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Update on ACS Publications’ Name Change Policy: Two Years Later

ACS Publications recognizes and respects that authors may change their names for many reasons during their academic careers including—but not limited to—gender identity, marriage, divorce, or religious conversion. As part of ACS Publications’ commitment to reducing barriers to inclusion, equity, and professional mobility, we implemented an inclusive name change policy in October 2020, offering a more inclusive and author-centric path to updating one’s name on prior publications. Over the last two years, we have updated approximately 400 published articles. In doing so, nearly 100 researchers have rightfully claimed ownership of their academic work under their lived names.

Though this policy benefits anyone who changes their name, we were originally motivated to update our policy in response to a call from the transgender scientific community. For many researchers, particularly those from the transgender community, name changes can be a sensitive issue. Submitting change requests can be taxing—emotionally and administratively—especially for researchers who have published in multiple journals or across publishers whose policies and procedures may vary.

To help address this burden, in 2021 ACS Publications announced a partnership with the U.S. National Laboratories as they implemented their name change policy. The partnership with all seventeen U.S. National Laboratories enables researchers to ask the National Laboratories to pursue name changes on their behalf directly with participating publishers. This streamlined process reduces the emotional toll often associated with name changes and the administrative burden involved in requesting name changes at multiple publishers or journals. Over the last year, we have been diligently working to honor this partnership. We have also been advancing other planned improvements to our policy and processes.

We’re pleased to share that we can now accept name change requests submitted by an approved institutional representative on behalf of an author. Through a revised request form, institutional representatives can submit all the necessary information for ACS to process the change. Authors must still update their ACS Paragon Plus profile and ORCiD, and they must be copied on the request and made available for questions if needed. More information for interested authors and institutional representatives can be found on our policy page and FAQs.

We continue to encourage authors to submit requests on their own behalf, if their institution does not have a name change policy or they do not want to involve an institutional representative. For authors, the revised form allows them to provide more relevant information from the start of the request and aims to minimize the burden on the author later in the process. ACS staff might still contact the author throughout the process as questions arise. 

Through efforts like ACS’ name change policy, ACS Publications is committed to promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect (DEIR), identifying and dismantling barriers to success, and creating a welcoming and supportive environment so that all ACS contributors, members, employees, and volunteers can thrive. We continue to actively listen to the community on these issues and welcome your feedback on how we are doing. Please complete our Diversity Feedback form to share your comments.

Visit the ACS Publications Name Change Policy Page

Learn About Our Commitment to Advancing DEIR

Share Your Feedback With Us!

Looking Ahead: The Future of Open Access

This post is part of a five-part series published in celebration of International Open Access Week 2022. We encourage you to explore the entire series below, which offers valuable insights and resources in support of advancing transparency and inclusion in the scientific community through open access.

OPEN ACCESS WEEK 2022 BLOG SERIES
Celebrate Open Access Week 2022 with ACS Publications
Fostering a Climate of Open Science
Open Access Copyright and Licensing: A Guide for Authors
The Journey to Open Access: Past and Present
Looking Ahead: The Future of Open Access

The OSTP Memo: Shaking Up the Open Access Landscape in the US 

On August 25, 2022, the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a statement requiring US federal funding agencies to put plans in place that will ensure immediate public access to all research, including published articles and all underlying research data. The memo encouraged funding agencies to begin adjusting their policies immediately, with implementation in place by or before the end of 2025. 

The impact of the OSTP Memo is still somewhat unclear, and it remains to be seen exactly how this will affect funders, researchers, and publishers in chemistry and its related fields – particularly as the Senate Committee for Science, Space, and Technology has requested clarification on several key points from the OSTP’s new Director, Dr. Arati Prabhakar. While there have been no formal policy responses yet, many researchers are funded by organizations such as the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy, and agencies’ responses are likely to mark a considerable change in how US-based researchers publish their work.  

“The announcement from OSTP represents a significant change in policy direction,” James Milne, president of ACS Publications, states in a recent Chemical & Engineering News article. “As such, we are evaluating the details of the guidance and accompanying economic analysis to determine the potential impact on both our publishing activities and on US researchers directly.”

