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Communicate Your Science Confidently, with ACS on Campus and the ACS Institute

Ready to become a better writer, reviewer, and communicator? ACS on Campus and the ACS Institute can help you master the skills you need at every stage of your career.

ACS on Campus is the American Chemical Society’s initiative dedicated to helping students advance their education and careers by providing resources for you to develop your skills. ACS on Campus partners with schools around the world to bring leaders in chemistry, publishing, career development, research, and science communication right to your doorstep. At these free events, you’ll network with top professionals, local experts, your peers, and more!

Find an event near you or online and save your spot today.

Nothing beats attending a live ACS on Campus event, but you don’t have to be on campus to benefit from all ACS on Campus has to offer. Check out our favorite resources anytime, anywhere.

Tap into the ACS Editors’ collective wisdom with 10 Tips for Scholarly Publishing, learn to navigate peer review, and so much more.

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Enroll in the ACS Institute to sharpen your authorship skills with ACS Author Lab and ACS Reviewer lab.

The ACS Institute is a central online catalog to learn new skills, develop competencies, or advance your career.

You can find the ACS Author Lab and ACS Reviewer Lab online learning modules through the ACS Institute in the ACS Center for Scientific Communication to support you at any point in your career or publishing journey.

ACS Author Lab is an online training course designed to give authors an in-depth look at everything they need to know to submit a manuscript for publication. Take this course to help prepare and submit strong manuscripts while speeding up the publication process.

Watch below for a detailed course description and more information on ACS Author Lab:

ACS Reviewer Lab is a free, on-demand peer-review training course designed by ACS Editors, leading scientific researchers, and ACS Publications staff. Take this course and achieve the ACS Reviewer badge to place on your ACS Paragon Plus account, where it will be visible to ACS Editors.

Watch below for more information on the ACS Reviewer Lab and the peer-review process:

Get More Resources at the ACS Publishing Center

If you are looking for specific guidance during the publishing process, ACS Author University features on-demand videos and articles from our editor community with tips on scientific writing, securing funding, handling rejection, and much more.

The ACS Publishing Center contains everything you need to prepare and review manuscripts for ACS Publications journals, including where to start if you are new to publishing, ACS journal guidelines and templates, and the ability to view your articles and manuscripts.

ACS Publications and ChronosHub Launch ACS Journal Finder

ACS Publications has a long history of supporting the open science movement. As part of that commitment, we’ve ensured that every one of ACS Publications’ peer-reviewed journals includes open access publishing options. As more funders and research institutions encourage researchers to publish their work via an open access license, authors must be able to meet funder or institutional requirements. That’s why ACS Publications has partnered with ChronosHub to launch the new ACS Journal Finder website.

As the open access space evolves, different authors may have different publication needs. This site is one of the ways ACS Publications supports our authors and customers in making an easy transition to open access publishing. The ACS Journal Finder offers a simplified user experience that will help authors check all ACS Publications journals for compliance with a wide variety of institutional and funder open access mandates.

The site also makes it easy to see if an institution has a transformative agreement in place with ACS Publications. These agreements allow affiliated researchers to publish their work in an ACS Publications journal at no additional cost to themselves. To date, ACS has partnered with hundreds of institutions in more than 22 countries around the world, with new agreements added regularly.

ACS Journal Finder also allows authors to filter journals by a variety of criteria, including:

  • 15 different scientific subject areas, including chemistry, chemicals engineering, materials science, and more
  • Citations databases where a journal is indexed, such as SCOPUS, Web of Science, and DOAJ
  • Open access license type offered
  • Journal open access type
  • Article processing charge
  • Manuscript embargo length

The new site is free to use and will be updated regularly with the latest information on journal licenses, funder requirements, and transformative agreements.

Visit ACS Journal Finder.

ACS Publications Updates Ethical Guidelines to Publication of Chemical Research

Integrity is essential to the advancement of science and trust in the published record. To achieve high-quality, reliable, and reproducible science, ACS Publications relies on a code of conduct related to ethical research and publication. The Ethical Guidelines to Publication of Chemical Research sets forth expectations and obligations for the editors, authors, and reviewers engaged with the publication process at ACS journals. The policy covers common topics such as editor responsibility, confidentiality requirements, conflict of interest disclosure, plagiarism, data manipulation, and author contribution. The guidelines were developed by the Editors of ACS Publications journals and are regularly reviewed by the ACS Publications Ethics Committee to ensure they are clear and reflect the current best practices.

