I hope that 2017 was a successful year for all in the chemical sciences and that 2018 comes loaded with opportunities to develop and thrive in the global scientific community.
I’d like to thank you for your continued support of C&EN throughout 2017. It was a very good, if busy, year for us, with lots of activity and many changes to how we have traditionally done things. I’d like you, as readers of C&EN, to be aware of some of what those changes are—in some cases you won’t even have noticed them—and understand why they are important. I’d also like to let you know what we have coming up.
We started 2017 with the launch of C&EN Global Enterprise. This new product offers access to a digital version of C&EN’s weekly print magazine to thousands of institutions around the world. If your institution has a subscription to ACS journals (ask your librarian), it is likely that you have access to C&EN Global Enterprise. Please do recommend this subscription to C&EN’s weekly selection of news and features to colleagues and students who may not yet be ACS members.
Then in May we introduced a new version of C&EN’s members-only digital edition. This is the electronic version of the print magazine that we send to members who ask to receive C&EN in their inboxes rather than their mailboxes. This new version is more aesthetically pleasing and has improved functionality and security, which limits the likelihood of unauthorized distribution of our content.
During the summer we undertook an ambitious restructuring of our production processes. This is one of those changes you won’t have even noticed. If I can compare it to anything, I’d say that it is like changing a tire while you are still driving your car. Without getting into too much detail, our goal was to replace our print-centric production process with one worthy of a modern, multiplatform media operation. And we achieved that: We are now equipped to publish more content more quickly and efficiently to all our channels.
These new technology and product offerings have been transformative for C&EN. But one fundamental aspect of these activities was that they allowed us to boost the culture of innovation that already existed in the team. In addition to reaching and delighting the widest possible audience, which continues to be priority number one, we want C&EN to remain a vibrant and modern news operation, situated at the cutting edge of publishing technology, and to create exceptional journalism. Last year was a turning point in that sense: Editorial leadership and innovation became our mantra, and there is no turning back.
In this spirit, we have started the year taking measures to make our content more discoverable, more engaging, and more valuable to you. We have just debuted an A/B headline testing tool on cen.acs.org, meaning we’ll be able to test multiple headlines for a story and statistically measure which one best captures your attention. Soon we’ll also introduce machine learning to power recommended-reading lists on the site. And at the end of February, look for C&EN’s first podcast, aptly named “Stereo Chemistry.” It aims to be an extension of the reporting that we already do elsewhere but add the voices of our reporters and individuals involved in the stories. You’ll be able to find it wherever you get your podcasts, whether via iTunes or voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa. So stay tuned!
This launch will be followed by the redesign of cen.acs.org around the time of the ACS national meeting in New Orleans. Prepare for a better mobile experience, improved navigation, and a vibrant and dynamic look and feel. And this is just the beginning, with better search, personalized features, and so much more to come later on in the year.
Bring on the new year!