Criteria for Publication

APL Photonics considers for publication manuscripts that meet the following criteria:

  • Present original and timely results that significantly advance the knowledge in the field or have potential lasting impact on photonics research
  • Report convincing and rigorous data, methods, and analysis
  • Are well written and of interest to the broad photonics community

Authors of APL Photonics are asked to provide a cover letter as part of their submission of original research (articles and letters). It can help convey the importance of the research to the Editors, explain why you consider the paper appropriate for the broad readership of APL Photonics, and specifically how it aligns with the criteria for publication. The cover letter should make a clear statement on the manuscript’s significance and long-lasting impact and list related work by the authors. The cover letter will not be shared with reviewers and is intended to aid in the editorial pre-screening of manuscripts. The cover letter should be limited to approximately one page in length.

The Review Process

The Editor-in-Chief, supported by the Associate Editors, is responsible for the content and other editorial matters related to the journal.

Submitted manuscripts are initially screened for their suitability by APL Photonics’ Editorial team (Editor-in-Chief and Associate Editors). Those papers that appear to be appropriate for consideration in APL Photonics are sent to at least two expert reviewers for evaluation. The Editorial team aims to reach a final decision on a manuscript on the basis of a maximum of two rounds of revision. Only in exceptional situations will an additional revision be allowed.

The Editorial team welcomes authors’ suggestions of appropriate referees and will give serious consideration to requests that a manuscript not be sent to a particular referee. In both cases, these are regarded as recommendations and not requirements.

Reviewers are asked to address the following points when they agree to assess manuscripts submitted to APL Photonics:

  1. Originality, novelty, and appropriateness within the scope ofAPL Photonics
  2. Broad interest to the photonics research community
  3. Scientific quality and evidence-supported conclusions
  4. Clarity, organization, and completeness

Based on the recommendations of the reviewers, the Associate Editors issue one of the following decisions:

  • Publish as is: The manuscript can be published and no further changes are required.
  • Minor revision: The manuscript could be published after minor revisions.
  • Major revision: The manuscript might be published after major revision, but further review is necessary.
  • Reject: The manuscript is not suitable forAPL Photonics.


If your manuscript is not accepted for publication in APL Photonics, an editor may recommend a transfer to another AIP Publishing journal for immediate consideration. In some cases, the transfers are offered after consultations with the editors of other AIP Publishing journals.

If you choose to transfer your manuscript, all reviewer reports and editor recommendations will be transferred along with the manuscript. Please visit the receiving journal's website for more information. Manuscripts must meet the receiving journal’s acceptance criteria. Note that there is no guarantee that the receiving journal will publish a transferred manuscript.

Re-use of Material from Conference Proceedings

Although APL Photonics has no objections to authors who wish to make fair and reasonable re-use of material from their conference proceedings paper, such re-use must in full keep with the standards and ethics of scientific publishing. APL Photonics does not support publication of any article which is nearly identical to papers published in a conference proceeding; such dual publication, whether accidental or deliberate, can be detrimental to an author’s publication record or history. The editors of APL Photonics will decide whether an author has applied “fair and reasonable” re-use standards or whether a paper derived from conference proceedings has sufficient additional material to warrant a new publication. To support and enable informed decisions by journal editors, and referees, all authors who have re-used content from their conference proceedings paper must supply at submission a statement on dual publication, accompanied with a clear description of the material reproduced from their proceedings paper. APL Photonics requests that any author(s) deriving a journal article from their proceedings paper must obtain permissions from the proceedings Publisher if figures and tables are reused, and always include a citation to their proceedings paper, whether that paper has been published or is due to be published in a conference proceedings volume. Obtaining proper permissions and inserting a citation demonstrates compliance with this policy and is in the interest of openness and disclosure.


Appeals of decisions to reject manuscripts are handled by the Editor-in-Chief on an ad hoc basis. If the Editor-in-Chief finds that a plausible argument for reconsideration has been made, he/she may seek further advice, for example, from an additional referee acting in the usual capacity. In some instances, the Editor-in-Chief may ask an Associate Editor, a member of the Editorial Board, or an expert whose judgment the Editor-in-Chief respects to review the manuscript and its review history.

If the decision to reject is upheld, any subsequent appeal will be reviewed by the Publisher at AIP Publishing. The Publisher will not decide whether or not a paper should be accepted for publication, but rather will assess whether procedures were followed properly. Additional rounds of review or adjudication would be warranted only if proper procedures were not followed.

Format and content: Content types, definition, and length

APL Photonics publishes a range of article types to best serve our authors and readers. Original research manuscripts may be submitted to APL Photonics in Article or Letter format. We have three formats for articles presenting more historical summaries of research areas: reviews, perspectives, and tutorials.

APL Photonics also publishes Special Topics, which are collections of articles around a topic of interest that are curated by one or more Guest Editors. These collections highlight new and cutting-edge developments in an area of photonics.

Articles are full length, in-depth, clear, and definitive reports on novel and timely research studies in areas appropriate to the Journal. Articles should not contain previously published material and should have a significant quantity of new material. Authors should avoid spreading related results over several papers when the scientific argument would be made more persuasively by grouping many results into a single paper. The utility of new methods or techniques should be demonstrated, for example by a significant result using the new method. Routine experiments or calculations that simply extend previous methods to a new system are not appropriate unless the results are used to significantly advance the solution of an important problem. Authors should place their work in context by referencing relevant published literature, but material that is exclusively review in nature is not appropriate.

