Materials Today is now covered by Thomson Scientific, the publishers that compile journal impact factors and provide the ISI Web of Knowledge. This means that, from our 2006 issues (Volume 9), articles published in Materials Today and the citations to them will be logged. These citations will count toward our first impact factor, which will be produced in the 2008 Journal Citation Reports and published in 2009.

While that is a long way off, and impact factors are an imperfect way of assessing journals (never mind the quality of all the research published in them), it is still a cause for celebration. Thomson Scientific's decision is recognition that Materials Today's blend of peer-reviewed overviews with the latest research news and expert commentaries is highly useful and relevant to those active in the field.

In fact, this is shown in the number of citations to articles we now see. Elsevier's database Scopus already lists Materials Today. While Scopus is different to Thomson Scientific's products (e.g. Scopus indexes a greater number of journals) so that they can’t be directly compared, it is instructive to look at the citation patterns there. Taking the articles published since 2003, those receiving most citations cover many of the most exciting, fast-moving areas in materials science that show great potential for advances. At time of going to press, Scopus puts Zhong Lin Wang's review of ZnO nanostructures from July-August 2004 in first place with 86 citations, while David P. Norton and colleagues’ account of ZnO growth in the same issue is in fourth place. Interest in hydrogen storage materials sees Andreas Züttel's 2003 review into second, while the great potential of controlled nanowire growth puts Lars Samuelson's article in third. This is also reflected in the high position (ninth) of Charles Lieber's much more recent review of nanowire sensors. Other topics showing high citations include carbon nanotubes, organic transistors, tissue engineering, high-k dielectrics, and nanocomposites.

It is even possible to chart Materials Today's progress to some extent. If you use Scopus to determine the citations to date in 2006 (473) to articles published in 2004 and 2005 (101), the average number of cites per article is 4.683. This is up from 3.681 for the previous year. You can also compare these figures with MRS Bulletin (a similar publication for members of the Materials Research Society), which gains 3.938 cites in 2006 for each article published in 2004 and 2005. All sorts of caution needs to be placed on these figures as such measures can fluctuate a great deal from year to year. However, I think they do show that Materials Today is becoming established as a publication covering the very latest, most exciting, and most promising research in materials science.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(06)71772-2