I am not a January resolution maker, but I do appreciate the transition to a new year as a regular marker for reflection on the past, present, and future. Pienta’s editorial in the January 2017 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education serves a similar purpose, as he reflects on its title question: How To Make a Journal Better (article freely available).
What makes up the Journal? At a basic level, content—the articles we see each month. But, as Pienta points out, the pieces that make the published articles possible are many. Authors, partnership with the ACS Publications division, reviewers, and JCE staff, including associate editors and the editor-in-chief. Where can you, the reader, fit in? Consider, are you an author and/or reviewer? What steps could you yourself take to make the Journal better as a resource for other chemistry educators? Consider these excerpts from the editorial.
Be an Author
Reflection: “Creative contributions to the Journal of Chemical Education (JCE) would appear to be a limiting commodity, but our authors never cease to amaze me with keeping the endeavor moving forward…”
Action: “A better Journal means that you, the authors, need to keep up your efforts and to keep the contributions at the cutting edge. Do not forget that new colleagues may need to be mentored about the value of the Journal and getting the next generations to extend that value.”
JCE’s authors continue to come up with novel applications and ideas, as well as updated twists on past material. During my time as JCE’s high school section editor, a main goal was to encourage high school authors to share their work and expertise. I am always pleased to see the fruits of their labor in print. For example, don’t miss Bringing NMR and IR Spectroscopy to High Schools (available to subscribers), particularly for high schools with International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement chemistry programs, and organic and/or materials chemistry courses. What work can you share through JCE?
Be a Reviewer
Reflection: “Finding appropriate reviewers and asking these volunteers to contribute their time and expertise may be the biggest challenge to running the Journal.”
Action: “If you are not a reviewer, please log in or register an account at the ACS Paragon Plus portal and update your areas of interest/expertise; alternatively, encourage your younger colleagues to use reviewing as a means to find out about cutting-edge research and practice, and to improve their own writing.”
Serving as a reviewer gives a unique behind-the-scenes look at the earlier stages of articles. It is a great opportunity to share your view as a potential reader and user of an article, with the goal of making it an even better article if published. We are all busy, as Pienta states, but reviewers do have the ability to decline an invitation to review a specific article if schedules do not permit. Sign up today!
“How does one make a Journal better? It should be clear that everyone has to contribute.”
More from the January 2017 Issue
Mary Saecker’s JCE 94.01 January 2017 Issue Highlights brings together content from this month’s issue of the Journal. Look for further offerings from this month’s authors that are relevant to your own chemical education environment.
How can you make ChemEd X better? Share your take on any article from this or a past issue of the Journal in a short blog post. Start by submitting a contribution form, explaining you would like to contribute to the Especially JCE column. Questions? Contact us using the ChemEd X contact form.