Associate Editor Lisa A. Miller explains more about her support for Elementa


Elementa has the potential to be a really valuable resource to both the scientific community and the public, including policy-makers.”


Please tell us a little bit about your position and your areas of research.

I am a chemical oceanographer and Climate Geochemist with the Canadian ministry of Fisheries and Oceans. My research focusses on the air-sea exchange of climatically-active substances, mainly carbon dioxide, but also organic aerosols. I look at how climate impacts the oceanic production and release (versus consumption and absorption) of atmospheric carbon dioxide, and how those processes feed back onto the climate system. This involves the study of biogeochemical processes controlling not only concentrations within the water, but also the actual transport across the air-sea interface, and much of my work has been focused on the biogeochemistry of sea ice and the sea-surface microlayer. 


Why did you decide to become an Associate Editor for Elementa‘s Ocean Science domain?

Jody’s description of the plans for Elementa made it sound like a very worthwhile and interesting endeavor, and I knew that she would be a very good person to work with on this.


What are your thoughts on the quality of the Ocean Science articles already published in Elementa?

I have been very impressed by the quality of the articles, so far. Of course, having had a hand in assuring the quality of those articles, I’m biased…. 


Is it important to you that Elementa is a multidisciplinary journal?

This has proven to be more valuable than I had anticipated. At first, I was disturbed that the articles are being mixed in the list on the website – in most multidisciplinary journals, I usually find that articles outside my immediate fields of interest are too esoteric, and it’s oppressive to have to wade through their titles to find the papers that interest me. However, with Elementa, as more papers have accrued, I have found that I really appreciate having the articles mixed, because so many of them actually are clearly relevant beyond their domains and into mine. I’ve been surprised by how many of the articles from outside the Oceans domain I open and peruse.


Why do you believe that research surrounding human impacts on the atmosphere within the epoch of the Anthropocene to be of significance?

With the possible exception of the search for a cure for cancer, this may be the single most important scientific problem facing our era. Again, I’m biased – it’s what I study, and I wouldn’t be doing it, if I didn’t think it was important. However, it is true that human impacts on the Earth system have the potential to influence nearly every aspect of human experience through climate and health, and our understanding of this complex system is still only rudimentary.


What are your thoughts on the importance of open access journals?

I think this is very important, and not just for scientists working in small institutes in developing countries that cannot afford many journal subscriptions. I do not know how much the general population, interested amateurs or ‘lay scientists’, are actually reading open-access scientific journals. However, from my apocrophyl perspective, it seems that people are becoming more scientifically literate, and it’s hopefully valuable for solid, peer-reviewed science to be available to anyone with the motivation to dig and try to understand these things. Of course, there’s a risk with that – we’ve heard way too many stories in recent years in which a little bit of knowledge in public gadflies has created tremendous difficulty for some climate scientists, but that’s a risk we have to learn to live with and manage.


Do you think it is important that Elementa is a nonprofit publication?

Yes, I do believe that is very important to helping keep publication costs down for individual scientists. Particularly during this period of transition in scientific publishing, there is still a problematic disconnect between the institutional budgets that support publishing. With the rise of open-access journals, libraries are saving money in subscription fees, while individual scientists are having to pay higher publication fees. However, few institutions have figured out how to apply the savings in one area to the higher costs in the other, and some fundamental financial restructuring is necessary. In the meantime, journals like Elementa, that aren’t trying to actually make money out of all this, really help.


Why do you believe that colleagues should consider submitting their papers to Elementa?

I do think that Elementa has the potential to be a really valuable resource to both the scientific community and the public, including policy-makers. We have some distance to go, before we get there, but we’re on the correct path. Unlike many new journals that have arisen over the last decade, journals where none of the names of the editors are recognizable, Elementa is, indeed, a real journal, being edited by real scientists, and we are publishing high-quality papers of broad significance. I understand why some of my colleagues are hesitant to let their students submit to Elementa – it’s not yet clear that we will indeed ‘take’ and become the force we hope to be. However, we are attracting papers from established scientists with substantial stature, and that bodes well for our future. As long as we keep up the hard work.


Associate Editor Samuel Oltmans tells us about his experiences in the Atmospheric Science field


“The atmosphere is the place where many of us probably see most dramatically a number of the impacts of human activity in, for example, climate change and degraded air quality.”

 Please tell us a little bit about your position and your areas of research.

