This first issue of the eighteenth(!) volume of the European Journal of Mineralogy (EJM) marks a major change in the editorial life of the journal. Both Rainer Altherr and Annibale Mottana have asked to be relinquished of their duties as chief editors after six years of service, during which they shared much of the load of the editorial team, with a total of more than 400 manuscripts handled. Rainer and Annibale deserve our high appreciation for having taken on this service to the Geoscience community and for having devoted much of their time to this important task – in spite of recent health problems for Rainer Altherr. Many thanks to both of you, Annibale and Rainer! We now welcome aboard Angelo Peccerillo and Roland Oberhänsli, who will share the steering of the EJM ship with Bertrand Fritz, Fernando Nieto and Ekkehart Tillmanns. Although last year we welcomed Fernando Nieto as SEM chief editor, we have not had such a major change since 2000–2001, when the whole team of chief editors was renewed. Altherr, Fritz, Mottana and Tillmanns replaced Walter Maresch, Christian Chopin, Luciano Ungaretti and Ernst Burke, respectively.

Each new chief editor always introduces a personally distinct new scientific flavour to the editorial board, and the advent of a metamorphic geologist and an igneous petrologist/geochemist can be taken as a signal to the relevant communities. Let me take this as one more opportunity to remind all authors and readers that the scope of the EJM is certainly not restricted to mineral chemistry and crystallography, as some rumours will have it, but also explicitly encompasses mineral physics, metamorphic, igneous and ore petrology, and geochemistry, as well as any field in which the study of minerals is of relevance, in particular more recent domains like biomineralogy, astromineralogy and environmental sciences, among others. Rather than a narrow topical fit, high scientific quality is the prime criterion for publication in the EJM and also the basis of its editorial policy. A glance at the table of contents of the present and recent issues of the journal should mirror a flavour of the intended broadness in scope.

Over the last six years, the impact factor of the journal has ranged from 1.292 in 1999 to 1.208 according to the latest data of the ISI Science Citation Index, but this near-constancy is only superficial. The ISI impact factor actually increased steadily up to 1.449 in 2002 before decreasing to around 1.2. Nevertheless, the EJM always remained a top-ranked society journal in our field; the latest fluctuations in its impact factor can be related to an extremely heavy flux of manuscripts and a high number of articles published in the years 2002–2003, and this trend is now reversing. At present, a low flux of papers and an unprecedentedly short publication time - within 10 months of submission, provided the revisions are diligently made by the authors - make it a very good time for authors to publish in EJM. I therefore appeal to my European colleagues: rather than submit your best papers to American society journals or to big publishing companies that strangulate our libraries, why not submit them to the European society journal and why not be proud of making the EJM a worldwide reference and the showcase for European mineralogical sciences?! Once again, this journal is what you authors, what we authors make it.

Our journal is inexpensive for our libraries, it contains much excellent science and it is published on a regular schedule. These three conditions make a journal a true service to the community and they are fulfilled thanks to the continued support of the “Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique”, thanks to the dedicated work of the board of associate editors (see inside cover page), thanks to the input of numerous referees (listed each year in issue no. 6) and thanks to our editorial secretary Michèle Canaple. On behalf of all of us who publish and read articles in the mineralogical sciences, we express our sincere thanks to all of these persons and institution.