Automatica, January, 1996, Volume 32, No. 1


AUTOMATICA and applications papers

In 1993 AUTOMATICA's sister IFAC journal Control Engineering Practice first appeared. With this new journal IFAC above all planned to publish more applications papers.

CEP certainly has been successful in attracting far more papers from IFAC meetings than AUTOMATICA has ever managed. Not all the papers that CEP publishes are applications papers, but it definitely prints considerably fewer theoretical papers than AUTOMATICA.

AUTOMATICA by no means has given up on applications papers, however. Its publication policy has not changed by the appearance of CEP. The purpose of this editorial is to remove any doubts that may exist about this.

What makes a good application paper that is worth publishing in AUTOMATICA?

The fact that a paper deals with an application does not automatically make it a good paper. A good applications paper does not need to contain new theory -- I once was very surprised to see a reviewer criticize an applications paper for lack of new results. On the other hand, papers that deal with applications of well-established and proven theories to specific engineering or other subject areas are unlikely to be of interest to the AUTOMATICA readership and are more suitable for specialized professional journals in those areas.

AUTOMATICA welcomes papers with the characteristics as described. Like all submissions, such papers are subject to a rigorous but fair and constructive review procedure that aims at a high level of quality of all papers appearing in AUTOMATICA.

Good applications papers are hard to get. One important reason for this is that industrial workers in research and development have little motivation for writing and submitting papers -- their career is usually not helped much by publishing and their employer may discourage or even forbid publication for proprietary reasons.

Times are changing, however. In many countries the criticism of academic papers that lack relevance and the pressure for research that is "on the critical path" is growing. Academics do well to look into relevant applications and application areas if they wish control theory to have an impact on industry and society in general. AUTOMATICA is happy to publish their papers.

Huibert Kwakernaak, Editor-in-Chief

Last modified on October 29, 1995