I currently have a research position with the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), which is a joint enterprise between NOAA and the University of Colorado. Many of my colleagues while I worked at NOAA were affiliated with CIRES. Much of my current research is an extension of research I was associated with when I was at NOAA. Broadly, my research has focused on atmospheric composition and how changes in this composition have changed both due to human activity and natural atmospheric cycles. Long term measurements of atmospheric constituents, especially ozone, and the interpretation of those measurements have been the focus of my career. My largest contribution has probably been in the understanding of tropospheric ozone particularly, in the “background” atmosphere, with an emphasis on longer-term changes. Stratospheric ozone and water vapor measurements also were topics of significant interest. I began my career measuring stratospheric ozone before depletion of ozone was even considered as a possibility. I have had the opportunity to actively participate in the understanding of this human-caused environmental impact on the atmosphere and to see steps taken to overcome the unforeseen consequences of uncontrolled use of the atmosphere as a dumping ground. Currently my focus has been on the impacts of oil and gas extraction on air quality, again with a focus on ozone formation from ozone precursor emitted during exploration and extraction activity.


Your record of scientific achievements is very impressive, having published more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles over more than 40 years.  Why did you decide to follow this invitation to become an Associate Editor for Elementa’s Atmospheric Science domain at this stage of your career?

An important factor was the encouragement of the Atmospheric Science domain Editor-in-Chief, Detlev Helmig. We have worked together on a number of research projects and I wanted to support him in his role as an Elementa editor. Also with open access publishing becoming an important avenue for sharing the results of scientific research, I wanted to be associated with a publication that was focused broadly on environmental change, but also one that captured individual areas of research so that researchers in the area of atmospheric science would see this as a place to go both to read and publish important new research results.


Why do you believe research surrounding human impacts on the atmosphere within the epoch of the Anthropocene to be of significance?

The atmosphere is the place where many of us probably see most dramatically a number of the impacts of human activity in, for example, climate change and degraded air quality. In a study I am currently working on in the Uintah Basin of Utah, ozone levels and methane concentrations have been measured that are not seen even in some of the most polluted urban areas. Understanding the causes and solutions to problems like these are of great societal importance.


Throughout your career you probably have seen a number of models and transitions in scientific publication.  How did this shape your feeling about open access publishing?

Both in terms of how manuscripts were prepared and the way they were published have changed dramatically. The change to open access publishing has been the most recent change and adapting to it like other changes requires a shift in the way I have become used to doing things. This will be right up there with the shift from a paper-based publication process to the current primarily digital process of both manuscript submission and publication. Adapting to the open access format is part of staying relevant and expanding opportunities for making ones research available to as wide an audience as possible.


You have been working as a US government, (i.e. publicly funded) researcher for most of your life.  Have you seen differences in how government, university, or private industry scientists pursue the publishing of their work?

Up to this point my perception has been that in the atmospheric science field there has not been as strong a push or requirement to publish in an open access format. There has been a much stronger emphasis and even requirement in the biological/medical related research areas toward open access. Because of the cost of journal subscriptions and the pressure this puts on research and academic institution libraries there will definitely be encouragement to use open access publishing. Government funded research publication will be more broadly pushed in this direction both to control costs and to keep from giving the perception that government funded research is enhancing the coffers of a for profit business.


Do you think it is important that Elementa is a nonprofit publication and how do you foresee that this publication model will affect your colleagues from these different sectors?

I think most researchers want to see their work have as broad an impact as possible. This has traditionally meant that for profit publishers like Nature have been venues that carry a particular status. Publications of professional societies like the American Geophysical Union or the American Meteorological Society where I have published are seen as less profit motivated. My hope is that as a nonprofit Elementa will have a particular place among open access journals that will achieve recognition since much of the proliferation of open access publication appears to be associated with for profit publishers.


Why do you think researchers should consider publishing in Elementa?

It is exciting to be part of a new enterprise and help shape its direction. A focus on providing strong credibility for the quality of the research that is published with respected editors and a commitment to quality peer-review will help build the reputation of Elementa. Also as I mentioned earlier, having both a broad environmental perspective and focused discipline domains is attractive for publication of papers with a range of audience interests.

Earth and Environmental Science Associate Editor John Geissman shares his thoughts on Elementa

“The more that we understand the details of how
we are and will continue to influence natural
processes, the better we will be positioned to make
rational decisions concerning proper courses of action.” –John Geissman

You have been very active in professional societies, can you tell us about some of your roles over the years?

