Archive for the Open Access Category

New Publication at the Open Journal of Astrophysics

Posted in Open Access, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , , , , on December 6, 2021 by telescoper

Time to announce yet another publication in the Open Journal of Astrophysics. This one is the 15th paper in Volume 4 (2021) and the 46th in all.

The latest publication is entitled  Interplanetary Dust as a Foreground for the LiteBIRD CMB Satellite Mission by Ken Ganga (Paris), Michele Maris (Trieste) and Mathieu Remazeilles (Santander) on behalf of the LiteBIRD collaboration. For information about the LiteBIRD mission see here.

Here is a screen grab of the overlay which includes the abstract:

You can find the paper on the Open Journal of Astrophysics site here and can also read it directly on the arXiv here.

Learned Societies, Equity, and Open Access

Posted in Open Access with tags , , , , , on November 8, 2021 by telescoper

I’m not getting much time these days to think about new ideas for blog posts so yet again I’m going to rehash an old one, but at least it is somewhat topical because of an interesting blog post I saw recently about the American Sociological Association. Referring to the inequity of the way this particular society is funded the author says

The greatest source of income for the association is publications, which is mostly subscriptions to journals paid by academic libraries, which are being bled dry by profit-making publishers that ASA organizes academic labor to subsidize with free content and editorial services. This is a wealth transfer from poorer, teaching-intensive libraries to richer, research-intensive libraries.

I tthink it’s relevant to raise some points about the extent that such organizations (including, in my field,  the Royal Astronomical Society and the Institute of Physics) rely for their financial security upon the revenues generated by publishing traditional journals and why this is not in the best interests of their disciplines.

Take IOP Publishing, for example. This is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Institute of Physics that has an annual turnover of around £60M generated from books and journals. This revenue is the largest contribution to the income that the IoP needs to run its numerous activities relating to the promotion of physics.  A similar situation pertains to the Royal Astronomical Society, although on a smaller scale, as it relies for much of its income from Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, in which as a matter of fact I have published quite a few papers.

Not surprisingly, these and other learned societies are keen to protect their main source of cash. When I criticized the exploitative behaviour of IoP Publishing some time ago in a recent blog post, I drew a stern response from the Chief Executive of the Institute of Physics, Paul Hardaker. That comment seems to admit that the high prices charged by IOP Publishing for access to  its journals is nothing to do with the real cost of disseminating scientific knowledge but is instead a means of generating income to allow the IoP to pursue its noble aim of  “promoting Physics”.

This is the case for other learned societies too, and it explains why such organizations have lobbied very hard for the “Gold” Open Access some authorities are attempting to foist on the research community, rather than the far more sensible and sustainable approaches to Open Access employed, for example, by the Open Journal of Astrophysics.

Some time ago I came across another blog post, pointing out that other learned societies around the world are also opposing anything other than the most expensive forms of Open Access:

There is also great incentive for the people who manage and run these organisations to defend their cartel. For example, the American Chemical Society, a huge opponent to open access, pays many of its employees, as reported in their 990 tax return, over six figures. These salaries ranged from $304,528 to $1,084,417 in 2010.

The problem with the learned societies behaving this way is twofold.

First, I consider it to be inevitable that the traditional journal industry will very soon be completely bypassed in favour of  other forms of Open Access publishing. The internet has changed the entire landscape of scientific publication. It’s now so cheap and so easy to disseminate knowledge that traditional journals are already virtually redundant, especially in my field of astrophysics where we have been using the arXiv for so long that many of us hardly ever look at journals.

The comfortable income stream that has been used by the IoP to “promote Physics”, as well as to furnish its brand new building in King’s Cross, will dry up unless these organizations find a way of defending it. The “Gold” OA favoured by such organizations their attempt to stem the tide. I think this move into Gold `Open Access’, paid for by ruinously expensive Article Processing Charges paid by authors (or their organizations) is unsustainable because the research community will see through it and refuse to pay.

The other problematic aspect of the approach of these learned societies is that I think it is fundamentally dishonest. University and other institutional libraries are provided with funds to provide access to published research, not to provide a backdoor subsidy for a range of extraneous activities that have nothing to do with that purpose. The learned societies do many good things – and some are indeed outstandingly good – but that does not give them the right to siphon off funds from their constituents in this way.  Institutional affiliation, paid for by fee, would be a much fairer way of funding these activities.

I should point out that, as a FRAS and a FInstP, I pay annual subscriptions to both the RAS and the IoP. I am happy to do so, as I feel reasonably comfortable spending some of my own money supporting astronomy and physics. What I don’t agree with is my department having to fork out huge amounts of money from an ever-dwindling budget for access to scientific research that should be in the public domain because it has already been funded by the taxpayer.

Some time ago I had occasion to visit the London offices of a well-known charitable organization which shall remain nameless. The property they occupied was glitzy, palatial, and obviously very expensive. I couldn’t help wondering how they could square the opulence of their headquarters with the quoted desire to spend as much as possible on their good works. Being old and cynical, I came to the conclusion that, although charities might start out with the noblest intentions, there is a grave danger that they simply become self-serving, viewing their own existence in itself as more important than what they do for others.

The commercial academic publishing industry has definitely gone that way. It arose because of the need to review, edit, collate, publish and disseminate the fruits of academic labour. Then the ease with which profits could be made led it astray. It now fulfills little or no useful purpose, but simply consumes financial resources that could be put to much better effect actually doing science. Fortunately, I think the scientific community knows this and the parasite will die a natural death.

The question for learned societies is whether they can find a sustainable funding model that isn’t reliant upon effectively purloining funds from university library budgets. If their revenue from publishing does fall, can they replace it? And, if not, in what form can they survive?

