APS News

Early Electronic Publication of Physical Review D Articles

In recent years, the physics community, particularly in the fields covered by Physical Review D, has become increasingly accustomed to accessing the current literature electronically. In keeping with this trend, Physical Review D is changing its production process so that all articles will be first published electronically, with the printed version appearing at a subsequent date. As at present, the printed and online versions will be visually identical. This new process begins with the articles of Volume 57 (the January-June 1998 print issues) and includes all articles currently being accepted.

"In making this change, we are moving from a batch mode that focussed on the production of an entire printed issue to one that allows each article to be published as soon as it is ready," said PRD Editor Erick Weinberg (Columbia University). "For well-prepared manuscripts, our goal is to send page proofs to the author about two weeks after the article has been accepted for publication." He added that a few days after approval of the proofs has been received, the article will be posted as part of the electronic journal, with the date of posting being listed as the publication date of the article. At monthly intervals these articles will be collected together to make up the printed issues that will appear, according to the same division by subject area as at present, on the 1st and 15th of each month.

In a six-month transitional phase, full citation information (volume and page number) will only be available when all of the articles corresponding to a given print issue have been posted. Beginning with the first issue of Volume 58 (print date 1 July 1998), the journal will change to a citation scheme based on volume and article number, with the article number being assigned at the time that the article is published electronically. Articles will then be fully citable as soon as they appear in the online journal. In the printed journal, articles will be ordered by increasing article number; the algorithm for assigning these numbers has been designed so that articles will be ordered by topic within each printed issue, as is currently done.

According to Weinberg, authors should be aware of two important implications of this change. First, because articles will be published electronically as soon as they are ready, authors can reduce the time from acceptance to publication by carefully preparing and proofreading their manuscript, submitting it electronically, and responding promptly after receiving the page proofs. (If the proofs require only a few minor corrections, or none at all, an email response is sufficient.) Second, because the online version will be considered the final published version, with the subsequent printed version simply a reproduction of the online version, authors will not be able to make any corrections to the article after the page proofs have been returned; instead, any further corrections must be made by submitting an erratum.