GEM Bylaws

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Revision History:

  • December 13, 2015: Revised reporting requirement for ended Focus Groups (changes marked in blue)


Steering Committee

The GEM Steering Committee (SC) oversees all GEM activities, except funding. The SC consists of the Chair, Chair-elect, 4 science community representatives, the research area coordinators (see below), and the GEM meeting organizer (MO). These are the voting members. A quorum requires the votes (in person or via e-mail) of at least half the voting members and the chair. The chair's vote breaks a tie. Votes per e-mail are permissible and are solicited by the chair. When casting an e-mail vote the voting member should e-mail the vote to all other voting members.

The SC elects a successor when a member, except the chair, rotates out and the SC chair appoints the new member. A new SC chair-elect will be elected by the SC and appointed by the outgoing chair. The chair-elect serves for two years, and after that period automatically becomes the new chair to serve in that capacity for another two years. The science community representatives serve a term of 3 years. Care shall be taken that the voting members cover a broad range of GEM activities and interests and that the terms are staggered to maintain corporate memory.

(transition rule, can be deleted in 2010: In the transition the current chair serves out his term until the completion of the 2009 summer workshop. A chair-elect will be elected at the Fall 2008 SC meeting and appointed by the current chair. (S)he becomes chair at the summer 2009 workshop. At that meeting also a new chair-elect will be elected.)

In addition to the voting members the SC consists of the Student Representative, the GEM communications coordinator(s), liaisons to NASA, NOAA, CEDAR and SHINE, international liaisons, and the GEM program manager.

The GEM meeting organizer (MO) shall keep minutes of the each SC meeting. The minutes, excluding sensitive matters, shall be published in the GEM newsletter in a timely manner. Research Area Coordinators

Research Area Coordinators

Each research area (RA) within GEM has 2 Research Area Coordinators (RACs), who serve a staggered 6 year term. The SC elects Research Area Coordinators which are appointed by the PM. At present there are 5 research areas. However, the SC may change this arrangement:

  1. Dayside, including boundary layers and plasma/energy entry.
  2. Inner magnetosphere and storms.
  3. Tail, including plasma sheet and substorms.
  4. Magnetosphere - ionosphere coupling, aurora.
  5. Global General Circulation Modeling (GGCM)

The general purpose of the GGCM Research Area is to include focus groups that fall into the scope of the GEM program but cross more than one of the other RAs (Dayside, IMS, Tail, and M-I Coupling). GGCM includes developing, validating, and comparing analytic, first-principles numerical, and data-based models of geospace environment that span more than one region and that lead to development of a global description of the geospace. Activities appropriate for GGCM include, but are not limited to, use and development of multiple and/or coupled models or standalone models describing more than one region, designing and implementing "metrics" studies, support and extension of modeling "challenges" from focus groups in this and other research areas, and providing formal partnership with other organizations or institutions that support GGCM-relevant research in collaboration with GEM.

The Research Area Coordinators:

  • Oversee the focus groups under their purview and ensure that the focus groups adhere to the activities spelled out in their proposals. For focus groups that fall under the purview of several RAs all RACs share that responsibility.
  • Ensure that the FG sessions keep formal presentations short and allow sufficient time for discussion. Each FG session should have at least one RAC in attendance who takes notes and reports to the SC and in the GEM newsletter.
  • Report to the SC at the SC meetings on the activities of those focus groups. For focus groups that fall under several RAs the respective RACs decide who should include that focus group in their report.
  • Publish a report on the FG activities in the GEM newsletter within 6 weeks following the summer/fall workshops.
  • Ensure that the FGs under their purview close out in due time and publish a report on their activities and findings in the GEM newsletter no later than 2 months after their final meeting within 5 months after the final Focus Group meeting.
  • Solicit nominations for tutorial speakers from their FGs and invite the tutorial speakers.

