Open Journal of Astrophysics Revived
Regular readers of this blog (Sid and Doris Bonkers) may recall that while ago I posted an item in which I suggested setting up The Open Journal of Astrophysics. The motivation behind this was to demonstrate that it is possible to run an academic journal which is freely available to anyone who wants to read it, as well as at minimal cost to authors. Basically, I want to show that it is possible to “cut out the middle man” in the process of publishing scientific research and that by doing it ourselves we can actually do it better. As people interested in this project will be aware, progress on this has been slower than I’d anticipated, largely because I changed job recently and have had so many administrative responsibilities that I haven’t had time to get too involved with it. The other folk who offered help have also been similarly preoccupied and some technical issues remain to be solved. However, the project has not been abandoned. Far from it. In fact, I’ve just received an update that strongly suggests we can get this idea off the ground over the course of the summer, so that it is in place in time for the new academic year.
We have a (good) website design with ample space and other resources to run it, and a significant number of persons of suitable eminence have agreed to serve on the Editorial Board. It will basically be a front-end for the Arxiv, but will have a number of interesting additional features which make it a lot more than that. I’d prefer to save further details to the official launch, which is now planned to take place in January (as it would probably get buried in the pre-Xmas rush if we tried to launch before then). I can also confirm that the service we will provide will be free at the start, although if the volume of submissions grows we may have to charge a small fee for refereeing. And when I say “small” I mean small, not the hundreds or thousands of pounds charged by the rip-off merchants.
There are, however, a couple of things I’d like to ask of my readers.
The first concerns the Editorial Board. I plan to contact those who offered help with this, but I’m still open to more volunteers. So, would anyone interested in getting involved – or at least thinking about getting involved please contact me via email. Also if you previously agreed please feel free to email to confirm your continued interest or, if you’ve changed your mind please let me know too.
The other thing I would still like some ideas about is the name. I have asked about this before, but still haven’t settled on a compelling selection so I’m repeating the request here.
My working title for this project is The Open Journal of Astrophysics, which I think is OK but what I’d really like to do is break away from the old language of academic publishing as much as possible. I did think of the People’s Revolutionary Journal of Astrophysics, but feared that it might then split into Trotskyite and Marxist-Leninist factions. In any case the very name “journal” suggests something published periodically, whereas my idea is to have something that is updated continuously whenever papers are accepted. I’m therefore having second thoughts about having the word “Journal” in the title at all. Open Astrophysics might suffice, but I’m sure someone out there can come up with a better name. I know that Shakespeare said that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I think a good title might make the difference between success and failure for this initiative…
That gives me the idea of enlisting the help of the denizens of the internet for some help in coming up with a better title; given the nature of the project, this seems an entirely appropriate way of proceeding. So please engage in collective or individual brainstorming sessions and let me have your suggestions through the comments box!Follow @telescoper