Olaf Wiest, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is serving as an associate editor of the American Chemical Society's Journal of Organic Chemistry, the leading journal in the field with more than 91,000 citations last year. Starting October 1, 2011, Dr. Wiest, who came to Notre Dame 16 years ago, will be one of 11 associate editors around the world and responsible for articles in mechanistic and computational chemistry.
The job involves work on 200 to 250 manuscripts a year that editor-in-chief Dale Poulter will assign to Dr. Wiest. He will send them to at least three reviewers based on their expertise in the paper topic and their availability. Peer review is a significant part of the service to the scientific community for any faculty member, including Wiest, who typically reviews one or two papers each week for a variety of journals. He has published some 20 articles in the journal since 1996, among his total of 125 published articles.
The decisions of the associate editor are critical for the quality and reputation of the journal. "You have to closely look at every paper and know the field well enough where to send it," Wiest says. "This is really something where experience counts — knowing the field, knowing the reviewers, who is a prompt and thorough reviewer. Based on the reviewers reports, the associate editors decide what gets published in the journal and what doesn't."