The guidelines were recently updated to include new language for authors regarding conflicts of interest when suggesting preferred reviewers. This update supports the author’s ability to suggest experts in their field, while promoting a fair and objective peer review process.

The policy now states:

Authors are encouraged to recommend appropriate reviewers during submission of a manuscript. However, they should not suggest reviewers with whom they have an actual, perceived, or potential conflict of interest. Moreover, authors should not suggest reviewers with whom they share a personal or professional connection if there is potential for that relationship to introduce bias into the evaluation of the manuscript.

The update also revises the section on the Ethical Obligations of Scientists Publishing Outside the Scientific Literature, which provides guidance about authors communicating their work in the press or outside of literature sources. The section now reads:

Scientists communicating outside the peer-reviewed, scientific literature (e.g., in preprints, magazines, trade communications, or the popular press) should be accurate, clear, objective and unbiased in discussing, reporting on or commenting about scientific results and their implications. Scientists should strive to do this while also recognizing the need to use commonly accessible language to support public comprehension. Unsubstantiated claims and use of language that conveys undue novelty, overly broad implications and hype should be avoided.

View the full ACS Ethical Guidelines to Publication of Chemical Research and get a copy of our Top 10 Tips for Ethical Authorship

 

ACS Partnership with National Laboratories on Transgender-Inclusive Name-Change Process for Published Papers

ACS is delighted to be partnering with the U.S. National Laboratories as they implement their new name change policy, following the policy that ACS announced last year. The new policy will allow researchers who wish to change their names to more easily claim academic work from all stages of their careers. It specifically addresses the administrative and emotional difficulties some transgender researchers have experienced when requesting name changes associated with past academic work.

This policy streamlines these previously ad hoc processes and offers an official validation mechanism to all involved by enabling researchers to ask the National Laboratories to pursue name changes on their behalf directly with participating publishers. For researchers of all genders, and transgender researchers specifically, the new process ensures they can rightfully claim ownership of prior work without fear of reprisal under their lived name and be known in their respective fields primarily through their merits as published authors. This policy in many ways mirrors the standard ACS set when it announced a name-change policy in the fall of 2020. Similar policies have since been adopted by a number of other scientific publishers.

“ACS strongly supports progressive name change policies and led the scholarly communications industry in adopting these measures,” says Sarah Tegen, Ph.D., senior vice president, ACS Publications Division. “We are proud to partner with the National Laboratories to promote a more inclusive culture for researchers, which is part of our core values. A scholar’s publication record is critical to their career progression, and by eliminating a barrier to changing their name for any number of reasons.We’ve made it just a little easier to claim appropriate credit for their work.”

This partnership between ACS, the National Laboratories, and other major scientific organizations represents a commitment to creating a more inclusive culture in STEM fields and STEM publishing in particular. The participating National Laboratories will facilitate requests for name changes for any reason, including religious, marital, or other purposes, where supported by the policies in place at our publishing partners. 

What Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Staff are Saying About the Policy:

“We are supporting our colleagues on an important issue that is often taken for granted — allowing them to take full credit for their academic achievements with their name. It could not happen without our partners at the other national labs and in publishing. We’re grateful to be working in concert on this — it’s never been done before.” — Joerg Heber, Research Integrity Officer, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 

“I’m proud of the support and innovation at the national labs and the enthusiasm on the part of the publishers, at this level of commitment, to improve people’s lives. This change eliminates an enormous burden on researchers, emotionally and administratively, to correct the record. Our partnership on this is a continuation of the efforts that many national labs have initiated to create a more welcoming and inclusive work environment for trans researchers. I encourage others to join us.” — Lady Idos, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

 “As a trans scientist, having publications under my birth name causes me to have mixed feelings about past work of which I’m otherwise proud. I am faced with the dilemma of either hiding certain parts of it, or outing myself. Having my name updated on my previous publications would be enormously meaningful. It would allow me to make a first impression on my peers primarily through my merits as a scientist and it would allow me to unreservedly embrace and be proud of research from all stages of my career.” — Amalie Trewartha, Research Scientist, Toyota Research Institute; Materials Science Research Affiliate, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

ACS Publications’ Name Change Policy Advances Inclusion in Scholarly Publishing

At ACS Publications, we’re committed to creating an inclusive experience for all of our author, reader, and reviewer communities by championing an environment that advances and celebrates diversity, inclusion, and respect. As we celebrate Pride Month 2021, we want to share the changes that ACS is undertaking to create a more inclusive experience for our authors, and reflect on how our initiatives are impacting the entire sector of scholarly communications.

