JBME continues to thrive. Over 520 manuscripts were received in 2016, and our acceptance rate was 15%. We continue to streamline all the stages of the review and publication process, with time to first decision now average 1.8 months and immediate online availability of accepted manuscripts. The tremendous effort of the Associate Editors (AEs) on this front, and on all the aspects of the journal operation, is acknowledged here with our profound thanks—JBME would not work without them! We especially thank the retiring AE Frank Loth and welcome our new AE Ching-Long Lin.
As we begin our second term as Editors-in-Chief, we are pleased to highlight two technical advances in the journal, which have been a long-time coming but are now available. As some of you know, JBME accepts the supplemental material for the online version of a paper, allowing video or large data files, for example, to be included with a publication. Also, in response to the needs of the community, ASME has introduced an open-access option that will be available for its journals, including JBME, in 2017. We have been responding to open-access requests on a case-by-case basis for the last year or two, but open access will now be a standard option.
This year marks the fifth publication of the Annual Special Issue of the JBME. This Annual Special Issue highlights reviews by leaders of the field and also papers from the Fung Medal, the Mow Medal, the newly created Woo Medal, and the Lissner Medal winners from 2016. We thank all of the authors for contributing. New this year, we have moved student award papers from the SB3C meeting to the upcoming Annual Education Issue, which is a new initiative that promotes the educational aspect of our mission and recognizes that many members of the Bioengineering Division have significant educational as well as research roles.
In November 2016, we published the inaugural “Spotlight on the Future” issue, containing a set of invited papers by early-career researchers in an important subfield within biomechanical engineering. The 2016 issue, which focused on cardiovascular bioengineering, contained nine papers and an introductory piece by the issue's Guest Editor, Jessica Wagenseil, and Guest Commentator, Jeff Holmes. We thank Jessica for her tremendous effort managing the review of the manuscripts, and we thank her, Jeff, and all of the contributing authors for making that inaugural issue a success. The Spotlight issue will be annual, with next year's focusing on the musculoskeletal system.
The ASME staff, especially Philip DiVietro, Colin McAteer, Beth Darchi, Tamiko Fung, and Jennifer Smith, continued to provide us with outstanding support year-round and particularly in handling the unique challenges around the Annual Special Issue. Our editorial assistant, Jenn Leung, has moved on to a new opportunity, and we thank her for her tremendous support for the journal in so many ways; we also welcome our new editorial assistant Yolanda Washington.
Finally, we thank everyone involved in the JBME for their tremendous efforts and look forward to next year's continued success.