Archive for the Open Access Category

New Publication at the Open Journal of Astrophysics

Posted in OJAp Papers, Open Access, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , , on February 8, 2023 by telescoper

We’re on a bit of a roll at the Open Journal of Astrophysics and it’s time to announce yet another paper. We actually published this one yesterday (7th February 2023), which makes it two in two days. I don’t think we’ll keep up that rate but we have seen a big increase in submissions recently and these are working their way through the system very nicely. We aim to publish accepted papers within a day of the revised version appearing on arXiv.

The latest paper is the 6th paper in Volume 6 (2023) as well as the 71st in all. This one is another one for the folder marked Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics. The title is “Almanac: Weak Lensing power spectra and map inference on the masked sphere”. The nub of the problem addressed by this paper is that the usual statistical analysis of data presented in projection on the sky involves spherical harmonics, which are orthogonal functions on the celestial sphere, but when the sky is not completely covered (i.e. part of it is masked), these functions are not orthogonal on what remains.

The authors of this paper are Arthur Loureiro (University of Edinburgh, UK), Lorne Whiteway (University College London, UK), Elena Selentin (Leiden University, NL), Javier Silva Lafaurie (Leiden University, NL), Andrew Jaffe (Imperial College London, UK) and Alan Heavens (Imperial College London, UK)

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

 

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

New Publication at the Open Journal of Astrophysics

Posted in OJAp Papers, Open Access, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , on February 6, 2023 by telescoper

Well, it may be a Bank Holiday here in Ireland but there’s no break for the Open Journal of Astrophysics and it’s time to announce yet another paper hot off the press.

The latest paper is the 5th paper in Volume 6 (2023) as well as the 70th in all. This one is in the folder marked Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics. The title is “PSFs of coadded images”; for those of you not up with the lingo, “PSF” stands for point spread function.

The authors of this paper are Rachel Mandelbaum (1), Mike Jarvis (2), Robert H. Lupton (3), James Bosch (3), Arun Kannawadi (3), Michael D. Murphy (1) and Tianqing Zhang (1) and the LSST Dark Energy Science Collaboration. The affiliations of the individual authors are: (1) Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh PA; (2) University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia PA; (3) Princeton University, Princeton NJ; all in the USA of course.

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

 

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

New Publication at the Open Journal of Astrophysics

Posted in OJAp Papers, Open Access, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , , , on February 3, 2023 by telescoper

The articles are coming in thick and fast at the Open Journal of Astrophysics. and why trying to get them refereed and published as quickly as we can. It’s time to announce yet another paper. This one was published officially yesterday (2nd February 2023) but I just found time to post about it here today before I go to my 9am tutorial.

The latest paper is the 4th paper in Volume 6 (2023) as well as the 69th in all. This one is in the Astrophysics of Galaxies folder.

The latest publication is entitled “Wide Binaries from GAIA EDR3: preference for GR over MOND?”.  The authors of this paper,  Charalambos Pittordis and Will Sutherland, are both based at Queen Mary, University of London. We published a related paper last month.

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 officially accepted version of the paper on the arXiv here.

Page Charges and Monthly Notices

Posted in The Universe and Stuff, Open Access with tags , , , , on January 31, 2023 by telescoper

Some time ago (in 2020) I reported here that the publishers of Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (known as MNRAS for short) had decided to abandon the print edition and only have online articles. This is not surprising as demand for hard copies was falling drastically.

At the time I heard from a reliable source that MNRAS was also planning to introduce page charges – fees paid by authors to publish papers in the journal – and posted a comment to that effect here. This comment led to wild accusations of “serious academic misconduct” by me from a certain individual who shall remain nameless.

Well, the “rumour” I reported in 2020 is now confirmed to be the truth (as I knew it was). At a recent meeting of the national societies affiliated to the European Astronomical Society, Royal Astronomical Society President Mike Edmunds confirmed that, in the near future, all authors publishing in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society will have to pay page charges. The timescale is “within a few years”.

