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Vol. 30 No. 6
November-December 2008

From the Editor

Who better to discuss the history and accomplishments of IUPAC’s scientific journal than James Bull, scientific editor of Pure and Applied Chemistry. In this issue of CI ("PAC at Your Fingertips"), Professor Bull—who has been at the helm of PAC for eight years—reviews with enthusiasm the life and path of the only scientific journal the Union has ever had.

image of Fabienne MeyersThis year saw the publication of the 80th volume of PAC, as well as the completion of the online digital archive of every issue. With the entire journal readily available, an important part of IUPAC history is now revealed. In his article, Bull invites us to take stock of how PAC was started and how it was shaped over time. He quotes an earlier paper by IUPAC presidents, reminding us that the Publications Committee at that time (in 1960) was particularly preoccupied with the need to provide a reliable and readily accessible medium for IUPAC reports and recommendations, as well as papers based upon the scientific proceedings of selected conferences.

The same concern remains today. Meanwhile, the practices and standards for scientific publication have continuously boomed with new IT, but just like the large publishers, PAC has an online submission system, a production workflow that benefits the authors, and features such as CrossRef participation. Todays’ committee on printed and electronic publication (CPEP) continues to press the Union to adopt the best practices of scientific journals but also to consider the future. Plans are being considered to allow for the release of articles ASAP (As Soon As Publishable) online, and other considerations also include the coding of INCHI and INCHIKey.

Besides the journal, the impact of other IUPAC publications is also worth mentioning. One book that is highly relevant to IUPAC work and to the chemistry community at large is the new edition of the International Vocabulary of Metrology, known as the VIM. Ten years in the making, the VIM has been approved and adopted by each of the eight Joint Committee for Guides in Metrology member organizations, including IUPAC (see Bookworm article).

All of this brings to mind something that Peter Mahaffy, current chair of the IUPAC Committee on Chemistry Education, wrote. Although he was discussing climate change, his statement that “Credibility of resources is so incredibly important in this area” is surely not restricted to that subject matter. IUPAC, with its journal PAC and other publications such as VIM, and with other recognized organizations, owe the scientific community no less than the most credible and useful resources.

Fabienne Meyers
fabienne@iupac.org

 

Cover photo: An evening shot of the buildings that comprise the Chemical Heritage Foundation. To the left is CHF’s new state-of-the-art museum and conference center. Read more about the museum and its exhibits in "Making Modernity" (page 3 in print). Cover photograph by Rich Dunoff.


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