In September of 2020, ACS announced a new trans-inclusive policy to allow authors to change the names used on their previously published articles. This policy was designed with the needs of the transgender scientific community in mind, and with the generous assistance of several members of that community. In the nine months, the policy has been in place, we have already received requests to update over 200 publications from more than 30 authors, with some articles dating back several decades.

Under ACS’ policy, an author who requests a name change for any reason is treated with confidentiality and respect. The author is not asked to provide proof or documentation of their name change, and a name change is not treated as a correction to their paper. Thus, any co-authors are not alerted to the change and no public notice is added to the paper. The ACS policy also ensures that all other references to the author’s identity, including pronouns, salutations, captions, and other elements of the paper, are updated appropriately. ACS was the first chemistry publisher to adopt this policy and shared its lessons learned from implementation with other publishers to encourage them to adopt similar policies.

Following ACS Publications’ lead, other scholarly publishers have announced similar policies or have publicly confirmed that they’re working on similar policies. The impact has gone far beyond the field of chemistry, as two working groups from the National Information Standards Organization and the Committee on Publication Ethics have formed to address similar issues.

ACS recently joined the Coalition for Diversity & Inclusion in Scholarly Communications (C4DISC) as a gold partner. C4DISC is jointly hosted by the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) and Association of University Presses (AUP) and was formed to provide a venue to discuss and address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the scholarly communications industry. C4DISC has an active working group focusing on inclusive language and image guidelines that we plan to be involved with, as we work to create a more inclusive community across publishing.

ACS Publications continues to work toward a more positive and gender-inclusive experience for authors at all stages of their publication journey. We are presently in the process of removing gendered honorifics from ACS Paragon Plus account profiles and gendered pronouns in journal correspondence, replacing them with gender-neutral language. New authors and reviewers have the option to choose from an updated list of gender-neutral titles.

How can ACS Publications continue to improve inclusivity in scientific publishing? Share your thoughts via our bias feedback form or in the comments below.

4 Ways ACS Publications Is Supporting Authors in 2021

At ACS Publications, we aim to give our authors the best publishing experience and to support you at every stage of your research journey, whether that’s at the writing, submission, or promotion stage. We have lots of resources to help our researchers; here are just four of the ways we’re helping our authors in 2021:

  1. Looking to perfect your authorship skills? ACS Author Lab is our new online training course that helps researchers master the preparation and publication of scientific manuscripts. This course has been developed by ACS Editors and ACS Publications staff to help authors identify key considerations for each step of publishing a manuscript, including selecting the most appropriate journal and highlighting the significance of the research.
  2. Learn publishing from the inside out with the ACS Author University video series. Our ACS editor community shares insight, advice, and tips in a series of videos designed to help researchers navigate the publishing world. Topics include open access publishing, peer review, writing your scientific article, handling rejection, communicating your research to the public, and much more!
  3. At ACS Authoring Services, we believe that great research is global; that’s why we launched a new set of promotional resources to help you disseminate your research message further and amplify your impact. Our video, infographic, and lay summary production services help to capture and convey the main message of your article, making it easier to share your research beyond the lab and bench. These services are ideal for helping you promote your work effectively on social media and blogs, at conferences and virtual events, and through your professional network.
  4. We have simplified our Journal Publishing Agreement process to make it easier than ever to publish your research. Our Journal Publishing Agreement assistant guides you through the process with a series of questions to help determine the most appropriate agreement for your manuscript. What’s more, the range of Journal Publishing Agreements has been expanded to make copyright options clearer and help our authors meet funder requirements. All authors who publish open access in any ACS journal, either in our hybrid or completely open-access journals, can now retain copyright on their article and receive a Creative Commons CC-BY or CC-BY-NC-ND license.

5 Reasons to Try ACS Author Lab

At ACS Publications, we want to support our researcher community and provide tools to help you publish your research. That’s why we have developed a training course to sharpen your authorship skills. ACS Author Lab is an online training course that helps authors to prepare and submit strong manuscripts, speeding up the publication process.

Here are five reasons you should try ACS Author Lab today:

Expert input – ACS Author Lab was developed by ACS Editors and ACS Publications staff to help authors identify key considerations for each step of preparing and publishing a manuscript.

Flexible pacing – The course consists of seven interactive, self-paced modules, each taking approximately 15-20 minutes to complete, all available whenever you want.

Multi-media content – Modules contain narrated presentations, brief videos, feedback from ACS journal editors, real-world examples from published articles, and knowledge checks that highlight key information.

Checklists are available for download, providing continued access to valuable and relevant tips and tricks.

Certificate of completion – Graduates of ACS Author Lab receive a certificate of completion that can be shared with their network.

