Prof. James Leger is Editor-in-Chief of Optics Express

Prof. James Leger has been named the Editor-in-Chief (EiC) of Optics Express, one of the Optical Society of America’s flagship journals.  Jim started the position in January this year. It is a three year appointment that is renewable once.   With this appointment, he takes leadership of one of the largest optics journals in circulation.

As Editor-in-Chief, Jim is responsible for the overall management of the journal, setting policy and direction, managing and hiring personnel, and ensuring that the journal maintains its high standards of technical quality and fairness. He is assisted by 119 associate editors and 10 deputy editors to handle the over 7,000 submissions made annually to the journal.*

Starting in 1994 as a topical editor for OSA’s Applied Optics, Jim has been involved with editing almost every year since.  His first position at Optics Express in 2004 was as an associate editor, where he was responsible for soliciting reviewers and making final decisions on paper acceptance.  He moved to the position of deputy editor in 2010 where he managed a large number of associate editors and participated in policy decisions.  In 2013 he was elevated to the position of senior deputy editor, where he ran large projects for the journal, helped shape journal policy, and served as vice Editor-in-Chief. The current Editor-in-Chief position caps a twenty-three year editing career with OSA journals.

“Whether it is serving as a reviewer or an editor, our individual efforts are critical to academic discourse.”

In his inaugural journal editorial, Jim described the changes in the academic publishing landscape over the last several decades, and how the internet has been central to this transformation.  Commenting on his first editing experience at Applied Optics in 1994, he observed, “Applied Optics was an all-print journal that was still sending review material through the US mail.  The thought of an all-electronic journal [such as Optics Express] was a foreign concept to many of us….Over the last twenty years, Optics Express has transformed the landscape of publishing in optics, and in the process has become one of the most desirable journals in which to publish.”

Reflecting on  his new position, Jim said, “I believe that peer-reviewed journals are central to a healthy academic community, and that we all have a duty to support the review process.  Whether it is serving as a reviewer or an editor, our individual efforts are critical to academic discourse.” With the appointment of his EiC position, Jim will be working to keep this discourse healthy for the future.

To provide some perspective within the realm of academic publishing, the 3200 articles published in Optics Express last year was second in number only to Nature Communications in the optics and photonics category. The H5 index, a measure of the number of highly cited articles published in the last five years, is second only to Nature Photonics.