I have had the great fortune to be involved in numerous activities with both the Geological Society of America and the American Geophysical Union, as well as, more recently, the Council of Scientific Society Presidents.  I was President of the Geological Society of America in 2011-2012, and, by implication, very involved in the Society leading up to that time, including being Editor of the Bulletin of the Geological Society of America for seven years and Chair of the Publications Committee for several years.  I was the Editor of Eos, the weekly newsjournal of the American Geophysical Union for almost ten years.  I have been Associate Editor for the Journal of Geophysical Research and Tectonics for a combined length of over ten years and, effective 1 December, 2013, will be Editor in Chief of Tectonics.  One of my most enjoyable and rewarding experiences was chairing the committee to craft AGU’s position statement on creationism and the teaching of evolution and the history of Earth.


Why did you agree to become an Associate Editor for Elementa’s Earth and Environmental Science domain?

I heard Elementa described by a representative from BioOne at the Spring Meeting of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents.  I fell in love with the concept, and learned that Joel Blum and Don Zak, both dear friends of mine, were Editors for the journal and immediately contacted Joel and literally begged to be an Associate Editor.  So, in this case I was overtly proactive!


Why do you believe research surrounding the influence of humans on natural processes within the epoch of the Anthropocene to be of significance?

I have a tendency to be pretty blunt.  The influence of humans on natural processes is a solid, uncontroversial fact.  The more that we understand the details of how we are and will continue to influence natural processes, the better we will be positioned to make rational decisions concerning proper courses of action.  That said, recent history has provided a strong basis for great concern whether individuals in positions of authority, in many countries, are capable of making sound decisions in a timely fashion, and that is clearly what we need, now!


Are you an advocate of open access?

Yes, I am an advocate, but I also understand the many complexities and likely consequences of open access, particularly the potentially huge effects on professional scientific societies.  I hope that reasonable financial models, which ideally will include greater government support for science research, can be developed in the very near future.  When I was the Chair of the Publications Committee for the Geological Society of America, one task that I and the director of Publications undertook was to determine the approximate cost of a paper in Geology (four pages in length) if it went (Gold) open access.  We estimated a cost of $2500 and we were able to convince Council that allowing authors to have their papers go open access in this well-respected Journal was a very good thing.  That was over six years ago.  The number of open access papers in Geology increases yearly.


Do you think it is important that Elementa is a nonprofit publication?

Yes.  I have never been a fan of huge for-profit publishers of science.  Most have taxed the system in a very painful way.  The more opportunities scientists have to publish their contributions in nonprofit journals, the better.  Elementa provides a very important venue for scholars addressing a range of topics that are important to society, right now.


Why do you think researchers should consider publishing in Elementa?

As above, Elementa, by design, is attractive to a broad array of researchers. I believe that it has an exciting future.  I am reviewing my first paper right now, and if this is exemplative  of the contributions to the journal, it should be off to an excellent start!

Why is Elementa important for Ocean Scientists? Jody Deming explains…

Jody Deming, Editor-in-Chief of Ocean Science, shares her thoughts on joining Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene.

What specific research are you currently involved with?

I am currently at the start of a 5-year international collaboration, involving Canadian, Greenlandic, and Danish scientists, that focuses on carbon cycling and transport between ocean, sea ice, snow and atmosphere in the Arctic as linked to climate change. My specific research contributions target the microbial use and respiration of various compounds produced in response to the seasonal extremes in temperature and salinity that characterize the ice and environs, using observational, experimental, and genomic approaches. We are also working on problems related to carbon flux to depth in the Arctic Ocean and on the ability of microbial inhabitants of cold waters to facilitate in situ bioremediation of organic pollutants.


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

We are integral components of the natural planetary ecosystem, with an ability to change this system in unprecedented ways.  As we alter the very habitat on which we depend, our ability to adapt to new conditions will determine the continued success of our species.  Research yields the knowledge essential to our ability to make effective decisions and our ability to adapt.


Which research within oceanography were you particularly impressed by in 2012?

Observational research demonstrating the dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice that continues to outpace model predictions; and the continued discovery of new species and biological processes in the ocean.


What are the main research themes you see as rapidly gaining in popularity within oceanography?

Most of these are continuing themes, but research efforts will accelerate:

  • Occurrence and impacts of extreme events emanating from the ocean, including glacial calving/melting into it, associated sea level rise, intense storms, harmful algal blooms, and oil spills
  • Impacts of sea-ice loss on marine ecosystems and human societies not only of the north but also at lower latitudes and globally
  • Passage of thresholds in temperature, pH, oxygen, and other environmental factors in the ocean, leading to shifts or losses in biodiversity and to new understanding at the genetic and mechanistic levels of biological adaptation to change
  • Alterations in the circulation of water masses and the nutrients and biota they carry, leading to ecosystem shifts
  • Discovery of new species, processes, and phenomena in the ocean that fuel imagination and innovation
  • Development and application of approaches for prioritizing and valuing services provided by the ocean and the inextricable links we have to it
  • Further probing of the history of Earth’s ocean that instructs the present and future
  • Discovery related to other oceans in the solar system, that both humble and excite the human spirit

Why do you believe Elementa to be an important new journal that researchers should be interested to publish in?

We are past the hour to bring rigorously obtained knowledge of the environment and our interactions with it as directly into the mainstream of local and global thinking as possible.  Publish in Elementa to play your part in this urgent societal goal and fully value your role as a researcher in generating new knowledge.  Make the results of your labor and insight available to the global community, freely and immediately.  Help to educate and, in turn, to advance effective decision-making and problem-solving.  Retain intellectual ownership (copyright) throughout the process.  Publish in Elementa with confidence that your work will be handled objectively and expeditiously by editors committed to the highest of academic standards, editors who will not claim the ability to pre-judge the value of the work or require that it to be reduced to a “soundbite.”


Why do you believe that open access is important?

In addition to my previous comments, I feel strongly about listening to the next generation of scientists who, in my experience as a professor, already find open access to be an essential aspect of the scientific endeavor.  They do not find it sufficient for scientists to reach each other through established journals and scientific societies, or for scientific knowledge to concentrate within wealthier societies.  Open access should not be some expensive option available only to those who can afford it.  High quality science needs trusted venues to distribute knowledge freely and globally.  Elementa’s Ocean Science domain will provide this venue for the ocean domain of environmental science.


What does your role as Editor-in-Chief involve?

My role involves engaging editors who share the overall vision of Elementa and are excited to join the open-access approach to publication of high-quality work in ocean science.  I will be working to develop a domain-specific vision based on the belief that fundamental research leads not only to new understanding but also to more effective decision-making and problem-solving, as human impacts on the ocean and the planet continue to increase.  I will actively welcome submissions that break new ground in ocean science, especially at the interface between the oceanographic subdisciplines and with other domains of Elementa, including social sciences and policy-making, for we need a merging of all of these approaches to help meet the urgent needs of human society.  Believing in the written word, I will work to ensure high quality communication of the submissions accepted for publication.

How can open access help Sustainable Engineering research? Michael E. Chang shares his views…


Michael E. Chang, Editor-in-Chief of Elementa’s Sustainable Engineering domain, shares thoughts on recent developments within the field, on joining Elementa, and on open access.

What specific research are you currently involved with?

My research has focused on urban and regional air quality. As air is a dynamic medium that crosses geographical, political, and physical boundaries, and as air quality affects and is affected by nearly every activity, process, and living organism, my past work has provided me a good platform for witnessing firsthand the challenges of sustainability and the need for multi-disciplinary collaborations. This work directly led to my current position as the Deputy Director of the Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems at Georgia Tech. In this role, I help develop and support teams of engineers, natural scientists, social scientists, and others to address the most intransigent and “wicked” problems of our time such as climate change, urbanization, and resource management.


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

There are so many reasons, and everyone has their own. I recently read one from the perspective of the United States’ national security.

“The strategic landscape of the 21st Century has finally come into focus. The great global project is no longer to stop communism, to counter terrorists, nor to promote a superficial notion of freedom. Rather, the world must accommodate three billion additional middle class aspirants in 20 short years without tipping the system into a spiral of resource wars, traditionalist insurgencies, and devastation of the planet’s ecosystems.”

(Doherty, Patrick; “Working Paper: Grand Strategy of the United States of America;” New America Foundation, National Security Studies Program; November 2012.)

While the first half of this statement might certainly vary from one nation’s perspective to the next, the second half is universal. As all of our economic and ecological futures are now irreversibly and globally connected, it is vital that we understand how this massively complex, hybrid natural-human system works, and how we, as the newly ordained greatest agents of change, are changing it, intentionally and otherwise.


