Journal of The Electrochemical SocietyThe peer review process is the heart of scholarly communication, assuring the publication of high-quality papers and strengthening the public’s perception of the science. Through peer review, editors, reviewers, and authors work together to ensure the work is coherent, rigorous, and adds to the scientific knowledge base.

However, peer review is not flawless. Namely, the labor intensive review-revise-resubmit process can be time consuming, potentially hampering scientific progress due to publication delay.

“Peer review is everything,” says Michael Hickner, member of the ECS Editorial Advisory Committee and professor at Pennsylvania State University. “However, it can be inefficient and sometimes mistakes happen, but it is our system. Peer review is our gold standard and a tradition of the academic community.”

To help combat some of the issues facing the peer review process today and further strengthen ECS’s manuscript review process, the Society has established the Editorial Advisory Committee to accelerate the peer review process and resolve discrepancies between reviewers on content quality.

“The core goal of the Editorial Advisory Committee is to lend expertise and perspective to the editors and associate editors,” Hickner says, who specializes in membranes for fuel cells and batteries. “I’m a technical consultant and I can weigh in on key papers; perhaps like a trusted super-reviewer.”


Alice SuroviecAlice Suroviec is an associate professor at Berry College, where she focuses her research efforts on the development of microelectrodes and applications of electrochemistry to real-time detection of biological analytes in aqueous solutions. Suroviec has recently been appointed to the ECS Electrochemical Science & Technology Editorial Board as an associate editor for the Journal of The Electrochemical Society (JES).

The Electrochemical Society: What do you hope to accomplish in your role as associate editor?

Alice Suroviec: I hope to make a stronger connection between the excellent work being presented at ECS meetings and JES. I would like to see that JES becomes a go-to journal for publishing the best work in our field. That we will be able to provide excellent peer-reviews in a timely manner and that the process is successful for both the authors and the reviewers.

ECS: How important is the peer review process in scholarly publications?

AS: The peer review process is critical to the process of disseminating scientific work. The sciences are by nature a team process. In the lab we work with other team members to produce novel research. The peer review process is an extension of that, where other experts in the author’s area weigh in to produce the best paper possible. Peer review in JES also provides a quality control so the readers of the journal know that they are reading reputable results.


ECSTThirty seven new issues of ECS Transactions have just been published from PRiME 2016; these are the “standard” issues and they cover a wide variety of topical interest areas.

The papers in these issues of ECST were presented in Honolulu, Hawaii October 2 to October 7, 2016. ECST Volume 75, Issues 1 to 54 can be found here.

Papers from these issues of ECST can be purchased as full-paper downloads. Please search for ECST issues from the PRiME 2016 meeting in the ECS Digital Library.

300 Pounds of ECS Journals

John and Stephany Murray

John and Stephany Murray delivering nearly 300 lbs. of journals to ECS headquarters. (Click to enlarge.)

Since 1902, ECS has continuously published innovative, impactful research in the field of electrochemical and solid state science and technology. From the first publication of the Transactions of the American Electrochemical Society over 100 years ago to the over 1,700 journal papers published in the Society’s Digital Library every year, ECS has disseminated a massive amount of research since its establishment.

One ECS member happened to have a good deal of that research sitting in his basement office.

John Murray joined ECS in 1962, which is when he began receiving the paper version of the Journal of The Electrochemical Society (JES). Since then, he’s stowed the paperbound research in his basement, making sure to transfer it wherever his career took him. Now, that collection has made its way from his home in Timonium, MD to ECS headquarters in Pennington, NJ.

Cultivating a collection

Murray’s electrochemical career began at Allis-Chalmers Corp. Research Division in West Allis, WI, where he worked on catalysts and electrodes that would assist in the development of hydrogen oxygen fuel cells for NASA. When the company hit financial issues and sold its research division to Teledyne Technologies, Murray was one of just nine employees to keep his position. That took him and his wife Stephany to Timonium, MD, where they currently live.

And of course, where the around 700 pounds of ECS journals live as well.


By: Ellen Finnie

Scholarly researchNature announced on December 8 that Elsevier has launched a new journal quality index, called CiteScore, which will be based on Elsevier’s Scopus citation database and will compete with the longstanding and influential Journal Impact Factor (IF).

Conflict of interest

One can hardly fault Elsevier for producing this metric, which is well positioned to compete with the Impact Factor. But for researchers and librarians, there are serious concerns about CiteScore. Having a for-profit entity that is also a journal publisher in charge of a journal publication metric creates a conflict of interest, and is inherently problematic. The eigenfactor team Carl T. Bergstrom and Jevin West have done some early analysis of how Elsevier journals tend to rank via CiteScore versus the Impact Factor, and conclude that “Elsevier journals are getting just over a 25% boost relative to what we would expect given their Impact Factor scores.” Looking at journals other than Nature journals – which take quite a hit under the CiteScore because of what Phil Davis refers to as Citescore’s “overt biases against journals that publish a lot of front-matter” — Elsevier journals still get a boost (15%) in comparison with Impact Factor.