Register for Today’s Webinar, “The OSTP Memo and its Impact on Chemistry” 

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EDT / 16:00 PM – 17:00 PM BST 
Co-Sponsored by the ACS Division of Chemical Information 

This session brings together diverse viewpoints to discuss how the OSTP memo, the ensuing funder mandates, and publishers’ responses will shape the future of chemistry publishing. If you haven’t done so already, register below to attend or receive a free recording of the webinar. 

To keep you up to date on the latest Open Science news and policies, we will be updating information regularly on the ACS Open Science Resource Center as and when additional funder mandates are announced.  

Register Now

OPEN ACCESS WEEK 2022 BLOG SERIES
Celebrate Open Access Week 2022 with ACS Publications
Fostering a Climate of Open Science
Open Access Copyright and Licensing: A Guide for Authors
The Journey to Open Access: Past and Present
Looking Ahead: The Future of Open Access

The Journey to Open Access: Past and Present

This post is part of a five-part series published in celebration of International Open Access Week 2022. We encourage you to explore the entire series below, which offers valuable insights and resources in support of advancing transparency and inclusion in the scientific community through open access.

OPEN ACCESS WEEK 2022 BLOG SERIES
Celebrate Open Access Week 2022 with ACS Publications
Fostering a Climate of Open Science
Open Access Copyright and Licensing: A Guide for Authors
The Journey to Open Access: Past and Present
Looking Ahead: The Future of Open Access

Defining Open Access: The Early Years 

The term “open access” (OA) has been around for more than two decades, but the movement to make scientific research more openly and publicly available began well before it even had a name. 

With the rise of the internet in the 1990s, communicating and sharing knowledge with others around the world became easier than ever. Early repositories such as arXiv.org enabled researchers to post and archive their own research prior to official publication, setting the groundwork for modern-day preprint servers.  

It wasn’t until the early 2000s, with the release of the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) in 2002, that “open access” emerged as the defining term for scholarly research that is openly available online, accessible to everyone, and unrestricted by paywalls or financial barriers. 

OA—both the term and the movement—quickly began gaining traction internationally, and it was further expanded upon in 2003 with the publication of both the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing and the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities. These two statements, along with the BOAI, helped form what philosopher and OA pioneer Peter Suber first referred to as the “BBB Definition” of open access. 

A Growing Movement 

ACS Central Science - Inaugural Cover

The OA movement continued to develop throughout the 2010s, with the launch of many policies, campaigns, initiatives, and journals in support of making scholarly research freely and publicly available online. In 2015, ACS launched its first fully OA journal—ACS Central Science—with an infinity symbol on its inaugural cover to represent “no limits to the reach of chemistry and no barriers to access for interested readers and authors.”  

Then, in 2018, a group of funders across Europe (known as cOAlition S) caused a tremendous stir in the scientific publishing world by launching Plan S—an initiative stating that by 2021, all researchers funded by these agencies will be required to publish in fully OA journals, making their research openly available with a broad CC BY license immediately upon publication. To better align with Plan S requirements, ACS Publications worked with cOAlition S to award its full portfolio of subscription journals with Transformative Journal status. This now allows researchers funded by Plan S participants to have more flexibility in choosing where to publish within the ACS journal portfolio.  

Today’s Global Open Access Landscape 

Although the OA movement is widely regarded on a global scale, its implementation has varied quite a bit around the world.  

Since the launch of Plan S, Europe has remained a leader in its mandate-driven support for OA. With the implementation of Horizon Europealongside an approved research and innovation budget of almost €100 billion for 2021-2027—the European Union has now become one of the biggest OA funders in the world.  

North America is less driven by widespread, regional mandates, but rather by various discipline-specific funder mandates such as those established by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  These approaches are likely to evolve in the near future with the issuance of the recent OSTP “Nelson Memo,” Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research; this sets out recommendations around public access to research outputs and scientific data that are applicable to all federal research funders’ own public access policies. 

The primary drivers for OA in Latin America have been academic institutions and government organizations rather than commercial publishers. Currently, there is a priority for Green OA, in which the author publishes in a subscription-based journal and places a copy of their work in an institutional or discipline-based repository (known as “self-archiving”). 

