GEM Bylaws

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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). [See amendment below for additional voting members.] 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.

Amended 2017-Dec-10: The two active student representatives are also voting members of the SC.

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.

Amended 2020: The science community representatives serve a term of 4 years. In case the Chair steps down, the Vice-Chair automatically becomes the new Chair and an Interim Vice-Chair is appointed until a new Vice-Chair is elected by the SC.

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. Amended 2020: The GEM Vice-Chair shall keep minutes of each SC meeting.

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: Amended 2020: The Research Area Coordinators (RACs) serve a staggered 4-year term.

  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 within 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 the 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.

Revised 2020: Publish a report on the FG activities in the electronic GEMstone annually.

  • Ensure that the FGs under their purview close out in due time and publish a report on their activities and findings within 5 months after the final Focus Group meeting. [Revised 2015-Dec-13]
  • Solicit nominations for tutorial speakers from their FGs and invite the tutorial speakers.

Note: Starting from 2014, the names of the five Research Areas are "Solar Wind Magnetosphere Interaction" (SWMI), "Inner Magnetosphere" (IMAG), "Magnetotail and Plasma Sheet" (MPS), "Magnetosphere Ionosphere Coupling" (MIC), and "Global System Modeling" (GSM), following the recommendations by the GEM 2013 White Paper.

Executive Council

In October 2020, the GEM Steering Committee voted to establish an “Executive Council,” a standing committee that consists of three members of the Steering Committee. The purpose is to assist in the governance of GEM during times of crisis or emergency, such as when the Chair and/or Vice-Chair are unavailable. As such, it functions only in an “on-call” or “as-needed” fashion.

The three-person council consists of 5 groupings of the 15 voting members of the Steering Committee that rotates every 6 months, as follows:

  • Group 1 (2020/10/01 – 2021/03/31): RAC-1A + RAC-4B + AL-1
  • Group 2 (2021/04/01 – 2021/09/30): RAC-2A + RAC-5B + AL-2
  • Group 3 (2021/10/01 – 2022/03/31): RAC-3A + RAC-1B + AL-3
  • Group 4 (2022/04/01 – 2022/09/30): RAC-4A + RAC-2B + AL-4
  • Group 5 (2022/10/01 – 2023/03/31): RAC-5A + RAC-3B + MO

RAC=Research Area Coordinator; AL=At-Large; MO=Meeting Organizer

The individual designations (e.g., RAC-4A) are listed in the respective Organization and People sections. When a new Steering Committee member is elected, they take the designation of the member they are replacing. Beginning on 2023/04/01, the 6-month cycle repeats starting with Group 1.

Student Representatives

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 preceding 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 the 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 length of the term, not more than 4 years, and a justification for the term length. [Revised 2019-Aug-23]
  • Expected activities, for example, topics of WG sessions or challenges and approaches to encourage an interactive “GEM-Style” focus group.

Amended 2019-Aug-23: Focus Groups run for up to 4 years. In the fourth year (no later than the Tuesday of the summer workshop), Focus Group leadership may ask the SC to extend to a 5th year. Written justification for the extension shall be submitted to the GEM Chair and Vice-Chair, and it will be considered by the SC.

The FG co-chairs are expected to organize sessions at the summer workshop, and, if appropriate, also at the pre-AGU Mini-GEM workshop. There is no set number of sessions that an FG should organize, but 2-3 sessions are 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 Mini-GEM workshop in December. Amended 2019-Aug-23: Proposals will be sent to the SC. A breakout session at the Mini-GEM workshop will be held to allow proposers to present their proposals. The SC discusses the proposals and votes at its Fall Mini-GEM 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. Amended 2019-Aug-23: After selection, the selected FGs will be given a page on the GEM website where they should post their successful proposal and use for FG activities.

Amended 2015-Dec-13: 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.

Amended 2017-Jun-18: Voting members of the Steering Committee shall not be allowed to be leader of a new FG.

Amended 2017-Jun-18: Steering Committee members that are involved in the leadership of a proposed focus group shall not be present during its discussion and vote.

Amended 2019-Aug-23: Graduate students are not permitted to be a chair or co-chair of a focus group.

Criteria for focus group selection (Added 2019-Aug-23):

Focus groups are selected by the voting members of the Steering Committee following in-depth discussion of each focus group proposal/presentation and a thorough discussion of the merits and weaknesses of each. Steering Committee members have the latitude to make their own determination of which proposal(s) should be selected. However, there are some guiding principles that typically should be taken into account (in no particular order):

  • The scientific merits and timeliness of the proposed research;
  • The fit of the science with the GEM program and GEM priorities;
  • The fit of the focus group with other focus groups;
  • The overlap of the focus group with other focus groups;
  • The deliverables being compelling and realistic;
  • The plans for making the focus group activities interactive and “GEM-style”;
  • The justification for the term;
  • The abilities and experiences of the leadership team to lead a productive focus group.

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 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 the 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.

Amended 2020: After the transition of the GEM Messenger to MailChimp, this is performed by the Vice-Chair or the Chair if the Vice-Chair is not available.

  • 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.

Amended 2020: This is now performed by an at-large SC member.

  • Maintains the GEM web page 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.

Amended 2020: This is now performed by an at-large SC member.

  • Provides access to data, mainly ground-based magnetometer data, in support of campaigns and general community research. Provides support for campaigns by providing a home for data sets used for joint studies. However, as individual groups become more adept and have greater storage capacity themselves, this has become less necessary.

Amended 2020: This is not needed anymore.

  • 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. Amended 2020: This is not the case anymore.