to the same availability requirements as for complete model descriptions. The code should be made available, and a model availability paragraph must be included.

If the model development relates to a single model then the model name and the version number must be included in the title of the paper. If the main intention of an article is to make a general (i.e. model independent) statement about the usefulness of a new development, but the usefulness is shown with the help of one specific model, the model name and version number must be stated in the title. The title could have a form such as, "Title outlining amazing generic advance: a case study with Model XXX (version Y)".

Methods for assessment of models

Methods for assessment of models include work on developing new metrics for assessing model performance and novel ways of comparing model results with observational data. Also included are discussions of novel methods for data analysis or visualisation with relevance to geoscientific modelling, or the application of existing techniques to this field. These papers may also be theoretical, in which case an example implementation should be provided as supplementary information. They may also be based on the description of a fully fledged software tool.

The process of analysing model output for comparison with data may involve algorithms similar to those implemented in complex numerical models. In these cases, model output is input to another model in order to produce output comparable to observed quantities. Papers describing these algorithms may be submitted as either methods for model assessment or model description papers.

Descriptions of software tools are subject to the same criteria as model descriptions (name and version must be identified in the title, code must be supplied for the peer-review process, etc.), and a code availability paragraph must be included in the manuscript.

Model experiment description papers

Model experiment description papers contain descriptions of standard experiments for a particular type of model, such as might be used in a MIP. Configurations and overview results of individual models can also be included as well as descriptions of the methodology of experimental procedures such as ensemble generation. Such papers should include the discussion of why particular choices were made in the experiment design and sample model output. In the case of papers describing MIPs, they should explain any specific project protocols, should highlight differences in the application of the protocol by the different groups, and should include sufficient descriptions/figures of model results to give an overview of the project. For model experiment description papers, similar version control criteria apply as to model description papers: the experiment protocol should be given a version number; boundary conditions should be given a version number and uploaded or made otherwise available; a data availability paragraph must be included in the manuscript; and links to the GMD paper should be included on the experiment website.Papers describing data sets designed for the support and evaluation of model simulations are within scope. These data sets may be syntheses of data which have been published elsewhere. The data sets must also be made available, and any code used to create the syntheses should also be made available.

Model evaluation papers

Model evaluation is an important component of most GMD papers. Model development papers in particular often include a large proportion of evaluation. Typically, this comprises a comparison of the performance of different model configurations or parameterisations. In some cases, the evaluation is sufficiently substantial that a stand-alone paper is required. In this case it is required that the model, model development, or model experiment has already been described in another paper (or that the description is also under review). The authors should provide the citation of the description paper in the evaluation manuscript itself and also in the letter to the editor when submitting an evaluation manuscript. If the description is in GMD then there is the possibility of linking the papers, either in the form of a companion paper (e.g. Part 1 and Part 2), or as part of a special issue devoted to a particular model or experiment.

It is, however, common for pure evaluation papers to contain substantial conclusions about geoscience rather than about models, and such papers are not suitable for submission to GMD. These are more likely to reach the appropriate audience in those EGU journals which publish scientific results related to the GMD subject areas.

Review and perspective papers

Review and perspective papers summarize the status of knowledge and outline future directions of research within the scope of the journal.

Before preparing and submitting a review article, please contact the executive editors. A code and/or data availability section must be included. By default, the code and data availability requirements for models, experiments, code and data discussed in review papers are the same as for the other paper types, but in some cases deviations from this standard may be appropriate (for example, authors may need to discuss some code or data from external sources, for which they have no means of gaining or granting access). This should be discussed with the executive editors prior to submission of the paper.


Corrigenda correct errors in preceding papers. The manuscript title is as follows: Corrigendum to "TITLE" published in JOURNAL, VOLUME, PAGES, YEAR. Please note that Corrigenda are only possible for final revised journal papers and not for the corresponding discussion paper. Corrigenda should only be used for correcting errors in the papers and not for those occurring in the model development being described.

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