China and India currently lead the way in OA publishing for Asian countries, but the movement in Asia overall has been slower than that of Europe or the United States. OA mandates are not as common, and many researchers are still uninformed of the various OA policies and licensing options—more widespread OA resources, as well as additional government funding, may be required to move the needle forward.  

How ACS Supports Open Access Publishing for All 

As more and more authors are being required by their countries or institutions to publish in OA journals, one of the biggest challenges is the rising cost of Article Processing Charges (APCs). Many researchers, particularly those in developing countries and low-income settings, cannot afford the APCs required to publish in an OA journal.  

ACS Publications is fully committed to making OA publishing an opportunity available to everyone, regardless of institution, country, or policy. Read below to learn more about the ways in which we help authors navigate OA requirements and ensure they have the means to publish OA in any of our journals: 

Read + Publish Agreements
Also known as “transformative agreements,” these are agreements in which an institution pays to receive full access to all articles in ACS journals as well as APC credits that allow researchers to publish OA across the entire ACS journal portfolio. Read + Publish Agreements eliminate the burden of cost for the author while satisfying funder requirements and making the research globally available. 

ACS Transformative Journals
All of ACS Publications’ hybrid journals now qualify as Plan S-compliant transformative journals, and many funders will fully cover the publication costs associated with publishing OA in these journals. This support will be offered until 31 December 2024.   

Country Discount & Waiver Policy
ACS provides discounts and full waivers to corresponding authors from qualifying low- and lower-middle-income countries.  

Interested in learning more about how ACS Publications can help you navigate the open access landscape and easily get your work published in our journals? Visit our all-new Open Science Resource Center to get started on your OA journey. 

Visit the New Open Science Resource Center

Take Your Next Steps Towards Open Science

Take the Open Access Survey

Open Access Copyright and Licensing: A Guide for Authors

This post is part of a five-part series published in celebration of International Open Access Week 2022. We encourage you to explore the entire series below, which offers valuable insights and resources in support of advancing transparency and inclusion in the scientific community through open access.

OPEN ACCESS WEEK 2022 BLOG SERIES
Celebrate Open Access Week 2022 with ACS Publications
Fostering a Climate of Open Science
Open Access Copyright and Licensing: A Guide for Authors
The Journey to Open Access: Past and Present
Looking Ahead: The Future of Open Access

Which Licensing Option is Right for You? 

As global support for open access publishing continues to grow, it is more important than ever as an author to understand the options for protecting your published work and determining the extent to which others may use, share, or build upon your research.  

When publishing open access in an ACS journal, you will sign a Journal Publishing Agreement upon acceptance of your manuscript. As part of this process you’ll have the choice of two Creative Commons (CC) licenses—CC-BY or CC-BY-NC-ND—which will allow you to share your work publicly while still maintaining copyright. Below is an overview of each licensing option to help determine which is best for you. 

CC BY: Attribution 

CC BY Licensing Option

CC BY is the less restrictive of the two licensing options offered by ACS Publications. Under a CC BY license, others can share, modify, and expand upon your work, both for commercial and non-commercial purposes. Even so—and this is where the “BY” comes into play—others must attribute you as the original author and creator of the published work. 
 

CC BY-NC-ND: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 

CC BY-NC-ND Licensing Option

The CC BY-NC-ND licensing option contains more limitations: others are permitted to share your work, but they can only do so for non-commercial use (NC) and they cannot modify or expand upon the work in any way (ND). As with CC BY, others are required to credit you as the original author.  

If you are unsure which licensing option to choose, it is best to start by confirming any licensing requirements already established by your research funder. You can also easily check this on the ACS Journal Finder by indicating your funder and/or institution in the search tool.  

To learn more about licensing options, visit the Creative Commons website.   

Additional Resources 

How to Publish Open Access with ACS

ACS Read + Publish Agreements

Open Access Pricing

Fostering a Climate of Open Science

This post is part of a five-part series published in celebration of International Open Access Week 2022. We encourage you to explore the entire series below, which offers valuable insights and resources in support of advancing transparency and inclusion in the scientific community through open access.

