Editorial: Laurens Molenkamp on Assuming the Editorship of Physical Review B (May 8, 2012)
As of March 1, 2012, I have taken over from Peter Adams as The Editor of Physical Review B. I will do this job on a consultant basis, working remotely from my institute at Würzburg University, while the day to day running of the journal has been taken over by Tony Begley, as Managing Editor. In this manner, the management of Physical Review B now has acquired a similar structure to that of the other APS journals. While the physical distance between Ridge, New York and Würzburg will make extensive use of teleconferencing vital, I do believe it is important that an active researcher participates in the management of the journal. I am proud to be that researcher.
Physical Review B has grown into one of the largest journals in scientific publishing with an ever-increasing number of submissions. My prime objective will be to make sure that the journal enhances its status as a robust publication, containing good reliable papers that are of relevance to the condensed matter physics community. Equally important is to make sure that all submissions receive a fair and thorough editorial review process. We currently receive some 10,000 submissions per year, which reflects the central role PRB plays in the publishing landscape, and if we are not to allow the journal to explode, then we must remain diligent in applying the high standards of the journal. These sheer numbers, and the need to avoid overloading our referees and editors, make it necessary that the editors of the journal evaluate all submissions on scope and quality and reject more papers without referee advice. The editors are also expected to accept only papers that meet the publication criteria set by the APS: significantly advancing physics and being scientifically sound, important to the field, and in satisfactory form. In recent years the PRB editors have become stricter in this regard, and I support this.
While such editorial thinking is currently used at many other condensed matter journals, Physical Review B is an APS journal and as such belongs directly to the physics community, so we owe it to our community to make our procedures as transparent and participatory as possible. To achieve this, we will involve our Editorial Board more closely in the editorial process. We first intend to expand the Board, making sure that all topical areas of the journal are represented, and then to involve all Board Members more in defining scope and quality criteria. Also, to strengthen our connections with the research community, Physical Review B editors will become more specialized in specific areas, so as to allow them to become discussion partners with active researchers. I hope that with these tweaks to the trajectory of the journal we will succeed in making Physical Review B even more of a community journal. Physical Review B should go wherever the condensed matter community goes.
Let me finish by expressing my thanks to Peter Adams, who has led this journal since its inception and made it into the dominant publication in condensed matter physics that it is now. Peter, you have cultivated a very healthy journal with an excellent editorial staff. PRB is a treasure to the condensed matter community, and we editors will work very hard with the help of our authors, referees, and Board Members to ensure that it continues to be so.
Laurens W. Molenkamp
Published 8 May 2012