ACS Author Lab gives authors an in-depth look at everything they need to know in order to submit a manuscript for publication, with invaluable information for authors at any point in their careers.

The full course is now available to purchase for $50, with ACS Members receiving a 20% discount. Once purchased, access to the course will never expire.

Find out more about ACS Author Lab, including how to sign up for free access to one of our popular modules.

Following Up on ACS Publications’ Diversity Initiatives

In June of 2020, ACS Publications journals published a special joint editorial that acknowledged and condemned the systemic racism afflicting the scientific community.

The editorial also committed ACS Publications to take several steps to address the bias and inequity in our journals.

  • Gathering and making public our baseline statistics on diversity within our journals, encompassing our Editors, advisors, reviewers, and authors; annually reporting on progress.
  • Training new and existing Editors to recognize and interrupt bias in peer review
  • Including the diversity of journal contributors as an explicit measurement of Editor-in-Chief performance
  • Appointing an ombudsperson to serve as a liaison between Editors and our Community
  • Developing an actionable diversity plan for each ACS journal

ACS Publications’ staff have spent the past eight months working on fulfilling those objectives. These goals represent many inter-related processes that require careful execution. The work is ongoing, but we’d like to share the progress we’ve made in these fields, in the interest of transparency.

Here is the current state of each of these five core initiatives:

  • Gathering baseline statistics on diversity within our journals: This initiative is an essential first step toward the goals outlined in our joint editorial. Beginning this week, we will send out surveys to authors of submitted manuscripts and reviewers to collect diversity data. User data will be kept anonymous and used only in aggregate for reporting purposes.  The data collected will inform the completion of the other goals on this list, allowing us to spot areas where improvement is needed to measure our progress on combating bias over time.
  • Bias training for Editors: ACS Publications will soon begin providing foundational diversity and inclusion training to each of nearly 700 journal editors. The training is being conducted by Diversity and Inclusion Strategist La’Wana Harris in conjunction with the Education Division of the American Chemical Society, under the leadership of the division’s Executive Vice President LaTrease Garrison. These interactive sessions will provide a baseline and common framework for future learning opportunities specific to the editorial process. The same training will be provided to ACS volunteers including Technical Division, local section, and committee leadership in support of a shared, consistent approach across the Society.
  • Diversity as an EIC performance metric: The baseline data we collect, coupled with the broad makeup of the community a journal serves, will help determine this metric. Once we’ve determined the appropriate targets, they will need to be vetted by ACS Publications’ Joint Board-Council Committee on Publications.
  • Appointing an ombudsperson: ACS Publications has held meetings with the International Ombudsman Association to learn more about the function of an ombudsperson role and how best to implement and support such a position. We are currently working toward finalizing a job description for this new role.
  • Developing each ACS journal’s diversity plan: ACS Publications is developing a range of actions that our journals can implement to improve their contributors’ diversity. Editors will work with ACS Publications team members to tailor the plan for their journals. This effort relies on having baseline diversity statistics and will begin in earnest once ACS Publications has collected this information, though planning efforts are already underway.

In addition to the initiatives above, ACS Publications led the market in creating a tool to support author name changes, a move that benefits any researcher changing their name for reasons such as gender identity, religious conversion, marriage or divorce, and more. Today, more than 100 ACS Publications articles have had their authors’ names changed under this new policy. This change has also inspired other scientific publishers, leading to broader adoption of similar policies.

ACS Publications remains committed to addressing issues of bias and discrimination in scientific publishing. Recently, the ACS board voted to modify our existing core value of “Diversity, Inclusion and Respect” to include Equity. The revised core value, “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Respect” (DEIR), better captures our belief in diversity in all its forms. The steps listed above are just the beginning of a journey.

Continue to check ACS Axial for future updates on our efforts to become more inclusive and respectful of people of all backgrounds, perspectives, experiences, and ideas.

Open Access Authors Can Now Retain Copyright

Effective January 2021, ACS Publications is instituting a new copyright retention policy to make open-access publishing easier and more attractive for our authors. All authors who publish open access in any ACS journal, either in our hybrid or completely open-access journals, can now retain copyright on their article and receive a Creative Commons CC-BY or CC-BY-NC-ND license.

Sybille Geisenheyner, ACS Publications' Director of Open Science Strategy & Licensing

Sybille Geisenheyner, ACS Publications’ Director of Open Science Strategy & Licensing

This move will encourage open-access publishing in our academic communities and is the most recent step ACS has taken towards deepening our commitment to open science. Sybille Geisenheyner, who joined ACS in 2020 as the Director of Open Science Strategy & Licensing, says this change will support ACS’s academic community by giving authors the options they need to be compliant with their funder mandates. Many funders, including those who have signed onto Plan S, now require that authors retain copyright on their articles and hold a CC-BY license.

