Editorial: Two Years of a Reinvigorated PRL (July 8, 2011)
Two years have now passed since PRL reinvigorated its standards for publication. By all measures the initiative has been successful, and we thank all authors and referees for their adherence to our more stringent criteria. As a reminder, a Letter should do at least one of the following: (i) substantially advance a particular field; or (ii) open a significant new area of research; or (iii) solve a critical outstanding problem, or make a significant step toward solving such a problem; or (iv) be of great general interest, based, for example, on scientific aesthetics.
In the first year of reinvigoration, receipts fell 9% and publications fell 20% relative to the previous year. In the second year, both numbers have crept upwards. Our receipts of 11,376 are nearly the level they were in 2008, but we published 3247 Letters, about the number of Letters published in 2004.
Of course, increases in receipts and in published Letters are not necessarily unwanted. If the quality of both groups is high, we welcome their growth, since this supports our mission to cover important results across all physics. We do ask, however, that authors and reviewers remain mindful of the reinvigorated standards at PRL, which are a crucial part of our ongoing efforts to maintain, and strengthen, PRL's place as the premier APS journal for current research.