ScienceOpen Author Interview Series – Martin Suhm

As a newcomer to the OA publishing scene, ScienceOpen thought it would be fascinating to profile the scientists who are choosing to publish with us. We’re delighted to welcome expert member Martin Suhm ( ) – Professor of Physical Chemistry, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany – to our Research + Publishing Network.

Martin is an established figure who contributes to the German scientific community through his membership to Leopoldina, the German National Academy of Science and the Committee for the Allocation of Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research. He is also on the Editorial Board of Angewandte Chemie and the Selection Committee of the Swiss Chemical Society. As a Physical Chemist, we found his perspective particularly interesting because OA is not yet well established in this field.

Q. Why did you decide to publish Open Access and specifically in ScienceOpen?

A. After several indecent price rises and package policies of more than one science publisher over the last decades, I feel more and more urged to publish in society journals and to explore new Open Access concepts. The latter are not yet very popular in chemistry.
As head of our library advisory committee, I should probably be a bit of a local trendsetter in this direction. The high motivation of the ScienceOpen founders and their platform concept struck me as very positive, so I decided to contribute to get the project started.

Post-publication peer review will be an intriguing experience, certainly not without pitfalls, but worth trying. The Open Access fund of Goettingen University kindly supports this manuscript through a grant from the German Research Foundation (DFG), another incentive to try it now.

At ScienceOpen, I can address materials scientists, physicists, polymer chemists and spectroscopists at the same time and I reach colleagues in all parts of the world who cannot afford the subscription to an expensive broader science journal. One of the authors of our manuscript will soon publish his complete PhD thesis as a book and the CC-BY licence of our manuscript makes copyright issues for similar figures so much easier. In a later version of our paper, we may even be able to insert a reference to this book for the benefit of those who want to know more about this technique and of course we can include all the helpful remarks from colleagues. Myself being a physical chemist and a gas phase spectroscopist, I look forward in particular to constructive criticism from the materials science, soft matter and polymer communities, but also from my peers in spectroscopy.

Q. Why did this particular work seem good for this?

A. I like to take unconventional roads in understanding molecular matter from a fundamental perspective. Here, we study the Raman spectra of very cold and completely isolated perfluorinated chain molecules and from this we learn how much force it takes to stretch an infinite string of PTFE (better known as Teflon), an important synthetic polymer with striking mechanical properties. This has been done before, but always in the condensed phase, where it can be much harder to bring together theory and experiment. Bridging theory and experiment as rigorously as possible has always been my overarching research goal. Quantum theory has become very powerful with the development of new algorithms and faster computers, but now and then it needs a key experiment for benchmarking purposes. We offer this key experiment for perfluorinated hydrocarbons.

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