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The Origins of Atomic Spectrometry Updates

The Updates that have now been published for almost twenty years in JAAS have a longer and illustrious history stretching back to the late 1960s and paralleling the rapid growth of atomic spectrometric analysis that stemmed from Alan Walsh's pioneering development of atomic absorption spectrometry a decade earlier. As a result of the financial and scientific success of an International Atomic Absorption Conference held in Sheffield, UK, in 1969, the Atomic Spectroscopy Group of the then Society for Analytical Chemistry were able to initiate the publication of Annual Reports on Analytical Atomic Spectroscopy.

Annual Reports on Analytical Atomic Spectroscopy - the predecessor of ASU

The first volume of ARAAS was published in the summer of 1972 and reported developments in the field during 1971, based on reviews of specially formatted abstracts of over 1000 papers by the 37-strong Editorial Board. Although the analytical community greeted ARAAS enthusiastically, by the early 1980s the expansion in the number of papers to be abstracted and reviewed, together with delays and costs inherent in producing it in hardback book form, made it expensive and increasingly difficult to market.

Fortunately, in 1984, on the initiative of the late John Ottaway - a member of the ARAAS Board - the Royal Society of Chemistry was considering a new bi-monthly journal to be called the Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry in recognition of the great expansion in the use of atomic spectrometric techniques in analysis. It was agreed that the material hitherto published in ARAAS should be split in six sections, one of which would be published in each issue of JAAS. A new name was sought for the reviews - and ASU was born!

The association between JAAS and ASU was close, synergistic and successful. The Updates benefited from a more rapid publication schedule and their appearance in the new Journal contributed significantly to its popularity and, most importantly, its impact factor. The great legacy that ASU inherited seamlessly from ARAAS was the tradition of camaraderie and commitment of its Editorial Board.

For a more complete account of the history, read the article by John Dawson and W. John Price, two of the founding members of ARAAS. See also the Foreword to the second edition of ARAAS by Alan Walsh and the Editorial by Steve Hill in the June 2006 issue of JAAS outlining the history and development of Atomic Spectrometry Updates over 21 years.

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Last Updated: 26th March 2015

Related Links

History by Dawson and Price

Walsh's Foreword to ARAAS

Steve Hill's Editorial