This is part of a move to making all articles Open Access, largely forced by Plan S through which funding agencies require research outputs to be made freely available upon publication. Page charges are Article Processing Charges by another name.

Other notable journals, such as the Astrophysical Journal (ApJ) and Astronomy & Astrophysics (A&A), have levied page charges for as long as I can remember, though in the latter case it is complicated because there is a waiver for researchers in “member” countries. ApJ and other journals also have a waiver scheme for those who cannot afford to pay. For those who have to pay, the fee is usually about $100 per page. For a long time MNRAS was the exception and indeed the only feasible choice for people who don’t have access to funding to cover page charges, including many in the developing world. More recently, however, MNRAS introduced a charge for longer papers: £50 per page over 20 pages, so a paper of 21 pages costs £50 and one of 30 pages costs £500, etc. This will now be extended to all papers. I don’t have a figure for what MNRAS will charge in future or what waivers will be offered, but it seems likely to be similar to existing journals.

The introduction of page charges is an attempt to maintain the profitability of MNRAS after the loss of income from subscriptions, as readers will no longer be required to pay to read papers. It is therefore a transfer of cost from reader to author. I chose the ‘profitability’ because the prime purpose of MNRAS is no longer the dissemination of scientific results but the generation of income to fund other activities of the Royal Astronomical Society. Despite the move to the much cheaper digital-only publishing mode, the annual cost of an institutional subscription to this journal is currently over $10,000. Most of that is goes as profit to Oxford University Press (the actual publisher) and to the Royal Astronomical Society. Page charges are nothing to do with the actual cost of publication, but are intended to protect the publisher’s profit margins.

Much of what the RAS does with the revenue generated by journals is laudable, of course, but I don’t think it is fair to fleece researchers in order to fund its activities. I think authors can see this, and the attempt to transfer costs onto researchers will backfire. In particular, it’s a move that plays into the hands of The Open Journal of Astrophysics, which publishes papers (online only) in all the areas of Astrophysics covered by MNRAS, and more, but is entirely free both for authors and readers. If you don’t want to pay page charges, or make your library pay a subscription, then you could give it a try.

For myself, I abandoned the traditional journal system many years ago, as it is so clearly a racket.

The question for the Royal Astronomical Society, and other learned societies that fund their activities in a similar way, is whether they can find a sustainable funding model that takes proper account of the digital publishing revolution. 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 OJAp Papers, Open Access, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , , , on January 27, 2023 by telescoper

Time to announce another new paper at the Open Journal of Astrophysics. This one was published yesterday, 26th January 2023. The latest paper is the third paper in Volume 6 (2023) as well as the 68th in all. It’s yet another in the Cosmology and NonGalactic Astrophysics folder.

The latest publication is entitled “Palatini formulation for gauge theory: implications for slow-roll inflation” and the authors are Syksy Räsänen of the University of Helsinki in Finland and Yosef Verbin (The Open University of Israel, Ra’anana, Israel). The first author has  published a previous paper on the Palatini formulation in the Open Journal of Astrophysics.

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 officially accepted version of the paper on the arXiv here.

P.S. You may be wondering about the image shown in the overlay. This paper doesn’t contain any figures or images so I tried out the collection of stock photographs that comes free with the Scholastica platform by typing in “gauge”. The result was a quite amusing collection of pictures of various kinds of dials and other gauges. I quite liked the one above so used it just for show!

ChatGPT in the Swampland

Posted in The Universe and Stuff, Open Access, Maynooth with tags , , , , , on January 22, 2023 by telescoper

My inestimable PhD student Kay Lehnert has been having a look at the capabilities of the Artificial Intelligence platform ChatGPT at writing about string theoretical ideas, specifically the swampland conjectures. It’s remarkable what this does well but also notable what it doesn’t do well at all. What he found was so interesting he wrote it up as a little paper, which you can find on the arXiv here. The abstract is:

In this case study, we explore the capabilities and limitations of ChatGPT, a natural language processing model developed by OpenAI, in the field of string theoretical swampland conjectures. We find that it is effective at paraphrasing and explaining concepts in a variety of styles, but not at genuinely connecting concepts. It will provide false information with full confidence and make up statements when necessary. However, its ingenious use of language can be fruitful for identifying analogies and describing visual representations of abstract concepts.

