Although the community has faced an unprecedented year, I am pleased to report that JMR is thriving and remains on a growth trajectory. While the lives of many were seriously impacted by the pandemic, our community has been resilient. Last year, in 2020, JMR had a record number of submissions (over 600) and is on track to meet this mark again this year. Thanks to the hard work of our Editorial Board, reviewers, and ASME staff, paper review and publication has also remained on track. As we approach the mid-point of this challenging year, in addition to expressing thanks for everyone’s hard work, I would like to take this opportunity to share a few recent initiatives aimed at making JMR one of the top journals in mechanisms and robotics (MR).
1. Launch of New Video Submission Platform and Electronic Media Board Initiatives
To increase the online presence of the journal, just over a year ago, JMR established the Electronic Media Board (EMB). Members of the EMB include Long Wang (Stevens Institute of Technology), Anurag Purwar (Stony Brook University), and Vishesh Vikas (University of Alabama).
Throughout 2020 the EMB worked with ASME to establish the framework and process for submitting supporting videos through Journal Tool. Earlier in the spring of 2021, this option was launched on JMR’s submission site, allowing authors of accepted papers to submit a supporting video through Journal Tool. If approved by a designated video editor, the video is added to JMR’s YouTube playlist. As we embark on this initiative, please don’t hesitate to share your comments and suggestions. After JMR’s trial of the system, the option will be offered to other ASME journals as well.
In addition to the video submissions process, the EMB also recently updated the journal’s companion website (asmejmr.org) and began posting new publications and announcements on its new LinkedIn page.
2. Expanded Awards Program
In order to further raise the visibility of the journal, JMR is renewing its effort to recognize the outstanding contributions of Authors and Reviewers with annual awards. Based on the nominations of the Editorial Board and the recommendations of the Awards Committee, JMR awarded its first Best Paper Award to Hossein Habibi, Chenghao Yang, Isuru S. Godage, Rongjie Kang, Ian D. Walker, and David T. Branson, III, for their paper entitled, “A Lumped-Mass Model for Large Deformation Continuum Surfaces Actuated by Continuum Robotic Arms,” J. Mechanisms Robotics, February 2020; 12(1): 011014, https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4045037. Three papers were also awarded Honorable Mention certificates and can be viewed here.
Additionally, JMR recognized three (3) outstanding 2020 Reviewers of the Year: Carl Nelson (University of Nebraska), Kefei Wen (Université Laval, Canada), and Oscar Altuzarra (University of the Basque Country, Spain).
We hope that these awards will raise the profile of the high quality research being published by JMR and the outstanding contributions of its volunteers. The awards are announced in the journal, posted on JMR’s companion website, and shared on JMR’s social media channels.
3. Upcoming Special Issues
In June, JMR published the Special Issue on Selected Papers from IDETC 2020. This issue was coordinated by Guest Editors Phil Voglewede  (Marquette University), Pinhas Ben-Tzvi (Virginia Tech), and Leila Notash (Queen’s University, Canada).
For the August issue, JMR will publish a Focused Section on Reconfigurable Parallel Mechanisms, based on the 4th International Conference on Fundamental Issues, Applications and Future Research Directions for Parallel Mechanisms / Manipulators / Machines (World Parallel 2020). This issue is being organized by Guest Editors Jian S. Dai[MA4] (King’s College London, UK), Yan Jin[MA5] (Queen’s University Belfast, UK), and Clément Gosselin[MA6] (Laval University, Quebec, Canada).
In October, the journal will publish a Focused Section on Mobile Robots and Unmanned Ground Vehicles. The effort is inspired by the fifth-year anniversary celebration for the section on Mobile Robots and Unmanned Ground Vehicles at theInternational Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition (IMECE 2020). The guest editors for this focused section are Giuseppe Quaglia[MA7] (Politecnico di Torino, Italy),Renato Vidoni[MA8] (Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy), Giulio Reina[MA9] (Politecnico di Bari, Italy), and Tuhin Das[MA10] (University of Central Florida).
A Special Issue on Special Issue on Selected Papers from 2021 IDETC-CIE is currently being planned for publication in April 2022, by Chin-Hsing Kuo[MA11] , (University of Wollongong, Australia), Just Herder[MA12] (Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands), Leila Notash[MA13] (Queen’s University, Canada), and Guangbo Hao[MA14] (University College Cork, Ireland). The deadline for submissions October 15, 2021. For more information about this special issue please visit asmejmr.org.
If you would like to propose a future special issue for 2022 and are interested in serving as a guest editor please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. COVID-19 Call for Papers
To assist researchers and those working to bring the COVID-19 health crisis to an end, ASME has made all COVID-19 relevant journal and conference content available at no charge. We encourage authors to contribute COVID-19 related MR papers to JMR. Accepted papers will go through an expedited review process and be published with a link to the ASME COVID-19 Resource virtual issue.
Although for a second year in a row we will not meet in person for IDETC-CIE, we hope to see many of you virtually during the conference. As always, I appreciate the dedication, time, and energy each of you contribute to ensure JMR’s continued success. Until we meet again, please stay in touch by joining JMR’s community on the following sites:
JMR Companion Website: www.asmejmr.org
ASME Digital Collection: https://asmedigitalcollection.asme.org/mechanismsrobotics
Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics