The following guidelines provide essential information for the role and responsibilities of Elementa Associate Editors. Please also review our Editorial & Publishing Policies. Guidelines to using the editorial system, known as Editorial Manager, are here.
A new open-access scientific journal, Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene will publish original research reporting on new knowledge of the Earth’s physical, chemical, and biological systems; interactions between human and natural systems; and steps that can be taken to mitigate and adapt to global change. Elementa will report on fundamental advancements in research organized initially into six knowledge domains, embracing the concept that basic knowledge can foster sustainable solutions for society. Elementa is published on an open-access, public-good basis—available freely and immediately to the world.
Elementa welcomes the following types of manuscripts:
Elementa also welcomes Special Features, a set of related articles addressing themes or projects of broad interest, typically 4–10 articles in each group, usually including a synthesizing Commentary. Special Features may fall within a single knowledge domain or be cross-listed under two or more domains; in either case, a single Editor-in-Chief will be responsible for the entire Special Feature. For more information, see our Special Features informational page.
Elementa’s inaugural knowledge domains are led by prominent researchers, each committed to the proposition that the goals of scientific inquiry are well aligned with the principles of open knowledge for the public good on a global basis.
Elementa publishes articles that are scientifically sound, that are worthy of inclusion in the scholarly record, and that further research and discourse in the relevant field of study. Our Editors-in-Chief have adopted an inclusive posture within their respective fields, with the goal to promote interdisciplinary collaboration and exchange. We do not attempt to predict a submission’s value to the field over time, as that is best left to the community of researchers and readers. Article-level metrics of citation, usage, bookmarking, and sharing via social media are available to track impact over time.
We are committed to providing authors with a timely review and publication process, which therefore requires a timely response from editors and reviewers alike. Please note that we ask external reviewers to complete their reviews within two/four weeks and have configured the peer-review system to send automated reminders and/or adjust the reviewer queue as necessary, according to that schedule. Please help us maintain a timely schedule as you manage the review process.
As an Associate Editor, you are responsible to:
• Manage the review process and also provide your own assessment of the manuscript and any supplemental materials in a timely manner;
• Secure a minimum of two reviews; consider identifying and even inviting at least three to five reviewers for each submission you are handling upfront, as this approach should expedite the recruitment process and help secure needed reviewers with minimum delay;
• After considering the reviews, and your own opinion of the submission, make one of the following publication recommendations to the Editor-in-Chief:
○ Accept without revision
○ Invite author(s) to revise the submission to address specific but relatively minor concerns
○ Invite author(s) to revise the submission to address moderate to major concerns
○ Reject, either outright, or indicate to author(s) that further work might justify resubmission (which would require an entirely new submission)
• If you recommend revision, you must write a point-by point of the specific task the authors must fully accomplish to make their work acceptable for publication. Example language and guidelines are provided below.
• Upon an author submitting a revised manuscript, review the Response to Reviewers to determine if the revisions and/or responses to reviewers are sufficient to recommend publication, inviting another round of review by the original reviewers or new reviewers, if necessary; and
• Prepare a summary evaluation of the revised manuscript, and present a publication recommendation to the Editor-in-Chief.
The Editor-in-Chief will make the ultimate decision regarding publication and communicate directly with the corresponding author on the results of the review process, with Associate Editors copied on all correspondence.
Training videos for using the editorial system, known as Editorial Manager, are here.
Upon submission, the Elementa Managing Editor, Liba Hladik, will review the submission to ensure that it contains all required elements and follows the submission guidelines. Any minor issues that will not compromise the review process will be noted in the manuscript record and addressed later if the manuscript is accepted. Any issues that would impede the review process will result in return of the submission to the author for fixing. Submissions will also be scanned by the online tool “iThenticate” to ensure there has been no plagiarism. Before the EIC has invited you to handle a manuscript, the Managing Editor alerts the EIC to do additional checking if the manuscript has a ratio above 20%.
Upon acceptance of the paper for publication, the Managing Editor will work with the corresponding author to resolve any pre-production issues. Some common issues include low resolution figures and missing required manuscript components such as data accessibility statement and author contributions.
The files will then be processed for typesetting and composition, but will not be extensively copyedited. Thus, it is essential that you, as the Associate Editor, evaluate presentational quality (clarity of language, effectiveness of tables and figures, quality of references, etc.) and appropriately recommend if the authors should seek assistance from language or copyediting services.
Please become familiar with Elementa Author Submission guidelines posted here. The managing editor is always available to help answer any questions about these posted guidelines.
As described above, you are responsible for securing a minimum of two reviews from reviewers not formally associated with Elementa. A number of factors may contribute to the selection of external reviewers, including expertise, previous experience, recommendations provided by authors, and availability to perform a fair and rapid review. Corresponding authors are able to suggest reviewers during the submission process and many of them do. You are not required to invite these reviewers but feel free to do so if you believe they are objectively appropriate for the task. We recommend that you do not solely rely on reviewers recommended by authors.
