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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Editor: Joseph N. Mait
  • Vol. 49, Iss. 34 — Dec. 1, 2010
  • pp: BO1–BO2
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Identity Crisis: A Message from the Applied Optics Editor

Joseph N Mait

Applied Optics, Vol. 49, Issue 34, pp. BO1-BO2 (2010)

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The Editor in Chief announces a new submission policy for Applied Optics.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

My greatest concern when I became editor-in-chief last year was how to maintain the great reputation Applied Optics has, especially in this era of online publishing. Born as a print journal, Applied Optics now faces competition from a plethora of publishing opportunities, including its “Express” brethren.

From a survey conducted by OSA, I am aware of the friction that exists between readers—who want high quality, in-depth articles, and authors—who want rapid publication to the widest audience. Optics Letters, Optics Express, and Applied Optics are the top journals read by authors, and Applied Optics is OSA’s most widely subscribed to journal. For what reasons then should an author submit to Applied Optics when other options exist, such as Optics Letters and Optics Express?

First, as its name implies, Applied Optics publishes work of an applied nature. The underlying scientific theory is typically known and published works report on the development and performance of technologies for applying the theory. Manuscripts are expected to contain in-depth discussions of the material. For example, a manuscript describing an experiment should discuss the underlying theory, a description of the experiment, simulations based on theory, experimental results, and an analysis of the results. These should be presented in sufficient depth that others can validate the work and assess its significance.

Applied Optics consists of three divisions: Optical Technology, Information Processing, and Lasers, Photonics, and Environmental Optics. (The Biomedical Optics Division will be discontinued once all manuscripts submitted to the division prior to the launch of Biomedical Optics Express last August have been processed.) Applied Optics articles are peer-reviewed and page charges are voluntary unless a formatted manuscript runs over 10 pages in length.

In contrast, Optics Letters promotes rapid dissemination of new results in all areas of optics with short, original, peer-reviewed communications. A key factor in the decision to publish in Optics Letters is the immediacy of the research and its impact on the work of others.

Although Optics Express offers a rapid publication model, immediacy of the research is not a factor in the decision to accept manuscripts for publication. Once a manuscript is approved for publication it appears in a timely fashion.

Although manuscripts submitted to Applied Optics are more applied in nature than those submitted to Optics Express, both journals use the same criteria to assess publication worthiness. Applied Optics and Optics Express differ primarily in their publishing model.

As an open access journal, Optics Express requires authors to pay mandatory publication charges, rather than relying on institutional subscriptions. Page charges are voluntary for Applied Optics but authors have the option to pay to have their articles open access.

Unfortunately, many within the community have conflated rapid publication with immediacy, and Applied Optics has seen an increase in the number of submitted manuscripts that have been rejected previously by other journals, most prominent among them, Optics Express. After consideration by the editorial staff of the journal and OSA’s Board of Editors, Applied Optics will no longer review manuscripts that have been rejected by other OSA journals.

In setting these policies, I hope to underscore Applied Optics’ editorial standards. Over the coming year I will strive to better define the journal’s scope so that authors and readers know what to look for and what to expect in terms of journal content, just as I could do so confidently 30 years ago. I recognize also that since delivery of the journal’s content is now primarily through the Internet and not as a bound journal on a library shelf, there exists an opportunity to deliver content in addition to peer-reviewed articles. I will be exploring options for this with the editorial staff and welcome your suggestions.

It is my hope that future generations of researchers will also find it odd that anyone ever had to question Applied Optics’ identity.

Joseph N. Mait

Editor in Chief, Applied Optics

1 December 2010

OCIS Codes
(000.0000) General : General
(000.1200) General : Announcements, awards, news, and organizational activities

ToC Category:

Original Manuscript: November 22, 2010
Manuscript Accepted: November 22, 2010
Published: November 30, 2010

Joseph N Mait, "Identity Crisis: A Message from the Applied Optics Editor," Appl. Opt. 49, BO1-BO2 (2010)

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