Chemical Science Reviewer Spotlight – March 2024

To further thank and recognise the support from our excellent reviewer community, we are highlighting reviewers who have provided exceptional support to the journal over the past year.

This month, we’ll be highlighting Professor Anna Pasternak, Dr Joshua Barham and Professor Abhishek Dey. We asked our reviewers a few questions about what they enjoy about reviewing, and their thoughts on how to provide a useful review.

Professor Anna Pasternak, Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences. The research of Professor Anna Pasternak’s group is focused on development of novel, nucleic acid based therapeutics, such as ASOs, SSOs, aptamers, triplexes and G-quadruplexes, targeted towards cardiovascular and cancer diseases. The particular interest includes not only their biological activity but also structural aspects which are crucial to understand their action within living cells.


Dr Joshua Barham, University of Regensburg. Dr Joshua Barham’s research uses emerging technologies for chemical synthesis that are powered by safe, sustainable energy sources like visible light and electricity. His research group develops catalysts that harness these energy sources to access highly reactive chemical intermediates under very mild conditions. Their vision is to valorize this technology to streamline the synthesis of active pharmaceutical ingredients, utilize biomass feedstocks, and recycle persistent pollutants.


Professor Abhishek Dey, Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science. Professor Abhishek Dey is interested in understanding and facilitating chemical reactions involving multiple electron multiple electron reductions of small molecules.


What encouraged you to review for Chemical Science?

Dr Joshua Barham: Chem. Sci. is the RSC’s flagship journal and it is diamond open access. It is rare for a Chemistry journal with international visibility and impact as high as Chem. Sci. to be open access, and I strongly support this principle. Therefore, I want to contribute to maintaining the high standards of Chem. Sci. by providing an appropriately high level of scrutiny and thoroughness during the peer-review process.

Professor Abhishek Dey: It’s one of the top journals in chemistry where I enjoy publishing. I feel responsible to ensure that the scientific quality of the article and inclusive nature of this journal is maintained. Hence I review for Chemical Science.


What do you enjoy most about reviewing?

Dr Joshua Barham: I particularly enjoy when authors take critical reviewer comments seriously and approach the response in a collaborative rather than combative way. For example, I have reviewed papers where the proposed mechanism was initially surprising or key control reactions were missing, and once authors addressed this it changed the story of the manuscript in a major way. Such experiences show the crucial importance of peer review. It was highly satisfying for me as a reviewer to see the value and impact that my comments had on the final manuscripts.

Professor Anna Pasternak: The possibility to verify quality of the research and improvement of the articles, if necessary, is the most satisfying for me.

Professor Abhishek Dey: Being able to contribute to the scientific thinking of peers across the world.


What advice would you give a first-time author looking to maximise their chances of successful peer review?

Professor Anna Pasternak: Do not rush, make a story – write in such way that the reader will be interested in the article, use logical interpretation of the results, never over-interpret the data, support discussion with already published facts, and last but not least – ask a friend to read the draft critically and give you advice before submission – another point of view is invaluable.


Tune in next month to meet our next group of #ChemSciReviewers!


If you want to learn more about how we support our reviewers, check out our Reviewer Hub.

Interested in joining our ever-growing reviewer community? Apply here now!

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