With the exception of chance meetings at SPIE conferences, I rarely meet the authors, reviewers, and readers of Optical Engineering. For example, nearly 1,000 papers are submitted each year and each paper has, on average, about two authors. So, there are about 2,000 scientists and engineers who take the time and considerable effort needed to organize and write a technical manuscript. And to transform these manuscripts into peer-reviewed papers that should be published and distributed takes a lot of work.
These papers must be reviewed. This year about 1,500 persons will have answered our request to review the papers that survive an initial scrutiny by an Associate Editor and me. During my tenure I have been amazed by the work done by these reviewers and gratified by the insight that they provide us. Their suggestions and comments to the authors have resulted in more readable, relevant papers with clearer statements of results and conclusions.
Optical Engineering is considered the “flagship monthly journal of SPIE.” The print version of this journal contains a masthead, the page following the Table of Contents that lists the names and positions of all those responsible for publishing Optical Engineering including the Board of Editors. For those reading the journal online, this information is distributed over two pages: http://spie.org/x634.xml lists the members of the Board of Editors and http://spie.org/x37941.xml lists the journal staff.
Over the eleven years that I served as Editor, I have benefited from the expertise of a small number of hardworking ladies and gentlemen who make up this journal's Board of Editors. A few have been on the Board since I established it in 1998. All have taken their position seriously, maintaining the standards of the journal and assuring that the papers they were assigned were given a fair evaluation. There were instances where we had to deal with issues such as plagiarism and double publication. In those cases, we assessed the charges carefully and provided authors suspected of ethics violations with the opportunity to refute or explain their actions. I am grateful for their service and judgment.
The role of publisher is held jointly between Eugene Arthurs, SPIE's Executive Director, and Eric Pepper, the Publications Director for SPIE. My day-to-day contact has been with Eric and I have been fortunate to have Eric as my publisher. He has helped to shape the journal during the planning and introduction of Optical Engineering Letters, e-First publishing, and electronic publication. Over the years, we have had some points of contention and faced some important decisions on the future of the journal. All were addressed and solved in a spirit of collaboration.
The SPIE journals staff handles the day-to-day work required to publish this journal. A list of all those responsible for the publication of Optical Engineering can be found on the electronic masthead. I have enjoyed working with our Peer Review Coordinators, Anne Munger and Felicia Andreotta, and Senior Editor, Rebecca Saxton. They have provided the members of the Board, the reviewers, the authors, and me with prompt, intelligent, and good-natured assistance. They are great examples of many SPIE staff that I have had the pleasure to work with over the years.
Each of these editorials has been edited by my Managing Editor, Karolyn Labes. On numerous occasions her sharp eye and excellent writing ability have saved me from unseen typos, poor phrasing, and outright gaffes. She manages the journal with a calm, professional approach. Whenever I got snarky, she would step in and cool things down. I owe her much for her many years of service.
Most of my work as Editor of this journal has been done in my study in Atlanta and, as I noted at the beginning, I will never meet many of those, accounted above, who have contributed so much to its publication. Yet we are all involved in an enterprise that counts for a great deal. An average of over 150,000 copies of papers published in Optical Engineering has been downloaded each year for the past four years. The value of this journal is demonstrated by the many researchers who search its titles and abstracts and download its papers, by the authors who cite its papers, and by the engineers who use the papers to further their own research.
To those researchers and authors, I am grateful for your interest. To our reviewers, to the members of the Board of Editors, and to the SPIE staff, I offer my profound thanks for your outstanding assistance.