As I begin my term (January 2023–December 2027) as Editor-in-Chief of the ASME Journal of Mechanical Design, I would like to offer a few thoughts on the current state of the journal and the many opportunities for growth in the coming years. I am truly honored and humbled to continue the tradition of excellence established by previous editors—Professors Michael McCarthy (University of California, Irvine) (2003–2007), Panos Papalambros (University of Michigan) (2008–2012), Shapour Azarm (University of Maryland) (2013–2017), and Wei Chen (Northwestern University) (2018–2022)—whose vision, hard work, and dedication built JMD into one of the leading journals in our field.
Over the past five years, my predecessor, Professor Wei Chen, has worked tirelessly on a number of impactful initiatives, for which the JMD community is truly grateful. The journal’s impact factor has risen to 3.441 (2021), and the average time elapsed from submission to editor decision has decreased to less than 1.5 months, making it one of the leading journals in the ASME portfolio. JMD has begun hosting quarterly webinars to highlight timely topics and encourage in-depth discussion of emerging research threads. Under Professor Chen’s leadership, JMD expanded the publication of special issues to highlight strategic, emerging research themes, including a new annual special issue that fast tracks some of the most highly reviewed papers from the ASME IDETC conference. JMD’s companion website1 has continued to thrive, hosting featured articles and serving as an important repository and bulletin board for all aspects of the journal. Professor Chen also implemented several initiatives to enhance inclusivity, including a double-blind review process, an increasingly diverse cohort of associate and guest editors (with more than 30% of AEs identifying as women or members of underrepresented groups), a DEI advocate, and special efforts to encourage participation from international and underrepresented members of the community.
Over the next five years, I would like to build on these initiatives and grow the journal community in several ways. While it will take some time to become completely familiar with all of the facets of the journal, I’ve identified a few focus areas as a starting point. First, I would like to build an advisory board, separate from the suite of associate editors and populated with former associate editors and other scholars who are passionate about JMD, to help us catalyze some new initiatives. One example is an expanded view of inclusivity to include not only underrepresented populations but also new authors and early career members of the community. Work is needed to amplify their voices and demystify and support the process of successfully publishing a paper in JMD as a new author. Another initiative is a concerted effort to publish broad, insightful reviews of the status of research in the mechanical design community, the impact of our research, and the challenges facing the community. If our work is successful, these reviews will serve as required reading for incoming graduate students and scholars, much as the Finger and Dixon reviews educated previous generations. Together with the advisory board and the associate editors, I would like to host roundtable discussions at major conferences, such as IDETC and ICED, to seek feedback and suggestions from the community. Finally, we will strive to continue the efforts of previous editors to raise the impact factor and decrease the time for review while simultaneously emphasizing the need for a fair and thoughtful review process.
None of these things would be possible without an exceptional collection of Associate Editors, reviewers, and authors, and one of the most superb assistants in publishing, Ms. Amy Suski. I’m also grateful for the exceptional behind-the-scenes efforts of our featured articles editor and webinar organizer, Professor Faez Ahmed, and my co-editor, Professor Qiaode Jeff Ge, who handles all of the mechanism-related submissions. Their dedication and hard work are an invaluable contribution to the community, and I am humbled to work with them every day.
Please continue to support the journal by sending us your very best papers, contributing thoughtful and constructive reviews, and contacting me any time with ideas for improving the journal or leveraging the journal platform to support the community in meaningful ways. The mechanical design community has always been a warm and welcoming professional home for me, so it’s an incredible privilege to work with all of you to raise our journal to the next level of excellence.