How do Anions Fight Indoor Organic Contaminants?

Indoor air quality is critical to public health. Chronic exposure to indoor organic contaminants (IOCs), including aldehydes and benzene homologues, substantially increases the risk of having respiratory diseases. In recent years, negative air ions (NAIs) have emerged as promising materials to decompose IOCs. NAIs are negatively charged ions generated via ionizing air. However, the limited understanding of the decomposition reaction mechanisms hinders the safety evaluation and wide adoption of NAI-cleaning.

A group of Chinese researchers led by Jin-Ming Lin of Tsinghua University recently demonstrated in ChemComm a powerful tool to unveil the reaction mechanisms. They built a system integrated with an NAI generator, an IOC sprayer and a mass spectrometer (Figure 1). NAIs containing mostly CO3 were produced by the ionization of air. These anions then mixed and reacted with the sprayer-delivered IOCs in front of the mass spectrometer inlet. All species generated during the reactions were directly brought into the mass spectrometer by inert N2 for characterization.

Figure 1. The experimental set-up of the integrated system.

This device revealed real-time reaction kinetics by identifying the reaction intermediates. The mass spectrum of a common IOC, formaldehyde, when reacted with CO3 is presented in Figure 2a. Two pronounced peaks with mass to charge ratios (m/z) of 45.10 and 60.10 were assigned to HCOO and CO3, respectively. Additionally, the 45.10 peak was only detected when formaldehyde was present (Figure 2b). On the basis of these observations, the authors concluded that the major pathway of formaldehyde degradation by CO3was the reaction between CO3 and the α-H atom of the aldehyde group. With identical instrumentation, the authors also proposed how the reactions between CO3 and benzene homologues or esters may proceed.

Figure 2. (a) The mass spectrum of reaction intermediates between CO3 and 10 ppm formaldehyde. (b) The change of peak intensities of m/z = 60.10 and 45.10 peaks with the operation time. Formaldehyde was present during 7.0-14.0 min.

The results obtained by this study could greatly deepen the understanding of NAI-based chemistry. It could also be useful to investigate kinetics of a broad range of other chemical reactions involving charged reactants.

 

To find out more please read:

Real-Time Characterization of Negative Air Ion-Induced Decomposition of Indoor Organic Contaminants by Mass Spectrometry

Ling Lin, Yu Li, Mashooq Khan, Jiashu Sun and Jin-Ming Li

Chem. Commun., 2018, DOI: 10.1039/c8cc05795h

 

About the blogger:

Tianyu Liu obtained his Ph.D. (2017) in Chemistry from University of California, Santa Cruz in the United States. He is passionate about scientific communication to introduce cutting-edge research to both the general public and scientists with diverse research expertise. He is a blog writer for Chem. Commun. and Chem. Sci. More information about him can be found at http://liutianyuresearch.weebly.com/.

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EuroBIC 14

This August saw the occasion of the 14th European Biological Inorganic Chemistry Conference (EuroBIC), held at the University of Birmingham in the UK. With an excellent line up of internationally renowned plenary and keynote speakers the event was a huge success, attracting around 400 attendees.

The Royal Society of Chemistry was pleased to support the event, offering poster prizes of books and book vouchers. The winners of RSC vouchers were:

  • Raul Berrocal-Martin (University of Glasgow) – Dalton Transactions Poster Prize
  • Wilma Neumann (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) – Metallomics Poster Prize
  • Ying Zhou (University of Hong Kong) – ChemComm Poster Prize
  • Leon Jenner (University of East Anglia) – Chemical Science Poster Prize

The following presenters also won the RSC Highly Commended Poster Awards:

  • Gloria Vigueras Bautista (University of Murcia)
  • Nicolai Burzlaff (Friedrich-Alexander University)
  • Samya Banerjee (University of Warwick)
  • Riccardo Bonsignore (Cardiff University)
  • Philip Ash (University of Oxford)

Dalton Transactions associate editor Nils Metzler-Nolte (Ruhr-Universität Bochum) and Chemical Science assistant editor William King were on hand to award the prizes.

Raul Berrocal-Martin (left) receiving the Dalton Transactions prize from Nils Metzler-Nolte (right) Ying Zhou (left) receiving the ChemComm prize from Nils Metzler-Nolte (right)
Leon Jenner (left) receiving the Chemical Science prize from William King (right) Gloria Vigueras Bautista (left) receiving a Highly Commended Poster Prize from William King (right)
Riccardo Bonsignore (left) receiving a Highly Commended Poster Prize from William King (right) Philip Ash (left) receiving a Highly Commended Poster Prize from William King (right)

The RSC offers a hearty congratulations to all poster prize winners!

Next year the 19th International Conference on Biological Inorganic Chemistry (ICBIC 19) will be held in Interlaken, Switzerland – August 11th to 16th. The next European Biological Inorganic Chemistry Conference (EuroBIC 15) will be held in Reykjavik, Iceland, in August 2020. 

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ChemComm and Chemical Science Poster Prize winners at the 28th International Symposium on the Organic Chemistry of Sulfur

The 28th International Symposium on the Organic Chemistry of Sulfur (ISOCS 28) was held in Tokyo, Japan, from 26th – 31st August.

Over 220 delegates attended the symposium which was chaired by Professor Kei Goto (Tokyo Institute of Technology). ISOCS symposia are prestigious international scientific events with a tradition of over 50 years that cover the whole fascinating range of sulfur chemistry from theory to practical applications. ISOCS-28 has offered a scientific program dealing with the latest developments in sulfur chemistry presented by leading international experts including six Plenary Lecturers and twenty Invited Lecturers. The next symposium, ISOCS-29, will be held in 2020 in Ontario, Canada, under the chairmanship of Professor Adrian L. Schwan (University of Guelph).

Mr Ryosuke Masuda from Tokyo Institute of Technology was awarded the ChemComm Poster Prize for his piece titled ‘Model Study of a GPx-derived Selenenic Acid with Thiols by Utilizing a Cradled Selenocysteine’.

Mr Tomohiro Sugahara from Kyoto University was award the Chemical Science Poster Prize for his piece titled ‘Chalcogenation Reactions of 1,2-Digermacyclobutadiene’.

Congratulations to both!

Mr. Tomohiro Sugahara was awarded the Chemical Science Poster Prize by Hiromitsu Urakami

Mr. Ryosuke Masuda was awarded the ChemComm Poster Prize by Hiromitsu Urakami

 

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HOT ChemComm articles for August

All of the referee-recommended articles below are free to access until 5th October 2018.

Induced circular dichroism of monoatomic anions: silica-assisted the transfer of chiral environment from molecular assembled nanohelices to halide ions
Yutaka Okazaki, Naoya Ryu, Thierry Buffeteau, Shaheen Pathan, Shoji Nagaoka, Emilie Pouget, Sylvain Nlate, Hirotaka Ihara and Reiko Oda
Chem. Commun., 2018, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C8CC05449E, Communication

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Arsagermene, a compound with an –As[double bond, length as m-dash]Ge[double bond splayed right] double bond
Vladimir Ya. Lee, Manami Kawai, Olga A. Gapurenko, Vladimir I. Minkin, Heinz Gornitzka and Akira Sekiguchi
Chem. Commun., 2018, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C8CC05630G, Communication

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Progress in selective oxidative dehydrogenation of light alkanes to olefins promoted by boron nitride catalysts
Lei Shi, Yang Wang, Bing Yan, Wei Song, Dan Shao and An-Hui Lu
Chem. Commun., 2018, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C8CC04604B, Feature Article

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Photochemical and electrochemical hydrogen evolution reactivity of lanthanide-functionalized polyoxotungstates
Marzieh Arab Fashapoyeh, Masoud Mirzaei, Hossein Eshtiagh-Hosseini, Ashwene Rajagopal, Manuel Lechner, Rongji Liu and Carsten Streb
Chem. Commun., 2018, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C8CC06334F, Communication

