New and improved, with a taste for applications


The Journal of Applied Polymer Science, founded in 1959 by legendary polymer scientist Herman F. Mark, is certainly a success story in the realm of polymer journals: it has provided a forum for generations of scientists and engineers, in academia and industry, to present useful, practical research results. Under the leadership of Anne Hiltner and Eric Baer, the Journal of Applied Polymer Science has reached outstanding usage with over a million articles downloaded per year.

Evolution is the key to the journal's continuous success, and the fact that polymer science is vastly more interdisciplinary, and its applications have reached so many different areas (from fuel cells to dental materials, all the way to computer chip manufacturing), is reflected in every issue of the Journal of Applied Polymer Science.

Many of our authors and referees have already come into direct contact with the new editorial team, comprising in-house professional editors plus industrial and academic scientists, which started its tenure in October 2011. During this relatively short time, the editors have been busy improving manuscript handling, as well as publications procedures. What this means, in layman's terms, is that we have cut the average time from submission to first decision roughly in half, and we have been instrumental in the reduction of acceptance-to-online publication time to a very competitive 15 working days. Our editors are focused on delivering rapid and rigorous peer review, and on keeping the bar firmly on the applied side of polymer science.

All of this comes at a price, of course, and the price is that we cannot offer to send out for peer review every single paper we receive: the editors now prescreen each paper to find out whether it is within the (admittedly vast) scope of the journal, how innovative it is and, if a new material is produced, whether its performance is an improvement over previous literature, a theme on which we will expand in one of our next editorials. In the end, this is the only way in which we can guarantee that our readers get the latest and best research in applied polymer science, without having to wade through irrelevant, not current, or outright duplicated material. In addition, prescreening performs another vital function: it guarantees that we send our referees only interesting and pertinent papers, and as a consequence we can slash peer-review times.

Among the many other new features we have introduced in the last few months is a fresh new look: this is in fact the first issue in which articles are typeset in the new format. It is also the first printed issue in which we have a cover taken from one of the issue's articles: we will strive to turn this space into a vehicle to promote some of the most important papers we publish, as well as to present some intriguing images.

In addition, our best papers regularly feature on the materials news site, on Plastics Engineering Magazine, as well as in social networks, to guarantee maximum readership, generate more interest, and in the end ensure that your research reaches its full potential. We have introduced an open access option so that you can disseminate your research in polymers to the widest audience.

The Journal of Applied Polymer Science is the largest peer reviewed publication in polymers, and to take advantage of this, and accommodate our readers, we have introduced the possibility to “browse topics,” so each reader can have a more personalized experience, enabling him or her, for example, to find and read about polymer degradation or membranes more easily and selectively.

We are sure that these new features, plus several others which we will unveil in the coming months, will make publishing in the Journal of Applied Polymer Science ever more rewarding for our authors, and interesting for our readers.