ACS Nanoscience Au This broad scope open access journal offers nanoscientists and technologists a high quality research opportunity if they want to publish open access or if their sponsor requests it.
Professor Ray Schaak of Penn State University is the journal’s assistant editor. In this interview, he reveals more about himself, shares his top tips for developing a research career, and shares his superpower.
So Ray – what got you into nanoscience?
My Ph.D. The research in Tom Mallouk’s lab and my postdoctoral work in Bob Cava’s lab focused mostly on solid state chemistry, using very high temperatures to make many interesting inorganic compounds on a large scale. At the time, there was very little nano in my research! But I was really interested in developing chemical ways to make new solid-state compounds that couldn’t be made at high temperatures, and the nanosciences offered some interesting ways to do that. Nanoparticles are much more reactive than the bulk powders used as reagents in high temperature solid state synthesis. So I became interested in nanoparticle chemistry to create new solid-state compounds at lower temperatures. That drew me to nanoscience!
What were the greatest challenges for you in developing a research career?
To embark on a research career in an academic institution, one has to dive into lots of new things quickly and at full speed! It also requires learning on the fly, learning from others and learning from mistakes. I found these aspects both exciting and challenging. As an introvert, one of my biggest challenges was networking and finding others, especially people I didn’t know before. I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone a lot, and it continues to this day! Another challenge, particularly early on, was knowing when to pursue certain research ideas and when not to pursue others.
Do you have any tips for aspiring researchers to help them develop their careers?
Don’t just look at the research, look at the researchers as well. Put together a team of people at all training levels who think differently from you. Different backgrounds, perspectives, opinions, knowledge, and expertise can be extremely valuable in tackling problems creatively. Be open to new ideas and directions. Find a research problem that you enjoy studying and solve it with what it takes to make it a reality, even if it is outside of your comfort zone or if you need to learn new skills.
What does Open Science mean for you as a researcher?
Open science means gaining the broadest possible audience for research. This includes other researchers, but also the general public. I can’t help but think of two common scenarios in my world that shape my view of open science. The first is when friends of non-scientists find something research-related on the internet. It’s great when articles describing high quality, impactful research are peer-reviewed, freely available, and get into your hands! The second is when I see students choose to read, discuss, and / or report on papers with open access simply because they can download them to their mobile devices without being behind a paywall. In both scenarios, the perception of science and its understanding of people can be shaped by freely available research.
As deputy editor of ACS Nanoscience Auwhat are you looking for in a newspaper?
At the ACS Nanoscience AuWe are looking for exciting and high quality new research in nanoscale science and technology that connects fields and propels them in new directions. We also look forward to forward-looking assessments and perspectives that set the stage for future progress. The nanoscience and nanotechnology community spans a wide range of disciplines, so top papers speak across disciplines and can be read by researchers in areas beyond those of the authors.
If we could grant you a superpower, what would it be and why?
Teleportation! If I could instantly “shine” from one place to another, travel would be streamlined and I could be anywhere in the world anytime, still keeping my house as my “home base”.
ACS Nanoscience Au is ready to receive your research. It is subject to the same robust, fair, and efficient peer-review of all ACS journals to ensure that it is promoting the science that really drives nanosciences and nanotechnology forward. And the main advantage of Open Access is that all interested readers have instant access, so your work can have a greater impact in less time.