At the end of 2006, after 5 years as the Editor of Optics Express (and a number of years before that as an Associate Editor), I will be stepping down and placing the journal in the capable hands of the new Editor-in-Chief, Professor Martijn de Sterke. In this time of transition, I would like to take the opportunity to reflect a little on the history of Optics Express and say a few words about its future.
No discussion about the history of Optics Express could omit the huge debt the journal owes to its founding Editor, Professor J. H. Eberly. Optics Express was in many ways Joe’s brain child and he gave it many of its unique characteristics. Those included being all-electronic, multimedia capable, and open access (and this was before the term open access was even being used!). The true measure of Joe’s accomplishment is not just in the fact that Optics Express has grown hugely in size and impact, but also in the number of other journals that have sprung up emulating many, if not all, of the features of Optics Express. It is extremely fitting that Joe will be the President of OSA in 2007 during the 10th anniversary of Optics Express.
Optics Express has certainly grown in the last 9 ½ years! From a handful of papers per issue for the first few years to dozens and then scores of papers per issue in the past few years. From 200 manuscripts submitted in a year to well over 2700 manuscripts submitted in 2006. From an obscure journal to one recognized and valued by authors and readers in the optics and photonics community. From a few Associate Editors to over 40.
During the years I have been Editor there have been many people who have been critical to the growth and success of Optics Express. At the top of the list are the many Associate Editors who are the backbone (and muscles and eyes and ears) of Optics Express. I can’t give them enough credit and I can’t thank them enough. Go to the list of Associate Editors at the Optics Express Web site. Read the list of names and take a moment to reflect on the many hours of service that those individuals have given to the journal and to the field of optics and photonics. They are truly the unsung heroes of the Optics Express enterprise.
The staff at the Optical Society of America are another critical group for Optics Express. They not only provide the infrastructure for the journal and do the day-to-day work that makes it happen, but they also bring a professionalism and attitude that is a joy to work with. I especially want to thank John Childs, the OSA Director of Publications, and Jennifer Martin, the Optics Express Managing Editor, for their years of support and work on behalf of the journal. Other OSA staff members that have been extremely helpful over the years include Joe Richardson, Alexine Hart, Scott Dineen, Deborah Herrin, Kelly Cohen, Meghan Ely, and Victoria Tesfamariam. A finer group of people to work with would be hard to imagine.
So, what will happen to Optics Express in the future? I would expect that you, the authors and readers of Optics Express, will continue to take advantage of the extremely fast time to publication that the journal offers. I expect that the journal will continue to grow in size and impact. Beyond that, it is hard to predict. Right now, there are journal review committees studying both Optics Express and Optics Letters. Their recommendations will help to steer both journals in ways that will help them to stay successful and relevant in the future.
One thing, though, is crystal clear to me. That is that the new Editor of Optics Express, Martijn de Sterke, will bring new ideas, fresh energy, a global viewpoint, and hard work in abundance to the journal. I have worked with Martijn for 6 years while he has been an Associate Editor, and I admire him greatly. His combined experience, good sense, and scientific breadth make him an ideal choice as Editor. He is certainly up to facing whatever challenges the future may bring to Optics Express. Best wishes, Martijn.