Which research within Sustainable Engineering were you particularly impressed by in 2012?

The most notable recent advance in engineering research has not necessarily been a significant finding or innovation, but instead concerns the process of research itself. Within the last year the power of partnerships has become most evident. At the National Science Foundation for example, the SEES program (Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability), and the nearly $1B in FY12 NSF-wide investments that have accompanied it, is challenging teams of investigators to work more closely with businesses, industries, governments, and communities to address issues of the environment-energy-society nexus. On a more local level, the City of New York, New York University and NYU-Poly formed the Center for Urban Science and Progress to address “the grand technical, intellectual, engineering, academic, and human challenges posed by a rapidly urbanizing world.” They have enlisted a consortium of other universities and international technology companies to form a “new kind of academic center that functions in collaboration with the city itself.” These and many other partnerships that are springing up both big and small, stand to transform not just the solutions that are provided, but the way that the problems themselves are formulated. These initiatives are also diversifying the research practice so that not only is the face of engineering changing, but so are the faces in engineering. With these kinds of new partnerships coming to fruition, 2012 very well may be seen as a tipping point in sustainable engineering research.


What are the main research themes you see as rapidly gaining in popularity within Sustainable Engineering?
  • Sustainable Energy
  • Sustainable Transportation
  • Sustainable Manufacturing
  • Sustainable Water Resources and Treatment
  • Industrial Ecology
  • Urban Ecology
  • Infrastructure for the Developing World
  • Design for the Environment and Bio-inspired Design
  • Sustainable Materials and their Management
  • Sustainable Systems


Why do you believe Elementa to be an important new journal that researchers should be interested to publish in?

What first attracted me to Elementa was the vision of the founders to rethink and redesign the very fundamental nature of academic publishing. As the longstanding traditional media is currently undergoing seismic transformations in the way it gathers information, processes and edits it, and disseminates it to its readers, it would be naïve to continue believing that science publishing could remain untouched. Rather than the superficial changes that traditional analog publishers are pursuing to try to meet the new demands of a digital and hyperconnected market, Elementa is a whole new re-engineering of the publishing system. From open access to dissemination via social media (that is also becoming increasingly mobile) to the business model of publishing to the metrics we use to measure impact, Elementa is a ground-up reinvention of the way the research community communicates even as it holds onto the requirement of rigor in peer review. And given these changes, it is wholly appropriate then that Elementa is about the Science of the Anthropocene. The speed and magnitude of change occurring in the publishing paradigm is an excellent metaphor for the speed and magnitude of change occurring on the planet. New challenges call for new solutions. Elementa is the right publishing platform moving forward. I’m not convinced that the old platforms will survive the transition.


Why do you believe that open access is important?

First and foremost, open access is good for science in society. In an age of growing skepticism and cynicism, open access throws open the doors of the scientific enterprise and allows anyone and everyone a firsthand view of the primary products of research – much of it funded with public resources. In removing the barriers to access, trust and confidence is restored and maintained. Second, open access is good for the advancement of science. More eyes mean more critical reviews which can lead to faster and more profound confirmations of nascent theories and ideas and their further development, or the swift and decisive refutations of false truths and the extinction of their lines. Third, open access is good for the corporeal ventures of research. Universities, national laboratories, and the private sector’s R&D labs are all struggling to keep up with the escalating costs of maintaining libraries for their constituencies at a time when scientific publications are proliferating. Open access creates a new and sustainable economic model for libraries. Finally, open access is good for individual and team investigators. In its most open and accessible form, copyright is retained by the authors allowing them to freely use, share, and adapt their own work for purposes of their choosing. It further and freely disseminates their work, which may lead to broader recognition than would be possible within the old pay-per-view system.


What does your role as Editor-in-Chief involve?

My first role is to serve the authors that entrust Elementa with their manuscripts by ensuring that the review process is fair, robust, and rapid. My second commitment is to the science and engineering community to help advance and raise awareness about the topics and issues emerging in the new trans-disciplinary field of sustainable engineering, and to further identify and spotlight significantly important research that arises therein. My third responsibility is to the success of Elementa itself as a stable and enduring open access journal for the publication and dissemination of the most important research in the epoch of the Anthropocene.


What is the overall scope of Sustainable Engineering within Elementa?