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A tetravalent sialic acid-coated tetraphenylethene luminogen with aggregation-induced emission characteristics: design, synthesis and application for sialidase activity assay, high-throughput screening of sialidase inhibitors and diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis
Guang-jian Liu, Beihan Wang, Yuan Zhang, Guo-wen Xing, Xiaoli Yang and Shu Wang
Chem. Commun., 2018, Accepted Manuscript
DOI: 10.1039/C8CC06300A, Communication

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A C–C bonded 5,6-fused bicyclic energetic molecule: exploring an advanced energetic compound with improved performance
Yongxing Tang, Chunlin He, Gregory H. Imler, Damon A. Parrish and Jean’ne M. Shreeve
Chem. Commun., 2018, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C8CC05987J, Communication

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MOFS, ZMOFS and Automobiles

Mohamed Eddaoudi and co-workers at KAUST have synthesised a porous metal organic framework (MOF) constructed from carboxylic acid-functionalised imidazole linkers coordinated to yttrium and potassium cations. The researchers classified this material as a zeolite-like MOF (ZMOF) due to its topological resemblance to the naturally occurring zeolite mineral analcime.

The material’s architecture, with cylindrical channels and a pore aperture measuring 3.8 x 6.2 Å, promised utility as a molecular sieve, and the authors showed the ZMOF could be used to sort small chain alkanes based on their level of branching. Linear and mono-branched pentanes and butanes were adsorbed by the material for different lengths of time (linear isomers were retained longer than their branched counterparts) allowing kinetic separation, while the di-branched alkane 2,2,4-trimethylpentane was excluded entirely. The authors anticipate that this material could have practical applications in crude oil refining, to upgrade petroleum into more energy-efficient fuels with reduced emissions.

ZMOF zeolite-like metal organic framework crystal structure with analcime (ana) topology showing channels and pore aperture.

ZMOF crystal structure with analcime (ana) topology showing channels and pore aperture.

The petroleum used to power internal combustion engines consists of a mixture of low molecular weight, linear and branched alkanes. The research octane number (RON) is a standard measure of petroleum performance, and indicates how much pressure a fuel can withstand before self-igniting (knocking) in the engine. High compression engines, which are more energy efficient and release less emissions than regular engines, require high RON fuels.

The RON increases with the proportion of branched alkanes, so can be improved by supplementing fuels with branched isomers obtained by catalytic isomerisation. This process generates a mixture of linear and branched alkanes, so the desired products must be isolated via fractional distillation, which is energy intensive. This creates a dilemma: high RON fuels are more energy efficient, but their energy-intensive production reduces the net benefit.

The authors envisaged an energy-efficient strategy for increasing the RON of petroleum fuels: A low RON fuel is pumped into the engine, where it encounters a separation chamber consisting of ZMOF-based membranes. The membrane excludes and redirects di-branched alkanes, which have a very high RON, to the internal combustion engine. The low RON fraction, consisting of mono-branched and linear alkanes, passes through the ZMOF pores to undergo further reforming processes downstream. In other words: low RON fuels go in, but high RON fuels are combusted.

Scheme showing how ZMOF materials could be used to upgrade gasoline by separating alkanes based on their level of branching. zeolite-like metal organic framework petroleum reforming

Scheme showing the RON of common small-chain alkanes and the use of ZMOF membranes in upgrading gasoline by separating alkanes based on their level of branching

In this work the authors show the potential of ZMOFs to maximise the energetic potential and reduce emissions of petroleum based fuels, while also offering a glimpse of the more general strategy of energy-efficient separations of chemically-similar molecules using tailored materials.