Perpetuating problems of journal prestige in promotion and tenure

But more broadly, the appearance of another measure of journal impact reinforces existing problems with the scholarly publishing market, where journal brand as a proxy for research quality drives promotion and tenure decisions. This tying of professional advancement, including grant awards, to publication in a small number of high prestige publications contributes to monopoly power and resulting hyperinflation in the scholarly publishing market. Indeed, I was recently informed by a large commercial journal publisher that a journal’s Impact Factor is a key consideration in setting the price increase for that title—and was the first reason mentioned to justify increases.


ECS is pleased to share the results of our first ever Open Access Week competition! We received many thoughtful entries, and ultimately decided that it was necessary to draw a tie. Our two 1st place winners, Caitlin Dillard and Manan Pathak, will each be receiving a $250 prize, as well as an additional $500 in funding to their respective ECS Student Chapters.

Here’s a bit about our winners:

Manan PathakManan is currently pursuing his PhD with Prof. Venkat Subramanian at the University of Washington, Seattle, where he is a Clean Energy Institute Fellow. He is actively involved with the recently formed University of Washington ECS Student Chapter, and serves as the vice-chair for education and outreach. Manan completed his undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering at IIT Bombay in India. He is also one of the co-founders of a start-up called Battery Informatics where they are trying to commercialize their research on electrochemical and thermal physics model based Battery Management Systems (BMS). More details about the same can be found on

“I was fortunate to get admitted to an institute like IIT, in a developing country like India, which has only about 74% literacy rate, and has the highest population of illiterates in the world…Education was a luxury for many of them at such a young age, where schools would shut down during monsoon season…Their hard-work, passion and innate curiosity to study science and engineering inspired me to pursue research…OA is a way to reach out to such people, and bring them closer to the world scientific community. People are no longer bounded by their means but only by their curiosity and passion. The pursuit of knowledge and its free access will ultimately lead to the pursuit of happiness.”


Open Access Week is fast upon us, and this year’s theme is “Open in Action.” ECS’s participation in Open Access Week is a preview of our vision to Free the Science, a future where authors can publish with us for free and readers can access our Digital Library without paywalls (find out more about what we’re doing to celebrate).

In the spirit of this year’s theme, ECS has created a list  of “action items” to help you make the most of the week:


Kroto in Nanoland

Harry KrotoPioneering nanocarbons researcher Harry Kroto passed away on April 30, 2016 at the age of 76. A giant among giants, Kroto made an immense impact on ECS and its scientific discipline as well as the world at large. Because of this, an upcoming focus issue of the ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology honors the memory of Kroto, who is best known for his role in discovering that pure carbon can exist in the form of a hollow soccer ball-shaped molecule named the “buckminsterfullerene” (“buckyball” for short).

“Harry Kroto’s passing is a great loss to science and society as a whole,” says Bruce Weisman, guest editor of the focus issue. “He was an exceptional researcher whose 1985 work with Rick Smalley and Bob Curl launched the field of nanocarbons research and nanotechnology.”

Subsequent studies of carbon nanostructures have uncovered scientific phenomena and developed novel materials that promise myriad applications ranging from energy harvesting and drug delivery to high performance composites. Research in this field continues to fill the pages of scholarly journals, making possible innovations that were not even conceived before the seminal work.


David CliffelDavid Cliffel is the Professor of Chemistry & Department Chair at Vanderbilt University, where he leads research on the electrochemistry and analytical chemistry of nanoparticles and photosynthetic proteins. He has recently become a new Technical Editor for the Journal of The Electrochemical Society, concentrating in the Physical and Analytical Electrochemistry, Electrocatalysis, and Photoelectrochemistry Topical Interest Area.

What do you hope to accomplish as the new Technical Editor of JES?
I’d like to improve the connection between what’s happening – as far as vibrant science – at the meetings and have that reflected in the quality of the papers in the journal. I think my role is really to facilitate the extension of the quality of the meetings into the journals.

How important is the peer-review process to the integrity of scientific publications?
Peer-review is the heart of how science gets evaluated and how important discoveries get communicated to the rest of us. The review process is still the best method we have of being able to evaluate the quality and importance of what’s really happening in our field. The reviewers are a critical part, and in JES, the key aspect is that our reviewers are in electrochemistry and that may or may not be the case in any other journal. One of our greatest assets is the quality of our reviewers’ knowledge in electrochemistry.

What kind of impact have you seen open access have on academic publishing?
Open access really has expanded the rest of the world’s ability to access high-quality journals. It’s also opened up technical papers to a larger part of the scientific audience and expanded what the audience is reading. That has been a very exciting thing. My open access papers are getting read by high school students and I’m getting emails from high school teachers about what’s the new paper that just came out in an area they happen to be searching in. Open access drives scientific knowledge and the spread of scientific knowledge to people who never had access before.


The Electrochemical Society is proud to announce the full digitization of fourteen original Proceedings Volumes, the Molten Salts Collection.

This Collection’s digitization was made possible by a generous grant from the Army Research Office and is fully free online for digital download.