Technology certainly shapes society, but so too is it shaped by it. Likewise, technology derives from the material and energy resources of the natural world, but in the Anthropocene, it is also nature’s most forceful agent of change. Sustainable engineering is all about engineering in its traditional sense – mechanical, electrical, chemical, industrial, and so on – but it is also about understanding the coupling that exists between the material products and services of human invention (the domain of the engineer) and these other human and natural systems.


Are you looking for peer reviewers and Associate Editors?

Yes, absolutely! We need “cross-disciplinarians”—i.e., those who can speak the languages of the social sciences, the natural sciences, and the applied sciences.  They’re out there now, but they may have been forced into narrowly defined disciplines and give their service to profession specific societies and publications. Elementa is a chance to explore issues across their full relationship spectrum, and it is a chance for researchers to join the network of investigators that are discovering the secrets of the Anthropocene and innovators that are shaping it.

How are we collaborating with Dartmouth? Jeff Horrell, Dean of Libraries, explains…


Jeff Horrell tells us why Elementa is important to Dartmouth, and why he believes in open access

How is Dartmouth College collaborating with Elementa?

Dartmouth, with support from BioOne, is developing and hosting the publishing platform, including several staff devoted to Elementa.  Two Dartmouth faculty members, Anne Kapuscinski and David Peart, are serving as editors-in-chief for the sustainability sciences domain.


Why do you feel that Elementa is an important new journal?

Conceived as a completely open-access and open-data journal focused on some of the most compelling and challenging issues facing our world is certainly important.  The world needs access to this research and scholarship in a free and open way.


What are your feelings about open access?

There are individuals in many parts of the world who are unable to have access to scholarly journal subscriptions, open access eliminates that serious barrier.  We have an obligation to the world to make research as widely available as possible.


Why do you think it important for authors to retain the copyright to their work?

Copyright protection is important, but it is equally important for an author to retain his or her rights so that research and scholarship can be disseminated more broadly whether it is in one’s teaching or sharing with the world at large.


What can librarians do to help support faculty and students discover and write for Elementa?

Librarians can serve as a mechanism for communicating about the availability of research and data being offered through Elementa, which is free to anyone.


Why do you think that nonprofit publications such as Elementa are important?

The world’s challenges are serious and it is imperative to share research findings openly in the hope of more understanding and more effective decision-making for our planet.


UC Press Interviews: Kate Marshall talks to Darra Goldstein

On Friday, May 4, Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture received the Best Publication Award at the James Beard Foundation Awards in New York, NY. The award was accepted by Darra Goldstein, Gastronomica’s founding editor and the Francis Christopher Oakley Third Century Professor of Russian at Williams College.

The Beard Awards is widely recognized within the food industry as the highest possible honor for culinary professionals and publishers in the United States. Dorothy Kalins, founding editor of Saveur, presented Gastronomica with the honor, stating:

“Since 2001, Gastronomica has proven that food can be the catalyst for meaningful and serious discussions about culture, history, literature, art, and politics.

Founding Editor Darra Goldstein has turned her enthusiasm for food into a substantive and intelligent publication that influences us all. In addition to editing Gastronomica, Darra is a Professor of Russian at Williams College.  She is a quintessential example of the diverse and unexpected personalities you’ll find talking about food Gastronomica, where poets, artists, professors, opinion makers, and pundits bring a stimulating breadth of perspectives to the table.
In our digital age of fleet tweets, trendy headlines, and the battle to grab readers’ attention, Gastronomica reminds us that curiosity, hard thought, and great writing are award-worthy values.”

The honor was shared with, a web-based publication and food community started by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs.

While this is the first such honor for Gastronomica, UC Press has had a long history of recognition at the Beard Awards, with past Beard winners including Food Politics by Marion Nestle, The Wines of Bordeaux by Clive Coates, My Bombay Kitchen by Niloufer Ichaporia King, and Encyclopedia of Pasta by Oretta De Vita Zanini, among other finalists.

Kate Marshall, Acquisitions Editor for Food and Agriculture, spoke with Darra Goldstein following the event.

KM: So, Darra, what’s it like to be honored by the Oscars of the food world?

DG: It’s wonderful that a niche publication like Gastronomica was recognized among all the big players in the field, and sharing the stage with so many talented food writers and chefs was thrilling. So I enjoyed the glamour of the evening, not to mention the champagne!

KM: Did you meet any food celebrities or influential folks at the JBFA gala?

