For the first time since the award’s inception in 2006, two papers have been selected as TAPPI Journal Best Research Paper for 2020. “The six papers that were nominated this year covered a wide range of the entire pulp, paper, and supplier industries, making the selection extremely challenging,” said Peter W. Hart, Ph.D., TAPPI Journal editor-in-chief. “On behalf of the TJ Editorial Board, I’d like to congratulate both winners and the other nominated papers. They did wonderful work last year.”
Each year, the TJ Editorial Board honors the best of the journal’s content by nominating and voting for the TAPPI Journal Best Research Paper, which is ultimately selected based on scientific merit, innovation, creativity, and clarity. The board is currently comprised of 18 experts from academia and industry.
One of the winning papers, “Creasing severity and reverse-side cracking,” was co-authored by Joel C. Panek, research scientist, WestRock; Swan D. Smith, R&D researcher, WestRock; and Douglas W. Coffin, professor, Miami University. The paper physics research appeared in TJ’s April, 2020 issue.
“It was great to see a paper in the running from North America on paper physics, because it’s exciting that this important area of research is making a resurgence in the region,” said Hart.
In addition to receiving Best Research Paper honors, Panek will also be awarded the Honghi Tran TAPPI Journal Best Research Paper Prize. The US$2,000 cash prize is endowed by Professor Emeritus Honghi Tran, Ph.D., of the University of Toronto and author or co-author of more than 80 papers published in TJ.
Tran’s body of work also includes co-authoring the second winning paper for 2020, “Modeling of the energy of a smelt-water explosion in the recovery boiler dissolving tank,” which appeared in the August, 2020 issue.
The recovery boiler winning paper’s first author was Eric Jin, a former student of Tran’s who is now a performance engineering specialist with The Babcock & Wilcox Company. In addition to Tran, the paper’s co-authors included Malcom Mackenzie and Steve Osborne, who are technology manager and advisory engineer, respectively, for The Babcock & Wilcox Company.
“Under the tutelage of Tran, teams continue to add high-quality content in the liquor cycle, kiln, and recausticizing arenas,” said Hart. “This makes the TJ Editorial Board’s selection even more difficult.”
Tran established the prize in 2019 to encourage and reward the publication of high-quality research in TJ. Since his former student, Jin, was co-winner of the 2020 Best Research Paper Award, the prize was awarded to Panek as first author of the other paper.
“The TJ Editorial Board would like to thank Dr. Tran for establishing the TAPPI Journal Best Research Paper Prize,” said Hart. “Our hope is that it infuses other groups with a healthy dose of competitive spirit, resulting in additional high-quality research papers from across the industry and world to be considered in future Best Paper decisions.”