This year we celebrate the 85th anniversary of the Journal of Applied Physics, which launched in 1931. Originally named “Physics,” the Journal was meant to capture how physics underpinned the industrial development of society. In 1937, it was renamed Journal of Applied Physics to emphasize the applied nature of the research being published. Ever since, it has been the link between fundamental physics and engineering and remains the place where researchers can read and publish outstanding work covering the full breadth of applied physics. To celebrate this rich legacy, and as a bridge to the Journal's future, “85 papers for 85 years” will be collected and made freely available for the community in 2016.

This occasion not only affords us with an opportunity to proudly look back and reflect on what the Journal has accomplished, but also look forward and build on the strategies that will continue to drive its success. We continue to adapt and change in order to attract the best papers in applied physics.

In last year's editorial, I introduced the theme of “raising the bar.” We instituted a new editorial structure, with Deputy Editors and Associate Editors, to support the uniformity of standards across the Journal. We listened to the community and implemented a two-reviewer system to provide authors with more feedback that could help them improve their manuscripts. Journal of Applied Physics wants to not only be the home for the best papers in the field, but also the place where research reporting is improved and driven forward through rigorous peer review. I thank the community of authors and reviewers for embracing such changes with gratitude and dedication to the Journal.

I am now happy to announce several initiatives for this coming year. First, in 2016 the Journal will launch two new article types, Invited Perspectives and Invited Tutorials. Topics and invited authors for these papers are selected after extensive discussions among the Journal Editors on high profile subjects in applied physics today.

Invited Perspectives will be written by recognized experts in the field, and are intended to provide a look at recent advances in a subfield of applied physics and where it is headed. Invited Perspectives introduce the current status of the topic, and are characterized by personal views and opinions of the authors, with emphasis on very recent developments, possibly leading to disruptive technologies, open questions, and possible solutions.

Invited Tutorials are intended as an educational tool at the graduate-level and are written in a way that is accessible to newcomers to the field who wish to learn more about the topic. They are dedicated to modern or emerging areas of applied physics not yet well covered by standard text books. Invited Tutorials are not intended to provide original research but they aim to explain principles and techniques in a particular research area of applied physics.

With the Invited Perspectives and Tutorials initiative, we aim to enhance the role of Journal of Applied Physics within the community and to further our mission towards the next generation of researchers. Invited Perspectives and Invited Tutorials will be free to access for one year and prominently displayed on the journal's webpage.

Another initiative is to reinvigorate the role of the Editorial Advisory Board. Until the end of 2015, Journal of Applied Physics and Applied Physics Letters had a joint Editorial Advisory Board, a legacy from “the early days” when Applied Physics Letters was launched in 1962 as a companion publication to Journal of Applied Physics. While Applied Physics Letters and Journal of Applied Physics continue to work closely together, each journal now has its own board, which will enable the Editors-in-Chief to more directly solicit journal and manuscript-specific advice. I thank the members of the previous joint board and warmly welcome members to the new board, both those who continue to serve and those who are newly appointed. As we strive to enhance the role of Journal of Applied Physics within the community, we have defined the new Editorial Advisory Board to reflect the great diversity within applied physics and to also include representatives from different career stages. The list of board members can be found on the Journal's website.1 

Starting with the first volume of 2016, we are introducing minor adjustments to the Table of Contents. Section 51 will be renamed: “Physics of Materials, Including Electrical, Thermal, Mechanical, and Other Properties,” and Section 31 will be “Photonics; Plasmonics; Photovoltaics; Lasers; Optical Materials and Phenomena.” These adjustments will emphasize the place of contributions in the field of materials sciences within the Journal. In accordance with the acceptance criteria, manuscripts in materials sciences need to have a focus on applied physics and highlight the WHY question, by exploring the physical reasons for material properties.

I conclude my Editorial with words of gratitude to authors, reviewers, and readers, who have supported the Journal through the years. Working on the Journal is a team effort, and I have the honor to collaborate with a dedicated and enthusiastic group of colleagues. I would like to thank the Deputy and Associate Editors for their passion for science and efforts on behalf of the Journal. I also would like to express my appreciation to the editorial office and production staff for their conscientious and professional role in accompanying the manuscripts through the peer-review process and into publication, and to the broad AIP Publishing team that supports Journal of Applied Physics. Special thanks go to Associate Editor Dr. Marcos Grimsditch who is retiring after serving the journal since a time when non-computerized manuscript handling was still common. He told me about foot-high piles of manuscripts, one shelf per editor, with piles “for reviewer assignment,” “author responses,” etc., with a cover note to the staff attached to each physical manila folder stating what the next step was. While this was the process for most of the last 85 years, today it is hard to imagine that such a system could actually work! It is a testament to the history that built us and an encouragement for the future that we are shaping for the journal.

With best wishes for a fruitful 2016 to the entire Journal of Applied Physics' community,

André Anders