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Editorial Policies

Peer Review Process


Elementa publishes articles that are technically sound, that are worthy of inclusion in the scholarly record, and that further research and discourse in the relevant field of study. Our Editors have adopted an inclusive posture within their respective disciplines, 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, and qualified comment are now available to track impact over time.

We are committed to making the review process as collegial and constructive as possible. We ask our reviewers to provide frank and direct assessments, but to avoid comments that are sharp or offensive.

Elementa operates a single-blind peer review process, meaning that author names are available to the reviewer, but reviewers remain anonymous.



Publication Ethics


Elementa supports the principles of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and follows its guidelines for dealing with potential cases of misconduct. We expect our authors to comply with best practices in publication ethics, particularly with respect to authorship, conflict of interest, compliance with standards of research ethics, redundant publication, figure manipulation, plagiarism, and dual submission. For more information , please read UC Press's Statement of Publication Ethics, which is generally applicable across all of our journals.


Authorship & Author Responsibilities


Author Criteria

Submissions must include a statement of author responsibility specifying the contribution made by each author. Elementa follows the guidelines of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) for authorship and contributorship:

  • Authorship credit should be based on (1) substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; (2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and (3) final approval of the version to be published; and (4) agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved. Each author should meet conditions (1), (2), (3) and (4).
  • When a large, multicenter group has conducted the work, the group should identify the individuals who accept direct responsibility for the manuscript (3). These individuals should fully meet the criteria for authorship/contributorship defined above. When submitting a manuscript authored by a group, the corresponding author should clearly indicate the preferred citation and identify all individual authors as well as the group name. Other members of the group should be listed in the Acknowledgments.
  • Acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group alone does not constitute authorship.
  • All persons designated as authors should qualify for authorship, and all those who qualify should be listed.
  • Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content.

We do not require all authors to sign the cover letter upon submission, nor do we impose an order upon the list of authors.

Corresponding Author

The corresponding author acts as the point of contact between all co-authors and Elementa, both before and after publication. He or she does not need to be the senior author of the submission. By submitting to Elementa, the corresponding author represents that all listed authors have agreed to the article’s contents and its submission to Elementa.

After acceptance, a PDF proof will be sent to the corresponding author, who will have 2 days to correct any errors introduced during the production process; changes in the title or author list; or correction of major scientific errors. In the latter case, additional review would be invoked. We reserve the right to make the final decision about matters of style and the size of figures. The corresponding author acts as the representative of all co-authors in communicating with us about errors and corrections.

After publication, the corresponding author will remain our point of contact for any inquiries regarding the article, supplementary material, and major datasets associated with the article, and is responsible for communicating any issues that may arise after publication to her or his co-authors.


Open Access

Articles in Elementa are published under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY 4.0 International). Upon submission, the corresponding author will indicate agreement to publish under this license on behalf of all authors. Under the CC-BY license, authors retain copyright to their work and allow others to copy, distribute, transmit, and adapt their work, provided proper attribution of authorship and source is given.

Open access ensures not only the widest dissemination possible, but also the greatest impact, by allowing others to cite, re-purpose, and build upon existing published research.

Articles published in Elementa are available for download in machine- as well as human-intelligible formats: HTML and PDF. 

US Federal Government Employees

Submissions with one or more authors who are United States government employees will be published under a Creative Commons public domain instrument (CC0), which waives all copyright and related rights to the article to the fullest extent allowed by law.

Images & Figures

We ask our authors to take care not to submit manuscripts containing previously published images or figures, unless express, written permission from the copyright holder to republish under a CC-BY or CC0 license (as applicable) has been obtained. Images, video, and other materials previously published under a public domain, CC-BY, or CC0 license do not require such permission to be obtained.


Competing Interests


In order to provide readers of articles with information about interests and relationships that might influence the interpretation of articles published in Elementa, all individuals involved with a submission (authors, editors, external reviewers) are required to declare all competing interests. Corresponding authors must provide a statement of competing interests on behalf of all authors.

For guidance, we encourage authors and editors to consult the NSF’s Conflict of Interest Policies and the thoughtful guidelines provided by PLoS One.

Manuscripts authored or co-authored by Elementa editors (Editors-in-Chief and/or Associate Editors) will be handled by alternate editors, with no involvement of the authoring editors in the review or editorial process. Elementa will take all measures to eliminate conflicts of interest with respect to the peer-review process.


Confidentiality & Anonymity


Our review process is confidential and must be treated as such by all individuals involved in the submission and review process: authors, editors, production assistants, external reviewers, and staff.

External reviewers should not contact anyone directly involved in the review process without first receiving approval from the Associate Editor managing the review process, and review reports should not be published (including by posting to the Internet) or publicized without permission.

The names and affiliations of Editors-in-Chief and Associate Editors will be published with accepted papers. 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.


Corrections & Additions


Amendments to published articles will be made only if they affect the integrity and accuracy of the scholarly record. Formal notifications will be published on the Elementa website, falling into one of three categories:

  • Erratum: An error introduced by the publisher that affects the integrity of the scholarly record, the reputation of the authors, or the reputation of Elementa.
  • Corrigendum: An error introduced by the author(s) that affects the integrity of the scholarly record, the reputation of the authors, or the reputation of Elementa.
  • Retraction: Withdrawal of a published paper due to invalid results or conclusions. All authors of a paper must sign a retraction request, indicating the error and describing how it affects the paper’s conclusions. If authors are not in unanimous agreement in requesting a retraction, the pertinent Editor-in-Chief will consult Associate Editors and, as necessary, external reviewers and apply the category of amendment that appears most appropriate, indicating dissenting authors in the text of the published amendment.

If you have any questions or concerns about corrections or amendments to published Elementa articles, please contact Elementa Managing Editor Liba Hladik at [email protected].

Plagiarism & Due Credit


Plagiarism is defined as “the taking and using as one’s own the thought, writings, or inventions of another” (Oxford Universal Dictionary). Minor, inadvertent plagiarism is relatively common, and when detected, can be remedied by providing appropriate attribution. Major plagiarism, in which substantial sections of text have been copied without attribution, is a serious breach of academic ethics.

Elementa employs Similarity Check to compare submissions against a large and growing database of published scholarly content. If in the judgment of the editor a submission is suspected of plagarism, it will be returned to the author(s) with a request for explanation. In serious cases of misconduct, we will take any and all steps deemed appropriate by Elementa editors, including, potentially, notification of the authors’ institutions and funding agencies, and retraction of the published article.


Availability of Underlying Data


Data are important products of the scientific enterprise and should be available for others to test and build upon published claims. By submitting to Elementa, authors agree to make any data described in their article freely available for the purpose of non-commercial research, unless there are strong reasons to restrict access. Supplementary material providing additional information that enhances the main text and is directly referenced within the text should be submitted for publication with the article. Major datasets generated in the course of the work should be deposited externally in an appropriate public archive (e.g., Pangaea for geoscientific and environmental data, TreeBASE for phylogenetic data). Many university libraries have established institutional repositories that provide longterm and stable accessibility to scholarly data (e.g., Scholarly Materials And Research @ Georgia Tech, or SMARTech). We encourage authors to check with their home institutions if an appropriate subject-based public archive is not available. Authors will be requested to provide a data accessibility statement with their submissions, listing where each dataset is or will be archived and including accession numbers or DOIs.

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