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Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics from OSA

From Gregory Faris' debut editorial:

January 2006 marks the debut of a new virtual journal, the Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics, published monthly by the Optical Society of America (OSA). As a virtual journal, each issue provides links to articles that have appeared in conventional journals on a common topic, specifically, biomedical optics. Initially, the virtual journal will collect articles published in OSA journals. The OSA journals with biomedical optics content are primarily Applied Optics, Optics Letters, the Journal of the Optical Society of America A, and the online journal Optics Express. The scope of source journals will be broadened over time.

The term biomedical optics includes a broad range of subtopics. For the virtual journal, biomedical optics is considered to include research involving the interface between light and medicine or biology. This research can involve size scales ranging from submicrometer subcelluar structures to human organs on the scale of many centimeters. The role of light in biomedical optics can vary from that of a noninvasive probe such as for medical diagnostics or cellular studies, to an active tool to performcellular or tissuemodifications or therapies, to a source of stimulus such as for vision research. The virtual journal will also provide select coverage of important developments in optical techniques, methods, light sources, image processing and reconstruction, and related topics that are relevant to research on biomedical optics.

Biomedical optics is an active, diverse, and growing area of research. These aspects create challenges and opportunities for a virtual journal. For example, specialists in novel optical techniques may prefer to see articles grouped by technology, while those with stronger clinical interests would prefer to see articles groups by the application. Fortunately, a virtual journal offers greater flexibility in how articles are accessed. We intend to use this flexibility to allow readers with different research specialties to access articles in ways that match their interests. We expect that this new virtual journal will be a valuable tool for the biomedical optics research community. Comments on how to improve the journal are most welcome.

Virtual, or overlay, journals permit a team of editors to collocate selected published, peer-reviewed content from a variety of journals, as is done by the five AIP virtual journals; i.e., Virtual Journal of Biological Physics Research. Alternatively, an editorial board makes use of the major eprint servers as a manuscript submission mechanism, providing selection and the board's imprimateur without modifying or reformatting the preprint, for instance Geometry & Topology or Advances in Theoretical & Mathematical Physics.

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