Dr Nan Ren visits InTech headquarters and talks to us about his career

July 2, 2012

Advances in Crystallization Processes open access book

Dr Nan Ren, a foremost authority in crystallization at Fudan University – one of the top three universities in China, recently visited InTech's offices to meet with the publishing team who worked with him during his work on his chapter entitled 'Crystallization of Sub-micron Meter Sized ZSM-5 Zeolites in SDA-free System' which appears in the book Advances in Crystallization Processes. Whilst here, we wanted to learn more about his interest in crystallization and to gauge a understanding of his publishing experiences to date.

Here is what he had to say.


InTech: When did you decide that you wanted to become a scientist?

Dr Ren: When I was young, I dream to be a scientist. Later, just occasionally that I choose chemistry as my major subject in college, and after graduation, I have the chance to become a scientist.

InTech: How did your interest in crystallization come about? Was you interest gained during your PhD studies?

Dr Ren: The crystallization behavior is one of the most popular phenomena in the nature, including the growth of bone of human bodies, formation of spectacular landscape, etc. Various properties of the crystallized product came from different crystallization process. To have a better control of the crystallization tendency to have the desired product, the control of the process is the only way. Such interest was gained after I have finished the PhD studies, putting myself in independent scientific research.

InTech: Are there other areas of physical chemistry that interest you and if so, which areas are they?

Dr Ren: In the field of physical chemistry, I also pay attention in the research of catalysis-related topics. But, the modeling and kinetic approach is the main means to carry out the qualified studies in the related field.

InTech: You have been working at Fudan University since you obtained your PhD in 2007, what was your motivation for coming to Zagreb?

Dr Ren: After graduation, I started to work in my home institution. However, with more and more experiences in the research, I found that, instead of publication many research papers, it is really important and difficult to carry out the real, qualified research. Also, at that time, I started to come to the field of zeolites, which is an old, but still active field in the domain of chemistry. In this field, although there are a lot of famous scientists in the world, the person who firmly sticks to the studies of the analysis of crystallization process during formation of different kinds of zeolites is very rare. Finally, I find a famous scientist (Dr. Boris Subotić) who stays in Croatia, Ruďer Bošković Institute and is the expert in this field. Since we have common interest, we start to collaborate and have some achievements. To have further knowledge on the analysis of crystallization process of zeolites, I decide to find a chance to work with him together in Zagreb.

InTech: Can you tell us more about your research at the National Science Foundation?

Dr Ren: The post-doc project related with the studies of crystallization of MFI-type zeolites in the heterogeneous system. MFI zeolite is one of the most important candidates which can find a lot of applications in catalysis. Although there are thousands of papers describing the synthesis and related adjustment of its relevant properties till now, some of the papers contradict with each other, and some of the principals can only be adopted in limited systems. Taking into consideration of the status, the research will cover the related process study (parameter adjustment and transformation kinetics) and modeling approach to have the clear mind of the whole process. Then, hopefully, a generalized model of crystallization of high-silica zeolites, even of all-type of zeolites, could be proposed successfully.

InTech: What was your understanding of Open Access before you started working with InTech?

Dr Ren: I was heard from some of my colleagues about the Open Access publication group. Before I started to work with InTech, in my mind, Open Access publication is a convenient and efficient platform to find useful information regarding on the related research, all the sources are accessible easily.

InTech: You have been published a number of scientific papers over the last nine or ten years, have you ever published using the open access publishing model before now?

Dr Ren: I have received several invitations from Open Access publication group on different journals, however, since all of them are not in my field (Bio-related topics), I haven't such an experience yet before the current book.

InTech: What particularly appealed to you with regard to InTech's book on Crystallization?

Dr Ren: Just like the field, crystallization is an important domain of research. In different period, different content appears in the framework of crystallization. This is the reason why other books with the same name appeared in different time. With this chance, I’m very happy to be possible to make my own contribution to this field.

InTech: How have you found the publication process so far, has it met with your expectations?

Dr Ren: The publication process is perfect.

InTech: What advice would you give fellow researchers who are considering becoming published using the open access model?

Dr Ren: In my point of view, compared with other publishers like ACS, Wiley-VCH, Elsevier, RSC etc…, the open access model should be different and special. In the current situation, the impact factor is one of the most important references to evaluate the quality of the journal/book, especially in China. However, sometimes, the quality of the work is not directly related with the impact factor itself. Compared with the above mentioned publishers, the open access publisher should publish more reliable, qualified and useful contributions. So, the fellow researchers should always be aware of the above mentioned criteria of their work.

Dr. Nan Ren with InTech's Vana Persen and Natalia Reinic

                                                    Dr Nan Ren with InTech's Vana Persen and Natalia Reinic

Interview by:

Paul MacKenzie-Cummins