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Beginning in July of this year the Rapid Communications section of Physical Review B will become available, to APS members only, as a separate subscription. Modelled on letters-type journals, the Rapid Communications will be published twice each month, B1-type material in one issue, B15-type material in the other. Each issue will contain approximately 120 pages. To increase the utility of the journal to readers, each issue will containas a pullout sectionthe tables of contents of the two immediately preceding issues of the full Physical Review B. A full journal index will also be included bimonthly. The full PRB journal will continue to carry Rapid Communications as it has in the past, although some internal restructuring will take place.

With a current median receipt-to-acceptance time of nine weeks, a receipt-to-publication time of 16 weeks for direct submissions to the journal, and an acceptance rate of just 50 percent, Rapid Communications is intended as a vehicle for the speedy dissemination of important new work to the condensed matter and materials physics communities. In its new format APS member readers will have at their fingertips information on all the currently published Physical Review B material, without being overwhelmed by the journal itself.

The original idea of a Rapids section for Physical Review B was presented to, and endorsed by, the DCMP Executive Committee in 1977 but was not approved by the APS Publication Oversight Committee in part, at least, because of possible damage to Physical Review Letters. A more general restructuring of the short paper sections for all Physical Review journals later resulted in the creation of Rapids sections in each of the Physical Review journals in 1981. The Rapids section was an immediate success within the condensed matter community with more than 350 submissions in the first year, rising to more than 1,300 in 1994, only 25 percent being transfers from Physical Review Letters. By the mid 1980's it was apparent that, in terms of volume of material, Rapids could be produced as a separate entity from the remainder of Physical Review B but a proposal to do so was again turned down, this time by the Task Force on Restructuring of the Physical Review, and again because of concern about possible impact on PRL.

But times change. By the early 1990's, with both PRB and PRL were growing without letup. It seemed possible that a separate Rapids could ease the growth pressures on PRL as well as make a significant part of condensed matter physics more accessible to the community. In late 1992 and early 1993, a modified form of Rapids publication was endorsed by the DCMP Executive Committee and also by the Task Force to Review Physical Review B. After some final details were worked out, the proposal was strongly endorsed by the APS Publication Oversight Committee and APS Executive Board. In addition to rapid communication papers, PRB Rapid Communications will include tables of contents of the complete PRB journal and full indexes, thereby greatly increasing the value of the publication to readers. The hope is that by offering a stand-alone PRB Rapid Communications we will be filling a long-awaited niche for the condensed matter community. We invite you to try the new publication and let us know of your reactions.

Considerable effort was made to produce Rapid Communications with high quality but at a cost affordable to the individual member. The price of subscribing to the publication is $75.00 per year (24 issues) for U.S. orders. Foreign surface orders are $100.00 and air freight costs $120.00. Please check the appropriate box on your membership renewal form or mail your order to: Membership Department, The American Physical Society, One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740-3844 USA; fax 301-209-0867; email membership@aps.org.

APS encourages the redistribution of the materials included in this newspaper provided that attribution to the source is noted and the materials are not truncated or changed.

Editor: Barrett H. Ripin