After celebrating fifteen years of successful publication in 2003, the European Journal of Mineralogy is now taking a further historical step this year. As our new front cover clearly shows, there are now four European mineralogical societies sharing the task of publishing this European journal. This is clear confirmation of the inherent momentum that our EJM has gained, and also of the visions that accompanied the birth of this European mineralogical journal. At a time when many doubted the feasibility of such a common European society journal, far-sighted members of the DMG, SFMC and SIMP in 1988 signed the constituting agreement for EJM and set forth “the expectation that after some years other members of the European Mineralogical Union (EMU) will be able to take part in publishing the EJM on the basis of an extended version of this agreement”. In actual fact, the first step toward this extension to other societies was the creation of an additional chief-editor position on behalf of the EMU in 1996, which was first held by Ernst Burke. Now, the incorporation of the Sociedad Española de Mineralogía (SEM) into the managing committee and editorial board of EJM marks a further, very decisive step. We welcome Emilio Galán Huertos as SEM representative (and also president), and Fernando Nieto García as new chief editor! This new step clearly reveals both the vitality of the Spanish mineralogical community and also the dynamic process in the European mineralogical community initiated by EJM. For the journal and its readers it also means that there will be 250 more subscribers, i.e. the membership of the SEM that will now receive EJM at a reduced rate. This makes EJM by far one of the most widely distributed mineralogical journals, and indeed the vehicle of choice for your most prominent scientific results.

For a leading international journal, speed of handling and publication are matters of utmost importance. This is why authors are urged to submit their papers as electronic file(s) to the chief-editor of their choice, preferably as a pdf (portable document format) file in order to speed up the manuscript handling and review process. Updated instructions to authors are available on the journal website. Attentive readers may have noticed that issue no. 5/2003 was delivered with some delay, which was due to the move of Michèle Canaple's editorial office during last summer. Thanks to her dedicated work and the excellent collaboration with Dorothee Seitz in Stuttgart, the production schedule will have recovered to its normal exemplary punctuality with this issue.

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. We wish to re-emphasize this interest here and appeal to authors in this rapidly expanding field to submit their results to our European journal, a medium that will assure them the dissemination and resonance they can expect for their results.

The attractivity of EJM is a direct result of the dedicated and unselfish work of the editorial board, which has high scientific quality as its main goal and relies for this purpose on the scientific expertise of numerous referees (see issue no. 6 of each volume). On this editorial board we now welcome Fernando Nieto as additional chief editor, as well as Simon Kohn, Dmitry Pushcharovsky and Jordi Rius as new associate editors. To all of them our sincere thanks!

In addition to our faithful subscribers, our thanks also go to the French "Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique" for its continued financial support, with the hope that the latter will persist through the present turmoils.