> Should one break the author's name up into initials and surnames, so
 > that the order could be different in the main title and the running head
 > and/or different than the order in which the author would have put them
you mean the running head might say "Einstein, A"? all i can say is
that i have not been ever asked  to do it...

 > I hadn't been thinking of the abstract as part of the front matter
 > (probably because it normally comes after \maketitle) but perhaps I
 > should be.
if you consider a two column layout, with front matter set over both
columns, it becomes important to know where front matter starts and
stops. one of our journals puts the abstract as a footnote :-}

 > Other comments?  What about the `affiliations' and other environments with
 > the label-reference mechanism?

i didn't personally like the layout very much, but leave that aside
for now. the important thing is whether people think the necessary
information is all in place.

re dates, i note that we support received, revised, accepted, and
communicated. you only have 3 fields.

by the way, i think that using multiple parameters in this, and other,
macros is not very friendly. why not adopt the keyval syntax, ie


which allows a more elegant way to omit arguments, and identify what
you are doing. i know its just sugar, but it would make bits of what
you suggest easier to read