Having now completed three years as Editor, in this, my last editorial, I would like to both reflect on my time as the editor of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A and look forward to its future development.
When I took over the editorship from Professor Thompson at the start of 2008, I expressed my hope that the journal would continue to attract high-quality theme proposals as we doubled the frequency of the journal (Pepper 2008), and I believe that this has been the case.
Historically, the journal was designed to record the Society’s discussion of scientific advances. Today, alongside papers from these extremely popular Discussion Meetings, we also publish dedicated Theme Issues, which now represent the majority of published issues. At the start of my term, the journal frequency doubled to 24 issues a year in order to allow us to cover a greater range of topics and to fulfil our remit to cover the whole of the physical sciences.
The Royal Society celebrated its 350th anniversary year in 2010. In order to commemorate this occasion, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A recently published a Special Issue, Personal Perspectives in the Physical Sciences for the Royal Society’s 350th anniversary, in which distinguished scientists contributed articles summarizing their respective fields. This issue covers subjects as diverse as gravitational lensing (Ellis 2010), energy efficiency (Kelly 2010) and inorganic chemistry (Edwards et al. 2010).
Another 350th celebratory issue passed the baton to our younger scientists, many of whom are Royal Society University Research Fellows, to present articles on their work, which spans the spectrum of the physical sciences. This is a very stimulating issue and is commended to the reader (Pepper 2010) as giving an idea of the current vibrant state of research in the physical sciences.
Throughout my term as Editor, we have published interesting and highly relevant issues at the leading edge of scientific research. We have covered important topics related to climate science such as the geoscale engineering (Launder & Thompson 2008), contaminated wastewater (Templeton et al. 2009) and climate forcing of geological and geomorphological hazards (McGuire 2010), as well as leading edge science exemplified by the issues on carbon-based electronics (Nicholas et al. 2008) and the virtual physiological human project (Clapworthy et al. 2008; Gavaghan et al. 2009; Viceconti & Kohl 2010). Looking towards 2011, I hope that the legacy of high-quality content which the Editorial Board and I have commissioned will stand the journal in good stead for a successful future, improved impact factor and the continuation of its reputation for excellence.
We would like to invite all of you, researchers within the physical sciences, to submit a theme proposal to the journal. To clarify, proposals are submitted directly to the editorial office and peer reviewed, as would be expected of a journal in which peer review was invented several hundred years ago! Guest editors can choose the authors and suggest titles of papers to shape the issue as they see fit—post-publication we also put much effort into promoting issues both to journalists via the Royal Society press office and to relevant researchers via targeted marketing of each issue.
I would like to thank especially the Editorial Board for their advice and support over the last three years and their contributions to the continuing success of the journal. It is a pleasure to welcome Prof. Dave Garner, FRS, as the new Editor and I wish him every success.
- This journal is © 2010 The Royal Society