OPEN ACCESS WEEK 2022 BLOG SERIES
Celebrate Open Access Week 2022 with ACS Publications
Fostering a Climate of Open Science
Open Access Copyright and Licensing: A Guide for Authors
The Journey to Open Access: Past and Present
Looking Ahead: The Future of Open Access

Open Access vs. Open Science—What’s the Difference?

“Open access” and “Open Science” are terms frequently used in the scientific and scholarly publishing communities, but they are not the same. Open access refers to the process of making research articles openly and freely available for anyone who wants to access them. However, it is just one piece of the Open Science puzzle.

Open Science describes a broad, collective movement with a goal of increasing transparency and access across all components of the research process beyond the traditional article—including open peer review, data repositories, scholarly communication, and much more. Open Science champions a globally inclusive landscape built on collaboration across academic fields and among researchers around the world.

ACS Publications is at the forefront of initiatives, products, and services supporting open access and the broader, ever-evolving Open Science landscape. Read below to learn more about our commitment to Open Science and the various resources available for our community.

ChemRxiv: Celebrating Five Years of Preprints

ChemRxiv: Celebrating Five Years of Preprints

Launched in 2017, ChemRxiv serves as the primary preprint server for the global chemistry community. By allowing authors to share initial versions of their manuscripts online prior to formal peer review, ChemRxiv supports the Open Science goals of global collaboration and advancing scientific progress through the timely sharing of research.

Now in its fifth year, ChemRxiv is home to more than 14,000 unique preprints across all fields of chemistry, which have generated nearly 38 million views and downloads.

SciMeetings: Global Visibility Beyond the Conference

SciMeetings: Global Visibility Beyond the Conference

SciMeetings is an ACS platform that helps researchers easily and openly share their work presented at conferences and events. SciMeetings is an invaluable tool that offers worldwide visibility for conference posters and presentations, extending reach and impact beyond that of a typical week-long scientific meeting. All published items receive a DOI, enabling them to be easily cited by others. 

More than 273,000 research items have been uploaded to SciMeetings since its launch in 2020, and the platform continues to grow and support researchers in alignment with Open Science goals.

Toward Greater Transparency in Peer Review

Toward Greater Transparency in Peer Review

Peer review is an essential step in the publishing process, but it has traditionally existed as a confidential exchange between authors and reviewers. To support our commitment to Open Science objectives, ACS Publications launched a transparent peer review pilot in ACS Central Science and The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters in 2021, providing authors with the option to make their peer review correspondence publicly available (while still maintaining reviewer anonymity).

Transparent peer review allows readers and emerging researchers to gain a better understanding of an article’s journey through the peer review process, and it also upholds research integrity by instilling a higher level of accountability for authors, reviewers, and editors. To date, the transparent peer review pilot has resulted in more than 250 published papers with publicly available peer review correspondence.  

Taking Data Sharing to a New Level

Taking Data Sharing to a New Level

Around the same time as the 2021 transparent peer review pilot launch, ACS Publications also announced a new Research Data Policy aimed at establishing open data sharing as the eventual norm across all journals. At the initial Level 1 of this four-level policy, authors are strongly encouraged to make the data associated with their research openly available for ease of analysis, comparison, and even reproducibility by others in the field.

One year later, three journals decided it was time to level up. in September 2022, ACS Publications launched a new Data Availability Statement pilot for The Journal of Organic ChemistryOrganic Letters, and ACS Organic & Inorganic Au. These journals now fall under Level 2 of the Research Data Policy, which requires authors to submit a statement describing the availability status of all supporting data associated with the article’s results. Although still in its early days, this new pilot has great potential to lead more journals into further supporting Open Science through the public visibility and sharing of research data.    

Our commitment to Open Science is ever-growing. If you are interested in learning more about how ACS Publications supports the Open Science movement, visit our all-new Open Science Resource Center to find out how you can take the next step toward making science more accessible for all.

Visit the New Open Science Resource Center

Take Your Next Steps Towards Open Science

Take the Open Access Survey

Celebrate Open Access Week 2022 with ACS Publications

This post is part of a five-part series published in celebration of International Open Access Week 2022. We encourage you to explore the entire series below, which offers valuable insights and resources in support of advancing transparency and inclusion in the scientific community through open access.

