Promoting the Open Journal of Astrophysics

The talk I gave at the meeting I attended last week to celebrate the retirement 60th Birthday of Alan Heavens was about the Open Journal of Astrophysics project. Here are the slides:

I decided a while ago that whenever I get the opportunity at conferences or other meetings I will talk about the Open Journal of Astrophysics (OJA for short) , mainly to encourage more submissions but also to raise OJA’s profile so people aren’t tempted to dismiss review invitations as spam from predatory journals.  At the moment, refereeing is the rate-limiting step in the publication process, at least part of the reason being that people don’t really know what we’re about and perhaps assume that it’s not a bona fide operation.

The talk I gave on Friday generated a fair amount of discussion, and was hopefully a small step along the way to establishing OJA as a mainstream journal and perhaps even the default choice for papers on astrophysics. Emma Chapman posted a tweet about my talk (including a picture of me in action) which got quite a lot of attention on Twitter:


I’ll just add that you can read more about the extent of the profiteering going on here.


Finally, and perhaps most importantly, let me mention I have some money (in a grant courtesy of the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation) to help promote this project, and I can legitimately spend it on travel to give talks etc.. If anyone would like a talk about this project, please feel free to contact me!


8 Responses to “Promoting the Open Journal of Astrophysics”

  1. “The talk I gave on Friday generated a fair amount of discussion”

    Good, bad, or ugly?

    • telescoper Says:

      It was predominantly enthusiastic, I’d say, with a few requests for clarification about various details. Some of the early career researchers I chatted to were (not unreasonably) concerned about whether a publication in OJA would be treated as a `proper’ publication on their CV. The answer to that is that it definitely should be…

      • Not just early-career researchers, but anyone hoping to improve their position. This is definitely a valid concern, but it is difficult to say how valid. Some employers (or those calling the shots) will definitely look for just the major, well known journals, and additional publications elsewhere might even be counted negatively, even in the OJA. On the other hand, some just count, even if one has published in extremely low-quality journals. Frankly, one shouldn’t want to work at either place, but beggars can’t be choosers.

        It seems that the only way forward is for several high-profile people to publish in the OJA. However, it is often these who aren’t aware of the problem.

        Another idea might be a public commitment, a pledge people could sign, something like “To the extent that the number of publications play a role in hiring, we consider only those in high-quality journals, such as MNRAS, ApJ, OJA, A&, etc.”

  2. Anton Garrett Says:

    Give a talk at IOP HQ?

    Are the figures showing that academic publishing is larger than the recorded music industry exclusively for journal and conference publishing, or do they include textbooks?

    All power to OJA and the like…

    • My guess is that textbook revenue is negligible in comparison. Apart from a few bestsellers, most barely break even.

    • telescoper Says:

      My understanding is that the figure includes journals, research monographs, conference proceedings and the like but not textbooks – the latter are generally not so lucrative and not always published by the same companies.

  3. “raise OJA’s profile so people aren’t tempted to dismiss review invitations as spam from predatory journals”

    And there are many of these. My view is that anyone who publishes in one should be barred from academia forever. Anyone not realizing that a journal is predatory is ipso facto incompetent anyway.

    Fortunately, a major “publisher” has been stung.

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