Why should authors publish with Elementa? Ecology Associate Editor Jessica Hellmann provides insights…


“Researchers should publish in Elementa if they want their work to have the seal of scientific approval – of peer review – and they want their work to reach as many potential users and consumers as possible.”


Please tell us a little bit about your position at the University of Notre Dame and your areas of research.

I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame. I also lead the Climate Change Research Program in the Environmental Change Initiative, an interdisciplinary institute at Notre Dame focused on “science serving society.” My long-term research interest–and the foundation of my research program–is organismal biology and ecology. My students and I study how climate and other human-caused environmental change affects species and ecosystems. We also work hard to see our science used to design sound strategies for managing nature. I also engage in research involving climate science, political science, and economics. For example, members of my group are studying how to make better climate models for local and regional resource planning. And we are building innovative tools for climate change adaptation including an index that ranks countries for how prepared they are to deal with climate change and an online community where researchers and managers can design management strategies for climate change.


Why did you decide to become an Associate Editor for Elementa’s Ecology domain?

I decided to join Elementa on the advice of its fearless Ecology leader, Don Zak. I knew when Dr. Zak was joining the project that the journal would be well-managed and its objectives were well-crafted. The editorial board in ecology also is very strong, and I’m honored to be in good company.


Why do you believe research surrounding human/nature interactions within the epoch of the Anthropocene to be of significance?

We are living in an era of unprecedented change. Some of this change is positive, extending human life and expanding our understanding of the universe, for example. But some of the change has dangerous side effects, undermining the fabric of life on which humanity depends. It is difficult to know which solutions can reduce the side effects, which insights are the ones to convert side effects into sources of good. We need to stimulate research in many directions and provide new ways of putting that science in the hands of people who need it. I’m not so naive as to think that science alone can solve all of humanity’s challenges, but I do know that it’s an essential ingredient.


Are you an advocate of open access?  If so, why?

I think that open access can be important and transformative when done well. We need scientific information that is accessible in all corners of the world, in the places where innovators need insight to take action. But we also need to make sure that information is well-vetted and up to the standards of modern science. In this era of social networking and widespread Internet distribution of information–and disinformation–we need venues that are both accessible *and* trustworthy.


Do you think it is important that Elementa is a nonprofit publication?  If so, why?

The fact that Elementa is non-profit helps it achieve the virtues of open access, broad accessibility and high quality. A number of for-profit entities have blazed the trail of open access, but now is the time for a non-profit, community-driven venue that is open access.


Why do you think researchers should consider publishing in Elementa?

Researchers should publish in Elementa if they want their work to have the seal of scientific approval – of peer review – and they want their work to reach as many potential users and consumers as possible.