OPEN ACCESS WEEK 2022 BLOG SERIES
Celebrate Open Access Week 2022 with ACS Publications
Fostering a Climate of Open Science
Open Access Copyright and Licensing: A Guide for Authors
The Journey to Open Access: Past and Present
Looking Ahead: The Future of Open Access

Visit the All-New ACS Publications Open Science Resource Center

ACS Publications is a long-time supporter of, and leader in, open access. Our commitment to the open science movement is reflected across our author-focused open access programs, ACS Read + Publish Agreements, and a wealth of resources available for authors and administrators to understand and navigate the ever-evolving open access landscape.

Visit our Open Science Resource Center (now with a new look!) to learn more about our dedication to open access and explore resources including:

ACS Transformative Journals
Read + Publish Agreements
ACS Open Science Programs
Open Science Policies

Visit the New Open Science Resource Center

Take Your Next Steps Towards Open Science

Take the Open Access Survey

Open Access Week 2022 Webinar Series

This week-long webinar series brings together researchers, funders, institutions, librarians, publishers, and open access advocates. Participants will learn about the latest developments in open access publishing from speakers at every stage in the academic publishing community.

It’s not too late to sign up! Registrants will be able to access all webinar recordings. An overview of the agenda is provided below.

Register Now

MONDAY, OCTOBER 24
Mythbusting Open Access in the Chemical Sciences
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM EDT / 15:00 PM – 16:00 PM BST

The Role of Institutions in Fostering a Climate of Open Science
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EDT / 16:00 PM – 17:00 PM BST 

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 25
Copyright for Researchers
12:00 PM – 13:00 PM EDT / 17:00 PM – 18:00 PM BST

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27
Open Access for Early Career Researchers
7:00 AM – 8:00 AM EDT / 12:00 PM – 13:00 PM BST

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28
Preprints in Chemistry – Now and Next
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM EDT / 15:00 PM – 16:00 PM BST

The OSTP ‘Nelson’ Memo and its Impact on Chemistry
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EDT / 16:00 PM – 17:00 PM BST

Safety Information in Journal Articles Part 3: FAQs and Additional Resources

Safety is a core value of the American Chemical Society and an integral part of the overall research process. In the final part of this three-part series, we cover frequently asked questions and highlight additional chemical safety resources from ACS. If you haven’t caught up, be sure to read the full series below.

Part 1 |  Part 2 | Part 3

Frequently Asked Questions

Quote: Authors must emphasize any unexpected, new, and/or significant hazards or risks associated with the reported work.

There will undoubtedly be many questions that will arise when considering how to best structure your safety statement within the context of your manuscript.

Here, we’ve provided additional clarification for commonly asked questions when authors seek to meet the ACS requirement to “emphasize any unexpected, new, and/or significant hazards or risks associated with the reported work.”

How do I determine what classifies as a “significant” hazard or risk?

A “significant or unusual” hazard is anything that presents a major risk or requires preventative measures beyond those commonly expected to be present in a laboratory setting. Any hazards that fall within the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) Category 1 classification should always be noted. Even with novel or less hazardous materials, it is always best to use discretion, perform a comprehensive risk assessment, and note any potential risks associated with your processes. It will never hurt to be as thorough as possible during this reporting step!

Which section of my manuscript should include the safety statement?

To maximize visibility and utility, it is recommended to insert your safety statement in the Experimental Materials or Methods section of your manuscript. It is also a good idea to reiterate or expand upon your safety statement in the Supporting Information section, especially if it includes any details and context related to the author’s specific experience with the hazardous materials or procedures used.

At what point in the research process should I perform a risk assessment?

The risk assessment is the second step of RAMP, and it should be conducted after you’ve identified any hazards and before you begin your experimental methods. As mentioned in Part 2 of this series, your risk assessment will be the most complex step of RAMP, but it will help inform the necessary components of your safety statement as you begin writing.

RAMP Methodology

Does my safety statement count towards my overall word limit? 

If your statement is 100 words or fewer, it will not contribute towards your final word count. Longer summaries will be handled differently by each individual journal—you can learn more about length requirements by either consulting the journal’s Author Guidelines or contacting the Editor-in-Chief’s office.

