Aquarium of the Pacific
Long Beach, United States
Specialty Chief Editor
Climate and Ecology
History will judge how we address climate change in our capacity as researchers, mentors, thought leaders, and public intellectuals. Climate disasters hurt the poor and disenfranchised the most, and climate solutions are often disproportionately paid for by the least affluent. Our solutions should foresee tradeoffs, anticipate unintended consequences, and be mindful of environmental injustices.
Climate matters because it controls which plants and animals are winners and losers, which food systems will thrive, and which new plagues and diseases might emerge. These are not only predicted impacts but are observed impacts. In the last decade, human communities have experienced record-breaking wildfires, drought, and floods. Ultimately, climate damage and the success of our efforts to mitigate this damage is constrained by the ecology of the natural world, and how people interact with, interfere with, and view "Mother Earth".
A research thread too rarely pursued is the thread linking climate, ecology and people. Just as important as how particular species respond to warmer winters and drier summers is how humans respond to these same climate impacts. In the language of the US National Science Foundation- it is all about "Coupled Natural and Human Systems".
The profound ecological and social shock waves of both climate change and our solutions to climate change are at the center of the Frontiers in Climate- Climate, Ecology and People specialty section. We seek articles that get beyond documenting existential risks or environmental degradation and examine solutions.
Theoretical and empirical science, qualitative and quantitative studies, formal reviews, interdisciplinary syntheses, models, implementation science, and policy analyses are all welcome. We especially invite articles that confront the following themes:
1.) Scalability of solutions. Technologies designed to solve the climate problem may have their own significant environmental and ecological impacts, especially when globally implemented (see freakonomics.com). Can we anticipate these consequences and design alterations in these technical solutions to proactively mitigate collateral damage?
2.) Accelerating adaptation. People, species and ecosystems may evolve or adapt in response to climate change. What might these adaptive responses mean for alternative climate and environmental futures and how might we accelerate adaptation?
3.) Finding solutions tailored to local ecology and culture. Warmed oceans may boost arctic fisheries but deplete tropical fisheries. Sequestering carbon in soils can work in moderate climate but may be impossible in arid systems.
Some cultures may easily eliminate animal protein from their diets, but in other cultures, vegan diets could never be accepted. How do we recognize unique ecological or social and cultural landscapes, and adjust climate solutions accordingly?
4.) Exploring narratives and communication strategies. Data and models may be the foundation, but nothing will happen until narratives make sense of the possible climate futures, and communication efforts connect to diverse audiences. What research informs the effectiveness of different communication efforts?
5.) Early warning systems and avoiding surprises. With increasing natural catastrophes, is there a possibility of monitoring and remote sensing programs that reveal impending crises such as famine or rampaging wildfires before the crisis strikes?
6.) Identifying feedback loops and network of linkages. It is both a cliché and an insight to recognize that everything is connected. Our challenge is to distinguish negative and positive feedback loops and to highlight critical linkages among the private sector, ecosystems, human well-being, and our response or lack of response to climate change. What are the most influential linkages and what is the magnitude of different positive feedback loops?
7.) Integrating technological and natural solutions. Technology alone is unlikely to rebalance our climate system. Ecological regeneration and restoration alone is not likely to rebalance our climate system. But a combination of the two has promise that warrants study. How do we optimally mix technological and natural solutions?
8.) Timing is everything and everything is timing. Climate change has a velocity. Ecosystem change has a velocity. Implementing solutions to climate change has a velocity. Changes in greenhouse gasses have a velocity. If the velocity with which a solution impacts atmospheric greenhouse gasses lags far behind the velocity of ecosystem change, then we have a problem. Can we identify mismatches between velocities that threaten to undermine the merits of particular solutions?
9.) Climate tyranny versus climate democracy. It is easy to target the fossil fuel industry as environmental villains. But when it comes to responding to climate change, who gets to pose the research questions, who gets to frame the solutions, and who decides what are acceptable futures?
