v17n2 From the Editors

About this Issue

Another day of terminological debate in the cave-office. Illustration by Irene Frigo. Reproduced with permission of the Royal Society.

Science is a breeding ground for jargon. Jargon is useful and elegant for the specialist but often a conundrum for the nonspecialist. And sadly, jargon often creates a divide which can impede interdisciplinary collaborations (see June 2019 Editorial “Hail Hephaestus, Interdisciplinary Diety!” in Elements v15n3). As we were preparing this issue of Elements, an article by Alejandro Martínez and Stefano Mammola was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B (2021, v288, doi: https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2020.2581). Martínez and Mammola showed that the use of specialized terminology (jargon) in the titles and abstracts of scientific papers resulted in a decrease in citation rates. This finding might just cause you to pause and wonder about your own papers and whether your own choice of words may have hurt the chances of your work being sufficiently visible and cited. Words matter.

Interestingly, Martínez and Mammola (2021) conducted their analysis using ~21,000 research articles on caves. Cave science is the consummate interdisciplinary subject. As the authors put it, “cave research … has been the colliding point of generations of scientists with diverse scientific backgrounds. Geologists, zoologists, anthropologists, ecologists, and evolutionary biologists have interacted in the darkness of caves populating 120 years of cave literature with a maze of specialized terms.” As you read the articles of this issue of Elements, you will likely encounter some of this rich terminology, including the evocative terms “snottite” and “moonmilk”. But, thankfully, the editors and authors have made considerable effort to translate much of this cave science jargon so that we, too, can enjoy the wonderful world of speleothems!

Farewell Jon Blundy

With this issue, Jonathan (Jon) Blundy completes his 2018–2020 term as Elements petrology principal editor. Jon, an igneous petrologist, worked for many years as a researcher at the University of Bristol (UK). Recently, and during the middle of a global pandemic, Jon joined the faculty at the University of Oxford (UK). We wish him much success at Oxford.

Jon accepted our invitation to join the Elements editorial team in 2017 and readily assumed the task of shepherding Elements first “regional” thematic topic, which was on the Central Andes. Regional thematic issues were the brainchild of Bernie Wood, Elements principal editor from 2015 to 2017, but it was Jon who carried the idea to fruition. Not only did Jon handle two regionally themed issues for Elements but he also solicited about half-a-dozen proposals on geologically interesting regions, several of which have been included in the Elements lineup. He is leaving a lasting, and welcomed, legacy.

During his term, Jon handled six thematic issues of Elements: “Central Andes: Mountains, Magmas, and Minerals” (August 2018, v14n4); “South Aegean Volcanic Arc” (June 2019, v15n3); “Kimberlites” (December 2019; v15n6); “Redox Engine of Earth” (June 2020; v16n3); “Noble Gas Thermochronology” (October 2020; v16n5); and “Speleothems” (April 2021; v17n2).

Jon did more than participate in editorial meetings, handle manuscripts, and solicit thematic proposals: he also planned the topic of his editorials months in advance. He crafted informative editorials that were engaging and fun, all the while weaving together geology, human culture, history, and much more. If you don’t recall what he wrote, we encourage you to revisit his editorials, all of which are available on the Elements website.

Although Jon is completing his tenure as principal editor, this will not be the last you hear from him in Elements. Jon has plans for regular contributions to the Elements feature column Triple Point. We look forward to future collaborations with him.

Call for Thematic Proposals

The Elements editorial team will meet in August 2021 to evaluate thematic proposals for possible inclusion in the Elements 2023 lineup. Proposals are short documents that contain a proposed issue title, your name(s), an overall scope of the topic, and a list of six possible comprising articles (with provisional title, brief description, and authorship). That’s it! Check out the Elements website (http://elementsmagazine.org/publish-in-elements/) where you can find more information, including proposal instructions, a proposal template, and a way to easily contact the editorial team (click the “Contact the Editorial Team” button). We look forward to receiving your proposal!

Submit proposals by Friday, 30 July 2021.

Revised Publication Schedule

Wondering when the next copy of Elements will be delivered? Elements has revised its publication schedule for late 2020 and early 2021 in order to better meet the needs of its editors and authors. Below is our new (tentative) release schedule for 2021.

  • V17n1 – “Shedding Light on the European Alps”: March 2021
  • V17n2 – “Speleothems”: June 2021
  • V17n3 – “Exploring the Earth and Planetary Materials with Neutrons”: July 2021
  • V17n4 – “Geoscience Beyond the Solar System”: August 2021
  • V17n5 – “Carbonatites”: October 2021
  • V17n6 – “Heavy Stable Isotopes”: December 2021

John Eiler, Richard Harrison, Becky Lange and Jodi Rosso

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