PRL Announcement: Electronic-First Publication and New Cover Design (July 11, 2001)
Two changes in Physical Review Letters will take place beginning with the print issue dated 2 July 2001. Page numbers beginning with volume 87 will be in the e-first format similar to that used by the other Physical Review journals. With the use of the new page number style, the online PRL will display new material on a daily (at least) basis. The Table of Contents for a new issue will develop over the week by addition of material as soon as final pages are ready. Thus Letters will be available to the reader one or two weeks prior to the date of the print issue. The first issue of volume 87 will begin to appear online on 12 June 2001.
The e-first page numbering is somewhat cumbersome in appearance as it is always a six digit number. However, the numbering system allows related Letters to appear near each other in the Table of Contents even though they may be posted (appear in the online journal) on different days. As an example of the numbering scheme, the first two Letters posted online with major emphasis on superconductivity will be citable as Phys. Rev. Lett. 87, 017001 (2001) and Phys. Rev. Lett. 87, 017002 (2001). (The first two digits of the page number are the issue number, the second two specify a topic area, and the third two indicate the sequence of online posting.)
The more noticeable change is that the print journal will appear with a new cover design which includes an image; the online journal will also display the cover image shortly after the issue is complete. We will select the image for the cover from those prepared for print in that issue. In selecting the cover, we will be looking for an attractive and interesting visual image, though we will also consider other factors such as recent cover images (to avoid too similar a style or topic area) and the relative importance of the Letter.