PRL求精

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在这个“学术”论文泛滥的年代,期刊杂志作为论文露脸的地方,通常也是“与时俱进”,原来一月一期的变一周一期,原来200页一期的出500页,同时还有各式各样的“新”杂志如雨后春笋,于是现在放眼看去就是一片茂密的笋,还挺立的竹子越来越少。

比较典型的事例就是,年初的时候Chaos, Solitons & Fractals这个杂志的主编M. S. El Naschie退休,他在任期间自己发表了数百篇文章,很显然恐怕是没有什么“审稿”。而且该杂志几乎没有什么标准地接收文章,致使年初时居然有900余篇in Press(现在已经剩下400多篇了),于是不得不做出“暂”不接收任何投稿的决定。

Currently we have many accepted Chaos, Solitons and Fractals papers waiting to be published. We feel it is inappropriate to keep scientists waiting too long before their research paper is published and therefore, for the moment, we are not accepting any new submissions to the journal Chaos, Solitons and Fractals.

We trust you understand our decision and we hope you will find another suitable journal for publication of your research paper (please have a look at: www.elsevier.com). We apologise for any inconvenience and please do consider us again for your next upcoming research paper.

与此相对,刚刚有PRL(物理评论快讯)的编辑的群体邮件,说他们觉得目前每周80篇的文章太多了。从今往后需要提高标准,只让更好的文章出现。下面是邮件全文:

We at Physical Review Letters always look for ways to do better at our core mission, which is to provide the physics community with accounts of crucial research in a convenient format. PRL at present publishes about 80 Letters per week, and we Editors, and many readers of PRL, have concluded that these cannot all discuss crucial research, and that it is too large a number to be convenient. This view is also held by our editorial board and by others, as we know from a wide range of exchanges with our colleagues.

As a result we will reaffirm the standards for acceptance for PRL. The criteria will not change fundamentally, but we will work to apply them with increased rigor. To meet the PRL criteria of importance and broad interest, a Letter must

1) substantially advance a particular field; or

2) open a significant new area of research; or

3) solve a critical outstanding problem, or make a significant step toward solving such a problem; or

4) be of great general interest, based, for example, on scientific aesthetics.

We are confident that this initiative will lead to a journal that is better able to attract the best papers, because it will provide a more exclusive platform for those papers, and thus impart a higher profile to the most significant results. We also anticipate that a renewed focus on the characteristics that underlie importance and broad interest, as listed above, will lead to a more accurate selection process. As we reinvigorate the PRL criteria, we will also make every effort to make decisions promptly. This will enable results to reach the community in a timely fashion, whether in PRL or in a more suitable venue.

For this effort to be successful, authors must submit only results that meet at least one of the above criteria. Referees must judge breadth of interest based on impact both in the specific field and across field boundaries, and must support favorable recommendations with substantive reasons to publish. Editors will be more discriminating in both their own evaluation of manuscripts and their interpretation of referee reports. In support of these efforts we will revise our statement of Policies and Practices and our Referee Response Form.

We will carefully monitor the impact that application of reaffirmed standards has on the physics community. The process will necessarily be gradual, as authors, referees, Editors, and Divisional Associate Editors become familiar with more rigorous application of PRL requirements. This will also allow time to correct for any unexpected deleterious effects. Although we do not plan a specific numerical target, we do wish to make a significant change in the number of papers we publish.

We note that there are many papers that are valid and important in their area, but are not at the level of importance or broad interest that is necessary for PRL. There are also papers of great importance for their field and/or of broad interest that simply cannot be presented in a letter format. The Physical Review journals have high standards and unmatched reputations and are natural venues for such papers.

We know that these changes will lead to some disappointments. We are convinced, however, that a more selective PRL will communicate the best physics more efficiently.

Sincerely,
The Editors

如此,才是一个顶尖杂志的本色,才是对学术界负责的态度。

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