Editor's Roundtable

Published on: 

E-Separation Solutions

E-Separation Solutions-12-09-2009, Volume 0, Issue 0

2009 was an eventful year in both the world of chromatography and the world of scientific publishing in general. As the dust settles on 2009, LCGC editors David Walsh, Steve Brown, and Alasdair Matheson look ahead to 2010, with some thoughts on the market and some predictions for the new year.

2009 was an eventful year in both the world of chromatography and the world of scientific publishing in general. As the dust settles on 2009, LCGC editors David Walsh, Steve Brown, and Alasdair Matheson look ahead to 2010, with some thoughts on the market and some predictions for the new year.

After the eventful year we just had in 2009, what do you see happening in the chromatography market in 2010?

Walsh:All of the signs point to a better 2010, in part because of the strengthening economy and in part because it looks like the bottom has been reached. The SDi global report points to 6% growth in revenue by 2012, with certain segments looking at double-digit growth. There will always be a need for chromatographic research in support of its various markets, and this should help long-term.

Brown:I have my fingers crossed that we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and that the economy will rebound quickly. I guess we should be thankful that the chromatography market hasn’t been devastated like the housing market and the automobile industry. There will always be a need for analytical chemistry instrumentation and supplies.

Matheson:Green chromatography became more than a buzzword in 2009. The acetonitrile shortage spurred companies to reduce solvent consumption and many adopted UHPLC with short sub-2µm particles alongside “miniaturized” sample preparation to achieve this. More GC and SFC methods – which are often touted as being “greener” than LC – were developed for applications more commonly associated with LC. Various research projects investigated the use of benign solvents at increased temperature and pressure to replace hazardous solvents commonly used as mobile phase, with varying degrees of success. The trend in green chromatography is set to continue throughout 2010 and beyond – but these methods need to be effective as well as “environmentally friendly”.

Pat Sandra from the Research Institute for Chromatography (RIC) in Belgium agrees that green chromatography has gained momentum, “but more for economical than ecological reasons.” Pat and his group will be publishing an in-depth review of green chromatography technology in an exclusive three-part series in LCGC Europe next year, and this will certainly be a major talking point amongst the chromatography community in 2010.

How have the changes in the chromatography market and the economy in general affected the world of publishing?

Walsh:It is certainly a time of change and rethinking the fundamentals. The world of publishing in general has undergone a major shift and I think there are still more changes to come. Disseminating high-quality content in as many different media vehicles as possible is the order of the day, and we continually strive to do this with our expanded e-newsletters, digital editions, and our growing social networks.

Brown:It’s no secret that we are in tough times for publishing. We are seeing a survival-of-the-fittest situation, particularly in print publishing. Publishing companies with the resources and patience to hold on until the economy turns around will benefit from the failure of those that fall by the wayside.

Matheson:It has without question been a tough year for all publishing companies in Europe and America, but digital publishing gives LCGC even more opportunities to offer the reader more value through the expanding range of digital formats that Dave mentions.


What are you most excited about for LCGC in 2010?

Walsh:In addition to the pride we take in continuing to produce objective, practical content to help chromatographers in the lab with their daily work, I am particularly excited about our expanded podcast and web seminar series. Podcasts have become a very quick and effective way to pass along tips or technical advice and have been very popular, so we look forward to producing many of these in 2010. Web seminars have always been a great vehicle to deliver technical information and research and we look forward to producing more of these to serve our readers in the coming year as well.In addition, the launch of ChromAcademy is a very big development for LCGC, as this e-learning resource will give chromatographers the opportunity to expand their knowledge through modules and testing. The site will cover the whole spectrum of separations techniques and should be a valuable new tool for analytical chemists around the world.

Brown:We plan to continue to deliver practical, nuts-and-bolts information that chromatographers can use to develop new methods and troubleshoot and improve existing procedures. In 2010, LCGC will cover topics ranging from Pittcon 2010 in Orlando to environmental, pharmaceutical, and biological analysis applications, and supplemental issues will include application notes and articles about mass spectrometry, homeland security as it relates to analytical chemistry, and advances in HPLC. On the electronic side, we will continue to offer our E-Separations Solutions e-newsletters and application note alerts, plus our website www.chromatographyonline.com will continue to provide access to a broad scope of separation information.

Matheson:LCGC is launching two new exciting digital initiatives in 2010: Chrommunity and Chromacademy. Chrommunity is a specialised social networking site, designed to increase interaction between the reader and the magazine and readers with each other. Members can share their expertise to help other Chrommunity members solve problems, discuss specific articles/topics covered on the magazine, and engage with fellow scientists with similar niche interests. We’re excited that this brand new scientific community already has about 200 members from 33 different countries around the world.

Chromacademy is an e-learning resource developed to make it easier for scientists and technicians to learn new skills or brush up on the finer points of techniques that they haven’t used in a while. The site features 3000 e-learning modules across LC/HPLC, GC, Sample Prep, and Mass Spec and a library of 5000 articles and applications from both LCGC North America and LCGC Europe. We hope 2010 will see it develop as a major learning resource for the chromatography industry.

Where do you see LCGC and the publishing field in general heading in the future?

Walsh:More content delivered in a wider variety of formats and vehicles. Print will never lose its place as the most important, visible vehicle, but as new technologies and new content delivery methods become available, we must fill those niches and connect with readers in every available medium. Readers in all markets expect a constant stream of information when they want it now, and delivering this content should be the goal of every publication.

Brown:The movement toward providing greater amounts of information in a quickly accessible, more interactive form will continue. Readers have come to expect news and information to be readily available at their fingertips, and the world of scientific publishing will strive to fulfill those expectations by offering more content in electronic form. However, print versions of periodicals will continue to be welcomed by readers as long as high quality standards are met.

Matheson:Print will remain pivotal to the success of LCGC Europe and LCGC North America for the foreseeable future, but our expanding digital portfolio allows us to provide additional tools to help practicing chromatographers develop robust methods, improve existing methods, and keep them up-to-date with new technologies and instrumentation. This is achieved through the redesigned website, e-zines, weekly newsletters, webinars, and the new on-line training portal, Chomacademy, which we mentioned earlier. The increasing popularity of e-readers, such as Amazon’s Kindle and Apple's rumoured “tablet” could make magazines delivered directly to electronic devices a reality. Many consumer magazine publishers are hoping to move in this direction, but it remains to be seen if this approach will be successful for technical magazines and journals. It’s an exciting time to be involved in scientific publishing.

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