Student Represenatives

A new student representative (SR) is elected by the students every year and serves a two year term, overlapping with the term of the previous SR. The SR organizes and runs the student sessions, i.e., talks and tutorials given by students for students, on the day preceeding the summer workshop. (S)he reports to the SC on the student activities. The SR from the previous year advises the currently active SR.

Focus Groups

Focus Groups (FG) are at the heart of GEM. FGs are proposed by the community. The proposal shall be brief, no more than 4 pages (including figures), and must include:

  • An abstract of the Focus Group proposal.
  • A description of the topic.
  • A statement on timeliness of the FG idea.
  • A description of how the FG would relate to existing FGs.
  • A specific goal, that includes a deliverable. Deliverables can be GGCM modules, empirical relations that lead to modules, solutions to specific science problems, challenges, data sets for validation and metrics, or paper collections.
  • The names of the proposed co-chairs.
  • The Research Area with which it will be associated.
  • The term, not more than 5 years.
  • Expected activities, for example topics of WG sessions or challenges.

Focus Groups run for no longer than 5 years. The FG co-chairs are expected to organize sessions at the summer workshop, and, if appropriate, also at the pre-AGU fall workshop. There is no set number of sessions that a FG should organize, but 2-3 sessions is considered to be typical.

The SC issues a call for FG proposals in early Fall of each year, with a deadline the week before the GEM Mini-workshop in December. Proposals will be posted on the web and also be sent to the appropriate Research Area Coordinators. A breakout session at the GEM Mini-workshop will be held to allow proposers to present their proposals. The SC discusses the proposal and votes at its Fall AGU meeting which FGs to implement. The target number of active FGs at any time is ~12. Thus, there will be ~2-3 new FGs selected every year.

During its last year a FG writes a report that briefly outlines its activities, accomplishments, GGCM contributions, and resulting publications. This report is published in the GEM newsletter and also becomes part of the GEM 5-year report.

Every ended FG shall, within 5 months after its final meeting, deliver to its Research Area Coordinators a report that is either ready for publication in the GEMstone Newsletter or in consideration of publication elsewhere. The final report briefly outlines the Focus Group activities, accomplishments, GGCM contributions, and resulting publications, and it will be part of the GEM 5-year report.

Summer Workshop Plenary Tutorials

The student representative invites one tutorial speaker who gives the "student sponsored tutorial." The FG chairs suggest the other speakers for the plenary tutorials at the summer workshop. The area coordinators decide on the invitees.

The Communications Coordinator

The communication's coordinator provides the communication infrastructure for the GEM effort through the following activities:

  • Issues the electronic GEM Messenger containing short news items pertinent to the affairs of GEM. These include working group reports, meeting announcements, calls for participation and similar messages. Requires maintaining an up-to-date mailing list, allowing those listed to remove themselves from list, and maintaining the security of that list so that it is not used by those not associated with GEM or copied by them. This is a mediated newsletter under the active control of an editor who must be fully engaged 365 days a year.
  • Issues the electronic GEMstone containing an annual report on the status of the GEM project, centered on the activities at the annual (summer) meeting. Issued at least once per year, usually no more than twice. Paper copies are available. Uses the GEM Messenger mailing list. This newsletter requires the active collection of information in contrast to the GEM Messenger that responds to member requests for issuance.
  • Maintains the GEM webpage describing the organization, providing access to GEM documents, allowing the posting of tutorial presentations and working group presentations as requested. Allows virtual poster sessions for those not being able to attend GEM although this has not been used much recently. Provides the historical archive of GEM activities.
  • Provides access to data, mainly groundbased magnetometer data, in support of campaigns and general community research. Provides support for campaigns by providing a home for data sets used for joint study. However, as individual groups become more adept and have greater storage capacity themselves, this has become less necessary.
  • Leads the preparation of the seven-year report whenever it is requested. This has happened only once thus far.

The coordinators are selected and funded by peer reviewed proposals to NSF.


  • The GI and the MIC campaigns are dissolved. Their working groups, and the GGCM WGs become focus groups. These FGs should write up a "proposal" that guides their activities in the coming years.
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