Jody Deming is the Karl M. Banse Endowed Professor Emerita of Oceanography at the University of Washington, whose research examines microbial life in extreme oceanic environments with a recent focus on Arctic sea ice and related settings. Professor Deming is the current and founding Editor-in-Chief of the Ocean Science domain of UC Press’s open-access journal Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene. She was recently elected as an American Geophysical Union AGU Fellow for “fascinating discoveries and sustained scientific impact regarding the role of microbial life in the deep sea and in sea ice.”
UC Press: Elementa was founded by BIOONE, and published its first articles ten years ago this month. Congratulations on ten years of Elementa!
JD: Thank you–a decade of Elementa publishing feels terrific! Although the experience has at times been challenging and even daunting, the journey has been an exciting and rewarding one. We were unique from the start, for initiating a non-profit, open-access, university-based journal on Earth’s environments and their sustainability before the for-profit and society-based journals moved in this direction. I think we are still unique for having maintained our non-profit status, our standards, and our dedication to offering authors an affordable and widely available publishing venue for their work, and particularly for work that capitalizes on the dynamic interfaces between disciplines and practices.
UC Press: Over the last decade you’ve published a wealth of ground-breaking and impactful research in Elementa’s Ocean Science domain, including pioneering studies of the Antarctic’s Amundsen Sea (ASPIRE), an examination of climate change impacts on fisheries, a collection of articles from BEPSII researchers investigating biogeochemical exchange processes at sea-ice interfaces, and a special feature on marginal ice zone process in the summertime Arctic. More recently you partnered with Elementa’s Atmospheric Science EIC Detlev Helmig on the highly-cited The Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC). What are some of the highlights from your decade with Elementa? And why is Elementa the right home for this research?
Elementa is the right home for this type of research because we make a special effort to accommodate work that is, by necessity and intent, highly interdisciplinary, including work at the interface of various practices, from science to education and policy. My hope is that this approach influences how others define and pursue critical topics for our collective future.
JD: Each paper published in my domain presents new knowledge to advance our understanding of the ocean, and some have been highly influential, for example “Major impacts of climate change on deep-sea benthic ecosystems.” Over the years, highlights for me are the special features and collections of papers that we’ve published and continue to publish. They allow for individuals and collaborative teams to present their specific findings, all within the context of the larger topic or project. By assembling multiple papers on the same publishing platform, the reader can see how the work of individuals and groups sums to a greater whole. And that greater whole invariably addresses changes to the ocean wrought by collective human activities. Although we’ve featured special collections on mid- and lower-latitudinal regions of the global ocean, including coastal regions, many of the special features in my domain focus on Earth’s polar regions, and especially the Arctic, as it is experiencing the most rapid and dramatic changes. The work we are featuring on the MOSAiC project is a prime example of assembling quality collaborative science focused on these changes. Elementa is the right home for this type of research because we make a special effort to accommodate work that is, by necessity and intent, highly interdisciplinary, including work at the interface of various practices, from science to education and policy. My hope is that this approach influences how others define and pursue critical topics for our collective future.
UC Press: Are there any upcoming Ocean Science special features we should keep a look out for?
JD: Yes, indeed. We will soon be launching a special feature on deep-sea mining, a controversial topic that bears widespread airing before industries from multiple nations engage in irreversible damage to the relatively unknown abyssal seabed. We will also be launching a special feature on the topic of ocean memory. Many systems in the ocean have memory as an essential function, from coral ecosystems, whale feeding strategies, and microbial networks to eddies and ice in the ocean. Our special feature will encourage submissions on both animate and inanimate systems in the ocean, but also works that emerge from the collaborative interface between the sciences–ocean, cognitive, genomic, acoustic, machine-learning–and the arts and humanities. The merging of the two terms, ocean and memory, can be highly evocative at many levels. We wish to capture some of this novelty for our readers and stimulate new ways of reaching a broader audience.
UC Press: As an EIC, you are known for taking a very careful, hands-on approach to the manuscripts submitted to your domain. That said, do you have any advice for researchers who are considering submitting their work to Elementa?
JD: I believe that putting forward one’s work in the clearest, most understandable way possible will best serve the progress of science and society. So, yes, I do spend time to ensure that authors achieve this goal, and particularly early career authors. My advice to those considering a submission to Elementa is to take appropriate time and effort to consider how best to present your work to convey its significance as clearly as possible. I can assure you that reviewers (and all readers) will appreciate the extra effort you make.
UC Press: The American Geophysical Union annual meeting is right around the corner. Before we let you go, we just wanted to mention the very recent election naming you as an AGU Fellow. Congratulations! What does that honor mean to you?
JD: I have spent my career exploring microbial life in the extreme environments of the ocean, from the cold deep sea to the hot deep sea (following the discovery of hydrothermal vents) to the Arctic and its sea-ice cover. Working at these boundaries of the ocean, which has always been exhilarating, sometimes left me feeling peripheral to the larger field of ocean science. Being honored by AGU for my lab’s work puts an end to such feelings. I hope this recognition draws attention to the contributions of the exceptional students with whom I’ve had the privilege to work, and to the increasingly critical need to understand what happens at oceanic boundaries. All realms of the ocean are impacted by climate change, but the deep sea and polar regions are now at high risk. If the ocean science domain at Elementa appears skewed in this direction, it’s for good reason!
UC Press: Thank you so much for all of your contributions to Elementa over the years–and also for just being a lovely person to work with! We look forward to what the future holds for you and for Elementa.
JD: Thank you! Working with our fine staff, fellow editors, authors and reviewers has been such a rewarding experience for me. I am grateful to UC Press for acquiring Elementa and supporting our philosophy to publish on a public-good basis–available freely and immediately to the world. I’m excited to continue bringing new works and special features to our readership.
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.
Impact Factor: 3.9