Welcome to the future of solid state physics publishing


Dear readers, authors and referees of physica status solidi,

With the present issue and the start of the New Year following our 50th anniversary the editorial structure of pss undergoes some important formal changes. As already announced in the previous Editorial 1 twelve months ago, our former Editor-in-Chief Martin Stutzmann, Technische Universität München, has retired from the Editorial Board. This happens after 16 very successful years during which the journal has been brought back to prosperity. It is with deep gratitude to Martin for his strong vision, engagement, support and cooperation over one and a half decade that we meet this moment of changing duties. The fundamental transformation that the progress of electronic publishing brought to the business and the growth of pss to its current amount of output over the last years have resulted in an immense increase of workload for the editors, requiring practically full-time dedication. Therefore, the role of an academic Editor-in-Chief will not be continued, transferring the central responsibility for pss to the hands of the Editors at the Wiley-VCH office in Berlin and colleagues worldwide. We believe that this is a necessary modification to adapt to the changing publishing environment and habits, putting pss in a position to dynamically respond to ongoing developments. In fact, we currently observe the same policy change for other large journals in our publishing house, e.g. in polymer physics or quantum chemistry, not to mention successful Wiley-VCH titles such as Advanced Materials or Angewandte Chemie which have been led by ‘in-house’ Editorials for many years.

Despite or even because of these present changes, close contacts of our editorial team to the scientific community will be ever more important for pss. This is why we strive to maintain and further develop a strong and active Board of the journal. Moreover, regardless of the differences in scope between pss (a) and (b), the trend of overlapping basic and applied research aspects in solid state physics has further manifested. Besides, our two other journals pss (RRL) and pss (c) cover the full spectrum of the field by definition. Therefore we have decided to create, from 2012, one joint Editorial Advisory Board for the entire pss family which will embrace many members of the previous separate Boards of the four journals (see ‘Issue Information’ online and inside front cover in the print edition, respectively). We are particularly pleased to welcome, at this moment, five new members to the Advisory Board: David A. Drabold, Ohio University, OH, USA; Sebastian T. B. Gönnenwein, Walther-Meissner-Institut and Technische Universität München, Garching, Germany; Nicholas Grandjean, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland; J. Marty Gregg, Queen's University Belfast, UK; Ferdinand Scholz, Universität Ulm, Germany; and G. Jeffrey Snyder, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA. We will present them with photographs and short biographies in one of the forthcoming issues, and you should also look out for additional new Board members to join in the near future.

As indicated above, pss has taken further positive development recently. Practically all indicators, be they high manuscript submission numbers (now around 3000 per year), rising rejection rates (unfortunately unavoidable for some papers but favourable for the overall quality of the journal), or article download numbers (quickly approaching the phenomenal level of 1 million full texts annually) are pointing upwards. We are also glad to report higher 2010 Impact Factors (IF, see figure Fig. 1) which, after the latest update by Thomson Reuters that retrieved several dozens of missed citations, are now at 2.815 for pss (RRL), 1.472 for pss (a), and 1.349 for pss (b) – reflecting increases between 10% and 20% within only one year. The currently observed general IF ‘inflation’ is partly caused by the recent expansion program of ISI to include additional regional or specialized journals in their reports. Nevertheless the average citation level increase in Physics, Condensed Matter is nowadays mostly due to review article, interdisciplinary materials science or nanoscience journals on the ten upper ranks of the category. In comparison, IFs of 'pure' condensed matter or solid state physics journals have been less dynamic. In that sense, rank 15 reached by pss (RRL) can be considered a truly respectable position – something that is obviously appreciated by our authors, as Rapid Research Letter submission numbers have almost reached those of the long established mother journals pss (a) and (b) lately. We also note strongly increased Immediacy Indices, thus faster citations already within the year of publication. And last but not least, a look at the more sophisticated metrics creations of ISI is certainly worthwhile: Ordered by the Eigenfactor Score (in which citations in highly cited journals have strongerweight than others, thus measuring journal ‘prestige’), pss (a) and (b) reside at comparatively higher ranks 18 and 19, respectively, than according to IF. For more details, see the recent bibliometric analysis of a half-century of pss by Werner Marx and Dieter Hoffmann 2. So much to satisfy the current fashion of numerical evaluation – above which we should not forget that the main aim of pss remains to provide an attractive mix of topically relevant Rapid Research Letters, Feature Articles, Original Papers and other archival contributions which are of long-term interest and importance to the scientific community.

Figure 1.

ISI Impact Factors of physica status solidi.

Today, we may observe a number of challenges, such as increasing interdisciplinary trends (rendering the boundaries of classic disciplines more diffuse), the launch of more and more new journals of various scopes and formats, or the advent of open access with still unknown qualitative and quantitative consequences (note that pss does offer open access within the Wiley OnlineOpen programme). In this somewhat uncertain climate, we think that the best response is to build on our central assets: high reputation, a strict peer-review and quality selection policy, long-term presence and experience in the scientific community and on the publication market. More generally speaking, we can refer to the strong professional and technical expertise of the entire editorial team as well as to our high international visibility – but likewise to our ability to develop new ideas and to react to changing requirements. These advantages let us look forward quite optimistically to 2012 as well as to the longer-distant future, and we count on your ongoing support in fulfilling our task.