Revised December 2011
About Physical Review X:
Physical Review X (PRX) is APS's newest, online-only, and fully open access journal. Its broad scope encompasses all areas of pure, applied, and interdisciplinary physics. PRX carefully applies highly selective editorial standards comparable to those of the top journals in physics and aims to attract, select, and publish papers that are exceptional in originality, substance, and significance. With its open access model and through innovation in content delivery, PRX disseminates important new results, both broadly and effectively, across the global science and engineering community.
The coverage of Physical Review X includes these broadly defined subject areas.
Types of publications:
Physical Review X has two main types of research publications: Research articles and Comments/Replies.
Research articles report original, technically sound, scientifically rigorous, and highly significant research in all areas of physics and allied disciplines. They can be of any length, although additional charges may apply for articles significantly longer than a certain limit (approximately 20 pages). For detailed information please see the PRX Length Guidelines.
As our effort to broaden the reach of publications in the journal, Physical Review X requires authors to submit a succinct, nontechnical Popular Summary that conveys to nonspecialist readers, and even nonscientific readers, the context, the essential message(s) and the significance of the work. The Summary should be concise and no longer than 250 words in length. A final, editorially approved version of the Summary will appear together with the article. For more detailed information, please see the Advice to Authors.
Authors may submit the Summary when making initial submission of their article. They may also submit the Summary, or any revised version of it, at appropriate stages during the review/editorial process. However, delayed post-acceptance submission of the Summary will lead to a delay in the processing of the article toward publication. Therefore we strongly recommend that submission of the Summary be made sufficiently early in the review process.
While the Popular Summary may be subject to certain editorial revision whenever necessary, the responsibility of ensuring the readability, scientific objectiveness, and broad appeal of the Summary lies primarily with its authors.
A research article can be accompanied by Supplemental Material, which is useful information that can enhance, but is not essential to, readers' understanding of the article's main results. Supplemental Material may vary in types and formats, including multimedia files and items such as tables of raw or analyzed data, parameters used in or produced by calculations, and computer codes as well as additional technical details on the work performed. The editors may seek guidance from referees regarding Supplemental Material, who will review the material as necessary.
Comments criticize or correct papers previously published in PRX. Replies to Comments may also be published. Comments and Replies must be free of detectable errors and be of significant scientific values to the readers.
The Comment format is not a vehicle for addenda, nor should it be used as a means to establish priorities or to rectify bibliographic oversights. Papers which clarify or expand on a published paper without criticism or correction, or which present a general discussion of the topic, are also unsuitable.
Comments and Replies must be no longer than one formatted page.
Other miscellaneous types:
Errata are brief statements by the authors of published papers that point out errors in the original papers, describe the correction(s), and when appropriate, any effect on the conclusions of the papers.
A Retraction is a notice that the paper should not be regarded as part of the scientific literature. Possible reasons for this include, among others, presentation of invalid results and inclusion of results that were published previously by the same authors in substantially similar form.
Editorial Policies and Practices:
Physical Review X has an Editorial Board whose members are appointed for three-year terms by the Editor in Chief upon recommendation of the editors. Board members play an important role in guiding and assisting the editorial operations of the journal. They advise the editors on editorial policies and practices; and they may be consulted by the editors regarding specific papers when special assistance is needed. Upon the requests of the editors, they also adjudicate in formal appeals (see below our policy on appeals).
A new manuscript will first be assessed by the editors. If in the judgment of the editors the paper is clearly unsuitable for Physical Review X, it will be rejected without external review by referees; authors of such papers have the same right to appeal as do authors of manuscripts that are rejected after external review (see below our policy on appeals).
For each manuscript that is judged to merit external review, the editors will most commonly select two referees initially. There will be, however, exceptions, as with almost all procedural matters discussed below.
Upon receipt of the referees' reports, the editors evaluate them and make a decision concerning the disposition of the manuscript. The possible outcomes are:
Referee reports are advisory to the editors, but are generally transmitted by the editors to the authors. The editors may withhold or edit these reports for cause.
