Five Questions with Technical Editor Charles Hussey

Charles HusseyCharles L. Hussey is Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Mississippi and professor of chemistry. He is a fellow of ECS and a recipient of the Society’s Max Bredig Award in Molten Salt and Ionic Liquid Chemistry. His scientific research with molten salts/ionic liquids has been directed at the electrochemistry and spectroscopy of d- and f-block elements, the electrodeposition of aluminum and corrosion-resistant aluminum-transition metal alloys, the electrodissolution of metals and alloys, and the electrochemical processing of spent nuclear fuel. Hussey was recently reappointed as technical editor of the Journal of The Electrochemical Society in the area of electrochemical/electroless deposition.

The Electrochemial Society: What has your experiences as a JES editor been like?

Charles Hussey: I was appointed as an associate editor in 2000 and continued in that role until 2011. As an associate editor, I handled manuscripts on all topics for JES and Electrochemical and Solid-State Letters. Handling a variety of topical manuscripts for JES and ESL was the job that needed to be done, and it was a very challenging and sometimes uncomfortable assignment, but also highly educational.

After reorganization of the ECS Editorial Board in 2011 and reassignment of the board members to specific topical interest areas, I became technical editor for electrochemical/electroless deposition. This is a much more focused and comfortable assignment because it is closer to my own research interests. No doubt, this reorganization has led to better quality evaluation of manuscripts on the part of all of our editors. In addition, I now split this editorial work with Professor Takayuki Homma at Waseda University. Taka serves as the associate editor for this area and does a fantastic job. I should also mention that during the 18 years that I have served on the board, I have had the pleasure of working directly with several great editors, Dennis Hess, Paul Kohl, Dan Scherson, and Bob Savinell. ECS publications have prospered under their guidance.

ECS: What have been some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in ECS publications during your time as editor?

CH: Undoubtedly, the biggest change during my long service as a board member has been the switch in 2003 from paper manuscripts to the first digital interface platform PXP. Now we use ECSxPress. The digital platform is so much more efficient, requires less manpower, and gives us access to numerous digital tools for reviewing and copyediting. For example, we also have a vibrant and growing online reviewer database, and we always welcome new members! Did I mention digital graphics? Our younger readers may not realize that once upon a time, each manuscript was prepared on paper in triplicate and sent by the editors to reviewers through postal mail, even reviewers outside the U.S. In fact, I had a part-time secretary at the University of Mississippi whose only job was to handle the processing of paper manuscripts! Once accepted for publication, each manuscript was retyped by hand in duplicate with special word processing software for cross-checking purposes. It is hard to imagine this now.

ECS: Why is the peer review process such an important piece of scholarly publications?

CH: There is so much to say about this that I hardly know where to begin. To have scientific manuscripts evaluated before publication anonymously by impartial experts in the field is an essential tool to check for quality and to help ensure the integrity of scientific results reported to the world. It goes a long way toward preventing the publication of fallacious results and eliminating duplicate submissions. Sadly (and rarely), authors do submit their work to two journals simultaneously or try to republish data. We count on our expert reviewers to catch these problems. Unfortunately, as we editors all know, the peer review process does not completely eliminate these problems, but it is the best tool we can imagine.

ECS: What separates ECS journals from other journals in the field?

CH: I think that it is the careful selection of editorial board members who are outstanding scientists and experts in their own areas of electrochemistry and/or solid state science as well as the careful thought and planning that goes into the whole ECS journal publication enterprise. The Society’s Free the Science initiative, which democratizes the publication process, serves as an example. Rather than being part of some large organization that hosts many different and disparate journals, ECS is laser focused on one big idea, the publication of the leading work in all aspects of electrochemical and solid state science and technology.

ECS: Why should authors publish in ECS journals?

CH: To me, ECS journals represent the scientific standard for the publication of new results in electrochemical and solid state science. They are the go to journals in these disciplines. In fact, these are the venues where the leading scientists in the Society choose to submit much of their own work. The very large and growing number of manuscript submissions from all over the world that Takayuki and I have processed over the past few years also bear this out as does the steady rise in the impact factors of our journals. It is obvious that many authors come to us first for the publication of their best work. Regrettably, we cannot publish all of the high quality reports that we receive because we are looking specifically for high-impact contributions that significantly advance the field.

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