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Meet the Editors of Materials Research Letters

Yuntian T. Zhu and Quanxi Jia

Meet the Editors

We sat down with our Editors-In-Chief, Prof. Yuntian T. Zhu and Prof. Quanxi Jiato, to ask them about Materials Research Letters (MRL), including their plans for the journal and what it can do for authors looking to publish their Materials Science research.

Here is what they had to say.

As Editors-in-Chief for MRL, how do you think the journal contributes to the research community?

Before we launched the MRL, we found that there was no fast and high impacting communication journal in our field that was comparable to Physical Review Letters in the physics community. This is particularly the case for structural materials. We are striving to fill the need of the materials community in both structural and functional materials. The impact factor of MRL has reached to 7.44, and we expect it will raise to above 10 in a few years.

What makes MRL unique is that we have a large number of Editorial Review Board members who are active and well-respected researchers. By the rule, MRL editors cannot reject a paper without review if he/she is not an expert on the topic area. The experts on the Editorial Review Board help with pre-screening manuscripts and recommend to Editors if submitted manuscripts should go through a full peer review process. This greatly reduces, if not eliminates, the situations in which hyped manuscripts get reviewed and good submissions are rejected without full review. We, as researchers ourselves, have had too much such kind of experience. We want to relieve this situation in our community.

Yuntian, congratulations on winning the Robert Franklin Mehl Award! What would your advice be to researchers hoping to achieve similar success in your field?

My research group is mostly experimental. I have been telling my group members that the less experiments we do, the better. In other words, think about the problem thoroughly first, and then design experiments to validate the hypothesis.

I also like to focus more on the physics of materials, instead of just microstructure-properties. A record on material property may not last long, but the new physics is always relevant and can guide new material development for many years to come.

What’s the most innovative paper you’ve seen in the journal in recent years?

Many papers published in MRL are highly innovative. It is very tough for us to pick up only one or two papers!

Here we highlight only one paper in the field of entropy-stabilized oxides that could be potentially used as high dielectric constant materials. This paper entitled “Multicomponent equiatomic rare earth oxides” was published in MRL, vol. 5, Issue 2, pp.102-109 (2017).

What research topics would you like to see more of in the journal this year?

We would like to see more research pushing the boundaries to design and develop novel materials with much enhanced and/or desired properties and performance in advanced technologies such as 1) light-weight, energy efficient transportation, 2) energy generation and storage, and 3) health and medical devices and implants.

Given the limited number of papers we can accept, we would like to see manuscripts that have significant impact in the materials science and technology in general. Some research topics we would like to see in this year are high-entropy alloys, heterostructured materials, super alloys, additive manufacturing, quantum materials, data-driven materials design and development, and 2D materials with real-time tunable functionalities.


What are the benefits to authors of publishing in a fully open access journal like Materials Research Letters?

The journal provides authors with a great platform to disseminate their research results in a timely and broad manner.  On average, the MRL papers are downloaded for over 1000 times per paper.

As a fully open access journal, this offers several benefits to authors. Papers are made immediately available, free of charge to all, allowing authors’ research to address a wide audience increasing the author’s and their institute’s profile. Many funding agencies encourage immediate open access publication or are implementing a policy to mandate open access publication. The open access model also allows for quick proliferation of results, meaning research can move faster and be more impactful.

What support can you give researchers hoping to publish in your journal?

We’d like to let the authors know that the Editorial Board and the Editorial Review Board are paying most attention to the innovation and broad impact of submissions. The paper needs to report significant breakthroughs in materials science and engineering, instead of incremental progress. Furthermore, the paper needs to have potential for broad impact. It is also noted that the reviewers are instructed to follow the review guidance where both innovation and impact are heavily weighted.

As Materials Research Letters are committed to providing a rapid and fair review process, we will strive to let author(s) know our decision within two weeks if their manuscript is not sent out for peer review so that they could seek publication elsewhere without further delay. Every submission will be screened by the Editorial Board and/or Editorial Review Board before the corresponding editor sends it out to reviewers.

Please look at the Taylor & Francis Author Services website before submitting your article, which offers helpful advice and step-by-step guidance for authors. Editing services is available for those who may need assistance with translation and language polishing.

How can someone who wishes to publish in Materials Research Letters go about doing so?

We would like to emphasize that the manuscript to be considered for publication in MRL must clearly show the novelty, originality, and broad impact in materials sciences and technologies.  Please check the journal's Aims and Scope to make sure your research topic is suitable for publication in the journal. MRL has a strict requirement on the format as well (please see our Instructions for Authors for more information).

Before spending time to write a paper for MRL, the authors should think about if the paper meets the above criteria. In the cover letter, the authors need to clearly state the innovation of the paper and to justify its publication in MRL This gives authors an opportunity to explain why their research is important and should be peer reviewed.

When you are ready to submit your paper, please do so via the journal homepage.

Ready to submit?

If you're feeling inspired to publish your research in Materials Research Letters, click on the options below. 

Aims & Scope Instructions for Authors Submit Now 

Why Publish Open Access?

Publishing open access can increase the visibility of your research, helping you make an impact beyond your field.
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