Archive for September 13, 2018

The Open Journal of Astrophysics – Update

Posted in Maynooth, Open Access with tags , , , on September 13, 2018 by telescoper

The observant among you will have noticed that the website for the Open Journal of Astrophysics is currently offline. This emphatically does not mean that this project is dead so

In fact we’re in the process of moving the journal to a new platform (at the same web address) and the new site will be up and running as soon as we have completed the transfer, have tested the new configuration and done a few administrative things. All papers already published on the old site will be transferred to the new one and their DOI will remain unchanged. In fact the old site is still available, but at a secret location.

I’ll be blogging in a bit more detail about the new-look Open Journal of Astrophysics in due course, but in the mean time I’ll just make a few points.

First and foremost, if you don’t know what this project is about it is an idea I first floated over five years ago, shortly before I moved to Sussex. Although we got a website together and published a few papers, for one reason or another I didn’t have time to iron out some remaining bugs and the project stalled. However, after my move to Maynooth University I’ve been delighted to receive the support of the Maynooth University Library team and we’re now moving ahead. I know there have been a few false dawns on this project – for which I apologize – so I won’t announce the full re-opening until I’m absolutely sure everything works.

Second, and actually most importantly, the Editorial Board for the Open Journal of Astrophysics is looking for new members. We already have several distinguished editors, but the expertise we currently have is concentrated (not surprisingly) in cosmology, and we would really appreciate volunteers from other areas of astrophysics (especially stars/exoplanets, etc). If you’re interested please let me know.

Third, although the platform will look a little different (i.e. better) the overall philosophy of the Open Journal will remain as it always was, a fully `Green’ Open Access Journal, as defined by the following points:

  • There will be no charge for accessing or downloading OJA papers (i.e. no subscription fee).
  • There will be no charge for submitting, reviewing or publishing OJA papers (i.e. no `article processing charge’).
  • The OJA is a peer-reviewed journal; all papers accepted for publication will be assigned a DOI and registered with Crossref for citation tracking purposes.
  • The OJA is an arXiv overlay journal, so paper submitted to it must first be submitted to the arXiv.

Finally, I will mention that I was motivated to post this update by a piece by George Monbiot in todays’s Guardian. I don’t agree with everything Monbiot says, but he is dead right about this:

In the great majority of cases, the research reported has been funded by taxpayers. Most of the work involved in writing the papers, reviewing and editing them is carried out at public expense by people at universities. Yet this public asset has been captured, packaged and sold back to us for phenomenal fees. Those who pay most are publicly funded libraries. Taxpayers must shell out twice: first for the research, then to see the work they have sponsored. There might be legal justifications for this practice. There are no ethical justifications.

I’ve said as much myself on this blog. My point is that the academic publishing industry is not going to change of its own volition. If the Academic Journal Racket is to be rumbled, it is we (by which I mean academics and our institutions) who have to take control. Sitting on our hands while we get systematically fleeced is not an option. One way to do this is for institutions and organizations to themselves become Open Access publishers, which is precisely what my current institution is doing: Maynooth University will be the official publisher of the Open Journal of Astrophysics (and hopefully many more similar journals in the future).

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