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Dear readership,

I wish that you have a good start into this new and hopefully successful year of Cytometry. The year 2013 was an excellent year for Cytometry. Those who visited CYTO 2013 in San Diego, CA, experienced how young, vivid, and broad our field of single cell science is with unexpected breakthroughs in science and technology [1]. In particular, the challenge of large scale, system-wide studies are on the move, where analyzing the Cytome of up to thousands of individuals and allows for cell systems' biology to approach a new understanding of diseases, and makes individualized and predictive medicine a reachable target in a not so far away future.

Last year we successfully launched two topically focused issues and a focused section of the journal. I sincerely wish to thank the Guest Editors of these issues for their diligent work and expertise motivating the best authors to write for us about their high standing science. In January, Vera S. Donnenbergs' and Henning Ulrichs' focus issue on Stem Cells was published [2]. This is probably the largest volume of Cytometry Part A ever published and the articles are already substantially recognized by a broad scientific community. The focus section in our August issue was dedicated to cytometry for immunology and was guest edited by Andrea Cossarizza and Andreas Radbruch, two high ranking experts in the field [3]. In the present issue you will find the second part, again in a focused section of the journal. Last but not least, György Vereb and Stephen J. Lockett edited an excellent issue focusing on advanced microscopy techniques for image cytometry [4].

For the future we are expecting new focused issues on state-of-the art and demanding questions and problems of quantitative single cell analysis which the guest editors are already preparing. If you have urgent and demanding topics that you think should be highlighted in Cytometry Part A then I anticipate your suggestions and possibly volunteering as Guest Editor.

As you have certainly noticed, in the past few years scientific publishing have undergone major challenges that are turning over the traditional way of publishing. Open access journals have showed up in great numbers increasing the amount of available scientific journals. Online only journals may now already outnumber those in print and several formerly print and online journals have turned to online only. This produces a substantial competition for manuscripts and authors as their number cannot increase at the same speed, particularly because of funding cuts in Europe and North America.

However, Cytometry Part A will continue to be available in print in the future although now more than 50% of the current readership has online only access. We had an open-access policy already in place but this has been modified last year to adapt for the demands of several funding agencies such as the NIH and the Welcome Trust. And keep in mind that all articles in focus issues or sections are, as a benefit for the submitting authors, immediately open access. Our following manuscript formats “Communication to the Editor,” “Commentaries,” and “Editors' Choice” are immediately free of charge open-access.

Nevertheless, there are new emerging new challenges coming up that will further need our permanent attention. Here let us turn to the advent of the “Megajournals.” The most prominent one is of course PLOS One that will in 2013 break the mark and publish over 30,000 manuscripts (we publish about 100!) and covers the whole field of science [5]. This is a competition that should not be underestimated, as it will further challenge the number of submissions to traditional topically focused journals like ours. The best ways to cope with this challenge are to ensure the highest quality publications, peer-reviewed by the best scientists and cytometrists according to the MIFlowCyt rules and make original data publically available through databases such as the FlowRepository.

More demanding are plans to turn the peer-review system upside down by accepting all papers that are scientifically sound, and peer-review is done after publication. We will closely follow these changes and see how they turn out. Up to date our best cards are you, our excellent and generally fair and anonymous reviewers and of course authors of top manuscripts. Your efforts and expertise are also needed in the future to support our developments and ideas in the field we are working for: Cytometry!

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