DG: I drive my students crazy when I tell them we don’t have cable TV at home, so I never watch any of the food shows and don’t really follow celebrity. But I did talk to Andrew Zimmern — we’re both Vassar grads — and I was thrilled to see Daniel Humm from Eleven Madison (Gastronomica’s featuring him in the May issue). On the food writing side, it was great to spend time with personal icons like Claudia Roden and Betty Fussell.

KM: Gastronomica is one of our highest profile publications. Why do you think readers respond so strongly to the journal?

DG: For one thing, it’s gorgeous. Readers adore the covers, as well as the edgy artwork and photography inside. People also like Gastronomica’s wide-ranging content. As one friend said to me, each issue is idiosyncratic, unexpected, and intellectual — the material never gets stale. People really do want to think deeply about food these days, and Gastronomica offers some serious stuff without ever forgetting the pleasures of food.

KM: What other food publications do you admire and enjoy reading?

DG: All my favorite publications seem to have gone by the wayside. First Cuisine, then the original Eating Well, more recently Gourmet. There is some excellent food writing on Gilt Taste these days.

KM: Apart from the James Beard Award, what do you think are your biggest Gastronomica achievements over the past 12 years? Who are you most proud to have published?

DG: Gastronomica has received some wonderful recognition, including the Prix d’Or at the Gourmet Voice World Media Festival (2004), the UTNE Independent Press Award for Social/Cultural Coverage (2007), and the AAP/PSP PROSE award for Best Design in Print (2009). Last year it was named Best Food Magazine in the World at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Paris. But apart from these very public awards, I think Gastronomica’s greatest achievement has been to bridge the divide between academics and the food world, on the one hand bringing serious writing to the general public and on the other bringing a sense of aesthetics to the world of academic writing. The journal has also given the burgeoning field of food studies a distinctive voice and helped it gain legitimacy.

It’s hard to say what I’m most proud of because there have been so many terrific contributions over the years. I collected some of my favorites from the journal’s first decade in The Gastronomica Reader that UC Press published in 2011. I’m proud to have published poets like Louise Glück and Eamon Grennan, photographer-artists like Pinar Yolacan and Hans Gissinger, and writers like Paul Russell and Paul Greenberg. I’m especially happy to have launched the writing careers of many young people by giving them their first publication in Gastronomica.

Becoming Dr. Q: My Journey from Migrant Farm Worker to Brain Surgeon

Dr. Q coverOf all the books we have on our Fall 2011 list, I don’t think you’ll find a more timely title than Becoming Dr. Q: My Journey from Migrant Farm Worker to Brain Surgeon by Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa.

I don’t think I need to tell you why this stirring tale of a man overcoming stigma and borders to become one of the top neurosurgeons in the country is important right now, but what I do want to tell you is this:

1) The book received a very thorough (and positive) review from Kirkus Reviews.

2) We’ve done podcasts for the title, but in respecting the journey Dr. Q has taken, we’re releasing the podcast in both English  
and Spanish.  

3) Dr. Q took part in today’s episode of NPR’s On Point to discuss illegal immigration and education issues.

The Junk Food of Journalism

W. Joseph Campbell recently appeared on C-SPAN to discuss his book, Getting it Wrong, in which he reveals how ten misreported news stories took hold and became media-driven myths — widely believed, but inaccurate stories by or about the news media. Campbell describes these tempting but insubstantial news tidbits as “the junk food of journalism”.

In the C-SPAN interview, he debunks ten of the greatest media-driven myths of all time, from William Randolph Hearst’s supposed vow to “furnish the war” with Spain, the “Cronkite moment”, and the Watergate hero-journalist myth, to the crack-baby scare, the story of Jessica Lynch, and news coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

Watch W. Joseph Campbell on C-SPAN:

How Europe Works

When Europe is mentioned in the news lately, it’s often about economic crisis or volcanic ash. Even with its current challenges, Steven Hill, author of Europe’s Promise, finds that Europe’s example offers a path to prosperity and sustainability in uncertain times.

In this interview with Charlie Dyer of KNews Conversations, Hill addresses misconceptions about Europe, including that it has a “weak, sclerotic economy” and is a “welfare state” where residents are crippled by taxes. In fact, he says, Europe has the largest economy in the world, and has captured the wealth-generating power of capitalism to support people so they can stay healthy and productive, and has done it in an ecologically sustainable way.

Listen to the interview with Steven Hill on KNews Conversations