Change is the Only Consistency

No matter where you work, or if you just read or watch the news: Change is everywhere. Change management or life long learning are just two of the ubiquitous slogans about the necessity of change that get poured on us every day. In German, there is the term “wer rastet, der rostet” – to rest is to rust. I can hardly think of any better term to describe the challenges of our time.

But don't we all like to rest sometimes? Going back to these special places in our memories where we thought time and – inevitably associated with it – change could never enter? And don't we all search for such places, where we could rest from the daily stress, where our minds can find some halt to refuel and refresh? We all are thankful for finding such places, which in our perception do not change with time, but provide the same shelter or inspiration as they have “forever since”. But, if you really look into the details – did they really stay unchanged? Or isn't it the art of the owners of such “mysterious places” that they manage to change them silently, nearly hidden to everybody who uses them to enlighten themselves? In any case, this is exactly the way that we aim to consistently change our journals. Reading Advanced Functional Materials should always be a source of inspiration for our readers, bringing together the best and smartest papers and ideas from the various sub-disciplines of materials science.

This was – and still is today – the idea 25 years ago when our “mother journal” Advanced Materials was founded, and throughout the recent 10+ years it has also been the guideline for the editors of Advanced Functional Materials. As I now take on the responsibility as Editor in Chief of the journal from my colleague Dave Flanagan, with whom I shared the office for more than five years, you can be sure, that this at least will not change. Many other things may have to change, however, in the coming years, following the idea that “it has to change if you want it to stay the same”. This certainly is true for the topics we will cover in our journal, although I am certain that the quest for the two most emerging topics in our modern life – sustainable energy conversion and healthcare solutions – will dominate the research area of materials science for quite some time, and the interconnection of materials design and development with such diverse areas as chemistry, physics, and engineering will continue to grow.

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One of the changes we will introduce during the next 12 months for sure will be a new web-based editorial manuscript submission and handling system. I am confident that this will make it easier for you to submit your best papers to us, will facilitate the editors and referees in managing the peer-review process faster and more efficiently, and finally it will help get your papers published faster. And at the end of the day we hope that all changes that we may introduce have mainly one effect: That your enjoyment in reading the journal does not change!

Sincerely yours,

PS: Our long-term readers may be waiting for it already, as it has nearly become a habit for us: in 2013 we are launching a new journal. Advanced Optical Materials, which emerged from a successful section within Advanced Materials, will be launched as an independent journal in 2013. It will be the first online-only journal in the family of the Advanced journals – just to underline that we need to change if we want to stay what we are: a top brand for top publications in all areas of materials science.

PPS: Please do not hesitate to contact me with your feedback, questions, and ideas – either by email to, on twitter to @materialseditor, or via our Advanced Functional Materials Facebook page.

Biographical Information

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Jörn Ritterbusch