10.) Climate and the (Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). "Climate action" is 1 of 17 SDGs. Almost all of the other 16 SDGs are impacted by any action taken, or not taken, to address climate change. Many of the connections are obvious: climate action and water, climate action and hunger, climate action and life on land, climate action and life below water, climate action and responsible consumption. Can we predict the impact of various climate actions on our ability to meet the sixteen other SDGs?
Frontiers in Climate is member of the Committee on Publication Ethics.
Scopus, Google Scholar, DOAJ, CrossRef, CLOCKSS, OpenAIRE, Web of Science Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI)
Climate, Ecology and People welcomes submissions of the following article types: Brief Research Report, Case Report, Classification, Clinical Trial, Community Case Study, Correction, Data Report, Editorial, General Commentary, Methods, Mini Review, Opinion, Original Research, Perspective, Policy Brief, Policy and Practice Reviews, Registered Report, Review, Study Protocol, Systematic Review.
All manuscripts must be submitted directly to the section Climate, Ecology and People, where they are peer-reviewed by the Associate and Review Editors of the specialty section.
Frontiers' philosophy is that all research is for the benefit of humankind. Research is the product of an investment by society and therefore its fruits should be returned to all people without borders or discrimination, serving society universally and in a transparent fashion.
That is why Frontiers provides online free and open access to all of its research publications. For more information on open access click here.
Frontiers is fully compliant with open access mandates, by publishing its articles under the Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC-BY). Funder mandates such as those by the Wellcome Trust (UK), National Institutes of Health (USA) and the Australian Research Council (Australia) are fully compatible with publishing in Frontiers. Authors retain copyright of their work and can deposit their publication in any repository. The work can be freely shared and adapted provided that appropriate credit is given and any changes specified.
Under the Frontiers Conditions for Website Use and the Frontiers General Conditions for Authors, authors of articles published in Frontiers journals retain copyright on their articles, except for any third-party images and other materials added by Frontiers, which are subject to copyright of their respective owners. Authors are therefore free to disseminate and re-publish their articles, subject to any requirements of third-party copyright owners and subject to the original publication being fully cited. The ability to copy, download, forward or otherwise distribute any materials is always subject to any copyright notices displayed. Copyright notices must be displayed prominently and may not be obliterated, deleted or hidden, totally or partially.
Each Frontiers article strives for the highest quality, thanks to genuinely collaborative interactions between authors, editors and reviewers, who include many of the world's best scientists and scholars. Frontiers is well aware of the potential impact of published research both on future research and on society and, hence, does not support superficial review, light review or no-review publishing models. Research must be certified by peers before entering a stream of knowledge that may eventually reach the public - and shape society. Therefore, Frontiers only applies the most rigorous and unbiased reviews, established in the high standards of the Frontiers Review System. Furthermore, only the top certified research, evaluated objectively through quantitative online article level metrics, is disseminated to increasingly wider communities as it gradually climbs the tiers of the Frontiers Tiering System from specialized expert readership towards public understanding.
Frontiers has a number of procedures in place to support and ensure the quality of the research articles that are published:
Only leading experts and established members of the research community are appointed to the Frontiers Editorial Boards. Chief Editors, Associate Editors and Review Editors are all listed with their names and affiliations on the Journal pages and are encouraged to publicly list their publication credentials.
Associate Editors oversee the peer-review and take the final acceptance decision on manuscripts. Editorial decision power is distributed in Frontiers, because we believe that many experts within a community should be able to shape the direction of science for the benefit of society.
Submitting authors can choose a preferred Associate Editor to handle their manuscript, because they can judge well who would be an appropriate expert in editing their manuscript. There is no guarantee for this preference of choice, Associate Editors can decline invitations any time, and the handling Associate Editor can also be over-ridden by the Chief Editor before she/he is invited to edit the article or at any other stage.
Associate Editors are mandated to only accept to edit a manuscript if they have no conflicts of interest (as stated here and in their review invitation and assignment emails).
Should it become clear that the Associate Editor has a conflict of interest or is unable to perform the peer-review timely and adequately, a new Associate Editor can be assigned to the manuscript by the Chief Editor, who has full control to intervene in the peer-review process at any time.
