Volume: June, 2009
You may have noticed that the complete name of our journal is Transactions of the ASME Journal of Mechanical Design. We refer to it simply as “JMD” for convenience and a bit for branding purposes. But why transactions?
The term “transactions” refers to “the often published record of the meeting of a society or association” (Merriam-Webster Online, 18 June 2009). The journal articles are then the published record of ASME meetings and of the scientific presentations researchers make in them. This is why you often see in a footnote of an article’s first page the name and year of the conference where it first appeared.
In fact, the first ASME journal appeared as simply Transactions of the ASME in 1880. As meetings and specialty research areas grew and multiplied, so did the transactions. A title history of the various ASME journals can be found here. For history buffs and for those who believe that we should learn history so we do not repeat our mistakes, the title Journal of Mechanical Design appeared first in 1978 as an offspring of the Journal of Engineering for Industry, which was itself established in 1959 and lived on under that title until it was renamed to its current title Journal of Manufacturing Science and Engineering in 1996.
Recall now the meaning of transactions. The meetings transacted in the journal were those of a growing number of technical committees within the ASME Design Division. So, young JMD became a child of parental contention, and after four short years, in 1982, it was renamed Journal of Mechanisms, Transmissions, and Automation in Design, as a glorious literal example of deciding by committee. It took eight years, a healthy dosage of community sarcasm and a courageous technical editor to restore the original JMD name in 1990. I guess it usually takes twice as long to fix a mistake than to commit one. In any case, JMD continued to evolve as some of its constituents moved on to generate new journals in Computing and Information Science in Engineering (2001), Medical Devices (2007) and Robotics and Mechanisms (2009). Some other gerrymandering involving other journals apparently also took place over time but it is beyond the scope of the present discussion.
I offer this bit of history to give you a context for the deontology applicable to the journal regarding conference papers. In principle, the journal archives a select number of research presentations made at ASME meetings and conferences. Since most conferences today generate proceedings, the journal archives a selection of papers that have appeared in proceedings. In the vast majority of cases, the conference paper and the transactions publication will have the same title.