Additional Safety Resources

ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety

ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety

The ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety is a technical division of ACS and a premier source for advancing best chemical and health safety practices through authoritative technical resources and mentorship. With nearly 2,000 members, the Division provides educational tools, training, and support for chemists, educators, safety professionals, and the public.

For more information or to become a member of the Division, contact membership@dchas.org.

ACS Committee on Chemical Safety

ACS Committee on Chemical Safety

The ACS Committee on Chemical Safety (CCS) was established in 1963 with the vision of fostering “a scientific community that embraces safety in all activities of the chemistry enterprise.” Through collaborative partnerships, peer-reviewed publications, tools for professional and educational use, and advisory support for other ACS committees and members, CCS is leading resource for promoting chemical and laboratory safety throughout the Society.

Visit the CCS website to learn more about the Committee and its members, explore resources, and browse upcoming events.

ACS Chemical Health & Safety

ACS Chemical Health & Safety

The journal ACS Chemical Health & Safety is a global platform for ensuring that all members of the chemical enterprise receive access to new research, safety information, regulatory updates, effective chemical hygiene practices, and hazard assessment tools. The Journal publishes high-quality articles and research appropriate for scientists, EH&S industry professionals, educators, and others who work in settings that contain chemicals or hazardous materials.

If you would like to learn more or are interested in publishing in ACS Chemical Health & Safety, visit the Journal’s website to browse the latest issue or view manuscript criteria.

ACS Center for Lab Safety

Part of the ACS Institute, the ACS Center for Lab Safety is a one-stop shop for educational resources supporting safe, ethical, and sustainable chemistry practices. From grade school classrooms to industrial laboratories, you will find training tools and learning opportunities—both in person and online— that aim to strengthen ACS’s Core Value of Safety through education.

Further Reading

SAFETY INFORMATION IN JOURNAL ARTICLES: THE COMPLETE SERIES
Part 1: The Necessity of Communication
Part 2: Tips for a Well-Written Safety Statement
Part 3: FAQs and Additional Resources


ARTICLES FROM ACS CHEMICAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Approaches to Understanding Human Behavior When Investigating Incidents in Academic Chemical Laboratories

Ronald W. McLeod
ACS Chem. Health Saf.
 2022, 29, 3, 263–279

Safety Data Sheets: Challenges for Authors, Expectations for End-Users
Anne DeMasi, Harry Elston, and Neal Langerman
ACS Chem. Health Saf. 2022, 29, 4, 369–377

The Ten Most Common Laboratory Safety Issues
Richard Palluzi
ACS Chem. Health Saf. 2022, 29, 1, 19–26

Peer Reviewed Methods/Protocols
Mary Beth Mulcahy
ACS Chem. Health Saf. 2022, 29, 1, 1–2


ADDITIONAL SAFETY RESOURCES
Periodic Table of Safety Elements
ACS Essentials of Lab Safety for General Chemistry: A Course
CHAS Workshops 2022-2023
CCS Publications and Resources
ACS Guide to Scholarly Communication: Communicating Safety Information

Safety Information in Journal Articles Part 2: Tips for a Well-Written Safety Statement

Safety is a core value of the American Chemical Society and an integral part of the overall research process. In Part 2 of this three-part series, provide tips and best practices for authors to formulate a well-written safety summary statement. If you haven’t caught up, be sure to read the full series below.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

How to RAMP Up Your Safety Statement

Including a clear, articulate safety summary statement in your research is vital to ensuring that others who reproduce or expand upon your work can prepare for significant hazards and conduct their own methods as safely as possible. Therefore, crafting your statement should go beyond simply writing a few lines of text—there are many important things to consider before and during the safety reporting process in your manuscript.

In Part 1 of this series, we provide an overview of RAMP, a system that guarantees laboratory safety measures are at the top of every scientist’s mind before and during experimental processes. After Recognizing significant hazards and Assessing associated risks, you can apply this information to your safety statement to help both yourself and others Minimize these risks and Prepare thoroughly for possible emergencies.1

Safety Hazard Pictograms

Credit: GHS Hazard Communication Pictograms/ACS Guide to Scholarly Communication. Click image to view full size.

