Helgoland Marine Research journal becomes open access: an Editor Q+A

January 2016 saw Helgoland Marine Research, an important journal in the world of polar marine research, moved to BioMed Central, becoming fully open access. We spoke to the new Editor-in-Chief, Maarten Boersma about this exciting new path for the journal.

Helgoland Marine Research first began publishing in 1894, under the title “Wissenschaftliche Meeresuntersuchungen – Abteilung Helgoland”, but since then the journal has developed into an international publication, supported by the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research.

MaartenBMaarten Boersma received his Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam, and his Habilitation from the University of Kiel. He has been at the Alfred Wegener Institute since 2001, and is currently a Professor of Experimental Coastal Ecology at the University of Bremen.

What led to your interest in marine research and what led you to work for the Alfred Wegener Institute?

What interests me in the field of marine research is our focus on whole systems. Whereas in other scientific fields we are often focusing on very small questions and problems, the inherent quality of marine research is wanting to understand what is going on in the sea.

Additionally, my background in terrestrial and freshwater sciences has helped me ask the right questions.

The Alfred-Wegener-Institute is one of the best places to be for marine sciences. Primarily because of the breadth of science going on in the institute, and the cooperation potential emerging from that, combined with the freedom to pursue my own lines of interest.

What has been the greatest advancement in the field during your career?

I think one of the greatest advancements in the field has been the enormous increase in our understanding of ecosystem functioning.

I think one of the greatest advancements in the field has been the enormous increase in our understanding of ecosystem functioning. Both through the increase of observational capacity on all scales ranging from within cells and the –omics through to ecosystems as seen by satellites, resulting in the discovery of new processes, organisms and patterns.

What Role do you see Helgoland Marine Research playing in the future of marine biology and oceanography?

I hope that Helgoland Marine Research (HMR) will continue to be the place to go when looking to publish exciting new research. My ambition is to develop HMR into a place to publish seminal papers dealing with more complete studies of ecosystem functioning, rather than going for the ever-shrinking contributions in many other journals.

How do you hope the journal will develop in the future?

I would envisage that Helgoland Marine Research will attract many new readers and contributors, who will discover the power of open access publishing. Especially in areas where access to scientific information is still restricted, the new open access policy of the journal should enormously increase the attractiveness of the journal for readers and authors alike.

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