Abstract

With this issue, to satisfy purists (and anyone who counts carefully), we welcome the new millennium for the second time. With that out of the way, let me say that there’s always something to kvetch about. In this case, it’s the authors. In our very first issue in 1997 there were two articles, by J. West and C.R. Stroud and by A. Rahman, that have yet to be topped. Those guys already demonstrated two leading-edge capabilities of Optics Express that subsequent authors have yet to widely exploit, if indeed they’ve been exploited at all. I’m referring to sound effects and reader-controlled applets.

The domain of multimedia effects is one where increasing participation could lead to fascinating competition among authors for more and more effective presentations. To demonstrate the possibilities, Optics Express has been publishing full-color covers and many animated covers in the three years since Vol. 1. We’re close to realizing the occasional or even frequent possibility of an animated cover with sound effects as well. Frustratingly, authors have been very slow to incorporate audio in their articles. Particularly the movie-makers should know better!

A voice-over background text provides exceptionally effective captioning of movies, and if you’ve read many articles that included movies you know that they usually move too rapidly and with not enough auxilliary information, the kind of information we all put into captions of still figures. This isn’t the same as absence of detail in the movie itself. I know from experience that it’s very easy to make a movie too distracting by including too much visual information. The answer is simply to add a narrator who talks you through the action and tells you what to be looking at, moment by moment. Anyone who tries this will also discover that a movie with voice-over narration cannot move too rapidly. This is a coincidental but important side benefit for the reader-listeners.

Before closing with a really nice set of publishing statistics, I want to mention again that Optics Express has already played an informal role as a template or consultant for several new all-electronic journals outside the optics arena. However, we’d like to do more within optics whenever possible, for example by offering our expertise for the benefit of specialized units within OSA or the wider optics community. If your technical group has been thinking about starting a new electronic journal, we’re willing to help. Send me an e-mail to opex@pas.rochester.edu.

Now for some random but excellent statistics. In Vol. 7 the page count has doubled to about 600, compared to each of the previous two volumes. The percentage of articles with US-located first authors remains at about 50% and compares to a figure of 30% for the OSA print journals. The average article length continues to hover around 8 pages. The rejection rate is slightly over 20%, skewed to the low side by the invitation-only nature of the Focus Issues, but non-Focus articles are now in the great majority so this number will probably continue to increase. This is all good, but I still haven’t mentioned the most astonishing statistic, for which the Associate Editors and reviewers and our wonderful Production Editor get all the credit. This is the ability to continue to provide authors two professional peer reviews, and still maintain an average time-to-publication of less than two months (only 48 days in Vol. 7). OSA members can take pride in this performance, which I believe is unmatched in the physical sciences.

J. H. Eberly, Editor

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