Environmental Science: Nano – a journal is born

A new journal with a large scope that focuses on small materials

Vicki H. Grassian
Department of Chemistry, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA. E-mail: vicki-grassian@uiowa.edu


Welcome to the inaugural issue of Environmental Science: Nano, the first societal journal whose sole focus is on environmental nanoscience and nanotechnology. Environmental Science: Nano is the newest journal from the Royal Society of Chemistry. It is a journal with a large scope focused on small materials: i.e. nanomaterials and their interactions with the environment.

The need

Nanoscience and nanotechnology offer solutions to numerous global problems. These include problems related to water quality, human health and the food supply. The growth of the industry is crucial and will remain a high priority for years to come. Thus, the sustainable development of nanotechnology must equally be a high priority. Sustainable nanotechnology is in fact what this new journal encompasses – green processing, understanding the interactions of nanomaterials with biological and environmental systems and the use of nanotechnology to avoid or remediate existing environmental problems.

Many papers devoted to these topics are currently published across a wide spectrum of journals suggesting the need to consolidate and encompass these into one journal. Furthermore, the growth of papers in these areas has been phenomenal. This can be easily seen from searching any scientific database including Web of Knowledge. Whether you search from the perspective of the total number of papers published or the number of papers cited for key search words and phrases including “environmental science and nano” or “toxicology and nanoparticles” or “environmental health and nanotechnology”, the results are striking. There is clear and significant growth in publications related to these topics.

About the journal

The journal strives to cover the important topics that researchers are working on. Environmental Science: Nano covers the benefits and implications of nanoscience and nanotechnology on environmental health and safety, and the sustainable design, development and use of nanotechnologies. This includes design, applications, life cycle implications, characterisation in biological and environmental media, environmental and biological interactions and fate, transformations, transport, reactivity, biological uptake and ecotoxicity, and other areas of sustainable nanotechnology, such as interactions with pollutants and remediation of environmental contaminants by nanomaterials.

In essence, Environmental Science: Nano plans to be a comprehensive source of information on nanomaterial interactions with biological and environmental systems; design and use of engineered nanomaterials for sustainability; understanding of how nanomaterials enter, migrate and undergo transformations as they move through various environmental and biological media/systems; and, importantly, the development of nanoscience and nanotechnology in a sustainable manner.

The journal, as part of the Royal Society of Chemistry stable offers:

• Fast publication times (averaging less than 100 days from receipt to web publication)

• Colour images completely free of charge (no conditions)

• No page charges

• No page restrictions


Environmental Science: Nano, with the enthusiastic support of its internationally recognized editorial and advisory boards, is committed to the highest quality research findings and welcomes contributions from a broad spectrum of scientists and engineers that include chemists, engineers, toxicologists, materials scientists, biologists and geologists to name a few. The three-legged stool shown in Fig. 1 represents the major disciplinary areas that in combination will provide the basis for this interdisciplinary journal. Environmental Science: Nano will provide the community with a dedicated, comprehensive and unique journal that brings together a variety of communities to publish their work on nanoscience and the implications for the environment, health and sustainability.
image file: c3en90001k-f1.tif
Fig. 1 The scientific basis for Environmental Science: Nano is provided by interdisciplinary scientific approaches, which combines chemistry/materials science, engineering, and biology/toxicology, as represented by the three-legged stool.

The Associate Editors and Vice-Chair, whose expertise well covers the scope of the journal, are looking for high quality research papers that make significant and major strides in areas covered by Environmental Science: Nano. For each paper submitted, we ask authors to include a Nano Impact Statement and a Nano Tweet, so that other researchers can immediately be informed of the overall importance of the work from the researchers themselves and also so we can quickly get the word out on the research described in the publication.

Characterization standards

In order to achieve the goal of high quality submissions, the journal has developed characterization standards because it is increasingly clear that the quality of the publications in the areas covered by Environmental Science: Nano is often related to the quality of the characterization of the nanomaterials investigated. Therefore, characterization standards are a required element of submission and publication in Environmental Science: Nano. The Nanomaterials Characterization Checklist (NCC) (see Table 1) was adapted from the developed Minimum characterization standards (MINChar) list. It is the expectation that manuscripts submitted to Environmental Science: Nano will include all experimental procedures and nanomaterial characterization data warranted for the study.
Table 1 Nanomaterials Characterization Checklist (NCC)
A. What does the material look like?
-Particle size/distribution
-Particle agglomeration/aggregation state
-Particle shape
B. What is the material made of?
-Overall composition (including chemical composition and crystal structure – when appropriate)
-Surface composition
-Purity (including levels of impurities)
C. What factors affect how the material interacts with its surroundings?
-Surface area
-Surface chemistry
-Is the material altered during handling and in reaction media
D. To the extent possible in the context of the reported studies, authors should describe
-Methods employed for material storage, handling, preparation and delivery of nanomaterials
-Evidence for stability and/or transformations of material properties in the experimental media

As shown in Table 1, the NCC asks the authors to provide information on the following: What does the material look like? What is the material made of? What factors affect how the material interacts with its surroundings? And to describe, to the extent possible in the context of the reported studies, methods employed for nanomaterial storage, handling, preparation and delivery. Moreover, we ask authors to provide evidence for stability and/or transformations of material properties in the experimental media. Asking authors to adhere to the standards provided by the NCC will ensure high quality submissions to the journal. Minimum materials characterization requirements are essential to ensure that strong correlations can be made between the nanomaterials and the measured effects and will permit comparison between studies of analogous nanomaterials.


Finally, I would like to announce that Environmental Science: Nano has partnered with the Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization (SNO) to be their official journal. SNO is a newly formed organization whose mission includes the following:

1. Support the development of sustainable nanotechnology for the improvement of society, the environment and human health.

2. Promote the advancement and application of scientific research related to nanotechnology, implementation of sustainable nanotechnology for environment, health, and safety, and the use of nanotechnology in policy and decision-making.

3. Provide a forum where scientists, engineers, and other professionals exchange information and ideas for the development and use of nanotechnology leading to overall sustainability.

“We are looking forward to ES: Nano becoming a “voice of SNO”. We are pleased to partner with the journal to publish important research on sustainable nanotechnology and pleased to offer ES: Nano as a service to our members. We look forward to a long and sustainable collaboration.” Wunmi Sadik, President, and Barbara Karn, Vice President, Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization.

The Royal Society of Chemistry has made a significant commitment to the launch of this journal for the benefit and support of the environmental nanoscience and nanotechnology community and will continue to do so through support of relevant conferences and awards through the journal.

Environmental Science: Nano is envisioned to be a community journal and we ask you to support the journal through high quality submissions, reviews of other papers and a commitment to the sustainable development of nanoscience and nanotechnology.


Vicki H. Grassian


F. Wendell Miller Professor, University of Iowa

Editor-in-Chief, Environmental Science: Nano

This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2014