I usually start editorials by joking around or using the “hook” as taught to me by a well-known newspaper writer in Washington, DC. However, I want to set a tone for this editorial that is serious, as my request to many of you is just that, serious and important. I want to discuss with you a matter regarding the future of Optical Engineering.
Over the past few years, Optical Engineering has improved in quality slowly but surely and we are making headway on many of the attributes that most of you want to see in a journal. Time to publication is down significantly, the impact factor continues to increase, and the acceptance rate has been held at a level that ensures the quality of the papers that we publish. The SPIE Journals Department and the current slate of Associate Editors are a fantastic set of staff and volunteers who are dedicated to the improvement of Optical Engineering. In addition, in January we are implementing a new open-access model that will service more authors with the flexibility that today’s authors desire. Finally, our special sections are interesting and relevant and we continue to secure subjects and topics that most of our constituents are interested in. The specials are doing well.
So what is the issue? We need our senior researchers, full professors, SPIE and corporate fellows, and government/industry research leaders to participate in Optical Engineering’s future by writing review or tutorial papers that are interesting and relevant. This is my plea for our seasoned and well-known constituents to provide these types of papers for the benefit of our young readers. Before many of you quit reading now and blow me off, I want to give you a little data that might just help you decide to participate. If you want to make a contribution to your community, consider the following.
The paper “High-performance midinfrared quantum cascade lasers” by Federico Capasso was downloaded 455 times in the first month and a half after it appeared online, and it has been cited 16 times in the Web of Science and 27 times in Google Scholar since it was published in November 2010. Paul McManamon’s review paper “Review of ladar: a historic, yet emerging, sensor technology with rich phenomenology” was downloaded 395 times in June, the same month it came online. Rebecca Willett, Roummel Marcia, and Jonathan Nichols’ paper “Compressed sensing for practical optical imaging systems: a tutorial” has consistently been downloaded over 200 times a month on average since its publication in the middle of last year; it has 10 citations in the Web of Science and 18 citations in Google Scholar. These download rates are only for a month, so overall these papers have been downloaded thousands of times, meaning that they are of high interest and high relevance.
The important point here is that our constituency, including our younger SPIE members, desires these types of papers and we should do our best to provide them. If you senior people really want to make a difference to your community, then please consider writing a review or tutorial paper in your specialty area using your hard-earned expertise. I think I have provided the proof that these papers can provide a difference in your colleague’s lives. I would strongly encourage SPIE Fellows to write a tutorial or review paper for Optical Engineering, especially if you have not done so in the past.
Each year, I try to make a difference in others’ lives. In my technical life, I still try to make contributions that my colleagues appreciate and I hope that you will continue to do so too. I know you don’t have much time, but for many of you, here is a high-impact opportunity. If you are unsure or if you have any questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.