Three cheers for RSC!

This is the RSC.  We’re buds now.

Ok, I’m now officially a huge fan of the Royal Society of Chemistry.  I was recently on the receiving end of an interesting email from them offering a sort of free semi-membership since I published an article in one of their journals not too long ago.  Most researchers in America are probably familiar with the RSC only through the journals they publish (Chemical Communications, Chemical Science, and Chemical Society Reviews being the big ones, but there are plenty others).  They are roughly the UK’s equivalent of our American Chemical Society, organizing conferences, publishing journals, etc.

The email offered a free e-membership, which included “access to one of over 70 RSC subject-based groups allowing to engage with fellow chemists globally, …digital monthly access to Chemisty World [the general RSC chemistry publication…kind of like C&E News as far as I can tell], …and being kept informed about specialist events and conferences”.

Color me impressed!  Go RSC!  This is one of those things that every scientific publication should advocate.  Is it a lot?  Not really.  I’m sure I could engage with international chemists by email just fine, and I’d bet good money I could access Chemistry World through the library.  But the impressive part, to me, is pushing more open access, technologically connected science access.  Basically a message of “Contribute to our network, get official access to a bunch of our stuff”.  Which makes every kind of sense is really pretty awesome.

The sad thing is I haven’t heard of any other science organizations doing this sort of thing (speaking only for chemistry and materials science groups, myself).  I don’t know if this is something ACS does as well.  I know I’ve never received a similar email offering semi-membership for publishing in an ACS journal.  But that may be because I’ve already been an ACS member for the duration of my publishing career so far.  I’m really curious now and sent them an email to find out, so we’ll see.

EDIT 5 NOV. 2012: Got a response from ACS.

“At this time, ACS does not have any such benefits for non-ACS members that publish in ACS journals.”  

And there ya go.  Need to get with the times, guys.

This post has failed to pass peer review

We’re looking to publish an article soon, so I’ve been amused recently with science journals. When you’re looking at publishing in a journal, “impact factor” tends to run rampant, which is more or less determined by how much that journal gets cited. The more the better. Science and Nature, for example, have much higher impact factors than, say, the Japanese Journal of Physical Fitness and Sports Medicine. The lower impact journals tend to be more niche, which is fantastic if you’re looking for references to a specific problem (maybe the effects of nori on flag football prowess?), but rarely have game-changing articles like “Cancer Cured in Primates” or “On the Synthesis of a True Invisibility Cloak.” Bottom line: Impact factor is your paved road to eternal glory and maybe your own Wikipedia entry.

So like I mentioned before, I’ve been thinking about this a bit because we’re looking to publish the work I did two years ago as an REU. The submission is pretty much all written, but now we’re debating on which journal to submit to (and be “we” I mean “mostly the grad student I was working with and his advisor”). After playing the impact factor game for a bit, we’re now at the point where we have a few potential journals to shoot for, and for now I’m staying out of it. I walked in on them just in time to hear, “Advanced Materials? I don’t know… it just doesn’t feel like an Advanced Materials paper.” At which point I realized that, while having read my fair share of articles, I probably couldn’t tell you what a journal feels like yet. Except the Japanese Journal of Physical Fitness and Sports Medicine. That one’s a little sweaty.