General Editorial Policies
Focus and Coverage
Physics of Plasmas, published by the American Institute of Physics with the cooperation of The American Physical Society, Division of Plasma Physics, is devoted to original experimental and theoretical contributions to the physics of plasmas.
The scope of contributed material includes:
- Equilibria, linear waves, and instabilities
- Nonlinear behavior, including turbulent and stochastic phenomena and associated transport, and solitons and shock waves
- Plasma physics of lasers and particle beams and charged-particle acceleration and transport
- Radiation generation, transport, propagation, and interaction with plasmas
- Low-temperature plasmas, including sources
- Plasma chemistry and processing
- Geophysical, planetary, solar, and astrophysical plasmas
- Plasma confinement by magnetic fields
- Inertial confinement physics
- Physics of high energy density plasmas or matter under extreme conditions
- Dusty plasmas
Publication Standards and Review Procedures
Physics of Plasmas publishes papers containing significant new research contributions of the highest intellectual caliber. Review and editorial policy and procedures are intended to maintain the Journal's position as the premier international plasma physics journal. The Journal publishes regular articles, Letters, Brief Communications, and review articles. Review articles are accepted for review after prior consultation with the Editor. Letters must meet the additional requirement of timeliness. Comments and Responses on previously published papers and Errata are also published. In addition Physics of Plasmas has recently introduced featured Tutorial (or mini-Tutorial) papers. Please refer to this following link for more information and the submission guidelines.
The Journal also undertakes to publish, after review, sets of papers on a single topic in Special Topic sections. Prior coordination with the Editorial Office is necessary for such papers. Technical and scientific papers based on the invited presentations at the annual APS Division of Plasma Physics Meeting are published in a Special Issue of the Journal. These papers are reviewed and must meet the same standards for acceptance as papers published in regular issues.
Submission to Physics of Plasmas implies that the work has not been submitted, copyrighted, nor accepted for publication elsewhere, and that the corresponding author has obtained the agreement of all co-authors to submission of the manuscript. Physics of Plasmas requires that copyright be assigned to the American Institute of Physics. Since copyright transfer is required before publication, electronic acceptance of the Transfer of Copyright Agreement during the submission process can prevent unnecessary delays.
Submitted manuscripts are screened by the Editor, aided by the Resident Associate Editor. Manuscripts failing to meet acceptable standards of English usage, with incomplete or outdated bibliographies, or the content of which is technically weak or inappropriate for the scope of the journal will generally be rejected on submission. Once accepted for review, the paper is placed with a single referee for regular articles and Brief Communications, and two referees for Letters.
Referees are asked to consider the following points when writing their reviews:
- Does the paper contain significant new research contributions that are important to the field of plasma physics? Is it suitable for publication in Physics of Plasmas or would another journal be more appropriate?
- Is the paper limited to a review of published work without significant new research results or original theories? Is it limited to a modest extension of previous work by the author or others?
- Are the Title, Abstract, and Introduction to the paper sufficiently clear that they are likely to be understood by nonspecialists from other areas of plasma physics and by the broader physics community?
- Are there errors in mathematics, logic, experimental results, or conclusions? If so, please specify the problem(s).
- Is the paper devoted exclusively to the description of scientific instruments or mathematical techniques?
- Are there any parts of the paper (text, tables, figures, detailed mathematical operations) that are unnecessarily long? Please identify any such areas.
- Can the style or the presentation be improved? If so, indicate suggested changes or mark them in the margin of the manuscript.
- Has the paper been written in clear and acceptable English?
- Does the reference list appear to be appropriate? Are the references too one-dimensional, i.e., directed only towards the authors' research or research at the authors' institutions? Do the references provide sufficient background references to allow the reader to place the paper in context with previous and current work?
When considering Letters, referees are also asked to consider the following:
- Timeliness and current importance of the subject matter are important criteria for acceptability.
- Brevity, correctness, and clarity of presentation also determine acceptability.
- Each Letter should be self-contained and may, on occasion, be followed by a comprehensive article in Physics of Plasmas or elsewhere.
- Feasibility studies and proposals for future research are seldom accepted as Letters.
- Serial publication of several short articles as Letters, rather than a comprehensive longer article, should be discouraged.
