WASHINGTON, May 6, 2013 — The American Chemical Society’s (ACS’) Publications Division has introduced a new website, populated with survey data provided by over 4,000 scientists, to showcase connections among research subdisciplines at the interface of chemistry and biology. The development of the resource, part of an initiative designed to showcase the breadth and depth of content that ACS publishes in these areas, benefited from market research that provided new insights about researchers who work at the nexus of chemistry and biology.
More than a third of the 42 peer-reviewed journals published by the ACS contain research that is biological in nature. They include broad-topic journals such as Biochemistry and the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry (itself the most cited primary research journal in its field), as well as noteworthy titles in fields such as chemical biology, molecular pharmaceutics, neuroscience and synthetic biology.
Respondents to the ACS survey affirmed the view that certain traditionally broad areas of research inquiry, such as biochemistry, are becoming increasingly fragmented and hyper-specialized. When asked to identify their area of scientific focus, 46 percent of respondents selected five or more subdisciplines. In addition, findings from in-depth focus groups revealed that “search and retrieve” content consumption risks stifling innovation, and that researchers seek more cross-discipline exposure.
To help address these concerns, the new website enables readers to select their primary area of interest from a graphical map, see connections to interrelated fields and choose relevant ACS journals that publish research in these areas. Users are encouraged to explore sample content by viewing free issues. The website also features a video highlighting studies by scientists engaged in interdisciplinary research, and a guide that provides a comprehensive overview of writing a scientific manuscript for today’s digital age. The guide focuses on enhancing discoverability of published research, and covers topics such as the importance of keywords and visuals, how to leverage social media to reach a broader audience, measuring an article’s influence and how to choose the peer-reviewed journal best positioned to reach the author’s intended audience.
“Researchers understand the benefits of a broader scientific perspective, but gaining this outlook has become increasingly difficult as scientific databases and search tools offer more precise filtering capabilities,” said Tara Pritchett, Assistant Director of Marketing, ACS Publications. “Readers of online journals tell us that they miss the serendipitous discovery that came from flipping through a printed journal, as it is not uncommon to find a method or technique from an unrelated study that can help advance one’s own work or spark new innovations. This new resource is meant to highlight ways for scientists to engage their curiosity and expand their research horizons, not only by aiding discovery of relevant studies outside their immediate area of specialization, but also by helping to identify the most appropriate ACS journal in which to publish their research.”
“As a former research scientist with training in biology, biochemistry and chemical biology, who now works for the ACS, I have a keen appreciation for the many and varied interfaces between chemistry and biology. Our Society has been very active in expanding to meet the needs of researchers in areas of the biological sciences that were traditionally thought to be beyond the scope of chemistry, and to meet these needs we’ve introduced several new journals in rapidly emerging research fields,” said Dr. Anirban Mahapatra, Assistant Director, Editorial Development. “This new web resource continues to showcase our commitment to serving our global audience of authors and readers engaged in these rapidly evolving areas of scientific inquiry.”