OPN Submission Guidelines

Optics & Photonics News (OPN) offers articles of interest to a broad range of professionals in optics. OPN's tone is less technical than scientific journals; its style and format are those of a magazine. Our goal is to make the various facets of this diverse field accessible to those who are not specialists in a particular area. Our feature articles follow a tutorial approach, providing an overview of a topic and an assessment of current and future trends.

OPN solicits most of its articles. However, we welcome suggestions and we accept unsolicited manuscripts. If you have an idea for an article, please email a summary or outline to opn@osa.org.

Following are some guidelines that we ask authors to follow when submitting articles to OPN:

Manuscript Length & Format

Most articles run eight magazine pages (2,500 to 3,000 words), with five graphic elements, including a striking, high-resolution image to accompany the opening of the article (and possibly our cover).

We encourage authors to think creatively about how to present information in ways that are engaging and easily accessible to readers. Magazine readers often do not read long articles from start to finish in one sitting; instead, they prefer to have multiple points of access, so that they can revisit a story several times to glean relevant information. Consider using sidebars, bulleted lists, tables and boxes containing related information and resources. Also, please think about how your story could be enhanced in our online edition through the use of multimedia files or supplementary information.

Please submit articles by e-mail to opn@osa.org as Microsoft Word documents. Graphics should be sent as separate files. (See sections on "Visuals & Illustrations" for more information.) In addition to a working title, please provide a brief, two- to three-sentence "abstract" that draws readers into your article. Please provide the full name, title and affiliation of each author.

References & Resources

Since OPN is not a peer-reviewed journal, we do not include formal endnotes in our articles. Rather, we list relevant resources in a separate text box titled "References and Resources." Please suggest 2-5 book titles, journal or magazine articles and/or Web links that can serve as further reading for individuals who are interested in learning more about a topic. Please restrict references to 10 or fewer.

Visuals & Illustrations

The total number of visuals and tables should be limited to five. Please submit images as JPEG, EPS or TIFF (TIF) files with a resolution NO LESS than 300 dpi. OPN reserves the right not to print images submitted below 300 dpi. If you have any questions regarding acceptable formats, please e-mail opn@osa.org. Figure captions should define all abbreviations used in the figure. We welcome the submission of multimedia files that could be used on our website.

Each table should have a title. The material contained in tables should be understandable without reference to the text.

All figures, tables and photographs should be numbered in sequence, labeled with the author's name, and accompanied by a caption.

We encourage authors to submit a striking, high-resolution photo for the opening page of the article that could be considered for the magazine's cover. We prefer images that showcase the people behind the science rather than buildings or equipment. If possible, please send visuals of scientists at work instead of posed, static shots.

Deadlines & Galleys

All manuscripts are due three months prior to publication. If your article is targeted for the April issue, for instance, it is due at the beginning of January. Magazine deadlines are critical and authors should contact the editor immediately if a problem arises.

Authors receive a set of galleys approximately three to four weeks before publication. Corrections must be returned to OPN within the specified timeframe, usually two business days. The editor reserves the right to make non-substantive changes to articles after galleys are returned, to accommodate layout and format.


Year in Optics

Each year, the December issue of Optics & Photonics News—the monthly magazine of The Optical Society—highlights the most exciting optics research to emerge in the preceding 12 months.

We encourage anyone who has recently conducted notable peer-reviewed research to send us a brief summary of their work to be considered for publication in the issue. To do so, please review the submission guidelines below, and then visit Prism, OSA’s online submission system, at http://prism.osapublishing.org/.

The process

Summaries are judged by a team of 5-6 OSA members in September of each year, and final selections are made by Dr. Robert Guenther of Duke University, who serves as the Editor of the special issue. Authors will be informed of whether their work has been accepted by early October. Over the following weeks, the editorial team at Optics & Photonics News will work closely with the authors of accepted papers to prepare their articles for final publication.

Submissions are now closed for 2016.


Submissions are judged on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Summaries should be no more than 500 words in length, including title, figure captions and references. Longer summaries may be disqualified.

  • Summaries may not contain more than five references.

  • Summaries should include only one high-resolution figure or image (jpeg, eps or tiff).

  • Additional multimedia files (videos or animations) are encouraged but not required.

  • To appear in the Year in Optics issue for the current calendar year, the accomplishments described must have been published in a peer-reviewed journal sometime after July of the previous calendar year.

  • Highlighted research should be described in a clear, concise manner that is readily accessible to the at-large optics community.

  • The author or authors should describe the topical area as a whole and then discuss the importance of their work in that context.

  • Summaries should represent the best work in a given optics subfield. Thus, we discourage multiple submissions from the same individual or group.

  • Since we try to recognize all subfields, we may not accept multiple submissions from one research group in a single, concentrated area of focus. OPN strives to ensure that engineering, basic science and technology are all well represented.

Cover art

We welcome cover art submissions. We are looking for high-impact images that highlight an aspect of optics. All images should be high resolution (at least 2,500 x 3,300 pixels at 72 dpi or 8.5" x 11" at 300 dpi.

More information

If you have additional questions about the Year in Optics special issue, please contact the Optics & Photonics News editorial team at opn@osa.org.


OPN offers high-quality, custom reprints to fit your marketing or educational needs. Reprints are available from two pages and up, in increments of 100, and may be ordered as black-and-white or four-color. For prompt service, submit your order directly to Sheridan Press using the Sheridan Electronic Order Center. Single copies of OPN are also available for $15/issue. Please contact customer service to place a single copy order.

Please send manuscript inquiries to:

Stewart Wills, OPN Editor and Content Director
The Optical Society of America
2010 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036

OPN covers

Modern laser additive manufacturing (LAM) systems, such as DMG Mori’s Lasertec 65 3D, combine laser 3-D printing with more standard laser cutting and milling functions. [Image courtesy of DMG Mori]