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Erick Carreira named editor in chief of JACS

Organic chemist is first Latino to lead the Journal of the American Chemical Society

by Linda Wang
September 3, 2020


Photo of Erick Carreira.
Credit: Courtesy of Erick Carreira
Erick Carreira

After a worldwide search, the American Chemical Society has named Erick Carreira, a professor of organic chemistry at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich), the new editor in chief of the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS).

Carreira will become the first Hispanic-American chemist to assume this role. He will also be the first editor in chief of JACS who resides outside of the US. Carreira will succeed Peter Stang of the University of Utah, who has led JACS since 2002. Carreira’s appointment begins in January 2021.

“Since my first publication in JACS in 1988, the journal has played a significant role in my career,” Carreira said in a statement. “It’s an honor to lead this publication.”

“I’m very pleased that Professor Carreira is taking over. He is an internationally recognized, first-rate scientist with experience as an editor,” says Stang. “JACS is in excellent hands, and he’ll take it to the next level.”

Carreira was born in Cuba and lived in Spain and the US before settling in Switzerland, where he currently resides. Carreira says he is committed to diversifying the journal in many ways. He will start by building a diverse editorial team, which will include a group of executive editors covering different areas of chemistry and residing in different parts of the world.

The new executive editors are Joseph Francisco of the University of Pennsylvania; Zhaomin Hou of the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science; Kai Johnsson of the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne; Melanie Sanford of the University of Michigan; and Karen Wooley of Texas A&M University. A sixth executive editor, who is based in China, will be named at the end of this year.

“I look forward to working more closely as a group to make decisions that will move JACS in a forward direction and make people feel they have a stake in the JACS experience,” Carreira says. Having diverse perspectives will “make for better judgement as to what we send out for review, and that will ultimately make JACS more attractive to its authors.”

Carreira is currently editor in chief of Organic Letters. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and a PhD in chemistry from Harvard University. He joined the chemistry faculty at Caltech in 1992 and moved to ETH Zürich in 1998. At ETH Zürich, his research focuses on asymmetric catalysis as well as the chemical biology and synthesis of natural products.

Carreira says the addition of a group of executive editors to JACS is the first of many changes he plans to implement to foster more inclusivity and to bring together different perspectives. “I think that there are a lot of opportunities to build on the successes that Peter Stang beautifully engineered and remain competitive in a landscape that’s rapidly changing,” Carreira says.

“I am confident Professor Carreira will continue the established JACS tradition of excellence and look forward to seeing his exciting vision shape the journal over the years ahead,” said James Milne, president of ACS Publications, in a statement.

News of Carriera's appointment reignited debate over a letter he wrote in 1996 describing the long working hours he expected of those in his research group at the time. In a statement released Sept. 5 Carriera said "I regret writing this letter, as it in no way reflects my leadership approach today. . . . Whether I am leading a lab or leading a journal, I am committed to promoting a sustainable and positive cultural shift in our industry."

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This story was updated on Sept. 8, 2020, to include reaction to Carreira's appointment.


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