ChemComm’s 60th Anniversary – Ashlee Howarth

ChemComm is publishing its 60th volume in 2024. Over the past 60 years, ChemComm has been the RSC’s most cited journal, and one of the most trusted venues for rapid publication of short communications. In our anniversary year, we recognise the important contributions ChemComm has made, and continues to make, in advancing the chemical sciences.

As part of our anniversary celebrations, we’ve brought together a collection featuring the latest research from some of our most loyal and dedicated authors. From those marking the beginning of their independent academic career by publishing their first article with us, to the rising stars and established leaders publishing in our yearly ‘Emerging Investigators’ and ‘Pioneering Investigators’ collections, this collection champions the contributions of our worldwide author community. We are proud many authors choose to support our journal by regularly publishing their best work with us. This collection also features papers from our ChemComm Emerging Investigator Lectureship winners, and our Outstanding Reviewer awardees, whose invaluable feedback has shaped our published content through the years.

To accompany the collection, we’ll be publishing interviews with contributing authors where they provide further insight into their research and reflect on their journey with ChemComm.

Check out our interview with Ashlee Howarth (Concordia University) below!

  Ashlee J. Howarth is an Associate Professor and Concordia University Research Chair at Concordia University in Montréal. She was born and raised in London, Ontario. She obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Western Ontario in 2009, and then went on to do her PhD in inorganic materials chemistry at the University of British Columbia under the supervision of Michael O. Wolf. Before joining the faculty at Concordia, she completed an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship at Northwestern University with Joseph T. Hupp and Omar K. Farha. At Concordia, the Howarth group is focused on the design and synthesis of rare-earth cluster-based metal–organic frameworks targeting applications in pollution remediation, catalysis, drug delivery, X-ray detection, and chemical sensing.


What is your favourite thing about ChemComm?

My favourite thing about ChemComm is the communication format. I prefer reading short and high impact communications and I also prefer writing that style of manuscript. This also goes hand-in-hand with the fast review process at ChemComm, which is a bonus!

In what ways do you think ChemComm stands out among other journals in your field?

ChemComm has a strong reputation in the field of chemistry that has lasted many years. I remember researchers being very excited to publish in ChemComm when I was a graduate student, and that is still the case today 10-15 years later. ChemComm will always have name brand recognition in the field.

How would you describe the peer review process and interaction with the editorial team at ChemComm?

The editors at ChemComm are always very fair and professional. I often receive very useful comments from reviewers at ChemComm too, comments that are critical but fair and make our manuscript better.

Are there ways in which the journal can further support and engage with future generations of scientists?

I think ChemComm is already doing a great job of this with their “emerging investigator” special issues, and blog/social media posts when researchers publish their first article in ChemComm. Perhaps another way to engage with future generations would be to also feature senior PhD students and postdocs who are publishing their work in ChemComm. A special issue or blog/social media post for emerging researchers that are not fully independent yet.

Could you provide a brief summary of your recent ChemComm publication?

In our most recent ChemComm publication, we show that rare-earth acetates can be used as precursors for the synthesis of rare-earth cluster-based metal–organic frameworks (MOFs). Traditionally, rare-earth nitrate precursors are used to make these MOFs, but it’s important to explore alternatives that are safer but also easier to handle (nitrates are very hygroscopic).


Be sure to read Ashlee’s Communication article, “Rare-earth acetates as alternative precursors for rare-earth cluster-based metal–organic frameworks” to learn more!

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