I am pleased to report that 2012 was a successful year for Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A. The topics covered in the 24 Theme Issues span the full spectrum of the physical sciences, many crossing the boundaries of traditional scientific disciplines. The scientific quality, significance and relevance of the science presented by this journal was also evident in those issues which arose as a result of a Royal Society Discussion or a Theo Murphy Meeting. In 2012, the contents of 11 Theme Issues were based on the science presented, and the resultant discussions, at one of these meetings, each of which was of significant current interest and involved contributors of a high scientific calibre.
The Guest Editors of each Theme Issue play a pivotal role in ensuring its scientific quality, impact and relevance. Thanks to the commitment, judgement and constructive interactions of the Guest Editors with the authors of the individual articles, each Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A Theme Issue significantly advances the information available for the chosen topic, presenting this objectively and critically in a modern perspective.
Throughout the year, I have greatly valued the active support and constructive advice that I have received from many members of the Editorial Board of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A. I welcome the new members of the Editorial Board who commence their (initial) three-year term of office this month and I thank the ‘retiring’ members of the Editorial Board for the assistance that they have provided.
Looking ahead, several challenges need to be addressed, including the following which I consider to be interrelated:
(i) although we receive a very good range of proposals concerned with aspects of, for example, physics and computational science this is not the case for fields such as chemistry, earth sciences and astronomy;
(ii) the Impact Factor of the journal is increasing year by year; however, we should aim to raise this above its present value of approximately 3; and
(iii) the profile of the journal needs to be raised to increase the awareness of scientists worldwide of its existence, unique nature and relevance.
We are taking action in respect of all of these, notably for (iii) by increasing the geographical spread of Editorial Board members and authors.
I look forward to the publication of 24 excellent issues in 2013, one of which is concerned with ‘Molecular nanostructure and nanotechnology’ with Guest Editors Professors Bai Chunli and Chen Wang; the former is the President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the latter is the Director of the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology of China.
From 2013, Royal Society journals will adopt a ‘continuous publication model’. Instead of using page numbers to cite an article within a volume, a unique identifier will be used instead. This identifier comprises the last eight numbers of the digital object identifier (DOI) and will be easily visible on every page of the article near the top of the outside margin. Journals such as PLoS ONE already use this citation format and we hope that our readers will adopt this new notation without difficulty. In the present rapidly changing digital environment, we consider that the continuous publication model will give us more flexibility to respond to readers' requests. Looking to the future, we expect the usage of printed copy to decrease and that of online usage to increase. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A will continue to publish on an issue-by-issue basis; however, the move to the continuous publication model will shift the emphasis from the printed issue to the online issue.
- © 2012 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.