With this issue, Optics Letters will begin posting final paginated versions of articles one at a time on an e-first webpage as soon as copyediting and composition are completed. Such “e-first” articles can be cited as published on the date of posting. Each article will have several dates listed. In addition to the issue date, the following dates will be noted below the title and authors' heading: received date, accepted date, date of early posting (along with an identifying document number), and the official publication date (corresponding to the posting of the e-first version). Table of contents categories will be assigned either the date of e-first posting or shortly thereafter. When all articles assigned to a given issue are posted, the issue will be considered complete, fixed, and archived. The print issue will appear after the cover date and will contain all the articles from the previous e-first online issue. The cycle begins again as new articles are added one at a time to the next e-first page. This change is being made to ensure the fastest publication turn around for authors.
Scientific publishing is undergoing a remarkable evolution and authors have come to expect, among other things, faster time-to-publication. To meet this expectation, Optics Letters has initiated a number of changes during the last year to reduce publication time and to make the results of authors' research available to the readership as soon as practical. These include making the electronic version appearing on our webpage the official version of record (rather than the print copy appearing usually two weeks later); initiating early posting of the non-copyedited author submitted PDF files as soon as the articles are accepted for publication (typically appearing one to two months after submission, this early version is removed when the copyedited e-first version is posted); optional open access; and introducing time saving economies in our peer review and electronic publishing workflow. The latter has resulted in a median time-to-publication (electronic) of only 120 days thus far this year. With the addition of e-first publishing, further time reductions will be achieved. Our goal is to publish the typical accepted article within 100 days of submission, comparing favorably with the fastest current all-electronic publications. This will be achieved without sacrificing production and quality standards our readers have come to expect including copy editing, color figures, and a pleasing standardized double-column appearance.
Anthony J. Campillo Editor-in-chief