By Anthony Bertelli (@tonybertelli), University of Southern California and Peter John (@peterjohn10), University College London

We are now about halfway through our five-year term of office as editors of JPP. It is good moment to reflect on our achievements so far and to consider what is to come next. We hope you think it is fair to say that we have firmly put our stamp on the journal, not least by its new, striking design and changes to its editorial style. The journal has expanded, too. Though we still publish three issues per year, we have increased the number of articles in each issue to between six and eight. There is more throughput overall, which reflects the greater number of submissions, particularly from younger scholars. Further, we are able to quickly disseminate author manuscripts online well before print production using FirstView. We are quite pleased about the high quality of the papers we are getting and seeing them improve during the editorial process until they are released to our readers.

We trust scholars in the public policy community now know more about who we are and the nature of the journal and can observe our presence at conferences and other academic gatherings. We also use Twitter and have a blog to augment our digital presence and real-time engagement with our readers and experts in the field regarding current issues of JPP, policy topic matter in academia and current events relevant to public policy. We are now defining our strategic plan so that the next steps we take will support our success in future years. A strong part of this involves drawing upon the members of our expanded editorial board, who have a great deal of expertise from which we have regularly drawn to guide our work.

Consistency is an important virtue for a journal, so that authors know what to expect when they submit a paper though the ScholarOne Manuscript management system, readers find what they anticipate when they consult the published articles, and our excellent and assiduous reviewers are not surprised by the kinds of requests they receive. We hope that our focus on consistency and our efforts to increase the visibility of the journal will continue to pay dividends in attracting new submissions and readers. Amidst the range of journals in public policy, we think that JPP has a particular role to play in generating debate and reporting research on broad public policy issues. But, we also think more can be done to ensure scholars make better use of the very special brand that JPP has and to generate more interest from across a range of subfields that engage with the core themes of public policy. Partly to that end, we are having our first meeting of the editorial board at the 2014 Annual Meeting & Exhibition of the American Political Science Association to canvass ideas and to engage the board fully in our endeavours.

The letter also has a postscript in that we have decided that, in this internet age, we might best communicate with readers via our blog and social media, as so many of you are drawn to the articles themselves through our webpage and from links and searches rather than to individual issues. So, this letter will become more of an occasional medium of communication rather than regularly appearing at the head of each issue.

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