There has been much written about the relative merits of the Impact Factor as a measure of an academic journal's importance or visibility in Editorials across all disciplines – and there is little I feel I can add to the debate. Personally I find the Impact Factor a useful indicator of the general policies of a journal and the community's confidence in both those policies and those that contribute to the journal, as authors, editors and referees. And so with that in mind and the release of the 2014 Journal Citation Reports® published by Thomson Reuters I’m delighted to see such support for Materials Today, with an increase of the Impact Factor to 10.850.

Such an increase is of course the result of the support of the materials science community for Materials Today; the journal and the wider family, and the product of the contributions of tireless authors and reviewers working to explain their work in an accessible yet informative way – as well as researchers working across the full breadth of materials science seeking out this content. And so I would like to thank the authors, reviewers and readers of Materials Today for all their – that is your – efforts in supporting the journal.

And so looking to the future, and a selection of papers that will no doubt be making their own great impact, Maisoon Al-Jawad begins with a look at how looking at old problems in new ways can help explore the new aspects of biomaterials, in Creative approaches in biomimetic materials research. Sticking with the theme of bio-inspired approaches to materials research, Alex Chortos and Zhenan Bao review electronic devices that mimic and exceed the properties of skin and the potential for future development in Skin-inspired electronic devices. Christine Schmidt and colleagues then ask what can hydrogels do for the brain, as they discuss hydrogels for use in drug delivery devices, scaffolds, and cell delivery vehicles, in Advanced biomaterials for repairing the nervous system.

Moving on to the theme of energy, Jonathan Scheffe and Aldo Steinfeld summarize state of the art metal oxide materials for use in the production of H2 and CO from water and carbon dioxide in Oxygen exchange materials for solar thermochemical splitting of H2O and CO2. In the final review of the issue, M. Melchionna and P. Fornasiero follow with a look at the increasing popularity of CeO2 in catalytic applications and the new opportunities that arise from control or the morphology and size of the nano-structures of these materials in The role of ceria-based nanostructured materials in energy applications.

Opening and closing this issue, Manuel Gómez and Massimo Lazzari look toward developing Reliable and cheap SERS active substrates, with their cover image and Uncovered article showing a nanostructured substrate obtained by drying a colloidal solution of gold nanoparticles on a silicon wafer.

And so, as always, enjoy this issue of Materials Today.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.mattod.2014.08.015