On behalf of the Editorial Board, Managing Editor

This issue is the first of the fifteenth volume of the European Journal of Mineralogy. Fifteen years of EJM! For many young researchers and colleagues, EJM is evidently an inherent part of the mineralogical landscape. For them, and for us, it is difficult to believe that, two decades ago, there were major concerns for many years as to the viability of such a European mineralogical journal.

The EJM is now well established and is still evolving with time. After becoming available online to institutional subscribers in 2000, it moved to the sub-A4 format in 2001 and was made available online to members of the funding societies (DMG, SFMC and SIMP) as well as of any mineralogical society in Europe via the European Mineralogical Union (EMU). As a next step, in order to speed up manuscript handling and the review process, we encourage authors to submit their paper as electronic file(s) to the chief-editor of their choice, preferably as a pdf (portable document format) file. Updated instructions to authors are published at the end of this issue and are available on the journal website. Some may or may not appreciate that we do not (yet?) resort to an entirely ‘non-human’ system for manuscript handling, but referees in particular are of course welcome to print out the file submitted by the author, to annotate it for improvement and to send it back by postal mail. Some of the electronic rapidity is lost, but there is nothing to regret if this is to the benefit of a more effective manuscript improvement — the effect that should be dearest to the heart of both authors and editors!

The next issue of EJM will contain a collection of papers devoted to the late Luciano Ungaretti, former chief editor of the journal and dedicated colleague. Later in the year, a thematic issue will be devoted to Experimental Mineralogy, Petrology and Geochemistry, the EMU-sponsored EMPG 9 symposium held in Zürich, March 2002.

The thematic issue ‘Biogenic iron minerals’ published by EJM in 2001 (vol. 13/4) was intended to signal the interest of the journal for environmental mineralogy, a theme that was highlighted at the International Mineralogical Association meeting in Edinburgh last September. Authors in this rapidly expanding field are invited to submit their results to the European journal, a medium that will ensure them the dissemination and resonance they can expect for their results.

Indeed, according to the Journal Citation Reports of the ISI, the impact factor of EJM has continued its consistently regular increase, reaching the value of 1.449 in the year 2002, after 1.29 in 1999, 1.36 in 2000 and 1.43 in 2001. This increasing popularity attests to the efficiency of EJM as a vehicle for scientific results. This attractive value is also the result of the dedicated work of the editorial board, which has high scientific quality and standards as the main goal. To this aim the four chief editors Rainer Altherr, Bertrand Fritz, Annibale Mottana and Ekkehart Tillmanns rely on the scientific expertise of the referees (see issue no. 6 of each volume) and of the associate editors: Tom Andersen, Denis Andrault, Ross Angel, Tonci Balić-Žunić, Ulrich Bismayer, Giacomo Chiari, Patrick Cordier, Fernando Corfu, Jean Dubessy, Masaki Enami, Maria Luce Frezzotti, Matthias Göbbels, Martin Kunz, Pierfranco Lattanzi, Dominique Lattard, Eugen Libowitzky, Marino Maggetti, Massimo Nespolo, Marco Pasero, Franck Poitrasson, Stefano Poli, Mihály Pósfai, Romano Rinaldi, Violaine Sautter and Torsten Vennemann. While Chiari, Rinaldi and Sautter arrive at the end of their term and leave the board, we welcome Michel Guiraud, Volker Kahlenberg, Elio Passaglia and Peter Ulmer as new associate editors. To all of them our sincere thanks are due.

Another novelty is that Bob Downs will act as crystal-structure technical editor for the journal, in the same way as he does for American Mineralogist and the Canadian Mineralogist, i.e. checking the new structures submitted to EJM and including them after publication in the crystal-structure database that is freely accessible at the University of Arizona, Tucson. To this aim, authors submitting new crystal structures should include in their submission an electronic file with the relevant crystal data. Thank you, Bob!

Beyond our faithful subscribers, our thanks also go to two other ‘pillars’ of the journal: Michèle Canaple, the editorial secretary who knows of no relief in the endless round of manuscript preparation, correspondence with authors, proofreading, blue-print checking, etc., and the French ‘Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique’ for its continued financial support.