What research are you currently working on?
We’re ultimately interested in designing materials that do something useful, especially in the areas of energy and sustainability. For us this mostly takes the form of functional organic materials – computational methods, experimental methods, automation and robotics.
How have you found the role of editor-in-chief of Chemical Science so far?
I’m very excited about it. I’ve only been in the role since January but I've enjoyed it so far. I've met a lot of people and I met the whole board yesterday at the board meeting. I think we've got an excellent board.
What do you hope to bring to the role?
I think the journal is already in a strong place, and has had very strong editors so far – Dan Nocera was the editor-in-chief before me – so it's got a great history. I hope to keep it on its upward trajectory and to keep the ambition high. I’d particularly like to encourage speculative, high-risk research.
Can you tell us a bit more about what you mean by speculative, high-risk research?
We’re very interested in papers that raise questions as well as answers. We're very open to work that is at a preliminary stage or in developing areas, and that open up interesting questions. Hopefully we’ll also receive papers that start entirely new areas.
We're at a time in the publishing industry where a lot is changing. What is Chemical Science doing to remain at the cutting edge?
We have some very interesting ideas on the board about engaging strongly with early career researchers – that's something that I think is a big priority and it's important for the future. It’s about giving early career researchers a platform for their research, which sometimes they don’t find very easy to get.
We're also very keen to run the journal in an open and transparent way as much as possible, and to make the experience of the authors easy. We want the science to be hard but submission to be easy.
The board has been discussing ways to boost the profile of early career researchers. What could that look like?
We’ve discussed having some themed issues where early career researchers would be able to share their perspective on the future of their field – a forward look at what they see as being important in their career and area. I think early career researchers don’t often get these sorts of opportunities, and it’s not something that many other journals have done.
Chemical Science has a very broad scope in terms of topic areas. What are the benefits to a journal of having such a wide focus?
It allows for more multidisciplinary studies. We’re not locked into a single sub-discipline, so we have a lot of flexibility – we can have studies that involve multiple areas of chemistry and indeed areas outside of chemistry. There are challenges there too – because with such a broad remit it's hard to sometimes decide what does and doesn't fit with the journal. But we've got a really strong editorial team across a range of areas, and a very large and strong editorial advisory board that covers the breadth of research that’s published in the journal very well.
Andy’s top three tips for submitting work to Chemical Science
1. Chemical Science has a broad remit, so don’t worry too much about whether it is in scope – we want your best work.
2. We want bold papers that really challenge the status quo. So if you think something’s particularly controversial, new or exciting – well, that’s exactly the kind of paper we want.
3. Chemical Science is a general audience journal. So as well as describing the technical detail, you have to describe your work for a general audience. Take some time to get the broader picture across, because that is important too
What have you enjoyed most about the Chemical Science symposium?
I’ve really enjoyed meeting the board members – I knew some of them before but not all. I’ve enjoyed meeting some of the speakers, and the talks so far have been really excellent.
I’m very impressed that we've managed to assemble such a strong international speaker cohort for a two-day meeting in London. I think that's a great start, and if we can do that every year we'll be in great shape.
What do you hope the attendees get out of this meeting?
We have a lot of PhD students here at this meeting, and I would hope that they get to see top-class international science – which I know we have represented in the talks. I hope they get to network among themselves, have some fun, get a chance to present posters, and gain exposure to Chemical Science as a journal, with a view to submitting their work to us in the future.
Read more from the Chemical Science symposium.