Editors on the bridge
The editor of a scientific journal has a role that is similar to the captain of a ship. This may seem like a stretched analogy and may be unappreciated by most who have not been associated with the enterprise of journal publishing. The editor sets the course of a journal by establishing both the subject coverage and the quality standards of the content that will be considered for publication. The editor must have a clear view of the journal's mission and be able to work with the large crew required for a successful voyage: associates on the editorial board, numerous authors and reviewers, and many business contacts at the journal's publisher, who is responsible for producing, disseminating, and funding the journal. For AIP's 12 journals, we are fortunate to have a distinguished group of editors (pictured below). These dedicated individuals have significant international reputations in their fields and devote considerable time to their positions at universities or national laboratories in addition to the time they spend as editors for AIP journals. Once a year we assemble this esteemed group at the Melville Publishing Center for an editors' conference.
Participants in the 2009 AIP journal editors' conference. Front row: Hsueh-Chia Chang (Biomicrofluidics), Devinder Mahajan (JRSE), L. Gary Leal (PoF), P. James Viccaro (JAP), Nghi Lam (APL), conference chairperson John Kim (PoF), Fred Dylla (AIP executive director & CEO). Back row: Marsha Lester (JCP), John Haynes (AIP vice president, Publishing), Bruno Nachtergaele (JMP), Allan Harvey (JPCRD), Albert Macrander (RSI), Ronald Davidson (PoP), and Mark Cassar (AIP publisher, Journals and Technical Publications). Not pictured is David Campbell (Chaos).
Typically, the meeting has involved a series of morning presentations where AIP's editorial management team described new or updated services for editorial offices, authors, or reviewers. In the afternoon the editors held a roundtable discussion so they could address issues of mutual concern. This year Doreene Berger, director of editorial operations, proposed a different tack, aimed at generating dialog with respect to strengthening the journals' value in the physics community both in the US and abroad. Energized and supported by contributions from numerous members of AIP Publishing management, the new format proved to be a success.
John Haynes, vice president of Publishing, and Mark Cassar, publisher of Journals and Technical Publications, opened the October 22 meeting by putting the scope and outreach of AIP's journals in perspective—within the full spectrum of physical-science publishing. During the past decade, the number of physics journals worldwide has grown from 700 to 900 titles. The competition compels a publisher like AIP to work closely with the editors to maintain distinction in the author and reader communities. With the big picture in mind, the editors and AIP staff broke out into four brainstorming sessions to discuss how to strengthen the journals and improve the support they receive from AIP. The adaptability of our editors was quickly apparent as they nominated spokespersons to report the results from each session and committed to continue discussions in a post-meeting wiki. AIP will support this effort by collecting, editing (with a light touch), and posting each session's comments as soon as possible for continued discussion on the wiki site.
I must especially acknowledge the meeting's chair, John Kim, co-editor of Physics of Fluids, for his flexibility with the departure from the traditional format. Initial feedback from John and his fellow editors indicates that the day was a worthy experiment and that the discussions sparked some innovative plans for the future. Next year's meeting, tentatively scheduled for September 23–24, is likely to be a creative mixture of the new and previous years' formats to preserve the best aspects of both.
The Solar Decathlon is quite a spectacle. Twenty teams from across the country bring their best solar energy house to the nation's capital to compete in 10 events, including market viability (won by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette), architecture (won by Team California), and net metering (won by Team Germany). The overall winner, also Team Germany, surpassed the other teams in feeding substantially more power to the grid than it used throughout the eight-day competition, despite several rainy days. Thousands of people toured the houses, including AIP Education Division staff, to learn more about new developments in green technology and share in the student excitement (see photos here). The US Department of Energy hosts the competition to educate team members, raise public awareness and encourage research and development of energy efficiency and energy production technologies.
At the event, Education staff met senior engineering physics majors Allison Kopf and Preet Anand of Santa Clara University, part of Team California. Kopf, who has career aspirations in science policy, said, "I did some preliminary work on our house's photovoltaics over a year ago, but none of what I did ended up in the final version." She credited her broad physics knowledge of the various systems for helping her succeed in her role as the team's lead communicator. Anand told the Education staff that he had changed majors from engineering to engineering physics because it gave him more flexibility in his overall career plans. He wants to continue doing "green tech" work after he graduates. Congratulations to the students for their hard work. They demonstrate that harnessing the power of the Sun can substantially contribute to managing Earth's energy challenge.
Who we are—Publishing Technology
Publishing Technology (see the organizational chart, page 35) is responsible for the development, implementation, and operation of computer systems and software applications for content management and web-based publishing services. Under the direction of Bill Filaski, the team enhances AIP's ability to provide state-of-the-art services that create and deliver scientific content to our Member Societies, other physics and engineering organizations supported by AIP, and our publishing partners.
The Publishing Technology division includes Emerging Technology (ET), directed by James Wonder, and Publishing Systems Development and Operations, directed by Bob Hollowell. Jerry McCarthy handles project administration for all activities supported by the division. Publishing Technology staff work as a closely integrated team to provide comprehensive and cost-effective publishing services.
For AIP, ET focuses on new developments and software, including content management, cloud computing, mobile devices, eBooks, semantic tagging, and content drill-down. Examples of recent technologies that ET has brought to AIP are the MarkLogic XML server, the Polopoly web content management system, and iResearch, the AIP iPhone application. ET also elevates AIP's profile by giving lectures and talks at forums around the world.
Publishing Systems is responsible for the development and operation of the production and online services systems that support AIP's core publishing business. The group will be featured in an upcoming issue of AIP Matters.