Reviewers are directed to an online peer-review form to help focus their comments and streamline the review process. The form consists of the following sections:
• Statement of Competing Interests (required)
• Reviewer Questions
Please consider the main narrative and all supplemental materials in answering these questions.
○ Is the manuscript technically and conceptually sound, and do the data and other presented information support the conclusions?
○ Have analyses of quantitative and qualitative data, such as statistical analysis, been performed appropriately and rigorously?
○ Does the abstract accurately and sufficiently summarize the manuscript, communicating in a manner that will be understood by readers across a wide range of scholarly and professional fields who access articles published in Elementa?
○ Does the manuscript adequately describe the methods used for analysis (particularly for research articles)?
○ Does the methods section (main text, and Supplemental Material when appropriate) provide the essential elements of methods used? Examples of elements to provide in Supplementary Material: details of the components and/or coding of a quantitative model, a survey instrument, script for interviews of subjects.
○ Do the table/figure titles and figure legends make it possible for the reader to interpret the table/figure on its own, without having to read the entire manuscript?
○ Do figures and tables conform to Elementa’s required styles? Relevant guidelines appear at: https://www.elementascience.org/about/image-guidelines/ and https://www.elementascience.org/about/table-preparation/
○ Does the manuscript adhere to standards in this field for data availability?
○ Is the manuscript presented in an intelligible fashion and written in standard English?
• Comments to the Author(s) (required)
• Confidential Comments to the Editor (optional)
Based on external reviews and your own assessment of the manuscript, you will make a publication recommendation to your Editor-in-Chief, and provide the author(s) with a two or three paragraph summary of the most important issues raised by the reviewers for the author(s) to address. You may find the following guidelines helpful.
• What are the merits and strengths of the manuscript?
○ Please provide a list of points identifying the positive attributes of the work described in this manuscript (some or all of which can be taken directly from reviewer comments). It is important to clearly inform authors of the portions of their manuscript that adhere to the tenets of sound empirical, theoretical, policy-bridging, or practice-bridging work in the disciplinary or interdisciplinary field.
• What are the limitations and weakness of the manuscript?
○ Acting as a fair and impartial judge, please enumerate and summarize for the authors the imitations and concerns raised by the reviewers. Please be concise and specific. All papers in Elementa should be logically and empirically rigorous. For example, papers reporting empirical research can be expected to include:
1. A compelling rationale, with either a testable and falsifiable hypothesis or statement of problem-driven or solutions-driven questions or objectives;
2. An experimental design, research design, or sampling scheme that provides a statistical test of the hypothesis or another appropriate type of unbiased, impartial analysis of the qualitative or quantitative results;
3. The interpretation of the results that supports the conclusions reached; and
4. Open and transparent reporting of quantitative and qualitative data, with maximally available materials to allow for reproducibility while adhering to the field’s norms for protecting human subjects and confidential information.
You may also make confidential comments regarding the submission to your Editor-in-Chief.
We ask that you actively promote Elementa, submit work (as appropriate) to the journal, and encourage submissions from colleagues. We also encourage you to identify timely ideas for possible new Special Features or Forums, and to communicate these ideas and the names of individuals who may be appropriate as lead PIs to the Editor-in-Chief.
Our review process is confidential and must be treated as such by all individuals involved in the submission and review process: authors, editors, editorial assistants, external reviewers, and staff.
Your name and affiliation will be published with accepted papers, as will the Editor-in-Chief’s. We do not publish the names or comments of external reviewers, nor do we release external reviewer’s identities to authors unless reviewers ask to be identified.
When assigned a manuscript for review, you must inform the Editor-in-Chief of any potential competing interest that may influence your evaluation of the submission, positively or negatively. Please review our policy on Competing Interests. External reviewers are similarly asked to disclose any competing interests they may have.
The costs of producing and maintaining Elementa are recovered by Article Publication Charges (APCs) for each article that is accepted for publication. These are typically paid by budgets on the side of the author, usually an institutional/departmental fund, or by the research sponsor or a grant.
Authors who lack the funds to cover publication fees may request a waiver, whereby the APC is covered by the journal. In order to keep publication charges as low as possible, fee waivers are not automatically given but must be approved on a case-by-case basis by the publisher, and authors from developing and transitional countries are given priority.
For each accepted article, US$250 is paid into the Elementa Research Community Fund.
Editors and Reviewers earn points for all submissions they are involved with – regardless of whether a submission is accepted or rejected.
Every 3 months the total funds available in the Research Community Fund are divided by the total number of points generated by Editors-in-Chief, Associate Editors, and Reviewers, and this equals the payout per point, for that payment period. Editors and Reviewers are informed of their total earnings based on their points. Since the fund is supported by a share of the APCs, the amount available will vary depending on article acceptance levels during each payment period.
All Editors and Reviewers can decide what to do with their monetary share. They can elect to receive it electronically as cash, pay it forward to the Elementa Waiver Fund, or pay it forward to their institutional or library Open Access fund (if one is available).
The first time you are eligible to make a decision on your monetary share, you will receive a communication from us asking for your preferences for either receiving the payment, or paying it forward, and any further relevant information based on your choice.