By: Mary Yess, ECS Deputy Executive Director & Chief Content Officer

Open AccessRichard Poynder (@RickyPo) is well-known and well-respected in the open access community, especially for his “Open and Shut?” blog. Poynder has written an excellent post, which is part interview with Philip Cohen, founder of the SocArXiv preprint server, and part synopsis of the resurgent preprint server movement. The precursor of them all is arXiv, which was founded way back in 1991. Poynder asks, can preprint servers “gain sufficient traction, impetus, and focus to push the revolution the open access movement began in a more desirable direction?”

The post also talks a good bit about the preprint server framework created by the Center for Open Science (COS). ECS, who is working with COS on launching our own preprint server, gets several mentions in the article as well. In this age of 8-second attention spans, it’s a long article, but it’s well worth the read.

How to Choose a Trusted Journal

Think.Check.Submit.

ECS wants you to learn how to publish with a trusted journal.  A cross-industry initiative called Think.Check.Submit. is led by representatives from various organizations and publishers that encourages authors to find trusted journals for their research. It provides easy steps to follow about safe publishing as well as questions authors should be asking themselves.

ECS and our friends at Think.Check.Submit. are encouraging authors to:

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ECS at 115

There’s a lot of noise in our world today about separating fact from fiction. We are constantly bombarded with volumes of information and data—and we are challenged with what and who to believe?

But when it comes to electrochemistry and solid state sciences, and related fields, be assured that the ECS journals are a source that you can trust. For 115 years, ECS has been publishing high quality, peer-reviewed journals that contain work from YOU—renowned scientists, engineers, inventors, and Nobel Laureates. YOU also provide the high quality and knowledgeable peer review of manuscripts submitted for ECS journal consideration. From our meetings proceedings, ECS Transactions, to our journals, the Journal of the Electrochemical Society and the Journal of Solid State Science and Technology, we maintain rigorous standards that land our publications in the top ranked, most cited in the world.

ECS is also one of the only remaining independent, nonprofit society publisher of electrochemistry and solid state science and technology. With over 3.2 million full-text article downloads in 2016, we are seeing an increase in use of the ECS Digital Library since we have transitioned to hybrid open access, with the future goal to completely Free the Science, ensuring complete access to our entire body of knowledge.

We’re proud of this legacy and we thank you for the contributions that you’ve made to ECS publications through the years.

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ECS Celebrates Open Data Day

On March 4, 2017, ECS will be celebrating Open Data Day! For 2017, this global initiative focuses on four key areas that open data can contribute to: open research data, tracking public money flows, open data for the environment, and open data for human rights.

What is open data? Open data is the revolutionary concept that some data should be available for public use without legal or fiscal restrictions. ECS’s Free the Science initiative aligns categorically with open research data and open data for the environment. This ECS initiative is fighting to bring science and technology into the information sharing era; as technology makes information rapidly more available, the way in which data is accessible and presented becomes evidently more important for scientific advancement. In light of this, ECS is actively seeking ways to make our research open to expedite innovation and find solutions for environmental issues and other technically relevant areas. In addition to this, we are seeking to change the way that scholarly communication among scientists is exchanged and socialized. In the coming months, keep your eye out for big announcements in these areas which are expected to help us accomplish those goals!

Do you want to participate in Open Data Day but don’t know how? On Thursday, March 2 through Saturday, March 4, ECS will be circulating a survey to determine our field’s specific needs in the realm of accessibility to data and research. The best way to contribute to open data is by sharing your knowledge and helping us to understand the accessibility needs of our researchers.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 www.batteryinformatics.com.

“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.”

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