The Associate Editor initially checks that the article meets basic quality standards and has no obvious objective errors.
The Associate Editor can then personally choose and invite the most appropriate reviewers to handle the peer-review of the manuscript, including Review Editors from the board or external reviewers.
The Associate Editor is aided in this by the Frontiers Collaborative Review Forum software and interface, which suggests the most relevant Review Editors based on a match between their expertise and the topic of the manuscript. Associate Editors can however choose any reviewer they deem adequate.
After a certain time frame and if no reviewers have in the meantime been assigned to the manuscript, the Frontiers platform and algorithmic safety-net steps in and invites the most appropriate Review Editors based on constantly updated and improved algorithms that match reviewer expertise with the submitted manuscript.
Review Editors and reviewers are mandated to only accept to review a manuscript if they have no conflicts of interest (as stated here and in their review invitation and assignment emails).
Frontiers algorithms are constantly fine-tuned to better match Review Editors with manuscripts, and additional checks are being coded into the platform, for example regarding conflicts of interest.
Should it become clear that a particular reviewer has a conflict of interest or is unable to perform the peer-review timely and adequately, he or she shall be replaced with an alternative reviewer by the Associate Editor or the Chief Editor, who will be alerted and has full control to intervene into the peer-review at any time.
In the Independent Review Stage the assigned reviewers perform an in-depth review of the article independently of each other to safeguard complete freedom of opinion.
The reviewers are aided by an online standardized review questionnaire – adopted to article types – with the goal to facilitate rigorous evaluation according to objective criteria and the Frontiers Review Guidelines.
The Associate Editor assesses the reviews and activates the “Interactive Review” – informing the authors of the extent of revisions that are required to address the reviewers’ comments, and starting the Interactive Discussion Forum where authors and also the reviewers get full access to all review reports.
Manuscript and review quality at this stage are enhanced by allowing authors and reviewers to discuss directly with each other in real-time until they reach consensus and a final version of the manuscript is endorsed by the reviewers.
Reviewer identity is protected at this stage to safeguard complete freedom of opinion.
Reviewers can recommend rejection at this stage if their requests to correct objective errors are not being met by the authors or if they deem the article overall of insufficient quality.
Should a dispute arise, authors or reviewers can trigger an arbitration and will alert the Associate Editor, who can assign more reviewers and/or bring the dispute to the attention of the Chief Editor. The Associate Editor can also weigh in on the discussion and is asked to mediate the process to ensure a constructive revision stage.
The decision to accept an article needs to be unanimous amongst all reviewers and the handling Associate Editor.
The names of the Associate Editor and reviewers are disclosed on published articles to encourage in depth and rigorous reviews, acknowledge work well done on the article and to bring transparency and accountability into peer-review.
Associate Editors can recommend the rejection of an article to the Chief Editor, who needs to check that the authors’ rights have been upheld during the peer-review process, and who can then ultimately reject the article if it is of insufficient quality, has objective errors or if the authors were unreasonably unwilling to address the points raised during the review.
Chief Editors can at any stage of the peer-review step in to comment on the review process, change assigned editors, assign themselves as a reviewer and even as the handling editor for the manuscript, and therefore have full authority and all the mechanisms to act independently in their online editorial office to ensure quality.
Only leading researchers acting as Associate Editors, who are not part of Frontiers staff, can make acceptance decisions based on reviews performed by external experts acting as Review Editors or reviewers. None have a financial incentive to accept articles, i.e. they are not paid for their role to act as Associate or Review Editors, and any award scheme is not linked to acceptances of manuscripts.
Chief Editors receive an honorarium if their specialty section or field reaches certain submission levels. However, this honorarium is based on the total number of submitted articles during a calendar year, and not the number of accepted articles. Therefore they also have no financial incentive to accept manuscripts.
The Frontiers platform enables post-publication commenting and discussions on papers and hence the possibility to critically evaluate articles even after the peer-review process.
Frontiers has a community retraction protocol in place to retract papers where serious concerns have been raised and validated by the community that warrant retraction, including ethical concerns, honest errors or scientific misconduct.