Articles should include sufficient experimental information to allow others to reproduce the reported results. Supplementary material may be included, and video/multimedia files are encouraged.

Letters (up to 3500 words) provide rapid dissemination of an individual and important new finding whose publication will be relevant to the majority of researchers in the field. Authors submitting a manuscript for consideration as a Letter must provide justification for rapid publication. Timeliness and relevance of the subject matter are important criteria for acceptability, as well as brevity, accuracy, and clarity of presentation. Each Letter should be self-contained. Serial publication of several short articles as Letters, rather than a comprehensive longer article, is discouraged.

Letters should include sufficient experimental information to allow others to reproduce the findings presented. Videos/multimedia files are encouraged. Although Supplementary Material is encouraged for Letters, it should not be used to reduce the length of the primary manuscript from an Article to a Letter.

Reviews are by invitation from the Editors' Team and are on topics of critical importance to the photonics research community. Reviews should provide a comprehensive overview of innovative research in photonics. They do not present new research or contain substantial author opinions that would otherwise be appropriate for a perspective. Reviews should serve as an entry point for researchers new to the field who wish to access its current state. Reviews are typically invited by the editorial team.

Perspectives are by invitation from the Editors' Team and are on topics currently generating a great deal of interest in the photonics research community. They are intended to provide a look at recent advances in a subfield of photonics and where it is headed. A Perspective needs to contain an assessment of the current status of the field, and this can be achieved either through a mini-review component, or with the presentation of new, unpublished data and original results. Invited Perspectives are distinctly different from Review articles, as emphasis is put on very recent developments, possibly leading to disruptive technologies, open questions and possible solutions. Perspectives are characterized by personal views and opinions of the authors, who are recognized experts in their field.

Tutorials are by invitation from the Editors' Team and aim to further APL Photonics’ mission of serving the broad photonics community. As such, Invited Tutorials reflect the high standards of the journal. Invited Tutorials are intended as educational tools at the advanced graduate level to help shape the new generation of researchers in photonics as well as to support researchers interested in specific topics/techniques and/or improving their skills in particular areas. Invited Tutorials are not required to include original research content, but should explain – from an educational perspective – principles and/or techniques in a particular research area. They are also expected to communicate a broad overview of the objectives, results, and open questions in that area of study. Invited Tutorials can be extended papers or shorter contributions on more specialized topics.

Comments and Responses (up to 1000 words): The purpose of a Comment is to point out and correct significant errors or deficiencies in a published APL Photonics article, to take issue with conclusions reached, or to inject additional insight or corroboration even when the article is not believed to contain an error. Comments are meant to address scientific issues only and must be concise, substantive, and free of emotional argument. Controversy on all questions of priority should be avoided, as well as calling attention to an oversight in the reference list, because such comments provide no benefit to the scientific community at large. The title of the Comment should read: Comment on "original title" [APL Photonics volume, page (year)]. Equations, tables, figures, and figure captions must all be considered when estimating length.

A Response to a Comment is solicited from the authors of the original article in question. The Response must conform to the above requirements, including the 1000-word maximum. The title of the response should read: Response to 'Comment on "original title" ' [APL Photonics, volume, page (year)]. Both Comment and Response are reviewed by at least one anonymous referee. If the Comment is rejected, neither the Comment nor the Response will be published. If the Response alone is rejected, the Comment will be published without the Response. No further exchange beyond this point will be considered for publication.

ErrataAPL Photonics publishes Errata, in which the authors correct significant errors of substance in their published manuscripts. The title should read: Erratum: "original title" [APL Photonics, vol., page (year)]. This is followed by the authors' names and institutions and the text of the corrected version. Errata should be written concisely and clearly.

Language and authorship attribution

Language standard: It is the authors’ responsibility to ensure that manuscripts are written clearly. A manuscript can be rejected if the scientific meaning is unclear due to poor English. Manuscripts that do not meet APL Photonics’ language standard will be returned to the authors for rewrite before peer review, during the review process and/or if provisionally accepted pending language editing.

Because good science has no value unless it is clearly communicated, AIP Publishing recommends that authors use AIPP Author Services to improve the quality of your paper’s written English. AIPP Author Services was developed in line with our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion for all authors. Using this service ensures that your paper will be free of language deficiencies, so editors and reviewers will be able to fully understand your research during the review process. A native English-speaking subject matter expert of AIP Author Services will correct spelling, grammar and punctuation and verify the use and consistency of technical terms and content in your paper. Note that this is not a requirement or a guarantee of acceptance for review or publication.

Byline: It is the responsibility of the corresponding author to ensure that all co-authors approve the inclusion of their names in the byline. To remove a co-author’s name, the approval of all of the original authors is required. To add a co-author, written approval is required from that author and all of the co-authors. Papers are not published until all of the required signatures are received.

Equal contribution footnote: In addition to the authors’ placement in the byline, it is sometimes necessary to indicate that more than one author is equally responsible for the reported results. This is accomplished by an alphabetic footnote indicator after the authors' names on the author line of the title page pointing to a footnote at the bottom of the Title page. The following form is used to indicate equal contributions: a)S. Smith and O. Jones contributed equally to this work.

Retraction and correction policies

AIP Publishing takes very seriously its responsibility to maintain the integrity and completeness of the scholarly record of its content for all end users. AIP Publishing places great importance on the authority of articles after they have been published and its policy is based on best practice in the academic publishing community. Changes to articles after they have been published online may be made only under the circumstances outlined in AIP Publishing's Retraction and Correction Policies.

Revised October 2018