Sustainability: Chemistry Is Key


Sustainability is everywhere in the 21st century; just about every aspect of our world/daily lives has the potential to be sustainable. Nowhere does this hold more true than in science and technology, and, in particular, the chemical sciences. The chemical industry has long understood the importance of sustainable management of its resources and the exploration of alternative sources. However, dwindling reserves of fossil fuels and raw materials as well as tightened environmental policies are driving an intense effort from researchers in the chemical sciences aimed at conserving our natural environment and resources and ensuring a more sustainable future of our chemicals, materials, and energy base. Research in the area of sustainable chemistry in its broadest sense is flourishing, and the number of university departments, research centers, and conferences dedicated to the cause has increased drastically over the past few years. Until now, the top publications in this rapidly developing field have been scattered across a whole range of existing scientific journals, from general chemistry ones to more specialized ones. Thus, the time was ripe for a high-profile journal that addresses and brings together the latest developments in chemistry-, materials-, energy-, and environment-related issues of sustainability.

The decision to launch a new journal, however, is not an easy one. Many factors must be considered. We often hear that there are already too many journals out there, so how could we justify the launch of a new one? With the idea of “sustainable publishing” in mind, that is, not to create more new journals than old ones are discontinued, the publisher Wiley-VCH has, together with their European chemical society partners, revamped a number of somewhat smaller (national) chemistry journals with great success into modern international journals covering important areas of the chemical sciences. This was most recently seen with ChemMedChem, which was borne from the Italian journal Il Farmaco. Following on from this success, Wiley-VCH invited the Società Chimica Italiana (SCI, Italian Chemical Society) to consider their journal Annali di Chimica, a journal of analytical, environmental, and cultural heritage chemistry founded in 1911, as the basis for a new international interdisciplinary journal of chemistry and sustainability.

It is against this backdrop that we proudly introduce ChemSusChem, the latest addition to Angewandte Chemie's group of sister journals. And the initial response speaks volumes—more submissions to ChemSusChem were received in the months following the call for papers than for any of the other new journals at their launch—reaffirming that research related to chemistry and sustainability is rife with activity the world over and that the launch of this journal could not have been timelier. As a result of the overwhelming response, the journal is being launched as a double issue to include as many of the top papers as possible.

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ChemSusChem covers research on sustainable (green) chemistry, catalysis and biocatalysis, renewable energies and resources, biomass and biofuels, solar energy conversion and photovoltaics, hydrogen storage and fuel cells, carbon dioxide capture and storage, biodegradable products and chemical recycling, as well as sustainability-related aspects of analytical, environmental, and cultural heritage chemistry, and much more. Reflecting the broad range of topics covered, ChemSusChem publishes a mixture of primary research articles (communications and full papers) as well as reviews and minireviews, highlights, concepts, and essays. The broad spectrum of topics covered in ChemSusChem mirrors those of the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry, SusChem (read more about this in the Essay on page 59 ff.), which identified industrial biotechnology, materials technology, and reaction and process design as critical areas for research and innovation (“pillars”). The journal should therefore appeal to researchers from academia and industry alike: chemists of all disciplines, chemical engineers, biotechnologists, energy researchers, and materials scientists.

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The Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker (GDCh, German Chemical Society) has kindly agreed to provide Angewandte Chemie as a carrier for ChemSusChem, thus subscribers to Angewandte Chemie will receive ChemSusChem for free in its initial year. Although founded by the SCI and the GDCh, ChemSusChem is now co-owned by the Editorial Union of Chemical Societies (EUChemSoc), which includes the two founding societies as well as twelve other European chemical societies (see inside front cover). It is supported also by the Asian Chemical Editorial Society (ACES), ensuring high international visibility.

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Besides its close ties with Angewandte Chemie and its other sister journals, the high quality of ChemSusChem will also be ensured through an Editorial Board co-chaired by Professors Matthias Beller (Rostock, Germany), Gabriele Centi (Messina, Italy), and Daniel G. Nocera, (Cambridge, MA, USA) and featuring a further ten highly reputed members, who were selected according to their field of research and who play a key role in defining the content of the journal. You can read Editorials from the three chairmen on the following pages and learn more about the Editorial Board members on page 18 ff. ChemSusChem is also supported by an International Advisory Board that boasts no less than three Nobel Laureates: R. H. Grubbs, Y.-T. Lee, and R. Noyori. A list of all the board members appears on the masthead on the inside front cover of this issue.

The editorial team in Weinheim takes care of the day-to-day running of the journal and promises a high-quality and speedy peer-review process as well as fast online (Early View) and print publication of all accepted manuscripts. Indeed, all of the articles that appear in this inaugural issue have appeared online already, some of them as early as December 4, 2007.

We hope that you enjoy this inaugural double issue of ChemSusChem and that you will consider this journal as essential reading for keeping up-to-date with the latest exciting developments in chemistry-, materials-, energy-, and environment-related issues of sustainability. We thank all the authors who have contributed so far, and we look forward to publishing your contributions in this area in the very near future

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