ASCE G-I: Proposed “Journal of Geotechnical Engineering Practice”

Many Geo-Institute (G-I) practitioner members have complained for many years that the Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering (JGGE) is too theoretical and that they do not get much out of it.

Dr. Briaud has requested input on the report in a letter to G-I members. Obviously the charge of the task force is a topic that is of great interest to me, and the lack of available content of relevance to practitioners is one of the main reasons I started In light of that fact, I thought I would very briefly share my thoughts on this issue with the readers of the site.

I must admit that when I initially heard about the task force report, I was strongly in favor of a new practice oriented publication. I feel like every time I pick up the JGGE I am hard pressed to find something I can use in my practice. Interesting papers? Yes. Potential for application in the long term? Certainly. But rarely something I feel like I can start using right away.

But the more I read in the report, the more I thought a “Journal of Geotechnical Engineering Practice” likely would never work. The main problem as I see it is that practitioners are just too busy to publish, and what is the incentive by employers for them to do so anyway? Contrast that with those in academic circles where it’s “publish or perish” and they pay for you to attend conferences to present.

I agree with the task force that there are some good practice oriented papers and articles that come out in the geotechnical special publications and Geo-Strata. Not to mention that other publications like Foundation Drilling Magazine by ADSC and Pile Driver Magazine by PDCA always have some good case-studies, project profiles and other content relevant to practitioners. And I think the G-I is nervous about doing anything that might harm the subscriptions and ultimately a major source of revenue, and rightly so.

So as much as I’d like to see an entire journal dedicated to practice oriented publications, I don’t think it’s likely to happen. Perhaps over time I’ll work closer to my goal of making the premier source for online content for geotechs and geoengineers in practice and work towards filling that gap for content-hungry practitioners.