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By Stephen Forrest
We are very pleased to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the launch of Physical Review Applied (PRApplied)—and what an exciting five years it has been! PRApplied is a groundbreaking member of the prestigious Physical Review family of journals: It is the first (and only) journal published by APS focusing entirely on applied physics—physics that has the prospect of leading to practical applications, founded on fundamental physical principles.
Applied physics is an exceptionally broad and interdisciplinary field and the label is generally used to describe work bridging the gap between a fundamental physics discovery and its use for a practical purpose. In short, applied physics is an essential link between the physical sciences and applications.
To serve such a broad set of authors and readers, the scope of PRApplied is equally expansive, in ways that are only exceeded by Physical Review Letters, Physical Review X, and Reviews of Modern Physics, our partners in the quest to bring applied physics to a broad cross-section of the physics community. Given its scope, it is not surprising that PRApplied is also the fastest growing journal in the Physical Review family, at a compound annual growth rate in submissions of about 25%. In 2017, the journal published 430 top-quality research papers; both submissions and publications have grown substantially in 2018.
Rapid growth is only one of several indicators of our success. PRApplied boasts a 2017 Impact Factor of 4.782, which is substantially higher than that of well-established journals covering these same fields. We believe that the journal’s success is based on several factors.
First and foremost is that PRApplied fills the needs of the applied physics communities for a premier publication venue that serves our diverse discipline. As one example of our taking proactive steps to broaden the scope, we have reached out to the community by publishing focused Review Articles on topical areas of special interest, covering such broadly ranging subjects as thin perfect absorbers , invisibility and cloaking , spintronics , self-assembly of a strain-engineered flexible layer , and organic light-emitting diodes .
We pride ourselves in providing a publication that never compromises on the quality of its content while having a clear focus on presenting the most exceptional work in a broad range of applied sciences. In this sense, PRApplied has the same values of quality, excellence, and timeliness that are well-known as the hallmark of the Physical Review family of journals, which has been celebrating its 125th anniversary throughout this year.
Our vision for PRApplied extends far beyond the conventional metrics of impact factor and journal growth. The success of any scientific publication should be measured by its actual impact: its ability to make a tangible difference in the way we think. Impact is also defined when a work becomes a jumping-off point for subsequent advances that ultimately bring a new understanding or serves an application that positively impacts quality of life.
Although impact requires a subtler assessment than easily calculated quantitative metrics, a relentless focus on seminal results and lasting value by our outstanding professional staff and Editorial Board has been key to PRApplied’s success. We have every intention during the years ahead to maintain that clear focus on excellence and impact. With this winning formula, we are assured of attracting the best papers in applied physics, of continuing our robust growth, and of growing the reputation of PRApplied among scientists and engineers the world over.
We thank all of our readers, authors and referees who give generously of their time and effort, for the support they have shown for PRApplied in its first five years. We look forward to the future with enthusiasm, confident in knowing that the journal will continue to live up to its ambitions of being the “go-to” journal for all of the applied physics community.
 Y. Ra’di, C. R. Simovski, and S. A. Tretyakov, Thin perfect absorbers for electromagnetic waves: Theory, design, and realizations, Phys. Rev. Applied 3, 037001 (2015).
 R. Fleury, F. Monticone, and A. Alù, Invisibility and cloaking: Origins, present, and future perspectives, Phys. Rev. Applied 4, 037001 (2015).
 A. Hoffmann and S. D. Bader, Opportunities at the frontiers of spintronics, Phys. Rev. Applied 4, 047001 (2015).
 Z. Chen et al., Mechanical self-assembly of a strain-engineered flexible layer: Wrinkling, rolling, and twisting, Phys. Rev. Applied 5, 017001 (2016).
 T. D. Schmidt et al., Emitter orientation as a key parameter in organic light-emitting diodes, Phys. Rev. Applied 8, 037001 (2017).
Stephen Forrest is the Peter A. Franken Distinguished University Professor, and the Paul G. Goebel Professor in Electrical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, and Physics at the University of Michigan. He has been Editor of PRApplied since August 2017.
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