It’s a great pleasure to welcome Alan Willner as the new Editor-in-Chief of Optics Letters. Alan is likely already familiar to the reader. In addition to his distinguished research and academic career, he has served the optics community in numerous leadership positions within OSA and IEEE LEOS and has been prominently involved in the organization of most major OSA and LEOS Conferences (CLEO, OSA Annual, LEOS Annual, OFC) as well as many Topical Meetings and Workshops. Alan has been Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE/OSA Journal of Lightwave Technology, the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, and has served as Guest Editor for a number of journal feature issues, most recently a special issue on OCDMA appearing in the OSA Journal of Optical Networking. Considering Alan’s vast editorial and leadership experience, Optics Letters is in very capable hands indeed.

This concludes my fifteenth year as an editor with Optics Letters, including six years as Topical Editor, three as Associate Editor, and six as Editor-in-Chief. I am somewhat saddened to step down but will always fondly remember the many satisfying interactions with editors, authors, reviewers, and OSA staff. It’s been a highly rewarding experience and I would recommend it to anyone. The journal has undergone both subtle and significant modifications during my tenure. Some highlights include: (1) a doubling of submissions from about 1200 to about 2400 manuscripts yearly; (2) a marked increase of ISI impact factor from below 3 to the current 3.6–3.8 range (and still rising); (3) introduction of an ADS web based system for electronic submissions and peer review; (4) making the electronic version of an article the version of record; (5) a doubling of the number of Topical Editors as well as increasing the percentage of non-US Topical Editors to 60%, including four in Asia, to better reflect the current demographics of Optics Letters authorship; (6) indexing of Bio-Medical Optics articles in Medline; (7) establishing an early posting page to make available noncopyedited PDF preprints immediately following an article’s formal acceptance; (8) the introduction of e-first publishing allowing article-at-a-time publication well in advance of the issue date; (9) a reduction in the time-to-publication from a median of 178 days down to about 110 days; (10) the introduction of optional open access; (11) the addition of multimedia and links to references in the web based version of the articles; and (12) the inclusion of Ultrafast Optics papers in the AIP Virtual Journal of Ultrafast Science and Optics in Biology and Medicine papers in the OSA Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics. While individual print issues of the journal are now considerably thicker than they were six years ago, the previous high standards of technical quality have been preserved with a 54% rejection ratio and the visual appearance and readability of the final product maintained with careful copyediting and high production standards.

The field of scientific publishing is rapidly evolving as new electronic ways to disseminate information become available. This presents both challenges and opportunities for journals like Optics Letters. Fortunately, I can’t think of a more capable Editor than Alan Willner to direct the journal during these interesting times. I wish him the best of success.

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