This is the first issue of Volume 15 of Optics Express, the web-based journal with color figures and animations at no extra cost, and with free downloads. The journal has been phenomenally successful, with one of the recent issues breaking the 100 article barrier. The growth has occurred under the Editorship of my predecessor Michael Duncan: taking over from the Founding Editor J. H. Eberly in 2002, the first issue that he looked after contained 12 research articles and was a tad over 100 pages long. As mentioned, current issues of Optics Express are about 5 times larger. Michael decided that 2006 would be his last year as Editor, and I am excited and honored to be taking over. Thanks Mike for steering the ship so well. Mike has done a massive amount of work, much of it behind the scenes that I have been only recently become aware of. Thanks also to the OSA staff that have helped make the journal such a success, Jennifer Martin, Meghan Ely, Victoria Tesfamariam, and also Joe Richardson, Alexine Hart, Scott Dineen, Kelly Cohen and John Childs. Of course the other key people in making the journal run well are the Associate Editors, the number of whom has grown from 12 in early 2002 to 40 now. These are the people with whom you deal when you submit an article: they select referees, send submissions out to them, and make the decision whether or not to publish, and all within record short time too. The full list of Associate Editors can be found at http://oe.osa.org/journal/oe/about.cfm#board . They are doing a great job: the last time I looked, the Impact Factor for Optics Express was over 3.75, the second highest in the entire field of Optics. This brings me to the last group of people essential for the success of the journal: you, the authors and readers of the journal. Thank you, all of you! Please continue to send your latest work to Optics Express and, if appropriate, use the possibilities that a web-based journal offers.
One change you will notice early in the next year is that we will introduce an Upcoming page, which will show articles that have been accepted, formatted for publication, and for which the publication fee has been paid. Articles will appear with their page numbers, and will then become part of the next journal issue.
My immediate priority as Editor is to keep the time to publication down - it is already well below that for almost any other journal - while of course maintaining the journal’s quality. I will also keep the journal at the forefront of technology and will consider new formats for information transfer.
A signature feature of Optics Express has been the Focus Issues, collections of typically 5–10 invited articles in a particular topic area, ranging from Mid-IR Laser Materials, the first Focus Issue in that came out in 1997, to Adaptive Optics, the most recent one in 2006 (the complete list can be found at http://oe.osa.org/journal/oe/focus.cfm). We are taking this a step further in 2007: Optics Express will have a serial of about 10 connected Focus Issues, each consisting of 2–3 papers, in the area of nonlinear optics. Edited by John Dudley (Université de Franche-Comté, France) and Robert Boyd (University of Rochester, USA), these will deal with some of the exciting frontiers in nonlinear optics. Suggestions for other Optics Express initiatives can be sent to me and will be seriously considered.
Martijn de Sterke