July 7 is the tenth anniversary of Optics Express. It started in 1997 under the Editorship, and general championship, of J. H. Eberly and 9 Associate Editors, 8 of whom are from the USA. For comparison: at present there are 41 Associate Editors, 20 of whom are from the USA (more about them later). Around the time that Michael Duncan took over as Editor in 2002, submissions really took off, quadrupling between 2002 and 2004. This was in part because of the large number of papers in Microstructured Optical Fibers, for which, thanks to its rapid time to publication, Optics Express became the journal of choice. Optics Express has now evolved to be the journal of choice of the wider optics community: witness the recently released 2006 impact factor of 4.009, the highest of all optics journals.
The animation shows how the total number of submissions has evolved over time, with the area of the pie indicating the number of submitted papers in a given year. During this period the fraction of submissions for which the first author is from the USA has gone down from 72% to below 25%. It is interesting to look at the submissions per primary OCIS code. Both Quantum Optics and Atomic & Molecular Physics each represented well over 10% of submissions in Volume 1, whereas thus far this year they represent less than 2% of submissions put together. The dominant topic areas in more recent years are Fiber Optics and Optical Communications, which was a minor player until 2001, Nonlinear Optics, and Lasers & Laser Optics. In some of the intervening years Medical Optics & Biotechnology was the main topic area. The 2007 numbers have been extrapolated based on the submissions thus far this year.
Some additional statistics are given in the table below. Note that the acceptance rate thus far for 2007 is 62%. Since papers do not require a need for rapid communication to be accepted for publication in Optics Express, this reflects stricter refereeing and a trend towards higher quality published papers, consistent with the journal’s increasing Impact Factor. In order to keep the quality of published papers up we recently introduced a new category for referees to choose from when rating a submission, namely “The paper does not report a significant advance or offers only incremental improvement to existing work. It is not suited for Optics Express.” The table also shows that, despite the massively increased number of submissions, the Average Time in Peer Review, has crept up only marginally. One of my key goals for this year is to reduce this time. The Average Time to Publication (not shown) has also gone up, but this is in part because page charges now need to be paid before publication, which can cause some delays. On the other hand, we now post papers on the web (http://oe.osa.org/upcomingissue.cfm) when they are ready, which shortens the Time to Publication.
The journal’s quality is maintained by a number of very dedicated Associate Editors. They are the people who manage the peer review process and who are thus the people with whom most authors and referees deal. Following now is a list of Optics Express Associate Editors, past and present: Govind Agrawal, Nail N. Akhmediev, Jacques Albert, Miguel Alonso, Victor Arrizon, Vasily N. Astratov, Michael Bass, Jean Bennett, Richard Blaikie, David Boas, Brett Bouma, Thomas Brown, Jim Burge, H. John Caulfield, Charles Clark, Mark Dubinskiy, John Dudley, Michael Duncan, Stefan Enoch, Roger Falcone, Mikhail Fedorov, Michael Feit, Paul French, Stephen Friberg, Francisco Javier Garcia De Abajo, David Gerwe, Claire Gmachl, Ronald L. Gordon, Erez Hasman, Joseph Haus, Majeed M. Hayat, Stefan W. Hell, Christoph Hitzenberger, Wayne Itano, Vladimir P. Krainov, Yong-Hee Lee, James Leger, Guifang Li, Hanne Ludvigsen, Charles Matson, Colin McKinstrie, Curtis R. Menyuk, Shu Namiki, Satoru Okamoto, Takashige Omatsu, Brian Orr, Oskar Painter, Stojan Radic, Kazimierz Rzazewski, Vitor Schneider, Bruce Shore, Dmitry V. Skryabin, Martijn de Sterke, Thierry Taunay, Alfred Vogel, Ping-kong Alexander Wai, Andrew Watson, James Wyant, and Jie Zhang. I thank Miguel Alonso for having taken up the additional responsibility of the Deputy Editorship of Optics Express.
Finally, the photograph below shows some of the people who contribute to Optics Express on a daily basis or have done so in the past, and with whom you may also have had dealings. Shown in front, from left to right are Jennifer Martin (Managing Editor) and Victoria Tesfamariam (Electronic Production Specialist), and in the back MdS, Joe Eberly, Mike Duncan, and Meghan Ely (Electronic Publications Assistant—this title hardly does her justice as she runs many of the day-to-day operations).
During its modest lifetime Optics Express has gone from strength to strength. I have every confidence that it will continue to do so.