Papers are accepted for publication in APL according to the following criteria:
Content: The mission of APL is to offer prompt publication of short experimental and theoretical reports on significant findings in applied physics. To be acceptable for publication in APL, the submission should be original and interesting to the Applied Physics community, and contain sufficient physics, as opposed to mere recipes or fabrication. Papers that do not have a strong component of applied physics will be returned to the authors.
Novelty: Emphasizing rapid dissemination of key data and new physical insights, APL only publishes papers containing new results that have not been submitted elsewhere. With rapid growth in journal size, we are no longer able to consider for publication every submission that is merely free from error. We aim at publishing papers that represent substantial advancement of established knowledge or that report significant novel development in applied physics. Manuscripts that, in the reviewers' or editors' opinion, fall short of this standard will not be accepted. Particular requirements have been established for papers that focus on device proposals and materials preparations.
* Device proposals: A number of manuscripts submitted to APL concern proposed devices that have not yet been constructed. Our policy is to consider such submissions only if one or more of the three following criteria apply: (i) it contains sufficient novel theory to qualify as a theoretical paper, (ii) sample experimental data by the author are included to demonstrate that the idea is feasible, and (iii) the idea is of such novelty and potential importance that (i) and (ii) can be waived.
* Materials preparations: Our criterion for considering manuscripts in the area of materials preparation, including thin-film synthesis and processing, is that the paper contains more than one of the following features: (i) new or unique methods in preparation of materials/films, and/or (ii) novel, unusual, or excellent properties, and (iii) physics, not merely recipes. Although recipes can be helpful to the community, there are other places to publish them, including conference proceedings.
We discourage use of words like "new" and "novel" because of their redundancy. In fact, if the findings are not new or novel, they should not be submitted to APL. Other trivial priority claims, such as "for the first time," should also be eliminated. Similarly, the escape clause "to our knowledge" should be avoided, because the reader has no idea of how diligently and competently the writer has searched for prior work in the field.
Timeliness: One of the questions on the reviewer's checklist is: "Is the paper especially important, interesting, and timely enough to warrant rapid publication in Applied Physics Letters?" A fraction of papers, which report new results but in a mature field, do not fulfill the condition of timeliness required by APL, and should be submitted for consideration as a Communication elsewhere.
Serial Submissions: Publication of ongoing work in a series of papers should be avoided. We believe that, while there is a need for rapid communication of important results, the literature becomes fractured and less accessible when serial publication of specialized advances becomes the norm. Serial submissions designed solely to meet the length requirement are not suitable for publication in APL. Instead, the authors should report their results in a full-length paper for submission to a regular journal. The scientific community will be better served by a comprehensive paper than by several separate Letters.
Readability: Manuscripts must be written in correct American English. This is the responsibility of the authors, not the editors. Papers that are judged to be below the standards for APL will be returned to the authors for rewriting and can be rejected for the language reason alone. Such problems may be avoided and publication expedited if the manuscript is edited by an English-speaking colleague or a professional editing service before the initial submission.
Length: Applied Physics Letters has a firm policy of returning manuscripts that exceed the length limit of 3500 words to the author for shortening before consideration. If a manuscript requires more than this it is not a Letter and should be submitted to a regular journal. Guidelines for estimating length are included in the Author Instructions.
Format: Author Instructions are published in the first issue of every volume, twice a year, and is also posted on the Journal's website. Rapid changes in publication technology require that authors follow the instructions for preparation of figures with particular care (for detailed information, see
Bylines: It is the responsibility of the person submitting the paper to ensure that all authors approve the inclusion of their names on the byline. In addition, whenever the name of a co-author is removed from, or added to, the byline of a paper after the date of submission, we must have a signed concurrence of that co-author before publication.
Copyright: Applied Physics Letters requires that copyright be assigned to the American Institute of Physics. It is a tradition of long standing that submission to APL implies that the work has neither been copyrighted, nor accepted for publication elsewhere. Since copyright transfer is required before publication, electronic acceptance of the Transfer of Copyright Agreement during the submission process can prevent unnecessary delays. APL also requires authors to inform the editors if a paper has been previously submitted to another journal, whether or not it is currently active with that journal.
Patents: Submission of manuscripts that contain patentable ideas is at the author's risk, and neither APL nor the American Institute of Physics assumes any responsibility in this regard.