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!

36 Responses to “Open Journal of Astrophysics Revived”

  1. Keeping it really simple and along the lines of Nature… How about just “Universe”?

  2. Chris Brunt Says:

    Some non-traditional ones:

    One last lobby for “Total Perspective Vortex”.

    How about “Apple Pie from Scratch”.

  3. Anton Garrett Says:

    Think of a new title with the word “journal” in and then replace that word with “network”.

  4. In analogy to this strangely-named journal, but at the opposite end of the scale, you could go for Large. But please don’t.

  5. The Open Progress of Astrophysics

  6. I don’t have a title suggestion (although quite like the “Universe” suggestion above), but would be inclined to not put “open” in the title. This is mainly because the academic spam emails I receive requesting that I submit an article to a new open-access journal do often have “open” in the title. So, I’m starting to associate the word with these predatory journals.

  7. Bryn Jones Says:

    As for a name, perhaps avoid the Fortnightly Notices of the Regal Astrophysics Association. And avoid All That Shines.

    Maybe something like these?

    Transparent Astrophysics.

    The Transparent Universe.

    The Visible Universe.

    Free Astrophysics.

    The Universe Revealed.

    Astrophysics Revealed.

    Our Universe.

    Everyman’s Astrophysics might sound sexist.

  8. Anton Garrett Says:

    Evolutionary Journal of Astrophysics.

    Astrophysical Cloud J.

  9. glmackie Says:

    Community Networking…

  10. glmackie Says:

    Cosmic Rays
    Cosmic Transverse
    The Expanding Universe
    Cosmic Network

  11. glmackie Says:

    Astrophysics Publishing Access
    Cosmic Press-Release for the People

  12. David PS Says:

    Since you don’t like the term “journal”, what about “feed”? That gives me a feel of continuous update.

    Astrophysics feed
    Universe feed

  13. Anton Garrett Says:

    Refereed Archive for Astrophysics

    • Anton Garrett Says:

      Or, if the arXiv finds that a bit cheeky, Refereed BLAH for Astrophysics, where BLAH denotes something that distinguishes it from a paper journal. The point is the word “Refereed”. It could start a trend.

  14. Robert King Says:

    How about simply “Astrophysics Research” or “The Astrophysics Repository”?

  15. Astrophysics Unbound
    Unbound Orbits
    Opacity = 0

  16. glmackie Says:


  17. I also like “Universe” as a name.

  18. “Astrophysical Papers”

    The term “open” may become dated in a decade or two, and “Universe” seems too geared towards cosmology IMO.

  19. Open Astrophysics Repository. Then submitting a paper could be known as “sticking your OAR in”.

  20. Astrophysical Examinations

  21. Anais Rassat Says:

    I like the idea of having “refereed” in the title or something suggesting this. What about “Astrophysics Review”.

  22. Ben Burningham Says:

    Half serious: The Astrophysics Free Press

    More serious: (refereed) updates in astrophysics

  23. Given the success things like twitter, tumblr, imgur and flickr; it should be short, simiple, enigmatic and end in “r”. I therefore propose “AstroR”, but won’t say what the “R” is (but give conflicting hints that it’s for “Review” or “Refereed” or “Really-simple-syndication”.

  24. Um, “Big Juggs” would drive up casual hits….

    • Bryn Jones Says:

      No, Rhodri, that name’s already in use by a magazine full of glossy pictures.

      Or so I’ve been told. By a friend. And I deny all knowledge of it. And I deny taking out a subscription.

  25. Cole’s Cosmology

  26. I welcome this initiative! (Un)fortunately grants/fellowships/promotions and all that mundane stuff is still heavily (more than I like to admit) based on numerology such as cites and impact factor of the journals where one publishes. Are you planning to try to get the journal into ISI so it gets the “stamp of approval” of an ISI impact factor and all that?

    • telescoper Says:

      Impact factors are in my opinion completely bogus (see recent reblogging) and their use is inconsistent with, e.g. DORA (to which my institution is a signatory). Why use an Impact Factor when you measure any paper’s citations directly?

      • I personally could not agree more. But the day my student / postdoc applies for academic jobs or I apply for grants or the dept funding is being decided, ISI impact factors rule. All else is penalized. I am not saying that this is a good thing or that it cannot be changed in the long term. Just that it is going to be an uphill battle to put it mildly.

      • telescoper Says:

        Well no selection committee or grant panel I have ever participated in has ever even mentioned Impact Factors, so I am surprised by your comment.

      • In several occasions I have been handed in tables of IF for journals even as a function of time (!) and had to judge/be judged weighting papers (and cites) in base of this numbers (with some precise formula as well). In many cases it all then gets summarised into one number and ranking is done. In some notable selection procedures (e.g. Ramon y Cajal positions in Spain: these are equivalent to junior faculty positions) there are not even reference letters! Yes it is an aberration.
        I would be curious to know how generalised this is.

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