During the past year – actually the twentieth year of existence of the EJM – readers and especially authors have witnessed that the changes announced in last year’s editorial have become a reality.

Early online publication: after proofs are corrected by the authors, articles appear online (“fast-track” articles on the Ingenta website of the journal) and are immediately citable through their final DOI, without having to wait for pagination. There is a double benefit in this procedure: (i) more rapid publication and citation for the author; (ii) regular articles are not delayed by the publication of special or thematic issues, nor are the early papers of a special issue delayed by slower ones. The latter point was quite relevant in 2008, which has seen the publication of two special issues, one devoted to diamonds, the other dedicated to the memory of Werner Schreyer (with a breadth of coverage that is a fitting reflection of the breadth of interest of this outstanding scientist and strong early supporter of the journal). For the first time in the journal’s history, these special issues were graced with thematic covers, a practice that will be maintained in future.

Speed of publication is a key issue for authors. In spite of a record number of pages and two special issues, the articles in volume 20 (2008) were published online an average of 9 months after submission, and appeared in print 2 months later, thereby confirming the decisive improvements of 2007. This means that well-organized authors who revise their copy speedily can expect publication online within 5–7 months from submission. With an impact factor steadily above 1.2, this should make the EJM an appealing vehicle for important scientific results.

Free colour figures: in order to make full use of online publication, figures submitted as colour files by the authors now appear as colour figures in the online version of EJM, free of charge. In order to encourage authors to have these figures printed in colour as well, the authors’ contribution to colour printing has been substantially reduced (now 200 for the first figure, and50 for each additional one). This promotional trial period was so successful that it will most likely be extended for another year.

Free pages: in the same spirit, the number of article pages that are printed free of charge for the author has been raised from 10 to 12, thereby making life easier for petrologists.

Editorial board: SIMP chief editor Angelo Peccerillo has asked to step down at the end of his 3-year term; he deserves our gratitude for his devoted work and commitment to the journal’s improvement. Angelo has also been an active promoter of the EJM in the petrological community, as testified to by the table of contents of last year’s issues. May his input have a long lasting effect! He will be replaced by Sandro Conticelli, to whom we wish all the best, and whose previous experience as associate editor of the journal ensures that a smooth transition will take place. We also thank associate editors Matthias Göbbels, Jean Dubessy, Reiner Klemd, Simon Kohn, Guillaume Morin and Mihály Pósfai, who leave the editorial board, for their dedicated work. We extend our thanks to the whole editorial board, chief editors and associate editors, for their achievements; to Walter Maresch for coordinating the special issues; to the many colleagues who acted as referees and helped to maintain the high standards of the journal (their names are listed in EJM volume 20, issue 6, p. 1149); to Hilke Bornholdt of the Publisher’s staff, for her accuracy and efficiency, and to the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique for continued support.

Looking ahead: besides regular articles, the journal will continue to publish thematic sets of papers. The present issue contains a collection of papers from the 6th European Conference on Mineralogy and Spectroscopy; issue no. 3 will be devoted toHigh-pressure, high-temperature mineral physics: implications for Geosciences’, following a school organized by Paola Comodi, Fabrizio Nestola and Ross Angel. A later issue will be devoted to high- and ultrahigh-pressure metamorphism, including geochemical, geochronological and structural aspects addressed in a series of sessions sponsored by the International Lithosphere Programme; Hans-Peter Schertl, Simon Cuthbert, Jane Gilotti and Alexei Perchuk are acting as guest editors.

An appeal to authors: as a final note on another aspect of this European journal, the managing committee of EJM firmly believes that journals of learned societies play a vital role as a true, honest and inexpensive alternative in the field of scientific publishing. We urge all authors to support our endeavours in these regards.