A year in review

    This month Communications Chemistry celebrates its first anniversary of publishing research, reviews and commentary in all areas of the chemical sciences. Here we look back at the past 12 months of the journal and think about the many things still to achieve.

    It is 1 year since we launched Communications Chemistry with the aim of providing an open access forum for the publication of high-quality research and comment spanning the whole spectrum of the chemical sciences. Twelve months and well over a hundred published articles later we are proud that we have made a good start on this ambitious project. We would like to begin by thanking the authors, readers, reviewers, and Editorial Board Members who made this possible. This has been a successful first year and it would not have been possible without your graceful contributions.

    “They say time flies when you’re having fun, and the first year of Communications Chemistry seems to have passed by in the blink of an eye.”

    Analysis of our first hundred published articles suggests that we are making progress on our aim to publish across the chemical sciences. Breakdown of published articles by subject area is as follows; analytical chemistry (7), biochemistry and chemical biology (8), catalysis (6), computational and theoretical chemistry (5), energy materials (5), green chemistry (1), inorganic chemistry (12), materials chemistry and nanomaterials (17), medicinal chemistry (3), organic chemistry (10), physical chemistry and chemical physics (10), polymer chemistry and soft matter (4), supramolecular chemistry (5), and surface chemistry (3). Of course there is still work to be done to ensure that we represent all parts of the field but we are happy that we are publishing a very broad range of articles, that our publications are not dominated by one area in particular, and that this footprint is reflective of the spread of manuscripts submitted to us.

    We remain aware of the importance of rapid dissemination of new research in our field. We continue to put efficient handling of manuscripts at the heart of everything we do. Our wonderful reviewers submit their reports incredibly quickly, and we try to make clear decisions with concise and personalized guidance for all of our authors. We hope that our short submission to accept times (averaging ~90 days during the past 12 months) and the number of authors who have already chosen to publish more than one article with us attest to our efficiency and the quality of our editorial process.

    As an open access journal publishing articles under a CC-BY licence we are also delighted to see our content being freely read, shared, cited, and reused. We take great care to ensure that our published articles are as visible and discoverable as possible – we appear on Web of Science as part of the Emerging Sources Citation Index, our work is highlighted on social media, and as such many of the first papers that we published have already been cited in related research. In addition, educators have told us that they have incorporated Communications Chemistry papers in to their classes or exam questions, a fantastic example of reuse of open access content.

    When we launched as a journal for the community we pledged to try to support the community, in particular early career researchers. This year we announced the inaugural Communications Chemistry early career travel grant. We were delighted to announce the first recipient in December 2018 and we look forward to offering the grant again in the future. We have publically acknowledged the important contributions of our reviewers, many of whom are early career researchers, in our editorial during Peer Review Week and monthly ever since as part of our Reviewer of the Month feature. We are going further to acknowledge the work that goes into the review process by offering the authors the opportunity to opt in to transparent peer review – the publication of reviewers reports and author responses and supplementary files.

    This month we also publish our first Q&A’s highlighting issues that we think are important to the community, specifically mentor-mentee collaboration and approaches to peer review. These will be published as part of the anniversary collection available at our homepage. Alongside the Q&As our in-house editors have chosen a few articles that they personally found inspiring, and we have pulled together all of the ‘Behind the paper’ blog posts that our authors have posted on the Nature Research Chemistry Community.

    They say time flies when you are having fun, and the first year of Communications Chemistry seems to have passed by in the blink of an eye. That said there is still much to do. We do not yet believe that we are doing all we can to ensure representative diversity in terms of geographic location, ethnicity, gender, and career stage among our reviewer pool. This year we will be looking at ways that we can improve this. We are also aware that we live in ‘interesting times’ when it comes to publishing practices and policy. In many instances discussions surrounding open access are dominated by voices from outside the chemistry community but we want to ensure that we do all we can to align our policies and processes to meet the requirements of our readership. As always, if you think there are things that we can do better we would be delighted for you to let us know, particularly as we continue to grow in the coming year and beyond.

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    A year in review. Commun Chem 2, 26 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s42004-019-0126-3

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