Last year was an exciting one for our diverse physics portfolio! Through our journals we were able to not only showcase research in the traditional sense of the hard science field, but also studies that underscore the ever increasing interdisciplinary nature of physics research.
Our authors allowed us to peer into the eye of a black hole, listed the ingredients to a New York Times bestseller book, used game theory to describe cancer cell dynamics, and gave us the unlikely marriage between Hollywood and network science, to very entertaining results.
Here are a just a few of the physics portfolio's most interesting moments of 2018.
Interdisciplinarity as key to cancer research
One of the youngest journals born in our physics portfolio, Cancer Convergence connects researchers from the physical and mathematical sciences and engineering, who can bring quantitative approaches, new questions, and testable hypotheses to the study of cancer. Wu et al. 2018, for example, explored the physics of cancer dormancy and recurrence by describing these phenomena through the tools of game theory.
In the summer of 2018, the Cancer Convergence underwent a smooth rebrand, joining the BMC family of journal. Cancer Convergence is now also welcoming submissions to the ongoing cross-journal thematic series on the topic of Precision Oncology.
Black holes and simulations
One of the most extreme objects in the universe, the black hole traps any surrounding matter and accelerates it almost to the speed of light, where it ends up behind the event horizon. In a study published in Computational Astrophysics and Cosmology, researchers from The Netherlands explored the theory behind these beasts by computing the plasma flows and radiation around them to understand how we observe them with telescopes, with the help of virtual reality. A resulting (and surprisingly soothing) video of the 360-degree simulation is available on Youtube. This study brought up interest not only to the scientific work but also delighted the general public after being featured on several news outlets.
The same journal also launched its first thematic series, aiming to collect studies that use machine learning techniques in order to advance our knowledge of the Universe, be it to better analyse astronomical observational data, improve the ways in which we use computational resources in astrophysics, or any other related areas that can benefit from these tools.
The open access European Physical Journal family
A co-publication of Springer, EDP Sciences and Società Italiana di Fisica, the European Physical Journal (EPJ) family covers all aspects of the pure and applied physical sciences. This cross-publisher collaboration celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018, and co-publishes three young open access EPJ titles under the SpringerOpen brand in very distinct fields.
One of the most downloaded articles of the year in EPJ Techniques and Instrumentation, part of an ongoing article collection on Novel Plasma Diagnostics described the use of Schlieren imaging in the characterization of atmospheric plasma.
EPJ Quantum Technology continued to feature studies on space applications and launched a new thematic series on Quantum Magnetometers. The journal received its first impact factor in the summer, and was also accepted for inclusion in Scopus.
It was an year full of great studies in EPJ Data Science, featuring a very well received article collection dedicated to data-based descriptions of Individual and Collective Human Mobility, touching subjects ranging from migration patterns of Syrian refugees to the transmission of the dengue virus. The most downloaded articles in 2018 featured a statistical model to explain the time evolution of book sales (identifying common characteristics of bestseller titles); dwelled into the world of academia focusing on performance and the diffusion of ideas; or warned of the pitfalls of research relying on Twitter data.
The many applications of network science
Now in its 3rd year of publication, Applied Network Science brings together researchers from all fields of science that can benefit from quantitative network-based modeling. In the spirit of this mission statement, the journal launched four new thematic series which focus on network medicine, feature-rich networks, community structure and machine learning with graphs. Among the most downloaded articles of the year is a study of the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) which identified the key players (movies, directors and actors) that most influenced the history of Western cinema. In 2018, Applied Network Science was accepted for inclusion in Scopus.
Ana Valente is the Senior Journal Development Editor for SpringerOpen/BMC Physical Sciences open access journals.