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What do we want EML to be? How do we get there?

Zhigang Suo's picture

Starting a new journal is risky.  Starting a new journal in mechanics is particularly risky.  The responses to the two recent posts are encouraging, however.

Within two weeks since the first post, the combined reads of the two entries have passed 20,000.  

The title of the journal caused excitement, as well as concern.  Katia told her story of the origin of “Extreme Mechanics”.  She ended by saying, “Extreme Mechanics started as a joke, but people like it."

I know quite a few people who still dislike the title, but strongly support the basic ideas of the new journal.   We might as well see beyond the title and focus on matters of substance.

What do we want EML to be?    Here are the basic ideas of the new journal:

  1. Publish letter-style papers

  2. Publish accepted papers within 8 weeks upon submission.

  3. Publish papers by authors in all disciplines, focusing on the forefront of engineering, medicine, science and entertainment, where advances are rapid and mechanics matters.

The need for a letter-style journal in mechanics has long been recognized.  Here is a 2007 thread of iMechanica discussion on letter-sized papers.  Xuanhe noted, “While interdisciplinary journals such as Science and Nature recognize that a paper's impact is maximized if it is as short as is consistent with providing a focused message, a letter-style interdisciplinary journal is indeed much needed in the mechanics community.”  

The short time from submission to publication is significant to most authors.  Jimmy Hsia, the leader of TEAM EML, remarked, “Although we all know there are so many journals nowadays, to many of us, there is a void in the existing publication venue for fast communication of mechanics related research.  There are ample very interesting mechanics problems and challenges in these areas, such as in soft materials, at small length scales, instability/bifurcation, fluid droplet on patterned solid surfaces, battery materials, cellular and molecular mechanics in biological systems, to mention a few (other examples are given in EML's Aims and Scope). EML intends to help fill that void and meet the needs of the community."

Sulin has articulated Point 3:  EML aims to enable bidirectional interaction between mechanics and everything else.  

EML will cover mechanics done in all approaches, for all purposes, and by people in all disciplines.  

John Rogers, a material scientist and a co-editor-in-chief of EML, has long reached out to mechanics from his own work on stretchable electronics through his collaboration with Younggang Huang.  John Rogers noted, “many exciting technologies and fields of study -- from soft lithography, to flexible/stretchable electronics to mesoscale assembly to bio-inspired imaging devices to implantable energy harvesters -- exploit advanced principles in mechanics to drive progress.  Additionally, work in these areas often uncovers new fundamental concepts in mechanics.  Our hope is that EML will provide a high-profile destination for this type of research.”

The world does not need just another journal in mechanics.  Jiangyu noted, “To be successful, it needs to be viewed as the journal to go for our best works, and it really needs the support of the community.”

As Laney Zhou, Executive Publish at Elsevier, said, we “look forward to a great journey together to make EML THE home of your most exciting and cutting-edge research.”

How do we get there?  A number of people have said that they look forward to reading the first few issues.  Indeed, here is a practical question for potential authors, as articulated by Amir,  “Where do you envision the journal to stand in the spectrum from IJSS and JMPS to APL and PRL to Adv Mater?”  This is an excellent question, but is difficult to answer.  Making predictions is hard, especially about future.  

But creating future can be easier!  Why don't we turn this question to everyone, “What do WE ALL want EML to be?”  

If we feel that the new journal will create a forum to highlight the excitement and significance of mechanics in our own time, we should all submit our best work to EML.   

If we feel that our own subject--mechanics--deserves a high-profile journal, we should all submit our papers that are likely to be cited by fellow researchers.

If we feel rational mechanics, or any other branches of mechanics of deep tradition, is significant today, we should certainly work on it and submit our best papers.

Everyone should take the matter into his or her own hands to shape the development of EML.  “Wait and see” will get us nowhere.     

The Editorial Team will start to review papers on October 1.  In addition to writing your first papers for EML now, please write your suggestions about how we can create a home for all of us.  As Teng noted, we can use iMechanica to harness the wisdom of all of us to build EML, a sweet home for ourselves.

I paraphrase the best known Bostonian one more time.  And so, my fellow mechanicians: ask not what EML can do for you - ask what you can do for EML.


Teng Li's picture

The role of EML should be twofold, a home and a hotel.

On one hand, as Jimmy noted, EML intends to meet the needs of mechanics community and be the home to publish the most interesting and recent discoveries in mechanics related ressearch.

On the other hand, using the analogy between publishing in journals of other fields and staying in a hotel made by Zhigang in response to Arash, EML should also become a hotel with a brand name of mechanics for any researcher who would publish their exciting mechanics-related research.  As mechanicians, from time to time we need to stay in hotels with brand names of applied physics, nanotechnology, etc. Some mechanicians may even stay so frequently in such hotels that become preferred members and be treated with better services. Now let's build a hotel with a brand name of mechanics to help other communities to reach us too.

This way, EML helps enable bidirectional interaction between mechanics and everything else.

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