ACS Introduces A New Journal | May 25, 2009 Issue - Vol. 87 Issue 19 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 87 Issue 19 | p. 34 | News of The Week
Issue Date: May 25, 2009

ACS Introduces A New Journal

Society's family of physical chemistry publications will gain a letters journal
Department: ACS News
Credit: Courtesy of George Schatz/Northwestern U
Credit: Courtesy of George Schatz/Northwestern U

In a move that reflects our increasingly digital era, the American Chemical Society will soon begin publishing its first online-only journal.

The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters will start up in January 2010. Northwestern University chemistry professor George C. Schatz, who is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Physical Chemistry A, B, and C, will serve in the same capacity for the new letters journal. Prashant V. Kamat, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame, will be deputy editor.

ACS is "starting JPC Letters in response to interest in the physical chemistry community in having a letters-only journal, which provides greater visibility to papers that need rapid communication," Schatz says. One criterion for acceptance will be urgency of publication, he adds. Schatz estimates that JPC Letters will publish accepted papers in an average of seven weeks after submission.

The new peer-reviewed publication's online-only format makes the most of Web features, such as links between the journal's content and scientific databases, including SciFinder. ACS is also exploring additional links between material in the letters journal and other JPC journals.

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Offering the journal exclusively online makes sense given the behavior of today's readers, Schatz says. "Most readers only use the online versions of existing journals," he notes, "so in many respects this simply conforms to an accepted publication model that already exists."

"The online format is appropriate for this type of journal, where rapid publication is essential, and faculty and students generally prefer the online format over print," agrees Mary Ann Mahoney, head of the chemistry and chemical engineering library at the University of California, Berkeley. She adds that she is converting all of her library's journal subscriptions to the online format, even when print is available, "due to financial and space constraints."

Mahoney notes that "librarians are facing unprecedented pressure to reduce their spending due to severe reductions in library funding. Unfortunately, in order to purchase this new journal, I would have to cancel even more journals than are already on my cancellation list," she says. "So I am not sure at this time if subscribing is feasible," despite the publication's association "with a journal as prestigious as the Journal of Physical Chemistry."

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