Any resubmittal that is judged by the editors to require further external review will be subject to additional reviewing. The manuscript may be sent to additional referee(s) if warranted. In most cases the new referee(s) will be provided with pertinent previous correspondence on the manuscript, but not with the identity of the previous referee(s).
A final decision of acceptance or rejection of the revised manuscript is then made by the editors as soon as they conclude that they have sufficient information at hand for doing so. It is the policy of this journal that every effort be made to arrive at a clear decision on disposition within a reasonable time. After acceptance of a manuscript, if further information that seems to warrant investigation is received, the editors will regard it as an obligation to reconsider their decision.
The editors usually begin review of a Comment by seeking a reaction from the author(s) of the paper the Comment criticizes or corrects. It is required that a response be provided within three weeks. Possible reactions include:
The response of the author(s) of the paper in question is not considered as an anonymous review. In most cases an editorial decision of acceptance or rejection of the Comment cannot be made based on the response. The editors will then consult at least one (and more if necessary) independent, anonymous referee regarding the suitability for publication of the Comment (and the Reply, if any). The editors may be selective in deciding what material is forwarded for consideration.
If a Comment meets the acceptance criteria it will be published whether a Reply is published or not. The editors will not delay the publication of a suitable Comment due to the lack of an adequate Reply within the required period. If both are published, the Comment and Reply must appear together, in the same issue. On occasion, a paper will generate several similar Comments. In these cases, the editors may decide to publish only a subset of the Comments received.
The Reply is shown to the authors of a Comment prior to publication or as necessary. Substantial revision of a Comment in response to the Reply may be interpreted by the editors as a sign that the Comment was misconceived, and might be cause for rejection. The editors may choose to restrict further modifications of a Comment or Reply at any stage of the review process, taking the version at hand as final.
Authors may formally appeal a final rejection of their manuscripts by the editors. In such a case, the manuscript and all relevant information, including the identities of the referees, will be sent to a member of the Editorial Board. The Board member may review the case on the existing record or may seek additional expert opinion. The Board member will present an advisory, signed opinion to the editors, which will be sent to authors and/or referees, along with a decision of acceptance or rejection.
If a Board member has provided a referee report on a manuscript prior to appeal, another Board member or the Editor must review the manuscript on appeal. Authors may suggest those Board members they feel are appropriate (or not appropriate) to conduct the review, but the editors are not bound by such suggestions. If there is no suitable Board member available, the editors may appoint an appropriate scientist as an ad hoc Board member to consider a manuscript under appeal.
The author of a manuscript that has been rejected subsequent to an Editorial Board review may request that the case be reviewed by the Editor in Chief of the APS. This request should be addressed to the editors, who will forward the entire file to the Editor in Chief. Such an appeal must be based on errors or inappropriateness in the editorial procedures followed in the review process, and must not be a request for another scientific review. A decision by the Editor in Chief is the ultimate level of review.
Relationship to the other Physical Review journals
Although a member of the Physical Review family of journals, Physical Review X is editorially independent of the other journals. Its editors make their own decisions on manuscripts under consideration by the journal.
Procedurally, the Physical Review family journals, including Physical Review Letters and Physical Review X, allow transfer of a manuscript from one journal to another to take place, provided that the topic of the manuscript fits within the scope of the latter journal. However, the editors of that journal will make their own decision on the disposition of the transferred manuscript.
Under this general policy, the editors of Physical Review X may reject the transferred manuscript without external review if they judge that the manuscript does not fulfill the journal's stringent acceptance criteria. Since the scope of Physical Review X is intended to be broader than what is currently covered by the other Physical Review journals, it is natural that Physical Review X may reconsider papers that have been rejected by the other Physical Review journals primarily for the reason of unmatched scope. In such cases, the editors of Physical Review X may seek external review of the transferred manuscript before reaching a final decision. In rare occasions and if the manuscript has been thoroughly vetted technically by the journal from which it is transferred, the editors of Physical Review X may accept the transferred manuscript for publication without additional external review, typically after consultation with the journal's editorial board.