More than a year ago, the American Physical Society launched Physics with the goal of having scientists explain and comment on the work of their peers, as published in the journals of the APS. This newest of the APS publications went online in beta mode on 14 July 2008 with a full complement of expert commentaries, followed by a bigger splash in September 2008 with email announcements to APS members, authors, and referees.
Our readers have been generous with their comments, and judging from the feedback, the experiment has been a success: Physics has become a must-read for the physics community. We've amassed an impressive archive of expert commentaries and reviews, with more than 100 Viewpoints, 8 Trends articles, and over 150 Synopses, all easily searchable by name, keyword, article type, and subject category. Each week, email alerts are sent to registered readers and RSS feeds provide a convenient way to obtain real-time updates on new content. We have started a Letters to the Editor section to provide a way for readers to comment on the articles in Physics. In addition, we provide information to journalists each week to gain additional coverage of the articles highlighted in Physics. All of these efforts are designed to give more attention to the exciting research published in the APS journals, and we expect to offer new features in this fluid medium of online publishing in the future.
Launching Physics has furthered discussion among the staff of APS. While recognizing that there isn’t an absolute metric for what defines a “top” paper, nor would it be possible to do this perfectly, the editors have eagerly combined their knowledge of new and developing fields, the invaluable reports from referees and, often, additional opinions from trusted experts to select high-quality papers that will be of interest to the physics community in its broadest sense. In this respect, Physics has afforded a closer communication between the editorial staff and the physics community at large.
The kind of exposition and explanation featured in Physics is among the most difficult kind of writing. It requires excellent communication that can capture the attention and respect of those already at the top of their careers, without losing students at the beginning of theirs. Physics would not have been possible without the generous effort and commitment of time provided by the researchers and editors who advise us and write these difficult articles. We thank you all profusely.
– David Voss, Editor, and Jessica Thomas, Assistant Editor