Judy C. Holoviak

2008 Edward A. Flinn III Award Winner

Judy C. Holoviak received the Flinn Award at the AGU Meeting of the Americas in 2008. The award honors “individuals who personify the Union’s motto ‘unselfish cooperation in research’ through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities.”


One of the most important things on which our research depends is the dissemination of results through high-quality publications. Judy Holoviak is the personification of AGU’s long and successful struggle to build and maintain a stable of the highest-quality scientific journals in the geophysical sciences. In 1964, when Judy joined the staff at AGU, the entire Journal of Geophysical Research consisted of about 5500 pages and fit on a little over a foot of shelf space. By 2000, the year Judy was appointed deputy executive director of AGU, JGR published almost 30,000 pages, Geophysical Research Letters published about 4000 pages, Water Resources Research published about 3700 pages, and “newcomers” on the post-1964 scene each published over half as many pages as did all of JGR in 1964. A lion’s share of the credit for the growth—in the best senses of the word—of AGU publications over the past 50 years goes to Judy Holoviak. She was the single, constant factor in building and maintaining the publications structure at AGU over that time.

Judy continues to provide direction to AGU publications, during the so-called “transition to electronic publishing.” It is clear it was essential that AGU make the transition or risk having its publications become irrelevant. In the 1990s, John Orcutt, then chair of the Publications Committee, worked with Judy to formulate the plans and strategies that would guide AGU in the transition. It is a tribute to Judy’s leadership abilities and dedication to the publishing enterprise that these plans were followed and that we have the relatively stable situation we do today. With Judy’s oversight, AGU is in an excellent position to emerge from the electronic publications chaos that affected the entire scientific publication enterprise over the past decade or so in much the same way as it emerged from the tremendous growth years of the second half of the twentieth century: leading the field.

Judy’s dedication to scientific publishing transcends AGU. She helped to establish the Society for Scholarly Publishing, was president of the organization in 1990–1992, and was founding editor of Scholarly Publishing Today. She has also been president of the Association of Earth Science Editors. She has served on the governing board of the American Institute of Physics (AIP) for many years and has served on and chaired several committees for AIP. Judy has donated time and energy in support of scientific publication broadly, and her achievements have reflected great credit on AGU. Finally, it is noteworthy that an Antarctic glacier was named for Judy in recognition of her publications management activities in support of work in Antarctica.

Judy C. Holoviak is a perfect recipient of the Edward A. Flinn III Award. She is indeed one of “the unsung heroes who provide the ideas, motivation and labors of love that build and maintain the structure without which our science could not flourish.”

—GEORGE M. HORNBERGER, University of Virginia, Charlottesville


I cannot find the words that adequately express the profound gratitude I have for you, the members of AGU, for allowing me to serve you for almost 45 years. I treasure the partnership that has existed between you and your staff at AGU headquarters. The dedication and energy that you have expended on behalf of the worldwide scientific community as you banded together as AGU members is truly amazing. It has been an honor to work with so many hard-working, creative, and dedicated individuals at headquarters. I accept this award not for myself but on behalf of all of the staff members whose efforts over the years have joined with yours in making AGU the dynamic organization that it is today.

—JUDY C. HOLOVIAK, Assistant Executive Director and Director of Publications, AGU