“This change helps to accelerate the transition to open-access publishing,” says Geisenheyner. “We’re supporting our authors who need to publish open access, who will now be able to comply with funder requirements while still having the opportunity to publish in a high-quality journal. Authors who publish open access have increased visibility and reusability for their work, and this policy allows us to expand these benefits to an even wider segment of our author community.”

To streamline the overall publishing workflow, ACS has also introduced a new journal publishing agreement (JPA) process, which automatically guides authors to the appropriate form when they sign their publishing agreement. Those authors who publish open access under an ACS Read + Publish Agreement will benefit from the JPA process, with ACS Read + Publish institution affiliations automatically identified. This maximizes the authors’ ability to utilize institutional support to cover their article publishing charges (APCs). At the same time, academic institutions can meet their strategic goals around open science, while concurrently increasing their open-access publishing output.

This change will not impact authors who wish to publish under a traditional subscription-access model. ACS will continue to maintain the version of record (VOR) for all authors who publish in an ACS journal, including those who publish open access and retain the copyright to their work. As authors retain copyright, however, they are also responsible for enforcing that copyright. “I would ask people to get familiar with some essentials of copyright law,” explains Geisenheyner. “If there is any misuse of an open-access article in which the author retains copyright, it will be the author’s responsibility to address it.”

“Open access is strong and growing everywhere, which is why I believe it’s more important than ever that we focus on these strategic decisions to globalize our open-access efforts” – Sybille Geisenheyner, Director of Open Science Strategy & Licensing, ACS Publications

Around the world, the publication of open-access research is on the rise. Within the entire ACS journals portfolio, open-access article output increased by 40% from 2019 to 2020, with open access article downloads increasing 58% during this same period. This change benefits authors whose funders have recently required them to retain copyright on their articles and publish open access under a CC-BY license. Ultimately it benefits the entire scientific community, as it increases the amount of research available to scientists. That advancement of research helps to fulfill ACS’s core mission of advancing the chemistry enterprise for the benefit of Earth and its people.

Open access has been a growing cause for researchers, as they look to ways to expand the impact of their work among the world’s scientific community. In a recent survey of ACS authors and researchers, 46% indicate it is “extremely” or “moderately important” to publish their next article open access, while 66% place the same level of importance on publishing open access in the next five years. For those authors who want to be advocates of open science, holding the copyright to their work is an excellent way to show their support. This change also raises a researcher’s profile, as increased availability of their publications can lead to increased knowledge of their scientific contributions

“I’ve spent much of my career working to implement different open-access strategies. The way we are approaching open access at ACS is the right way to do it,” says Geisenheyner. “We’re changing our policies in support of open-access publishing, expanding our portfolio of pure open-access journals, and have a fundamental advantage as a founding member of ChemRxiv. Open access is strong and growing everywhere, which is why I believe it’s more important than ever that we focus on these strategic decisions to globalize our open-access efforts.”

Learn more about ACS’s commitment to open science and open-access publishing at our resource center, ACSOpenScience.org. If authors have any questions about how this policy change may impact them, they should reach out to ACS Support Services at help@services.acs.org.

Communication Tools to Increase the Visibility of Your Research

Promoting your research is an essential part of the publication process. You have worked hard to get your research published, dedicating many hours conducting and writing up your work. Now is the time to ensure your work is read and understood by your peers and a wider audience.

How can you ensure your research is seen by your fellow researchers? How can you make a public audience understand your research message? ACS Authoring Services’ new suite of promotional communications tools can help you to achieve this. Our video, infographic, and lay summary production services help to capture and convey the main message of your article, making it easier to share your research and amplify your impact.

These services have been developed to help you disseminate your research message further than before and are ideal for helping you promote your work effectively on social media, blogs, at conferences, virtual events, and through your professional network.

Videos – Communicate your research through engaging multimedia, making it more accessible to a broad audience.
Infographics – Provide a compelling visual snapshot of the key findings from your work.
Lay Summaries – Capture the main points of your work so you can easily communicate your research findings to a public audience.

Producing great research is the first step in creating new, important scientific knowledge. Now take the next step to ensure your work is widely seen, understood, and used by a broad range of academic and non-academic audiences. Learn more about the new promotional research communications tools now offered by ACS Authoring Services.