To find out more please read:

Upgrading gasoline to high octane number using zeolite-like metal organic framework molecular sieve with ana-topology

M. Infas H. Mohideen, Youssef Belmabkhout, Prashant M. Bhatt, Aleksander Shkurenko, Zhijie Chen, Karim Adil, Mohamed Eddaoudi.
Chem. Commun., 2018, 54, 9414-9417
DOI: 10.1039/c8cc04824j

About the author

Zoë Hearne is a PhD candidate in chemistry at McGill University in Montréal, Canada, under the supervision of Professor Chao-Jun Li. She hails from Canberra, Australia, where she completed her undergraduate degree. Her current research focuses on transition metal catalysis to effect novel transformations, and out of the lab she is an enthusiastic chemistry tutor and science communicator.

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Kicking Air Out: Recycling Xenon with ZIF-8 Metal Organic Framework

Xenon (Xe) is a noble gas that is widely used in lighting industry and medical imaging. Due to its trace amount in air and the energy-consuming, labor-intensive manufacturing process, Xe has a market price approximately 100 times higher than nitrogen gas (N2). Therefore, recycling Xe is practically necessary and economically appealing.

Recently in ChemComm, scientists from Colorado School of Mines (U.S.) and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (U.S.) demonstrated an effective method to recover Xe from Xe/air mixtures. The key material this approach needs is a thin piece of film made of a microporous crystalline metal organic framework (MOF)—ZIF-8 (zeolite imidazole framework-8).

The unique porous structure of ZIF-8 renders it capable of separating Xe from N2 and O2. The pore size of ZIF-8 is in the range of 0.4-0.42 nm, and the sizes of Xe, N2 and O2 molecules are 0.41 nm, ~0.36 nm and ~0.35 nm, respectively. When Xe/air mixtures are pushed towards a ZIF-8 film, the small N2 and O2 molecules are able to permeate the film while the relatively large Xe molecules are blocked. This results in the separation of Xe from N2/O2. The ZIF-8 film in this case serves as a gas sieve (Figure 1).

Figure 1. A ZIF-8 MOF film functions as a molecular sieve that separates Xe from N2 and O2. The pores of ZIF-8 are large enough to pass through N2 and O2 molecules but are too small for Xe to enter.

The mechanism mentioned above was experimentally verified. The researchers observed that the flow rate of air through a ~10 µm ZIF-8 film was almost 10 times higher than that of Xe. In addition, reducing the film thickness and lowering the temperature were found to enhance the separation efficiency.

This work clearly demonstrates the promising performance of ZIF-8 for gas separation. It also highlights the versatile functionalities of MOFs.

 

To find out more please read:

Recovery of Xenon from Air over ZIF-8 Membranes

Ting Wu, Jolie Lucero, Michael A. Sinnwell, Praveen K. Thallapally and Moises A. Carreon

Chem. Commun., 2018, 54, 8976-8979

 

About the blogger:

Tianyu Liu obtained his Ph.D. (2017) in Chemistry from University of California, Santa Cruz in the United States. He is passionate about scientific communication to introduce cutting-edge research to both the general public and scientists with diverse research expertise. He is a blog writer for Chem. Commun. and Chem. Sci. More information about him can be found at http://liutianyuresearch.weebly.com/.

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HOT ChemComm articles for July

All of the referee-recommended articles below are free to access until 5th September 2018.

Transformation of single MOF nanocrystals into single nanostructured catalysts within mesoporous supports: a platform for pioneer fluidized-nanoreactor hydrogen carriers
Ignacio Luz, Mustapha Soukri and Marty Lail
Chem. Commun., 2018,54, 8462-8465
DOI: 10.1039/C8CC04562C, Communication

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Defective Pt nanoparticles encapsulated in mesoporous metal–organic frameworks for enhanced catalysis
Qiang Wang, Xu-Sheng Wang, Chun-Hui Chen, Xue Yang, Yuan-Biao Huang and Rong Cao
Chem. Commun., 2018,54, 8822-8825
DOI: 10.1039/C8CC04485F, Communication

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Tetrahedral DNAzymes for enhanced intracellular gene-silencing activity
Hien Bao Dieu Thai, Fabienne Levi-Acobas, Soo-Young Yum, Goo Jang, Marcel Hollenstein and Dae-Ro Ahn
Chem. Commun., 2018, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C8CC05721D, Communication

