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IUCr 1997 Report - Commission on Journals

This Commission, representing the three individual Editorial Boards of Acta Crystallographica (Acta), Journal of Applied Crystallography (JAC) and Journal of Synchrotron Radiation (JSR), had a very active year especially in terms of its broad remit (including nearly 100 editorial members), the number of journal pages published and work on two major Special Issues. 1997 has also seen extensive work towards electronic publishing and preparations for Acta's 50th anniversary and JAC's 30th anniversary which will both occur in 1998. Moreover, centralized submission to JSR has shown the way for organizational streamlining for the other journals, especially the setting of improved targets for the reduction of review and publication times to benefit authors, the reduction of administrative burdens on Co-editors and more systematized control of all stages of the submission and publication process by the Chester office. The work of the Chester staff in sustaining the regular work of the journals' production, the heavy workload involved with the Special Issues and the R&D associated with the technical innovations involved in all stages of the publication process have been outstanding. I would especially like to thank them for their hard work in exploring new procedures and willingly taking on board major items such as the two Conference Proceedings Special Issues. In particular, the Synchrotron Radiation Instrumentation (SRI'97) Conference took place in Japan (at SPring-8) in August 1997. The publication of the Proceedings in 1998 in JSR comprising approximately 1100 pages, all fully refereed, has involved a great deal of work for JSR Co-editors and for Chester. Also, the Proceedings of the Small-Angle Scattering Conference from the International Conference on Small Angle Scattering held in Brazil in 1996 were published in JAC and comprised 62 papers. Thus some 20% of the journal pages published have come from these two Special Issues alone. Special Issues have become a substantial part of the Commission's activities. The number of proposals for these is growing, representing as they do the activities of particular communities within the IUCr. These are important and ways have to be explored for streamlining production methods.

The summary over Acta, JAC and JSR is as follows (see Table 1 for full details). The total number of pages published in 1997 was 6329, which compares with 7681 in 1996, 7067 in 1995 and 5786 in 1994. The decrease over 1996 and 1995 can be attributed to a shorter publication format and higher rejection and withdrawal rates in Acta Section C, for which it was agreed at the Seattle Congress that the growing number of pages in Section C (due to the greatly increasing numbers of chemical structures) should be capped and indeed reduced. The median publication times were Section A (4.4 months), Section B (5.7 months), Section C (4.6 months), Section D (5.4 months), JAC (7.0 months) and JSR (2.9 months). Citation statistics showed that the top four rankings amongst crystallographic journals were, in order of ranking, Section D, JAC, Section A and Section B. Moreover, Section D was ranked first out of 21 journals reporting Biochemical Research Methods. JSR, entering the citation rankings for the first time, having now been in existence for four years, was ranked third out of 37 instrumentation journals. Initiatives are in hand to promote the journals much more actively with a view to increasing subscriptions and to moving up the citation rankings, especially in those lists covering biological and chemical results. The individual Editors' comments are summarized below.

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Updated 20th October 1998

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