Last month, ScienceWatch.com named
Acta Crystallographica Section E: Structure Reports
in the field of Chemistry. The journal's current
citation record in Essential Science Indicators
Reuters includes 15,663 papers cited a total of
17,808 times between January 1, 1997 and December 31,
Acta Crystallographica Section E was founded in
2001 and became an open-access journal this year. It is
one of a family of eight journals published by the
International Union of Crystallography. Its current
Editor-in-Chief is Gernot Kostorz.
In the interview below, Managing Editor Peter
Strickland and Section Editors Bill Clegg and David
Watson talk about the journal's history and citation
Did you expect Acta Crystallographica Section
E to become highly cited, or is this surprising to you?
Our aim has always been to produce a high-quality journal with short papers
and a very rapid publication process. Given the nature of the
content—short reports of crystal structures—we would not have
expected the journal to become particularly highly cited.
How would you account for the high citation rate of
Acta Crystallographica Section E?
We think that two factors may be involved, both related to the move of the
journal to open-access publication from the start of 2008. One is the large
growth that accompanied a change in article format and handling introduced
in early 2007 in preparation for the move to open access, and the other is
the move to open access itself, which thereby made the journal completely
accessible free of charge to all potential readers.
Would you give us a brief history of the
The journal is published by the International Union of Crystallography
(IUCr). One of the main roles of the Union is to promote international
publication of crystallographic research, and it does this principally by
publishing journals and books to the highest quality standards.
Acta Crystallographica Section
E has demonstrated how
successful an online journal can
be, so that we expect the emphasis
will continue to shift from paper
journals to electronic in the
The journal was launched in 2001 with the main aim of increasing the number
of published inorganic and small-molecule crystal structure determinations
in the literature. The journal was conceived as an online-only journal to
ensure rapid publication. The journal is hosted on the IUCr's own platform,
Crystallography Journals Online, which allows each paper to be published
with its associated data. It also benefits from the IUCr's unique data
checking services. The journal has grown rapidly since 2001, with over
5,000 articles published in 2007. From January 2008, the journal has moved
to full open-access publication.
What historical factors have contributed to the success
of Acta Crystallographica Section E?
A new generation of X-ray diffractometers that greatly reduced the time
taken to determine a crystal structure was introduced in the 1990s. The
launch of the journal coincided with an enormous growth in the use of these
machines during the late 1990s and early 2000s. The same period has also
seen large growth in scientific activity in Asian countries. The journal
has captured a large amount of this extra activity.
Have there been specific developments in the fields
served by Acta Crystallographica Section E that may have
The development of the crystallographic information file (CIF), which is
used for data exchange in crystallography, has had a significant effect on
simplifying the publication procedure.
The journal uses the CIF as a specialized submission format. CIFs are now
exported routinely by the standard software used by authors in analyzing
the results of their experiments, and, in addition, the journal provides
authors with specialized tools to edit the CIFs and prepare them for
What, in your view, is this journal's main significance
or contribution in the field of Chemistry?
It provides a record of a significant proportion of new high-quality
crystal structure determinations. It has also provided a model for data
publication that can be adopted for other fields of Chemistry.
How do you see your field(s) evolving in the next few
We would expect continued growth in the number of crystal structure
determinations. In addition, we feel Acta Crystallographica Section
E has demonstrated how successful an online journal can be, so that we
expect the emphasis will continue to shift from paper journals to
electronic in the coming years. Also, making original experimental data
available through published work is important, and has been a policy of the
IUCr for many years; this is bound to grow, e.g., through links to
What role do you see for your journal?
The IUCr aims to lead with innovations in the publication of structural
results; Acta Crystallographica Section E is just one example of
this, and further novel developments will follow.
Acta Crystallographica Section E Bill Clegg and David
Watson (Section Editors), and Peter Strickland (Managing Editor)
IUCr Journals, publishers
Acta Crystallographica Section
E: Structure Reports
Online's most-cited paper with 42 cites