As we start Volume 2 of Optical Materials Express (OMEx), it seems appropriate to say a few words about the first year of the journal. Starting any new journal is a difficult task, but by all measures available to us, OMEx is off to a very good start. The eight issues published since the inaugural issue in May 2011 have contained a total of 170 published papers. This number, well in excess of earlier projections, is largely attributable to the six special issues that were published during this period. I would like to thank the many special-issue editors who worked very hard to make these possible. We are planning to continue with a healthy number of special issues in 2012, with feature issues on Persistent Phosophors, Quantum Dots for Photonic Applications, and Nanocarbon for Photonics and Optoelectronics planned for early to mid 2012. Ideas for topics that may be suitable for special issues are always encouraged and can be suggested to me by email or by contacting journal staff at email@example.com.As with its sister journals, Optics Express and Biomedical Optics Express, OMEx is focused on rapid publication, open access, and high quality. Although it takes at least two years before any journal receives an impact factor, it is clear from download information that papers published in OMEx are being widely read, and readership is growing at a remarkable rate. Additionally, I am pleased to report that recent statistics show that OMEx has the shortest median time to publication of all OSA journals. This is thanks to the diligent work of the OMEx associate editors and OSA publications staff. I am very grateful to all of the editors and staff for steering papers though the review process and bringing them to publication in a timely manner.Once again, I am afraid it is necessary to point out that the peer-review system depends on the willingness of the scientists and engineers in the community to carry out careful and thoughtful reviews. For those who perform reviews, your time and hard work are greatly welcomed and appreciated. Keeping in mind that papers need at least two reviews, I would suggest that every author who publishes in our journal perform at least one review for every paper he or she submits. If everyone adhered to this principle, then the peer-review system can work well.In looking forward to the second year of publication, I believe that Optical Materials Express will continue to grow and will soon become your number one choice for rapid, peer-reviewed publication of your highest-quality research in the field of optical materials. Your suggestions and comments will always be welcomed and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.