When Acta Crystallographica Section F was being established in 2004, one of the principal goals was for it to take advantage of its online and other attributes to provide rapid processing of articles and minimize the time from submission to publication. One of the early ideas for accelerating article processing was championed by former Section Editor Mitchell Guss: enrolling a panel of experienced referees specially committed to minimizing the time taken for peer review. This review panel was implemented in 2009 and now nears completion of two years of service.
Each member of the expert panel has agreed to accept 12 referee requests a year, to accept or decline to review an article within two days of receipt of a request, and to return a report within two weeks. A panel of about 30 referees allows each Acta Cryst. F Co-editor to use a panel member as one of the referees for each paper they manage. The intended effect of the panel is to help reduce the referee response time, the time waiting for the return of a review, and the delays incurred when requests are declined late and new referees must be recruited. The initial panel of 30 was recruited late in 2009 and began in earnest in 2010, coincident with installation of our new electronic submission and review system. By all accounts, the panel members have exceeded expectations in fulfillment of their referee duties and did so with a flourish, adding extra value by providing incisive and helpful reviews. All were offered reappointment for 2011 and, with a couple of exceptions, all accepted. Two have also been promoted to the position of Co-editor.
A list of the current panel members (together with our Co-editors) may be found at http://journals.iucr.org/f/services/editors.html. The following are some of the inaugural panel members: Raghuvir Arni, Miriam-Rose Ash, John Badger, Bichitra Biswal, David Borhani, Debasish Chattopadhyay, Peter Dunten, Jose Gavira, Brian Geisbrecht, F. Xavier Gomis-Rüth, Yoshiki Higuchi, Li-Wei Hung, Masami Kusunoki, Kon Ho Lee, Oded Livnah, Andrea Mattevi, Jochen Mueller-Dieckmann, Sanjeev Munshi, Craig Ogata, Sam-Yong Park, Jean-Denis Pedelacq, Bernhard Rupp, Seong Eon Ryu, Boaz Shaanan, Linda Shimon, Titia Sixma, Frank von Delft and Francis Tsai. All are also listed in the World Directory of Crystallography (http://scripts.iucr.org/cgi-bin/chub_search).
We would like to thank all previous and current members of the panel for their dedicated service to our journal, to our authors and to our science.