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The Changing Structure of Scientific Communication: Expanding the Nature of Letters Submissions to ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering

Cite this: ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. 2020, 8, 23, 8469–8470
Publication Date (Web):June 15, 2020
https://doi.org/10.1021/acssuschemeng.0c03926
Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society
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The current COVID-19 pandemic has changed the nature of scientific communication. Large scientific meetings have been canceled or have gone virtual. These changes and cancellations are affecting some in our community more than others. For many young scholars finishing their academic training, these changes have disrupted the progression of their careers and limited their opportunities for communicating their work to a broad audience. In addition, laboratory lockdowns have directly affected the ability of young scholars to complete work on which their careers will be established and have limited their ability to pursue international opportunities. While there are many facets of the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic that our Editorial team cannot address, we are adapting in our role as a channel for scientific communication.

Since its first issue, ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering (ACS SCE) has accepted Letters as a manuscript type. This has been a relatively underused manuscript category, but going forward, the journal will be expanding the nature of Letters to better serve our community of emerging scholars.

Beginning immediately, we encourage Letters submissions where the first author is a doctoral student or postdoctoral fellow. The first author’s status should be specified in the cover letter. To be considered, these Letters from emerging scholars must still be within the scope and meet the quality standards of ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering; for Letters that are within the scope, our Editorial team will expedite the review process of the manuscripts, aiming to provide a decision within 14 days and to publish successful submissions within 30 days. Our target for the manuscript length is 2000–3000 words, anticipating that this will be sufficient length to present key results; ACS SCE will also welcome future submissions of full length research articles that provide more complete descriptions of the works originally presented in Letters from emerging scholars. By publishing this category of Letter, we aim to provide emerging scholars with an opportunity to present their work to the scientific and engineering research community at an early stage, as might be done at a scientific meeting. To accommodate as many emerging scholars as possible, authors will be limited to one published emerging scholar Letter as first author.

This expansion in the nature of the Letters category will not reduce the scope of the existing Letters category, as currently described in the ACS SCE author guidelines. ACS SCE will continue to welcome Letters submissions that describe new experimental data, new interpretations of existing data, or new theoretical analyses of phenomena. We particularly invite submissions that address the application of green chemistry and green engineering to drug, vaccine, or disinfectant development, personal protective equipment, virus or bacteria screening tools, and the sustainability of scientific and engineering practices used to address pandemics.

Since we expect that channels of scientific communication will evolve over the next 18 months, we plan to revisit the guidelines for Letters from emerging scholars at the end of 2021 and make changes as necessary. Whatever changes we make will be aimed at better serving our research community and improving the timely reporting of scientific and engineering advances that deliver impact to society and our environment.

We look forward to submissions of Letters from emerging scholars.

Views expressed in this editorial are those of the authors and not necessarily the views of the ACS.

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