As the journal Polymer Testing moves to open access publishing, Editor in Chief Dr Mikael Hedenqvist of KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden discusses the journal’s role and plans for its future.
Can you tell me a bit about your background and your links with the editorial team at Polymer Testing?
Dr Mikael Hedenqvist: I have been an editor for Polymer Testing since 2016 and recently became Editor in Chief. I have a research background in polymeric materials and have been a professor at KTH since 2006. I am head of the polymeric materials division at KTH, where we work on a broad range of synthetic and bio-based polymers. Polymer testing is a central theme in everything we do. I also co-authored the recently published textbook Fundamental Polymer Science (Gedde and Hedenqvist, 2019) and an upcoming textbook, Applied Polymer Science (Gedde et al), which features polymer testing as a central theme.
Can you tell me a bit more about Polymer Testing? What topics does the journal cover?
The journal focuses primarily on new techniques for testing and characterising polymers, but also covers new ways of analysing data generated when testing polymers. The journal also includes research applying established techniques to new types or groups of polymer materials. As well as original research, we welcome review papers. Some examples of the type of articles we cover can be found in our recent special issue: New developments for testing polymeric materials used in food packaging. The issue includes a critical review on permeability testing of polymers for food packaging applications by Marco Giacinti Baschetti and Matteo Minelli of the University of Bologna, among many excellent examples of research in the field.
What special role do you think the journal plays in the polymers field? What impact do you hope the move to open access will have?
To my knowledge, Polymer Testing is the only journal that focuses specifically on testing techniques, data analysis and related issues. This tight focus is what makes it unique. Making the journal open access will make the research we feature available to a wider audience.
What specific aspects of polymers are generally tested in the research you publish, and why are such tests important?
Common tests include those assessing the mechanical properties of polymers, as well as physical and chemical changes that may occur in different environments. Polymers are viscoelastic, which makes the assessment of their mechanical properties less straightforward than for metals, for example. Polymers also tend to be more sensitive to the environment than metals. This requires careful performance of tests and evaluation of data. A poorly performed test or inappropriately analysed data can have serious consequences when designing products where polymers are exposed to load. Polymer Testing is the right forum for presenting new techniques or treatments of data that lead to improved precision in the characterisation of polymer properties.
Who is Polymer Testing aimed at? Can you offer any “dos and don’ts” to help authors meet the journal’s requirements?
The journal reaches out to the broad community of polymer scientists and engineers, including those specifically interested in the development of new testing techniques. To increase their chances of acceptance, authors should ensure that their work has a focus on testing and related aspects. Papers using only standard techniques with insufficient emphasis on testing are unlikely to be accepted.
What are your hopes for the future development of the journal?
I hope to help the journal continue to develop as it has during the last couple of years, where we have seen the impact factor of the journal rising and the number of submissions increasing. I also hope the journal will gain even broader recognition among scientists and engineers and will serve society by delivering high quality articles on the latest in polymer testing. In line with this, the introduction of open access publishing will make our research available to many more people who are interested in polymer testing.