The Editor reviews the referee reports and determines whether revisions are required. Authors are sent the referee reports and lists of any editorial issues and are given a deadline by which the revised manuscript, with a response to the referee, must be received by the Editorial Office. When appropriate, the Editorial Office will reject manuscripts that are overdue. The revised manuscripts will generally be sent back to the referees for additional review. There is no specific limit on the number of rounds of review; however, should the Editor determine that no progress is being made, the paper can be sent to a second referee or to an adjudicator for a recommendation (see below). Or the paper may be rejected by the Editor if inadequate progress has been made in reconciling differences between the Author and the Referee after two or more revisions and continued negative reviews of the manuscript. The final decision to accept or reject is made by the Editor. Authors may also withdraw papers at any time.
Furthermore, if the Editor, in consultation with Associate Editors with the appropriate technical expertise, determine that a submitted paper contains only incremental technical progress relative to previous work, then the manuscript may be rejected by the Editor. Special scrutiny in this regard will be applied to frequent submissions on a similar topic by the same authors within the past few years, or to resubmission of a paper similar to one previously rejected by Physics of Plasmas. The guiding principle in such cases is that Physics of Plasmas publishes only papers containing significant new research contributions of the highest intellectual caliber.
The following is the editorial policy on the publication of papers in Physics of Plasmas with primary focus on the verification and validation of theoretical models used to predict plasma behavior. Theoretical models, both analytical and numerical, are playing an increasingly important role in predicting complex plasma behavior, and providing a scientific understanding of the underlying physical processes. A key element of this research, which often makes use of large-scale computations, is the systematic verification and validation of the theoretical models. In this context, ‘verification’ refers to the demonstration that a particular computer code yields accurate solutions of the underlying analytical model, whereas ‘validation’ refers to the demonstration that the analytical model accurately reproduces experimental behavior. Since the ability of a theoretical model to predict plasma behavior is a key measure of the model’s accuracy and its ability to advance scientific understanding, it is the policy of Physics of Plasmas to encourage the submission of manuscripts whose primary focus is the verification and/or validation of codes and analytical models aimed at predicting plasma behavior. Such manuscripts will of course be subject to the same rigorous peer-review process as other papers submitted to Physics of Plasmas.
Comments and Responses. The purpose of a Comment is to correct significant errors in articles published in the Journal, to take issue with the conclusions reached, or to provide additional insight or corroboration. Comments must be concise, substantive, and free of polemics. They must address scientific issues only. Comments on questions of priority or calling attention to an oversight in a reference list are discouraged. The Editor will decide on the acceptance of Comments and Responses for publication only after the two parties have submitted final versions of their pieces. The Editor reserves the right to send the pieces to an adjudicator or to reject the pieces for publication.
Errata. The Journal publishes errata, in which authors correct significant errors of substance in their published manuscripts. Errata should be as short as is consistent with clarity.
The Editor may decide to place a manuscript in adjudication under certain conditions, including, but not limited to, irreconcilable differences between the author and the referee, conflicting recommendations from multiple referees, or when there are serious doubts concerning the appropriateness of the manuscript for publication. The adjudicator is given all of the relevant correspondence and all versions of the manuscript to review. The Editor makes the final decision on rejection or publication based on the recommendation of the adjudicator and after an in-house review of the file.
An author may appeal the Editor's decision to reject a manuscript by making a request to the Editor that the case be reviewed by the Executive Director of AIP. The Executive Director will not make direct decisions 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 only be called for if proper procedures were not followed.
For specific editorial format requirements and submission information, see Information for Contributors.
Retraction and Correction Policies
AIP takes its responsibility to maintain the integrity and completeness of the scholarly record of our content for all end users very seriously. AIP places great importance on the authority of articles after they have been published and our policy is based on best practice in the academic publishing community. Changes to articles after they have been published online may only be made under the circumstances outlined in AIP's Retraction and Correction Policies which can be accessed here.
It is possible to transfer a rejected manuscript to another AIP journal for consideration. A list and descriptions can be found here: http://journals.aip.org/. Carefully review the acceptance criteria for the journal you believe would be appropriate for your manuscript. If you feel that your manuscript would be appropriate for publication in another of AIP's journals you may request a transfer by email. Please note that transferring manuscript files does not guarantee that the manuscript will be considered by the receiving journal. It is only meant to offer the technical facility to allow transfer of manuscript files and correspondence without the inconvenience of having to resubmit from journal to journal.
Ronald C. Davidson, Editor
(Revised March 2012)