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Strong carbon cage influence on the single molecule magnetism in Dy–Sc nitride clusterfullerenes
Christin Schlesier, Lukas Spree, Aram Kostanyan, Rasmus Westerström, Ariane Brandenburg, Anja U. B. Wolter, Shangfeng Yang, Thomas Greber and Alexey A. Popov
Chem. Commun., 2018, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C8CC05029E, Communication

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CdZnSe@ZnSe colloidal alloy quantum dots for high-efficiency all-inorganic perovskite solar cells
Qinghua Li, Jinke Bai, Tingting Zhang, Chao Nie, Jialong Duan and Qunwei Tang
Chem. Commun., 2018, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C8CC05517C, Communication

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Upgrading gasoline to high octane number using Zeolite-like Metal Organic Framework molecular sieve with ana-topology
Mohamed Eddaoudi,  M Infas Mohideen,  Youssef Belmabkhout,  Prashant Bhatt,  Zhijie Chen,  karim adil  and  Aleksander Shkurenko
Chem. Commun., 2018, Accepted Manuscript
DOI: 10.1039/C8CC04824J, Communication

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Marbles, Microreactions and Magic Tricks

The reaction vessel is a fixed variable behind every innovative chemical synthesis, material or catalyst. It may be as simple as a round bottom flask or as complex as a single cell, as large as an industrial batch reactor or as small as a test tube.

Yujun Feng and co-workers, at Sichuan University in China, study a different kind of reaction vessel: water droplets. The droplets are ‘liquid marbles’, composed of microlitre volumes of water with fine hydrophobic particles covering their surface. Liquid marbles can be used as reaction vessels to manipulate small liquid volumes, avoiding the use of specialised microfluidics equipment. In this communication the authors show that carbon dioxide can trigger coalescence of droplets containing multiple reagents, in order to perform microscale chemistry. This research could be useful for developing high-throughput assays for procedures that would benefit from remotely controlled induction such as very fast or hazardous reactions.

The authors synthesised CO2-responsive particles composed of a mixture of polystyrene and PDEA: a methacrylate polymer bearing tertiary amine ancillary groups. The amine is vital to the properties of the polymer: when deprotonated the powder is hydrophobic, but exposure to carbon dioxide renders the polymer hydrophilic by transforming the amine into an ammonium bicarbonate salt. Liquid marbles were synthesised with a patch of CO2-responsive polymer powder. The rest of the marble was coated in lycopodium, a moss spore with hydrophobic properties that is not CO2-responsive (trivia: the high fat content of lycopdoium makes it a great flash powder, used by magicians since the middle ages).

A) Liquid marbles with white hydrophobic/hydrophilic CO2-responsive patches and pink (dyed) lycopodium powder. B) Coalescence of two liquid marbles upon CO2 carbon dioxide exposure within one minute. C) Coalescence schematic

A) Liquid marbles with white CO2-responsive patches and pink (dyed) lycopodium powder. B) & C) Photos and schematic of coalescence between two liquid marbles upon CO2 exposure

To realise CO2-induced chemistry, two liquid marbles containing different chemical reagents are placed side by side with the CO2-responsive powder positioned at the interface of the two marbles. Upon exposure to CO2 the responsive powder becomes hydrophilic and disperses into the aqueous solution within the two marbles, causing them to coalesce and the reagents to react within a single vessel. The authors performed several reactions using this method, all with distinct colour changes for rapid analysis: redox (persulfate and iodide, permanganate and persulfate), complexation (starch and iodine), substitution (bromine water and phenol) and chemiluminescence (luminol, peroxide and ferricyanide).

The authors show in this paper that innovations in chemistry needn’t be limited to reactions themselves; the vessel we choose can broaden what is possible on a practical level. On a completely impractical note, remotely controlled microreactions in liquid marbles sounds like a magic trick, resonant with the lycopodium flash powder covering their surface.

