Roadmap Reviews: a success story

Back in 2012, the Editorial Board of JPhysD had an idea for a brand new article type: a Roadmap Review. Of course, in several communities, the idea of a roadmap – a perspective article looking at past and future developments in a specific field – wasn’t entirely new. However the approach suggested by Uwe Czarnetzki, Section Editor of the low-temperature plasmas and plasma-surface interaction section of JPhysD, was a little different: multiple expert authors, each of whom contributes a very short section of just two journal pages, each summing up the history, current activities and their personal view of the future.

Example of a plasma in contact with a cell culture from the 2012 Plasma Roadmap, Copyright IOP Publishing, All Rights Reserved.

Example of a plasma in contact with a cell culture from the 2012 Plasma Roadmap, Copyright IOP Publishing, All Rights Reserved.

Like chapters of a book, these sections are collected together as one Roadmap Review, offering the reader a concise guide to the current challenges within a topic or subject area, and a suggestion of what may be still to come. As Professor Czarnetzki said in the original review, “Even for experts the road to the future is sometimes lost in the mist.”

This ambitious article, which became the 2012 plasma roadmap, has been cited over 80 times since publication, and continues to serve as a reference to all those in the low-temperature plasma field. Four years on, and it’s once again time to start thinking about the future. Five years is a sensible increment in which to update such a review, and the next instalment, the 2017 plasma roadmap is already under development for publication next year.

Spatio-temporal intermittency (top) and polarization rogue waves in a fiber laser (bottom) from the Journal of Optics Roadmap on optical rogue waves and extreme events, copyright IOP Publishing, All Rights Reserved

Spatio-temporal intermittency (top) and polarization rogue waves in a fiber laser (bottom) from the Journal of Optics Roadmap on optical rogue waves and extreme events, Copyright IOP Publishing, All Rights Reserved.

After witnessing the success of our first roadmap, other sections of JPhysD and other IOP titles decided to commission their very own, some covering an entire field and others more specialised, focussing on a particularly fast-moving area such as super-resolution microscopy, co-authored by Nobel Prize winner Stefan Hell.

In 2013, a second roadmap was published in Superconductor Science and Technology on superconductivity and the environment. Again, leaders in the field were called upon for their opinion on the self-described “ultimate energy-saving technology”.

JPhysD’s own Magnetism section followed the trend and published their roadmap in 2014.

Most recently, Journal of Optics has published the latest in a series of Roadmaps, on optical rogue waves and extreme events, optical communications and biosensing and photonics with advanced nano-optical methods.

As all of these roadmaps explain, the future is sometimes difficult to predict. But one thing is for certain; there are more of these articles on the way. At JPhysD we are currently working on our next instalments on oxide electronic materials and oxide interfaces, and terahertz science and technology. Watch this space for their publication very soon.


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Plasma image from Seiji Samukawa et al 2012 J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 45 253001, rogue wave image from Nail Akhmediev et al 2016 J. Opt. 18 063001 Copyright IOP Publishing, All Rights Reserved.



Categories: Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics

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