This figure contains the nine pictograms established by the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).2 These symbols are located on chemical containers and labels, allowing you to quickly recognize the nature and possible hazards of a chemical. Certain chemical classes are noted as being of particular concern and should always be included in your safety statement.3

It is crucial to document any reaction or process hazards as well. Some examples include elevated temperature or pressure, highly exothermic processes, oxygen/fuel mixtures that are ignitable, or any factors that could make your process more complex such as radiation or biological pathogens.3

After identifying all hazards involved in your experimental process, you must then assess any risks from these hazards. Risk assessment involves consulting authoritative resources and analyzing the available data throughout all stages of your experiment to inform the best strategies for minimizing risk. There is no denying that risk assessment is often the most lengthy and complex component of RAMP, but there is a wealth of information and resources available for you to reference along the way.

Essential safety information should outline the approaches and strategies used to minimize risks and prepare for unforeseen emergencies. Examples may include using special equipment, substituting with a less hazardous method, or, in extremely high-risk scenarios, eliminating the use of certain hazards.3

What to Include in a Safety Summary Statement: A Checklist

The checklist below contains important items to include in your safety statement as they apply to the journal, procedures, and audience.3 Other things to consider:

  • Using numbers and bullets helps compartmentalize your risks and mitigations, making your statement easier to read.
  • Know your audience—with a research audience, certain standard safety procedures are widely known, but a teaching audience might benefit from a bit more detail.
  • Be sure to cite all sources used during the risk assessment portion of your statement.
Information to Include in a Safety Summary Statement: A Checklist

Credit: ACS Guide to Scholarly Communication. Click image to view full size.

Join us on Monday, October 24 for the third and final part of our series, in which we address common questions and provide additional tools and resources for communicating safety information. In the meantime, catch up on Part 1 and explore the resources below to learn more about evaluating hazards, writing your safety statement, and the importance of chemical health and safety.

—————

Further Reading

ACS SAFETY RESOURCES
ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety (CHAS)
Identifying and Evaluating Hazards in Research Laboratories
ACS Chemical Health & Safety
ACS Style Sheet for Writing Safety Statements

FROM THE AXIAL ARCHIVE
Safety Information in Journal Articles Part 1: The Necessity of Communication
Sharps in the Lab: Safety Procedures
How to Make Safety a Priority Before Students Enter the Lab
The Missing Piece of the Lab Safety Puzzle
RAMP Up Your Safety Education and Practice

References

  1. What is RAMP? The ACS Center for Lab Safety.
  2. About the GHS. United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.
  3. McEwen, L. and Sigmann, S. Communicating Safety Information. ACS Guide to Scholarly Communication 2020:1.3.1–1.3.7.

Safety Information in Journal Articles Part 1: The Necessity of Communication

Safety is a core value of the American Chemical Society and an integral part of the overall research process. In this three-part series, we review the importance of disclosing safety information in journal articles; provide tips and best practices for authors to formulate a well-written safety summary statement; and share additional resources that will help authors prepare for potential safety risks associated with their research and effectively communicate them with the scientific community. Read the full series below.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

The Hazard of Insufficient Safety Reporting

The importance of safety in the research laboratory is widely recognized, including maintaining awareness of potential hazards and associated risks. But what about when it comes to effectively communicating these hazards and risks1 as authors prepare their research for submission to a scientific journal?

When submitting a manuscript to an ACS journal, authors are expected to disclose potential safety hazards and other relevant information. These reporting requirements came into force in 2017,2 driven in part by a review of author guidelines across more than 720 chemistry journals—which found that only 8% mentioned safety information requirements for authors.3

The ACS Divisions of Chemical Health and Safety (CHAS) and Chemical Information (CINF) along with the Committee of Chemical Safety (CCS) also conducted a survey of chemical safety in academia around the same time, and they found while most researchers were somewhat familiar with formal, industrial-level safety management processes, they rarely used them in their daily work—and few consistently shared them in their publications.4 Perhaps unsurprising, then, that a decade ago 46% of scientists had experienced some sort of injury in the lab and 30% had witnessed at least one major incident requiring medical attention.5

What Information Should be Included in a Safety Statement?

Quote: Authors must emphasize any unexpected, new, and/or significant hazards or risks associated with the reported work.

