Editor-in-Chief Ron Driggers reflects on another successful year for Applied Optics and discusses the journal’s efforts to publish institutional feature issues.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

As is typical for this time of year, I am busy trying to keep all my New Year’s resolutions. One interesting goal that I’ve set for the year is to ride my motorcycle from Chicago to Vancouver in July. I rode from Washington, DC to San Diego a few years ago and it was a blast! Some who do not take New Year’s resolutions seriously might say “My wife still has not told me what my New Year’s resolutions are!” or “My New Year’s resolution is to help all my friends gain weight so I look thinner!” (from http://www.onelinefun.com).

Since it is still early in the New Year, I usually like to describe how well Applied Optics did last year. Applied Optics continues to successfully support its authors and readers in the applied optics community. Submissions to Applied Optics now exceed 3,100 manuscripts, up 42% over the past five years and among the highest rates of growth for OSA’s journals. Submissions from Asia and the Pacific Rim (largely from China) comprise 64% of the total and are still growing. In addition, the quality of the papers from Asia has been steadily improving. Over 52% of articles published are from Asia and the Pacific Rim, up from 45% five years ago. At the same time, the number of papers published from North America and Europe has also increased.

Our editors strive to give authors fair consideration while also upholding the journal’s acceptance standards. We have been expanding the editorial board over the past four months, making additions in the areas of lasers, optical devices, and a few others in which our topical editors were receiving too many assignments. I feel that the board is well staffed now, but we will continue to identify opportunities to improve. I am particularly proud of the diversity of the new editors that we have added: 21 countries are represented on our editor roster and 13% of our editors are female.

Other good news to report is that our time to publication is down to 94 days, a dramatic 33% reduction over the last five years. These improvements are attributed to the great journal staff at OSA, our dedicated editorial board, and the reviewers who support Applied Optics with their timely feedback.

Finally, I would like to provide an update on our institutional feature issues. We have published five issues so far, and they all seem to have been well received. We are identifying new prospects to work with us on institutional features, especially institutions outside the United States. The feature issue highlighting work at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory attracted more than 30 submissions; however, a good feature only requires between 10 and 20 papers. Coming up, we expect to publish an issue on optics in Ireland that will showcase research from several institutions. We also plan to highlight a prominent applied optics institution in Asia. If you have a desire to organize an institutional feature issue, please contact me or Dr. Gisele Bennett (gbennett@gatech.edu) with your proposal.

I look forward to having another successful year with Applied Optics. As always, please share your comments about how the journal can better serve your needs. Is there a topic that you would like me to cover in an upcoming editorial? I enjoy receiving your feedback!

Ron Driggers
Editor-in-Chief, Applied Optics

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