APS has launched a new online publication called, simply, Physics, which provides commentary on important journal articles and trends in physics.
Physics spotlights noteworthy papers in the APS journals Physical Review A-E and Physical Review Letters. Editors of those journals help select papers that report on a significant advance; Physics editor David Voss and assistant editor Jessica Thomas then commission an independent expert in the field to write a commentary on each selected paper.
The new journal “fills a niche that has been in need of filling for some time,” says Voss.
The Physical Review journals publish high quality peer-reviewed research papers, but these are typically read only by specialists in a narrow area of physics. APS also publishes Physical Review Focus, an online publication that describes results in PRL and Physical Review for an audience of physicists, students, and others. Other publications explain developments in physics to other audiences, such as journalists and the general public. Physics will complement these. Articles in Physics are written by physicists, for physicists and aim to be understandable to a broad cross-section of physicists and scientists in related areas. Graduate students and advanced undergraduates should also be able to comprehend many Physics articles. “We’re trying to enhance what APS does best,” says Voss.
Physics publishes three types of articles. “Viewpoints,” short pieces of about 1000-1500 words, focus on a specific paper in PRL or PR A-E., explaining and discussing the significance of the work. Initially about two such pieces will appear each week. These articles will be somewhat similar to “Perspectives” in Science, or “News and Views” in Nature.
Longer pieces, called “Trends,” appearing approximately once a month, highlight areas of current research, reviewing recent results and identifying questions and directions for more research.
In addition, Physics publishes “Synopses,” which are short (150-200 word) items written by APS journal editors explaining recent papers of particular interest.
As for the choice of title for the new journal, “The idea was to be bold about it,” says Voss.
A preliminary version of the journal launched on July 14, 2008.