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by Roger Stoller

ASTM is pleased to announce the Journal of ASTM International. This journal will be ASTM’s first electronic-only publication, with all papers being published on the ASTM Web site.

The motivation for starting a new journal at this time comes from the results of an evaluation of ASTM’s existing journals and the Special Technical Publications (STP) program, as well as current trends in the scientific and technical publishing community. This study was initiated by ASTM’s Standing Committee on Publications (COP), and carried out by a task group of COP and ASTM staff members.

In recent years, authors have expressed three primary concerns regarding ASTM’s STP publication program. First, STP papers are not cited by key indexing services. This is an issue for all authors but particularly for those at academic institutions and major research laboratories. The second concern is the decline in the number of STPs distributed. This also has an impact on author recognition because their technical papers are not reaching the people who need them. The third concern is also relatively broad-based, that of timeliness of publication. Each paper published in an STP is effectively held up for publication until the last paper from the symposium clears the review and editorial process.

After discussing these and other issues, the task group recommended that ASTM launch a new journal that will meet the needs of authors and provide broader distribution of published information. The format and structure of the journal will be consistent with the criteria of the major indexing and abstracting services, and it will offer authors better recognition and visibility. Exploiting the online format will ensure prompt publication of technical information, since individual articles can be published immediately after they have been peer reviewed and edited. The enhanced capabilities for electronic access and searching of papers published in the journal will facilitate broad distribution of the information. Finally, this journal will serve the interests of ASTM’s standards development activities and its technical committees by providing a more cost- effective mechanism for disseminating and retrieving technical information.

In summary, the new Journal of ASTM International will:

• Be ASTM’s first online only journal;
• Provide a rapid method for publication of technical papers;
• Be peer reviewed and edited;
• Elevate the prestige, recognition, citation rate, and availability of papers published in the journal;
• Contain published papers from symposia as well as solicited and unsolicited papers;
• Publish 10 issues a year with approximately 15 papers per issue; and
• Provide electronic access and searching.

Journal Scope

The scope of the new journal is to serve the international scientific and engineering community through timely publication of the results of original research and critical review articles in the physical and life sciences and engineering technologies. These peer-reviewed papers will cover diverse topics relevant to the science and research that establish the foundation for standards development within ASTM International.

The editorial objectives of the journal are:

• To publish theoretical and empirical models of the physical, chemical, and mechanical behavior of materials, processes, and systems, and
• To report on experimental investigations to characterize the performance of materials, processes, and products.

Journal Content

It is anticipated that the journal will publish technical papers covering a broad range of topics of interest to ASTM and its technical committees. Seven topic areas have been identified to provide structure for the journal content. These topic areas are:

• Materials Performance and Characterization
• Nuclear Science and Technology
• Civil Engineering and Building Materials
• Petroleum and Chemical Engineering
• Environmental Science and Technology
• General Methods and Instrumentation
• Medical, Health, and Safety

Journal Editorial Structure

The editorial board will comprise an editor in chief, associate editors representing each of the seven sections, and additional editorial board members as needed to ensure adequate coverage of the various technical topics represented by the sections. Symposia chairs will participate as guest editors to assist in selecting papers from symposia and aid in the peer review process for these papers. Sheldon Dean, president of Dean Corrosion Technology, Inc., has agreed to serve as the first editor in chief of the journal.

Relationship to Symposia Program

In the future, symposia papers that pass the journal’s peer review process will be published in the new online journal. Symposia chairs will be recognized as guest editors in the journal for handling the peer review process for symposia papers that ultimately appear in the journal. ASTM will continue to publish STPs where commitments for an STP have been made. During the transition period, symposia chairmen may select papers from their symposia and submit them for publication in the journal, where they will published after passing peer review. For such papers, the primary publication reference will be the journal, and the STP publication will be considered a reprint. After 2004, the STP program will end.

Information Distribution with an Online Publication

With an online journal, ASTM will be able to make PDF (portable document format) copies of papers available for purchase and download. This publish-on-demand feature will be available for individual papers or groups of papers. Collections of papers will be available for all those that were presented at a symposium and published in the journal. Electronic access will be available for individual subscriptions (via password) and institutional subscriptions (via IP address). An annual CD will be available for archival purposes.

Since the papers are published electronically, authors may use color images as they desire. Electronic publication will also permit easy searching of the table of contents, authors, authors’ affiliations, key words, and symposia topics. The articles will be cross-referenced to allow for increased availability and citation of the articles resulting in more recognition for our contributing authors.

Summary

The Journal of ASTM International is intended to become the premier publishing vehicle for technical information of interest to ASTM. The success of the journal is dependent upon its attracting high quality contributions from a broad range of authors. ASTM welcomes unsolicited contributions from its members and their colleagues to this new journal, and asks for their support in publicizing its existence. //

Copyright 2003, ASTM

Roger Stoller is chairman of the ASTM Standing Committee on Publications. He is a senior research staff member at The Oak Ridge National Laboratory; and serves as chairman of Committee E 10
on Nuclear Technology and Applications.