Journal of Forensic Sciences Working Group

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Source: Micheal Peat, Editor, Journal of Forensic Sciences

At the request of AAFS Past President Victor Weedn, a Journal of Forensic Sciences (JFS) Working Group was formed to examine the operating structure of the Journal. Its charge was as follows:

Given the ongoing changes in forensic science and the continued growth of JFS, this committee is charged with evaluation of the current operating status of JFS, with reviewing the current Bylaws and Policies and Procedures, with developing an operating structure for the future, and with making the appropriate changes to the Bylaws and Policies and Procedures. Recommendations will be included in a report to be submitted to the AAFS Board of Directors.”


The JFS Working Group consisted of members of each Section of AAFS, who are all members of JFS’s Editorial Board:

Anthropology: Brad Adams and Doug Ubelaker
Criminalistics: Suzanne Bell, David Foran and Charlotte Word
Digital & Multimedia Sciences: David Baker
Engineering Sciences: Tom Bohan
General: Joe Peterson
Jurisprudence: Ken Melson
Odontology: Bob Barsley
Pathology/Biology: Greg G. Davis and Corinne Fligner
Psychiatry & Behavioral Science: Dan Martell
Questioned Documents: Linton Mohammed
Toxicology: Rob Middleberg

As JFS Editor, I chaired the Working Group. Brenda Peat, JFS Editorial Assistant, served on an ad hoc basis.

The current operating structure of JFS includes an Editor and a part-time Editorial Assistant. This structure has not changed in more than three decades. The JFS Working Group felt this is not sustainable if the Journal is to continue as a landmark publication of AAFS.

There were a number of important recommendations of the JFS Working Group’s discussions, including the following:

  • A mission statement,
  • A revised operational structure, and
  • Changes to the policies and procedures.

I will discuss the first two of these recommendations in this Newsfeed. The changes in the policies and procedures will be introduced at the 2017 AAFS Annual Meeting.

The JFS Working Group agreed on the following Mission Statement for JFS:

The mission of the Journal of Forensic Sciences (JFS) is to advance forensic science research, education and practice by publishing peer-reviewed manuscripts of the highest quality. These publications will strengthen the scientific foundation of forensic science in legal and regulatory communities around the world.”


After considerable discussion, the JFS Working Group recommended the following changes to the operating structure:

  • Appointment of an Editor-in-Chief,
  • Appointment of Associate Editors, and
  • Appointment of a full-time Managing Editor. This individual would be employed by AAFS.

The Associate Editors would be Members of the JFS Editorial Board and would be responsible for manuscripts submitted in the following areas of forensic science:

  • Anthropology
  • Chemistry to include, but not limited to, drug chemistry, arson and ink analysis
  • Digital and Multimedia Sciences
  • DNA, Genetics and Serology
  • Odontology
  • Pathology and Entomology
  • Psychiatry and Behavioral Science
  • Toxicology
  • Trace Evidence to include, but not limited to, fingermarks, glass and paint, and blood spatter analysis

The Editor-in-Chief would cover other areas.

The JFS Working Group recommended that the Editor-in-Chief and Associate Editors would receive stipends as recognition of their service to JFS.

The AAFS Board of Directors approved these recommendations and the financial arrangements associated with them in February 2016 and at the mid-year Executive Committee Meeting in July 2016.

At the 2016 mid-year meeting, the AAFS Board of Directors’ Executive Committee and I also discussed publishing JFS as an on-line only journal. It was agreed in principle to pursue this option. Under this new arrangement, AAFS members wishing to receive a printed issue would be provided that option.

The AAFS Board of Directors and I strongly believe that this is the correct path forward for JFS to enable its continued growth as the leading journal in forensic science. It is a significant change in JFS’s operating structure and will require investment on behalf of AAFS. As the current Editor of JFS I strongly support this investment; it is vital for the continued growth of the Journal. The AAFS Board expressed support for these changes and I would ask that all members of AAFS do so as well.

JFS is an important benefit for the AAFS membership and is recognized as the leading forensic sciences journal in the world. These changes will allow the Editor-in-Chief and JFS’s Editorial Board to continue in its development.

Thank you for your support as we move forward.

Michael A. Peat, Ph.D.
Editor, JFS