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Chief Editor Spotlight: Meet Prof. Kenneth Ozoemena

Editors | Opinion
Chief Editor Spotlight: Meet Prof. Kenneth Ozoemena

This blog is part of our ‘Chief Editor Spotlight Series’. Look out for monthly posts where our Chief Editors share insights into their roles, tips for editors and authors, and discuss trends within their specialist fields.


Portable electronics are dependent on the development of ever-more powerful lithium-ion batteries, says Kenneth Ozoemena. Professor of Materials for Energy & Electrochemistry at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, he is also Chief Editor for the International Journal of Electrochemistry. Associating his two roles, he believes that the real strength in innovation comes from the ability to share scientific advances with all those who can put them to use.

Lithium-ion batteries, first conceived during the 1970s oil crisis, go hand-in-hand with the development of new-age electronics. Lightweight, rechargeable, and powerful, these essential components are found in portable electronic devices all over the world. We use them to help us work, listen, study, play and more.

As small energy storage systems, lithium-ion batteries have been crucial for the latest developments in technology, including alternative energies. Their relevance was acknowledged by the scientific community in 2019, when the Nobel Prize in Chemistry rewarded “the development of the lithium-ion battery” [1].

Prof. Kenneth Ozoemena foresees that their importance will continue to rise, “as the 4th Industrial Revolution comes to loom and various energy-hungry robotics take an increasing amount of space in our society, battery technology will become ever more important and play in the development of the global economy.”

Prof. Kenneth Ozoemena
Prof. Kenneth Ozoemena

 “As [these] systems gradually take up more space in our lives, battery capacity will allow for an increase in smarter, more adapted electronics but also greener solutions,” he adds.

More efficient energy storage has allowed for greater use of green energy; from solar to wind power, and the creation of clean transport such as electric vehicles. Thanks to improvements in battery technology, the dream of a fossil fuel-free society is one step closer. Kenneth Ozoemena says that these clean energies will contribute greatly to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 [2].  

“Electrochemistry is a two-century old subject that has forcefully re-emerged for the betterment of our human society,” adds Ozoemena. “As improvements in the field are made, they will continue to drive progress in our societies.”

A big step in the process is making these technological developments in lithium-ion batteries available to all. The world has embraced Open Access journals as the only route for unlimited knowledge-sharing and a pathway to unlock innovation. This is where the International Journal of Electrochemistry stands out as a journal of scientists and innovators of today and tomorrow.

“Anyone can access the information and act on it,” he says. “The research published in this journal is made readily available to society for immediate progress. Innovation should be shared with everybody and the International Journal of Electrochemistry is at the forefront of modern progress.” 

He asserts, “I am still new to the team of the International Journal of Electrochemistry, but I’m keenly watching how things are done by the publishers. They are still guiding me, but I hope to learn from them so that, moving forwards, I can design implementable strategies for the journal.”

The journal has been in existence for some time now and as Chief Editor, Kenneth is hoping to elevate it from its current place in the Clarivate Analytics’ Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI) to the Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE) [3,4].

“We are happy that the journal is abstracted and indexed by various databases, including the Web of Science,” he explains. “But it is most important for me to see this journal be upgraded to the next level, to the Science Citation Index Expanded, which will improve its visibility and reputation. It is our next challenge. ”

And these improvements will also impact author experience. The Chief Editor believes editor-author communication will be boosted. “Every author appreciates speedy review and decisions regarding their articles submitted for publication. I believe that my Editors understand this too. I will be there to remind them, but I will also keep in mind that they are themselves busy researchers, and that may sometimes delay editing due to their own work pressures. The key is to have a stable balance.”

Publishers and researchers share similar objectives – providing knowledge to the global community for a better world. Thus, there is a need for collaboration and support from each other. Publishers and researchers can work together to ensure that science innovations and progress are achieved and properly recognized. Nevertheless, the research does not only need to be published, it also needs to be seen by others and be visible to society.

There is a lot of information out there. It is important that progress is not lost in all that knowledge. “Publishers can make sure researchers are given the best platform to showcase their work, especially those from resource-limited countries,” concludes Kenneth Ozoemena. Affordable high-energy batteries will drive our future vehicles and power our future electronics, but only if the progress being made is seen and acted upon.

 

References

[1] https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/chemistry/2019/press-release/

[2] https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/

[3] https://clarivate.com/webofsciencegroup/solutions/webofscience-esci/

[4] https://clarivate.com/webofsciencegroup/solutions/webofscience-scie/


This blog post is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY). The illustration is by Hindawi and is also CC-BY.

Article of the Year Award: Outstanding research contributions of 2020, as selected by our Chief Editors. Read the winning articles.