Frontiers in Physics 2019 - Editor's Choice

Edited by: Alex Hansen, Thomas Beyer, Ewald Moser, Laura Elisa Marcucci, Ralf Metzler, Christian F. Klingenberg, James Sauls, José W. F. Valle, Jan De Boer, Dumitru Baleanu, Lorenzo Pavesi, Bretislav Friedrich, Christine Charles, Matjaž Perc, Jasper Van Der Gucht

Publisher: Frontiers Media SA

ISBN: 9782889637096

Product Name: Frontiers Theme Book

Frontiers in Physics – FPHY – is now in its eighth year. Up to last year, the journal received a slowly increasing trickle of manuscripts, and then during the summer… Boom! The number of manuscripts we receive started increasing exponentially. This is of course a signal to us who are associated with the journal that we are on the right track to build a first-rate journal spanning the entire field of physics. And it is not the only signal. We also see it in other indicators such as the number of views and downloads, Impact Factor and the Cite Score.

Should we be surprised at this increase? If I were to describe FPHY in one word, it would be “innovation”. Attaching the names of the reviewers that have endorsed publication permanently to the published paper is certainly in this class. It ensures that the reviewers are accountable; furthermore, the level of transparency this implies ensures that any conflict of interest is detected at the very beginning of the process. The review process itself is innovative. After an initial review that proceeds traditionally, the reviewers and authors enter a back-and-forth dialog that irons out any misunderstanding. The reviewers retain their anonymity throughout the process. The entire review process and any question concerning editorial decisions is fully in the hands of active scientists. The Frontiers staff is not allowed to make any such decision. They oversee the process and make sure that the manuscript and the process leading to publication or rejection upholds the standard. FPHY is of course a gold open access journal. This is the only scientific publication model that is compatible with the information revolution.

A journal’s prestige is traditionally associated with how difficult it is to publish there. Exclusivity as criterion for desirability, is a mechanism we know very well from the consumer market. However, is this criterion appropriate for scientific publishing? It is almost by definition not possible to predict the importance of a new idea – otherwise it would not have been new. So, why should journals make decisions on publishing based on predicting the possible importance of a given work. This can only be properly assessed after publication. Frontiers has removed “importance” from the list of criteria for publication. That the work is new, is another matter: the work must be new and scientifically correct. It would seem that removing the criterion of “importance” would be a risky one, but it turns out not to be.

The Specialty Chief Editors who lead the 18 sections that constitute FPHY, have made this selection of papers published in FPHY in 2019. We have chosen the papers that we have found most striking. Even though this is far from a random selection, they do give a good idea of what PFHY is about. Enjoy! We certainly did while making this selection.

Professor Alex Hansen (Field Chief Editor)

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