Archive for May, 2017

ChemComm trials double-blind peer review option

You asked, we listened. And now we invite you to join us as we explore a different approach to peer review.

From 3 July 2017, for a period of 12 months, we are offering our authors a choice on how their manuscripts will be peer reviewed on ChemComm:

Single-blind peer review – where reviewers are anonymous but author names and affiliations are known to reviewers.

Double-blind peer review – where authors’ and reviewers’ identities are concealed from each other.

The choice of which peer review model should be used for each manuscript will be completely up to authors. However, as an author, if you opt for the double-blind process you will need to anonymise your manuscript before submission, avoiding mention of any information that might give your identity away. Authors who choose this option will be responsible for ensuring their submission is anonymised; we have prepared a checklist to help you.

As a reviewer for ChemComm, you may be invited to review a manuscript that has been anonymised. All communication with you regarding double-blind manuscripts will omit author and affiliation details.

Why a double-blind trial?

ChemComm has always used the traditional, single-blind peer review model favoured by most scientific journals, and we continue to trust in the effectiveness of this system.

However, we have listened to feedback from some members of the chemical science community and we have seen the growing interest in double-blind peer review. Proponents of double-blind review suggest that it can reduce the impact of biases, both obvious and subtle, conscious or otherwise, on peer review.  These biases could be based on gender, ethnicity, author affiliation, and so on. In response to this feedback from parts of our community, we decided to see for ourselves how ChemComm can offer authors the option of anonymity, and whether this is something that our community values.

Because the evidence for the effectiveness of double-blind in reducing bias is not clear cut1, we will carry out a 12-month trial to gather our own evidence.  We want to understand the true demand for double-blind review from our authors and, where possible, to measure any differences in the effectiveness of the peer review between the two approaches.

So why not take part in our 12-month experiment – both single- and double-blind peer review options will be available for submissions to ChemComm from the 3rd of July. Authors need only select the double-blind option upon submission to choose this process.

We value your feedback and, as part of the trial, we will be asking all authors and reviewers to complete a short survey about their experience – please do share your thoughts on peer review, whether single- or double-blind, with us. After the trial, we will share the results of our experiment with the community and use the evidence gathered to make a decision about using double-blind review in future.

At ChemComm, we are proud to be the leading journal for urgent, high-quality communications from across the chemical sciences – publishing 100 issues a year.

Read more about this trial in our guidelines for authors and reviewers.

 

1Bob O’Hara. “Peer Review Week: Should we use double blind peer review? The evidence…” (Methods.blog, the official blog of Methods in Ecology and Evolution) and references therein. 22 Sept 2016. Available at: https://methodsblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/22/peer-review-week-should-we-use-double-blind-peer-review-the-evidence/

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Destruction and Reconstruction of Nanorods Controlled by Visible Light

Written by Tianyu Liu, University of California, Santa Cruz

Supramolecular smart materials are a family of materials composed of several molecules. They have the ability to change their configurations in response to external stimuli such as the presence of enzymes, light irradiation, and changes in pH. This property can be manipulated for a variety of applications including drug delivery and tissue engineering.

In recent years, pH-responsive supramolecular smart materials have been intensively investigated due to the simplicity of pH alteration. However, adjusting pH can have undesired consequences. First, chemical species other than the supramolecular materials (e.g., acid and base) are needed for tuning pH. The involvement of external reagents hinders the readiness of operation. Additionally, the use of acid and base inevitably introduces waste products, which could eventually suppress the stimulus-response activity of the smart materials. Therefore, developing alternative ways to initiate the configuration modification of the supramolecular smart materials is highly desirable.

In a recent ChemComm. publication, Professor Heng-Yi Zhang, Professor Yu Liu and coworkers from Nankai University, China have developed supramolecular smart nanorods consisting of β-cyclodextrin (β-CD) and 4,4’-bipyridine-coordinated zinc ions. In the presence of protonated merocyanine (MEH) in water, the nanorods are able to dissociate upon visible light illumination and reconstruct themselves when placed in the dark (Figure above).

The method by which these structures can reconfigure involves a light-driven proton transfer process (Figure below). MEH molecules absorb energy from visible light and subsequently release their protons to the surroundings. These free protons then combine with the 4,4’-bipyridine (DPD). The protonated DPD molecules lose their coordination ability and disassemble with zinc ions. As a result, the entire nanorod structure collapses. When no light is present, the aforementioned proton transfer process is reversed and the nanorods are reformed. Such a process is highly reversible with no observable light-responsive activity loss for at least five cycles.

The demonstrated light-responsive supramolecular nanorods enable facile operations with no additional chemicals. This technology opens up endless new opportunities in remote control of light-responsive processes.

To find out more please see:

Light-controlled reversible self-assembly of nanorod suprastructures

Jie Guo, Heng-Yi Zhang, Yan Zhou and Yu Liu

DOI:10.1039/C7CC03280C

 

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Commemorating Michael Faraday (1791-1867) – call for papers in physical chemistry

This year we are commemorating the 150th anniversary of the death of Michael Faraday, perhaps one of the most prolific and influential scientists who ever lived. His ground-breaking research into the relationship between electricity and magnetism ultimately led to the invention of the electric motor.

One of his most well-known creations, the Faraday cage, is the basis of MRI machines which are routinely used for a range of medical diagnoses. He also discovered benzene, pioneered research into nanotechnology, and gave his name to the Faraday Effect, Faraday’s Law, and the SI unit of capacitance, the farad.

At the Royal Society of Chemistry, we are honouring Michael Faraday with a special Chemical Communications web themed issue, highlighting key discoveries and developments in physical chemistry.

We encourage you to submit your best research to be included in this unique collection! More information about our article types can be found here. Submit at www.rsc.org/ChemComm by 31st July 2017! Please note that all submissions will be subject to peer review in accordance with the journal’s quality and standards. If you are interested in this opportunity, please email chemcomm-rsc@rsc.org

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