New Publication at the Open Journal of Astrophysics

Posted in Open Access, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , on November 5, 2021 by telescoper

Time to announce yet another publication in the Open Journal of Astrophysics. This one is the 14th paper in Volume 4 (2021) and the 45th in all.

The latest publication is entitled  Ultra Fast Astronomy: Optimized Detection of Multimessenger Transients, and is in the section marked Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics.  The authors are Mikhail Denissenya of Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan) and Eric V. Linder of the University of California at Berkeley (USA).

Here is a screen grab of the overlay which includes the abstract:

You can find the paper on the Open Journal of Astrophysics site here and can also read it directly on the arXiv here.

New Publication at the Open Journal of Astrophysics

Posted in Open Access, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , , on October 20, 2021 by telescoper

Time to announce another publication in the Open Journal of Astrophysics. This one is the 13th paper in Volume 4 (2021) and the 44th in all.

The latest publication is entitled  The LSST-DESC 3x2pt Tomography Optimization Challengeand is in the folder marked Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics, and is especially relevant for cosmology. The paper is led by Joe Zuntz of the University of Edinburgh, and there are 27 authors altogether, scattered across the globe, representing the LSST Dark Energy Science Collaboration.

Here is a screen grab of the overlay which includes the abstract:

You can find the paper on the Open Journal of Astrophysics site here and can also read it directly on the arXiv here.

New Publication at the Open Journal of Astrophysics

Posted in Open Access, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , , , on September 30, 2021 by telescoper

Time to announce another publication in the Open Journal of Astrophysics. This one is the twelfth paper in Volume 4 (2021) and the 43rd in all.

The latest publication is entitled  Bridging the Gap Between Simply Parametrized and Free-Form Pixelated Models of Galaxy Lenses: The Case of WFI 2033-4723 Quad and is in the folder marked Astrophysics of Galaxies. The authors are Bernardo Barrera (Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico), Liliya Williams (University of Minnesota, USA), Jonathan P. Coles* (Technical University of Munich, Germany) and Philipp Denzel (University of Zurich, Switzerland).

*No relation.

Here is a screen grab of the overlay which includes the abstract:

You can click on the image to make it larger should you wish to do so. You can find the arXiv version of the paper here.

The teaser image doesn’t show up very well on the overlay so here it is in all its glory:

New Publication at the Open Journal of Astrophysics

Posted in Open Access, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , , , on September 28, 2021 by telescoper

Time to announce another publication in the Open Journal of Astrophysics. This one is the eleventh paper in Volume 4 (2021) and the 42nd in all.

The latest publication is entitled Squeezing the Axion – it’s about inflationary scalar field perturbations using the squeezed state formalism – and is by

Here is a screen grab of the overlay which includes the abstract:

You can click on the image to make it larger should you wish to do so. You can find the arXiv version of the paper here. This one is also in the folder marked Cosmology and Non-Galactic Astrophysics.  

P.S. I hope to publish another paper tomorrow…

New Publication at the Open Journal of Astrophysics

Posted in Open Access, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , , , on September 23, 2021 by telescoper

Time to announce another publication in the Open Journal of Astrophysics. This one is the tenth paper in Volume 4 (2021) and the 41st in all. We actually published this one a couple of days ago but I’ve been so busy with start-of-term shenanigans that I didn’t get time to announce it until this morning.

The latest publication is entitled Consequences of constant elevation scans for instrumental systematics in Cosmic Microwave Background Experiments. The authors are Daniel B. Thomas & Nialh McCallum of Queen Mary, University of London, and Michael Brown of the University of Manchester.

Here is a screen grab of the overlay which includes the abstract:

You can click on the image to make it larger should you wish to do so. You can find the arXiv version of the paper here. This one is also in the folder marked Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics, though it is obviously of relevance to Cosmology and Non-Galactic Astrophysics too.

Open Access and the Open Journal of Astrophysics

Posted in Open Access, YouTube with tags , , on September 18, 2021 by telescoper

Here is the video recording of the Invited Colloquium at the International School Daniel Chalonge – Hector de Vega I gave via Zoom on15th September 2021, introduced by Prof. Norma Sanchez.

In the talk I give a review about the absurdity of the current system of academic publishing, about what Open Access publishing means, and give a short introduction to the Open Journal of Astrophysics, an arXiv overlay journal.

I’m sorry if the recording is a bit choppy but that’s an occupational hazard with Zoom recordings and rather limited broadband!

The talk itself lasts about an hour, but was followed by an interesting discussion session so although the full video is rather long (2 1/2 hours) I’ve put it all there on Youtube.

You can download the video here. A PDF of the slides may be found here. You can also view the slides on slideshare:

New Publication at the Open Journal of Astrophysics

Posted in Open Access, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , , , on September 16, 2021 by telescoper

Time to announce another publication in the Open Journal of Astrophysics. This one is the ninth paper in Volume 4 (2021) and the 40th in all.

The latest publication is entitled Black Hole Shadow Drift and Photon Ring Frequency Drift. The authors are Emmanuel Frion (Helsinki), Leonardo Giani (Queensland) and  Tays Miranda (Jyväskylä).

Here is a screen grab of the overlay which includes the abstract:

You can click on the image to make it larger should you wish to do so. You can find the arXiv version of the paper here. This one is also in the folder marked Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics; although primarily in general relativity and quantum cosmology (gr-qc) it is cross-listed in astro-ph so it eligible for publication with us.

The end of the summer has been heralded by the arrival at OJAp HQ of a number of revised versions so I expect to be publishing a few more papers in the next few weeks!

Reminder of talk today!

Posted in Open Access with tags , on September 14, 2021 by telescoper