APS journals are important to our authors, our readers, and our members. The strength of our journals program enables us to provide many of our society's member benefits, such as the APS Education Center, outreach activities, committee support, student development initiatives, and new program development.
We are aware that publication speed is important to authors and readers. During the past six months, our accepted manuscript turnaround time after peer review has slowed. As a result, our "Just Published" papers and current issues are significantly behind schedule. We have been alerting corresponding authors over the past few months about these publication delays.
How did we get to this point?
Our journal production vendor of more than 25 years made a significant change at the end of 2020 by purchasing its own composition company in India, where most scholarly publishing typesetting occurs. In addition to the COVID-19–related challenges there, this newly acquired company has struggled to deliver to APS standards. Figure quality, XML formatting, and workflow have been severely compromised, slowing the release of the excellent research our authors are publishing.
What are we doing about it?
Our publishing teams at APS and at the Vermont headquarters of our production vendor have been working to address these issues since they were discovered in March. This has slowed the progress of publishing individual articles and issues, as APS staff is now doing more rounds of quality control—sometimes up to four additional verification rounds after our authors have approved their proofs.
We have been working with our vendor daily to help train composition staff on our journals and help them improve quality. We are looking at all options, which includes interviewing other production vendors. We are hoping our long-time production vendor will be able to make measurable improvements soon, as onboarding a new production vendor would not be a quick solution. In the meantime, we are asking the APS research community to continue to publish in our journals, as the health of our society depends on our authors.
APS thanks the hundreds of authors impacted by this slowdown for their patience and continued support. Be assured that our editorial boards continue to operate with their high-quality peer review to APS standards. The APS publications team remains committed to providing the best publishing experience possible as we work on improving turnaround times.