Pages: pp. 1-2
In 1987, I was a graduate student in the midst of my doctoral studies, and the IEEE Journal of Robotics and Automation was in its third year of publication. Twenty-three years later that journal has become two widely-admired Transactions, which together serve the fields of robotics and automation science. Many important papers have been published and some of those published back in 1987 are now considered seminal. This success story is an inspiration to me as the IEEE Transactions on Haptics (ToH) enters its third year of publication. This is not because I expect ToH to emulate the trajectory of Robotics and Automation: a unique new path seems inevitable as change sweeps through academic publishing (surely, ToH will be delivered exclusively through touch-enabled e-book readers in years to come!). Instead, it is because first-hand experience with Robotics and Automation taught me the importance of a high-quality archival journal widely read by one’s peers, and I have confidence that ToH now offers this to the haptics community.
My confidence stems in part from the success of 2009. ToH published twenty-three papers covering a wide range of topics in haptics, including psychophysics, modeling, control, device design, and applications. Of particular note, our first special issue was published: Ambient Haptic Systems, guest-edited by Kanav Kahol, Vincent Hayward, and Stephen Brewster. They selected an excellent set of papers for the issue, covering contemporary issues such as the design of affective haptic interfaces and multi-modal interfaces.
The third quarter of 2010 will bring another special issue, this one of a different variety. Entitled World Haptics Spotlight, it will be guest-edited by Lynette Jones, Matthias Harders, and Yasuyoshi Yokokohji, who served as the Conference Editorial Board for World Haptics 2009. All of the papers in the Spotlight issue were presented in an early form at that meeting.
This seems like an opportune time to remind our diverse readership that ToH subscribes to an evolutionary model of publishing. We are pleased to accept a submission where some portion of it was published as a conference paper or abstract. At the same time, we insist that any ToH paper make a significant new contribution to the haptics literature. It is not sufficient for a ToH paper to be the archival version of some earlier publication. Indeed, today’s conference papers are well-archived in places like the Computer Society’s Digital Library and IEEE Xplore, and papers are more likely to be located by keyword search than by thumbing through their parent journal. Thus, we must ask, what makes a ToH paper uniquely valuable? I suggest that the value arises from novelty, maturity, and quality. ToH papers must incorporate new results (e.g., data, theoretical results, or significant new analyses of and conclusions drawn from previously published data sets), and must be recognized as reasonably complete pieces of work, likely to stand the test of time. In addition, of course, ToH papers must undergo a rigorous peer review. This combination of factors, I believe, promises enduring value for the haptics community.
Of course, the ability to execute on this promise requires an outstanding editorial board, and here I have some happy news to report: Roberta Klatzky of Carnegie Mellon University has joined the ToH editorial board. Professor Klatzky is widely recognized for her seminal work on haptic perception in humans, and also brings a wealth of editorial experience. We are fortunate indeed to have her on the board.
We are also fortunate to have many other fine editors, and this is the time of year when we recognize an editor whose service has gone consistently above and beyond the call of duty, as well as three reviewers who have provided exemplary service in terms of the number and quality of their reviews for ToH. This year, I am pleased to cite Lynette Jones (editor) and Knut Drewing, Dan Morris, and Nadine Sarter (reviewers) for Meritorious Service. I would like to thank each of you for your many contributions and for the fine examples you have set.
One final note: ToH is growing. This issue contains 80 pages, compared to the 64 of past issues. To ensure that there is enough novel, mature, and quality content to fill those pages, your submissions are critical. If you haven’t yet submitted a paper to ToH, please consider doing so this year. If you have submitted, thank you (and keep them coming!).
J. Edward Colgate