American Journal of Physics®

Publication Criteria

AJP's publication criteria are guided by the “Statement of Editorial Policy.”

To be publishable in AJP, a manuscript must be written for, and also be useful, interesting, and accessible to, physicists from outside the specific subdiscipline that is the subject of the manuscript.  This is perhaps the most important and often overlooked criterion for publication in AJP.  Authors are urged to consider this criterion seriously as manuscripts that do not follow this guideline will be summarily rejected.

Technical correctness is a necessary, but entirely insufficient criterion for acceptance. Other expectations include clarity of presentation and a significant level of general interest to AJP's diverse audience. We entertain the editorial consideration of manuscripts from authors  whose native language is not English as long as the language problems are limited to correctable issues of grammar and usage and do not extend to  issues of overall organization and coherence or any other language-independent elements that cause confusion and interfere with the clarity of presentation.

Criteria that are useful in evaluating the appropriateness of the manuscript include the following:

  • Would it be of value to undergraduate or graduate teachers or students of physics? (This criterion does not mean that the content needs to be immediately applicable in the classroom—the benefit may be, and often is, indirect. Nevertheless, the educational motivation of the manuscript should be evident and unstrained.)
  • Would it aid significantly in the process of learning physics?
  • Does it provide enough background information to be accessible to readers from other subdisciplines of physics.
  • Does it provide physical insight?
  • Does it describe new ways of understanding, demonstrating, describing or teaching physics?
  • Does it take proper cognizance of previous work on the same subject, regardless of where it may have appeared?
  • Is it well organized and written in a clear and interesting manner?
  • Especially for more theoretical/mathematical manuscripts: Is the presentation clearly motivated by application to physical phenomena and does it provide significant insight about the phenomena?
  • Especially for manuscripts significantly longer than our average of 4000 to 5000 words: Is the length justified by the value of the contents?

Manuscripts that are not acceptable under any circumstances include but are not limited to the following:

  • Those announcing new theories or experimental results.
  • Those that seem to have been written for research journals.
  • Those that merely solve a textbook type problem.
  • Those that provide a detailed calculation with little or no physical insight.
  • Those that provide an alternative derivation of a standard result, without providing significant new insight,     a significantly new way of thinking, or a much simpler approach.
  • Those that are likely to have very limited interest.