Xi-Cheng Zhang reflects on the growth and success of Optics Letters as his tenure as Editor-in-Chief draws to a close.

© 2019 Optical Society of America

With a bittersweet feeling, I am finishing my final term as Editor-in-Chief of Optics Letters (OL) at the end of this year. I am extremely fortunate to have worked closely with our dedicated Deputy Editors Brian Justus, Peter Andersen, Andrea Galtarossa, Edward Whittaker, and Carsten Rockstuhl, as well as about 100 Topical Editors in six years. I am extremely pleased with the outstanding OSA OL staff members. The OSA staff’s professional support and dedication are crucial to maintain and improve OL’s reputation. I also think this is the best part of my working experience with OSA.

Six years ago, when I first joined the editorial team, my plan was to offer key expertise to advance the future success of OL. I am pleased to see the increase in manuscript submissions to OL in recent years, and I am expecting another record high number of submissions in 2019. The acceptance rate has gradually decreased in the past six years and now is about 34%. The Journal Impact Factor (JIF) has improved each year since 2015, with the most recent JIF reaching 3.866. Our Journal provides rapid dissemination of new results with original peer-reviewed communications. We are pleased that OL has maintained the lowest time-to-publication among OSA’s subscription journals, and the submission-to-final-decision time is very competitive as well. The novelty and impact of articles, justifying the need for rapid publication, is the signature of OL.

I would like to thank the distinguished Editors-in-Chief who served before me: Robert Terhune (1977–1983), Paul Kelley (1984–1989), Peter Smith (1990–1995), Anthony Johnson (1996–2001), Anthony Campillo (2002–2007), and Alan Willner (2008–2013). I had the opportunity to continue my predecessors’ success, and I hope that I helped to not only maintain but also increase the Journal’s reputation. During my time as Editor-in-Chief, it was an honor to celebrate the major milestone of the Journal’s 40th anniversary in 2017.

My international network, engagement, and experience made me a natural ambassador for OL. I have enjoyed opportunities to visit and interact with colleagues and leaders at institutions in at least 20 countries, including the College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, CREOL at the University of Central Florida, the photonics program at the United System of Taiwan, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and all of the major Optics Institutes within the Chinese Academy of Sciences. At nearly every invited presentation I have given (>100 colloquia, seminars, keynotes, and invited talks) in six years, I always showed one or two slides promoting OL. I also arranged some special meetings with OL authors, reviewers, and readers, and had opportunities to answer questions about the Journal during such meetings. OSA “Meet the Editors” events at some conferences provided face-to-face chatting opportunities with authors, reviewers, and readers. I truly enjoyed the meetings with passionate students and junior faculty, hearing about their submission and publishing experiences and getting to know their career paths. This was one of the most rewarding parts of my service.

Lastly, I made a decision six years ago that I would not submit my own research papers to OL while serving as the EiC. The reason for this was to protect the Journal’s reputation and to avoid any perception of conflict of interest. However, I have published seven editorials in OL [17]. I am looking forward to once again submitting my papers with good research results to OL starting next year!

As we look to the future, I am thrilled to welcome Prof. Miguel Alonso as incoming Editor-in-Chief. Prof. Alonso received the degree of Engineer in Physics from the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana in Mexico City and the PhD degree in Optics from The Institute of Optics, University of Rochester. In 2003, he joined the faculty of The Institute of Optics. He has been Associate Editor and Deputy Editor for Optics Express, Chair of Spotlight on Optics, and Associate Editor for Optica. Prof. Alonso’s research is on mathematical aspects of wave propagation, in particular on the description and applications of beams with structured intensity and polarization distributions, optical coherence, and the connection between the ray and wave models of light. I am confident that OL will continue to thrive under Prof. Alonso’s leadership.

It has been my great pleasure working with our authors, reviewers, readers, and OSA staff. I would like to thank the University of Rochester for their support during my society service role. The motto of the University of Rochester is “Meloria,” which is a Latin adjective meaning “ever better.” This is what I wish for you and for OL!

Xi-Cheng Zhang

M. Parker Givens Professor

The Institute of Optics, University of Rochester



1. X.-C. Zhang, Opt. Lett. 39, ED1 (2014). [CrossRef]  

2. X.-C. Zhang, P. E. Andersen, B. L. Justus, and A. Galtarossa, Opt. Lett. 39, ED2 (2014). [CrossRef]  

3. X.-C. Zhang, Opt. Lett. 40, ED1 (2015). [CrossRef]  

4. X.-C. Zhang, Opt. Lett. 41, ED1 (2016). [CrossRef]  

5. X.-C. Zhang, Opt. Lett. 42, ED1 (2017). [CrossRef]  

6. X.-C. Zhang, Opt. Lett. 42, ED3 (2017). [CrossRef]  

7. X.-C. Zhang, Opt. Lett. 42, ED9 (2017). [CrossRef]  


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  1. X.-C. Zhang, Opt. Lett. 39, ED1 (2014).
  2. X.-C. Zhang, P. E. Andersen, B. L. Justus, and A. Galtarossa, Opt. Lett. 39, ED2 (2014).
  3. X.-C. Zhang, Opt. Lett. 40, ED1 (2015).
  4. X.-C. Zhang, Opt. Lett. 41, ED1 (2016).
  5. X.-C. Zhang, Opt. Lett. 42, ED1 (2017).
  6. X.-C. Zhang, Opt. Lett. 42, ED3 (2017).
  7. X.-C. Zhang, Opt. Lett. 42, ED9 (2017).

2017 (3)

2016 (1)

2015 (1)

2014 (2)

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