Especially JCE: September 2017

September 2017 JCE cover

You learn something new every day. I feel like I do anyway, sometimes through the connections made on social media. A couple of days ago, Deanna Cullen tweeted about one of the articles from the September 2017 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education (JCE).



She pointed out that it was an ACS Editors’ Choice article. The benefit is that these selected articles are open access (and according to the website, always will be), available to anyone whether they subscribe to JCE or not. That wasn’t what was news to me—it was where a follow-up question from another educator on Twitter led me afterward.


I have seen ACS Editors’ Choice articles before, but had really just stumbled across them by seeing the special icon next to them in the online article listing. Could I go somewhere to view them as a group? Yes! An ACS Editors’ Choice page offers a new peer-reviewed research article from an ACS journal daily, along with the past Editors’ Choice articles. If you’re feeling serendipitous, you can browse through the months and days, to sample from other ACS journals that you don’t regularly read. Or, you can use a drop-down menu to select a specific journal, such as the Journal of Chemical Education. Deanna’s recommendation was right at the top: Thinking Processes Associated with Undergraduate Chemistry Students’ Success at Applying a Molecular-Level Model in a New Context, by Teichert, et al.

It is an excellent article, and I’m always pleased when an article that caught my eye in an issue to share in an Especially JCE post is one that is freely available to non-subscribers as well. Although the title specifies that the chemical education research was performed with undergraduate students, the subject matter is completely relevant to high school classrooms as well. The students underwent a unit on dissolving compounds such as salt and sugar and constructed molecular-level models on what they thought was happening. It included collecting experimental data such as conductivity readings to use as evidence to support one’s model. Students made an initial model, collected data, then refined their models. The focus of the study was not whether students could correctly model the dissolutions. Rather, it highlighted the thought processes that were/were not taken to reach their final models, and related these processes to how well students could transfer the dissolution knowledge to a new context. I strongly second Deanna’s recommendation to take a look.

How are the articles selected? About ACS Editors’ Choice states, “These peer-reviewed, open access articles consist of research that exemplifies the Society’s commitment to improving people’s lives through the transforming power of chemistry. The selection of these articles is based on recommendations by the scientific editors of ACS journals from around the world; all ACS Publications articles published in 2014 and forward are eligible to be recommended for ACS Editors’ Choice®.”

Now I learned two new things today.

More from the September 2017 Issue

Mary Saecker collects the rest of the issue in her JCE 94.09 September 2017 Issue Highlights. I especially like her section “Distilling the Archives,” where she collects past articles related to scents and smellability (I’m assuming and appreciating a hat tip to Jane Austen there too).


Have another ACS Editors' Choice article that you think is worth pointing out? We want to hear! Start by submitting a contribution form, explaining you’d like to contribute to the Especially JCE column. Then, put your thoughts together in a blog post. Questions? Contact us using the ChemEd X contact form.

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Comments 1

Deanna Cullen's picture
Deanna Cullen | Mon, 09/18/2017 - 16:38

Thanks for this Erica! I just want to add that JCE editorials are freely accessible to those without a subscription. Also, there is a program for authors that choose to make their articles freely accessible. It is called Authors' Choice.

Also, our readers that have an ACS membership can access 25 downloads from ACS Journals. AACT has just partnered with ACS Publications to provide that same benifit to AACT members. JCE Editor and Chief, Norb Pienta, and I will be cohosting an AACT webinar October 18th to help members make the most of that new benefit.