Steven Allison is a microbial and ecosystem ecologist in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Department of Earth System Science at the University of California, Irvine. He recently joined UC Press’s open-access journal Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene as Editor-in-Chief of the journal’s Ecology and Earth Systems knowledge domain.

UC Press: Welcome to Elementa!

Elementa Editor-in-Chief Steve Allison. Image credit: UC Irvine

Steve Allison: Thanks, I am really thrilled to be a part of the journal! It’s a privilege to step into this role where I can shape the direction of a new publication domain that’s really close to my heart. And I’m a big fan of Elementa’s publication model that prioritizes the value of author and reviewer contributions.

UC Press: When Elementa was first launched by BioOne in December 2013, the journal was structured with separate knowledge domains for earth and environmental science and ecology, with separate Editors-in-Chief and separate boards of associate editors. What is the rationale for combining these domains into a single ecology and earth systems domain? What can we expect from the new domain?

Steve Allison: I was excited about combining the domains because these disciplines are becoming so integrated. The merged domain recognizes that human impacts cut across different fields and ecosystems. My vision for the new EES domain is to publish research that combines the traditional “ologies” like ecology and geology with understanding of human impacts in the Anthropocene. I think that interface is really Elementa’s niche. And I’m particularly interested in papers that include perspectives from multiple fields or systems. With our broad scope, we can for example publish papers on movement of elements across the terrestrial-aquatic interface. Great work in those kinds of areas could easily slip through the cracks between traditional, disciplinary journals.

UC Press: You’ve put together a stellar team of 13 associate editors, including Asmeret Asefaw Berhe (soil science and global change, UC Merced), Anna Harper (vegetation in climate change, University of Exeter), Julian Olden (freshwater ecosystems, University of Washington) and Erika Zavaleta (ecology and biological diversity, UC Santa Cruz). What were your goals in assembling your editorial team?

Steve Allison: I am so grateful to this phenomenal group of scientists for signing on! I viewed this EIC position as my chance to assemble a very diverse and forward-looking editorial board. Rarely does one have the opportunity to build the whole editorial team from the ground up. I’ve recruited editors from all the key domain disciplines, but also across different career stages and backgrounds. Individually, they are all top-notch scientists, and collectively they are truly a dream team! I don’t know of any other editorial board like them. They bring tremendous credibility and expertise to the journal.

UC Press: In the aims and scope for your new domain, you highlight the need for original research on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in the context of human impacts on the environment. What kind of papers would you like to see published by Elementa? What should researchers do if they are interested in publishing in your domain?

Steve Allison: I’m very open-minded about the papers we publish. They should of course be substantial contributions to one or more disciplines, but I think the key is that connection to the Anthropocene. Potential authors should ask themselves how their work addresses the environmental grand challenges we face today. The research and the manuscript should both incorporate that context. If authors have any questions about the fit of a paper, they should feel free to contact me or one of the Associate Editors.

Open Science for Public Good.
Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene is a trans-disciplinary, open-access journal committed to the facilitation of collaborative, peer-reviewed research. With the ultimate objective of accelerating scientific solutions to the challenges presented by this era of human impact, it is uniquely structured into distinct knowledge domains, and gives authors the opportunity to publish in one or multiple domains, helping them to present their research and commentary to interested readers from disciplines related to their own.
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Published by University of California Press, Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene was founded by BioOne through a partnership with five research universities: Dartmouth, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Michigan, and the University of Washington.