EPL has still a modest impact factor [IF], only occasionally above 3 in connection with high-temperature and iron-based superconductors. This is too low when compared with the high quality of most EPL papers. It is fair to say that the IF does not really measure the impact of a journal but rather its visibility. The impact of a journal is measured by the scientific progress that has resulted from its papers, e.g., by the number of papers, which led to a Nobel Prize. Today visibility is nevertheless something a journal cannot do without, due to the growing background noise of hundreds of journals, often insignificant. It is the lack of visibility which leaves many remarkable papers written by very good authors without citations for many years. Visibility may be increased with new forms of targeted advertising like citation alerts (informing authors that their papers have been cited in a letter of EPL as soon as it appears), Perspectives (short invited articles on hot topics) and editor’s choice papers, on-line compilations, annual highlights, EPL awards, etc. While editor’s choices, compilations, highlights and EPL awards are already operating, citation alerts and Perspectives will be soon launched.
It is implicit, however, that a new acceptance policy aimed at increasing the IF of EPL is indispensable. It may be based on the familiar formulation that a paper published in EPL should either open a novel significant research area in physics; or change an established paradigm; or present a substantial progress in a relevant field of physics; or make a valuable contribution in a field of broad general interest, closely related to physics. Although this may look very similar to the acceptance policy adopted by the major high-impact journals, EPL has the advantage that, unlike most of those journals, the entire evaluation process is dealt with by experienced highly-qualified scientists, which should ensure more objectivity and less discontent. On the side of accepted papers there is also the chance of direct acceptance by the co-editor without review in recognition of excellence – a possibility that only an editorial board of highly qualified scientists can allow, and is greatly appreciated by the authors.
The implementation of a new editorial policy outlined above requires an active Editorial Board working alongside the Editor-in-chief. The choice of ten new Co-Editors (of a total number of 54) has been made in consultation with the outgoing co-Editors and with an eye on the topics which either constitute a strength of EPL or need to be reinforced. Specifically the choice aimed at:
- a stronger presence of experimental physics; seven new co-Editors out of 10 are experimentalists
- a better coverage of hot topics like topological-insulators, exotic superconductors, nano-photonics, granular materials, etc.
- extending high-impact cross-disciplinary areas, like, for example, soft matter and various areas of chemical physics
- having new co-Editors from US & BRIC areas (at present we now have one more co-Editor from the USA, one more from Brazil, and one from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing).
In view of the next Editorial Board meeting in about a month in Paris, the co-Editors are already engaged in the Perspective project, which will start with the first issue of January 2015. One Perspective will appear as the first paper of each issue so as to have 24 Perspectives a year. In addition, EPL will participate actively with the celebration of the International Year of Light 2015, by dedicating twelve Perspectives in the first-of-the-month issues to the various aspects of the physics of light. We are confident that Perspectives will appreciably increase EPL visibility and its IF.
The renewed Editorial Board will strengthen the presence of experimental physics in EPL, by attracting new authors and papers in cutting-edge research areas, including cross-disciplinary applications where large communities are operating worldwide with a great citation potential. In this respect a further extension into the USA as well as in BRIC areas will be very beneficial. China has been for many years the largest contributor to EPL, with many papers among the most cited ones, especially in the field of exotic superconductivity. The new editorial policy outlined above should provide further good reasons to read and cite EPL and to submit your best papers to EPL. Make EPL more visible with your papers, your papers shall get more visible with EPL!