To find out more please read:

CO2-triggered microreactions in liquid marbles 

Xinjie Luo, Hongyao Yin, Xian’e Li, Xin Su, Yujun Feng.
Chem. Commun., 2018, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/c8cc01786g

About the author

Zoë Hearne is a PhD candidate in chemistry at McGill University in Montréal, Canada, under the supervision of Professor Chao-Jun Li. She hails from Canberra, Australia, where she completed her undergraduate degree. Her current research focuses on transition metal catalysis to effect novel transformations, and out of the lab she is an enthusiastic chemistry tutor and science communicator.

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ChemComm Poster Prize winner for the 2nd Early Career Researchers Meeting of the RSC–Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry Group

Dr Guillaume De Bo (left) presenting the ChemComm prize to Alexander Elmi (right).

The 2nd Early Career Researchers Meeting of the RSC-Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry (RSC-MASC) Group took place on 27th July 2018 at the University of Manchester, UK. This one-day symposium was organised by Dr. Guillaume De Bo (University of Manchester) and was attended by PhD students and post-doctoral researchers within the supramolecular field.

The meeting consisted of fifteen selected talks from submitted abstracts, and all attendees were invited to present a poster. The day ended with a plenary lecture by Professor Anthony Davis (University of Bristol) on ‘Biomimetic Carbohydrate Recognition:  The Host-Guest Chemistry of Carbohydrates in Water’.

ChemComm was proud to sponsor this successful symposium. Alexander Elmi (University of Edinburgh) received the ChemComm poster prize for his poster entitledUnderstanding Aromatic Stacking Interactions In Solution’.

 

Congratulations Alexander from everyone at ChemComm!

 

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ChemComm to keep double-blind peer review option

Since July 2017, ChemComm has been running an experiment; offering authors a choice on how their manuscript is peer reviewed. Authors have had the option to choose between the customary ‘single-blind’ peer review, where reviewers remain anonymous while knowing who the authors are or choose to keep their identity from reviewers, who will assess the work without knowing who the authors are – i.e., ‘double-blind’ peer review. 12 months on, as our experiment comes to a close, we want to share some of our findings, which have led us to decide to keep optional double-blind peer review on ChemComm.

Over the last 12 months, 10% of ChemComm authors chose the double-blind option at submission. In line with data published in the Peer Review Congress abstracts1, authors from India and Iran had higher than average uptake, whereas USA, Japan, Germany and the UK all showed less than 5% uptake. During the trial we gathered feedback from authors to understand their motivations for choosing either single- or double-blind peer review. We found that those who chose double-blind, perceived this option to be more fair and all said they would choose it again next time they submit. Those who opted for single-blind peer review did so because of familiarity with the process, with a small proportion saying they would chose double-blind next time.

Authors are responsible for anonymising their own manuscripts, and we found that a significant portion of manuscripts were not fully anonymised, in many cases due to author and/or affiliation details being present in the main article. This is something we want to explore further to see if there are actions we can take to increase the proportion of manuscripts that are fully anonymised. If you do want to choose double-blind peer review for your submission, guidelines for successfully anonymising your manuscript can be found in our handy checklist along with more detailed guidelines for authors and reviewers.

Overall, our findings suggest that the quality of the reviews received was comparable for both single- and double-blind review and author satisfaction levels were also equal for both. Although it is unclear at this stage whether double-blind peer review truly reduces bias during the peer review process, it has been clear to us that there is strong advocacy for it from some members of our community. Therefore, we want to continue offering our authors at ChemComm a choice and therefore the option to choose double-blind peer review will remain as a permanent feature.

We continue to welcome your comments and feedback and encourage you to try double-blind peer review for your next submission.

 

1Elisa De Ranieri et al. Analysis of Uptake and Outcome in Author-Selected Single-blind vs Double-blind Peer Review at Nature Journals https://peerreviewcongress.org/prc17-0305

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