Chemistry professor William Jorgensen has been selected as the next editor of the American Chemical Society (ACS)’s Journal of Chemical Information & Computer Science, or JCICS.

Jorgensen is a computational methods pioneer, whose work is widely used in fields such as pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. He has worked at several publications prior to this new appointment and plans to expand the coverage of the JCICS.

“ACS is delighted that such a distinguished scientist as professor Jorgensen has agreed to take on the editorship of this important journal,” Robert Bovenschulte, director of the ACS Publications Division, said in a press release.

Jorgensen was selected for the position on the recommendation of a panel of experts assembled by ACS. Possible candidates were proposed by the group, and contacted for their ideas, if chosen to be editor. Jorgensen offered an ambitious vision for the future of the bimonthly magazine. He proposed that by 2005 the magazine will be divided into two separate journals: one maintaining JCICS’s focus on chemical informatics and a second focusing on computational chemistry.

“There were changes we thought were needed in the journal to look to the future of it,” Bovenschulte said. “[Jorgensen] consulted with a number of experts in the field to get their thoughts and his conclusion was that the splitting of the journal into two in 2005 would allow us to address most effectively the two areas served by the journal — I think that will be well-supported within the community.”

Jorgensen said he does not view the changes as a division, but rather, an expansion. The new journal will focus the work of many computational chemists in one publication.

“I don’t look at it as dividing the journal,” Jorgensen said. “I see it as continuing the present journal — and starting a new journal which has a focus more towards fundamental studies in theoretical and computational chemistry.”

The two new journals are tentatively named the Journal of Chemical Information & Modeling and the Journal of Chemical Theory & Computation, respectively. Jorgensen will be editor of both journals.

Previous editor George W.A. Milne retired from the National Institute of Health in 1998 and worked for JCICS for 15 years. Milne said Jorgensen focuses on a different area of chemistry than his own, the implications of which “will play out in time.”

Milne was also critical of the division of JCICS into separate publications.

“I think it’s a bad idea mainly because the market won’t support both,” Milne said. “There are too many journals around already and creating another one–I’m just not sure it’s a great idea.”

Jorgensen has been editor of the Journal of Computational Chemistry since 2002 and said he will “step down regretfully” from his editorship in order to concentrate on his newest undertaking. He was a chemistry professor at Purdue University from 1975 to 1990, after which he accepted a position at Yale as the Conkey P. Whitehead Professor of Chemistry.

In his career, Jorgensen has authored about 275 scientific papers. In addition, computational chemistry tools he designed are currently being used by Rib-X Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company in New Haven studying antibacterial agents.