FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | November 11, 2021

ACS Publications appoints an ombudsperson to support authors in the peer review process

WASHINGTON, Nov. 11, 2021 — The Publications Division of the American Chemical Society (ACS) is pleased to announce the appointment of Kathleen H. Canul, Ph.D., as the ACS Publications’ ombudsperson. Her appointment fulfills a crucial element of ACS’ commitment to confronting racism and discrimination within our journals and strengthens efforts to increase diversity throughout our author and reviewer communities.

As an ombudsperson, Canul will serve as an impartial, independent and confidential channel for concerns regarding the peer review process. In the event that an author or reviewer has concerns over issues such as editor bias, editorial advisory board member or reviewer misconduct, or editorial professionalism, Canul would act as a resource, providing guidance, and as an outlet for the expression of concerns. The ombudsperson will not, however, be conducting formal investigations into complaints. In the event that a complaint requires an investigation, Canul will be available to provide guidance to the relevant journal or institution.

“As the ACS Publications ombudsperson, I’m available to hear concerns, help find answers to authors’ questions and discuss options when facing challenges,” says Canul. “Communications with an ombudsperson are confidential, and I welcome the opportunity to be of service.”

Selected after a five-months-long public search, Canul brings significant expertise to the new position. Since 2007, she has served as the Director of Ombuds Services at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has additional experience as an ombudsperson at the University of California, Irvine, and has consulted as an ombudsperson for a number of societies and institutions. Canul is a licensed psychologist and received a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Washington State University. A member of the International Ombudsman Association (IOA), Canul will adhere to IOA’s code of ethics and standards of practice in her duties with ACS.

“Confronting issues of racism and discrimination is a top priority for ACS Publications, and Dr. Canul’s appointment helps us to ensure a fair and equitable system for authors and reviewers,” says James Milne, Ph.D., president, ACS Publications. “At ACS, we keep our authors at the center of everything we do, and I am confident this change will improve our authors' experience.”

Those who wish to reach Canul with any concerns arising from their experiences can contact her at kathleen.canul@services.acs.org.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS’ mission is to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and all its people. The Society is a global leader in promoting excellence in science education and providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple research solutions, peer-reviewed journals, scientific conferences, eBooks and weekly news periodical Chemical & Engineering News. ACS journals are among the most cited, most trusted and most read within the scientific literature; however, ACS itself does not conduct chemical research. As a leader in scientific information solutions, its CAS division partners with global innovators to accelerate breakthroughs by curating, connecting and analyzing the world’s scientific knowledge. ACS’ main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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Note: ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies.

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