The Author Guidelines of every ACS journal state that an author “must emphasize any unexpected, new, and/or significant hazards or risks associated with the reported work.”6 If an experiment requires specialized equipment, procedures, or training beyond basic laboratory practices, the author must provide sufficient information so that others who may want to reproduce or build upon the published work can easily understand the hazards and risks involved and replicate the processes safely.

Even though a chemical may carry a “significant risk” and must be reported does not mean it cannot be used. Laboratory hazards and risks can be managed using RAMP methodology: Recognize hazards, Assess and Minimize risks, and Prepare for emergencies.7 Chemistry professionals must therefore be proficient in evaluating hazards, conducting assessments, and mitigating any identified risks. ACS recognizes this in both the Society’s Core Value of Safety and their position statement on safety in the chemical enterprise.8

RAMP Methodology

Copyright 2015 American Chemical Society

Doing What’s Right

Chemical safety is both an ethical and legal responsibility for chemistry professionals, and it is necessary for the protection of both researchers themselves and of the broader scientific community. As principal sources of chemical information, it is imperative that both authors and journals use their platforms to educate readers about inherent risks in the experiments they publish. By championing an ethical, transparent, and positive safety culture, there is hope that scientists will change how they think about safety and incorporate it as a fundamental part of their role.9

Part 2: Tips for a Well-Written Safety Statement
Part 3: FAQs and Additional Resources (coming soon!)

—————

Further Reading

ACS SAFETY RESOURCES
ACS Chemical Health & Safety
ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety (CHAS)
ACS Center for Lab Safety
ACS Essentials of Lab Safety for General Chemistry: A Course

FROM THE AXIAL ARCHIVE
Sharps in the Lab: Safety Procedures
How to Make Safety a Priority Before Students Enter the Lab
The Missing Piece of the Lab Safety Puzzle
RAMP Up Your Safety Education and Practice

References

  1. McEwen, L. and Sigmann, S. Communicating Safety Information. ACS Guide to Scholarly Communication 2020:1.3.1–1.3.7.
  2. Kemsley, J. ACS Journals Enact New Safety Policy. Chem. Eng. News 2016;94(48):7.
  3. Goode, S.R. and Grabowski, L.E. Review and analysis of safety policies of chemical journals. J. Chem. Health Saf. 2016;23(3):30–35.
  4. McEwen, L., et al. Baseline survey of academic chemical safety information practices. J. Chem. Health Saf. 2018;25(3):6–10.
  5. Nitsche, C.I. Promoting safety culture: An overview of collaborative chemical safety information initiatives. J. Chem. Health Saf. 2019;26(3):27–30.
  6. Safety Considerations. ACS Publications Author Guidelines.
  7. What is RAMP? The ACS Center for Lab Safety.
  8. Safety in the Chemistry Enterprise: ACS Position Statement.
  9. Bertozzi, C.R. Ingredients for a Positive Safety Culture. ACS Cent. Sci. 2016;2(11):764–766.

ACS Survey Shows Changing Attitudes Towards Open Access Publishing

Each year, ACS conducts a survey of its authors, readers, and reviewers to gauge their attitudes towards open access (OA), and to gather feedback on their experiences. In 2021, this survey ran between July and August and gathered over 1,400 responses from around the world, with subsequent focus groups at the 2022 ACS Spring Meeting providing additional context for many of the points raised in the survey.

Recent years have seen a steady growth of researchers publishing their work in open access journals. This is driven by a mix of factors including the desire for greater visibility, a personal agreement with the principles behind the OA movement, and institutional and/or research funder requirements. In many cases, these expectations are backed up by initiatives such as Read + Publish Agreements, and survey respondents feel that this kind of institutional support will be instrumental in continuing the growth of OA in the chemical sciences.

The survey also showed that more than two-thirds of respondents believe that publishing open access will be important within the next five years, with a preference for publishing in journals that include a mix of subscription-based and open access content in order to reach the best audience for their work. These ‘hybrid’ titles include ACS’ portfolio of more than 60 transformative journals, with their commitment to publishing an increasing proportion of open access content with the goal of eventually transitioning to 100% open access.

A free report is available discussing some of the survey’s findings in greater detail – visit the ACS Open Science website for more information.

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