It took arXiv a while to decide what to do with this paper as it doesn’t fit in any of the usual categories. The arXiv sections that usually cover string theory are General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology (gr-qc) and/or high-energy physics theory (hep-th), which was where it was originally submitted, but this isn’t really a string theory paper per se. After being held by the moderators for a while it eventually it appeared in Popular Physics (physics.pop-ph), cross-listed in Artificial Intelligence (cs.AI) & Computation and Language (cs.CL); the latter two are computer science categories, obviously.

Figure 2 of the paper, which you should read if you want to know what it represents!

The reclassification of this paper was perfectly reasonable. In fact with this, as with any other arXiv paper, the thing that matters most is that it it is freely available to anyone who wants to read it and is discoverable, i.e. can easily be found via search engines. In the era of Open Access, things will generate interest if they are interesting (and accessible).

We posted the following on the Maynooth University Theoretical Physics Department Twitter account, something we do whenever a new paper by someone in the Department comes out:

Judging by the number of views (101K) by this morning, this one certainly seems to be attracting interest! Hopefully this blog post will generate even more..

Finally, there might be people reading this blog who can suggest a journal that might consider publishing an article on this sort of subject? Whatever you think about ChatGPT I think it’s generating a lot of discussion right now, so the topic is… er… topical.

Please use the box below for any suggestions.

Accessibility on arXiv

Posted in Education, Open Access with tags , , , , , on January 20, 2023 by telescoper

There’s an interesting paper on the arXiv that came out before Christmas, but which I’ve only just seen, about attempts to make arXiv content more accessible. Here is the abstract:

The research content hosted by arXiv is not fully accessible to everyone due to disabilities and other barriers. This matters because a significant proportion of people have reading and visual disabilities, it is important to our community that arXiv is as open as possible, and if science is to advance, we need wide and diverse participation. In addition, we have mandates to become accessible, and accessible content benefits everyone. In this paper, we will describe the accessibility problems with research, review current mitigations (and explain why they aren’t sufficient), and share the results of our user research with scientists and accessibility experts. Finally, we will present arXiv’s proposed next step towards more open science: offering HTML alongside existing PDF and TeX formats. An accessible HTML version of this paper is also available at https://info.arxiv.org/about/accessibility_research_report.html

I think this is well worth reading.

This reminds me a bit of the experiences I’ve had teaching theoretical physics to blind and partially-sighted students. Years ago this used to involve making braille copies of notes, but there are now various bits of software to help such people manage LaTeX both for creating and reading documents. In particular there are programs that can read Latex documents (including formulae and equations) which means that if a lecturer can supply LaTeX source version of their notes the student can hear them spoken out loud as well as make their own annotations/corrections. While HTML might be better for some fields, I wonder if physicists and other people in disciplines that make heavy use of mathematics might prefer to use the LaTeX source code which is already downloadable from arXiv?

I’d be interested in views on this through the comments!

ScienceCast and arXiv

Posted in Open Access with tags , , on January 15, 2023 by telescoper

Browsing the arXiv blog, as one does from time to time, I saw an item about ScienceCast and arXiv which I think is worth highlighting here. I wasn’t aware of ScienceCast before seeing the arXiv blog entry so perhaps some readers of this blog hadn’t either.

According to its own website,

ScienceCast provides a website where researchers can create explainer videos in a collaborative space and receive feedback on their work from other researchers through blog posts and chat functions. The platform also provides the ability for users to post datasets supporting the researcher’s work so that the work can be verified by reference to its data.

Although I haven’t used it, the first of these features seems very nice, allowing users to develop video explainers for science projects with feedback from collaborators. This will be of interest to people wanting to make their work a little more accessible and those, especially at the early career stage, who would like advice on video presentations. The second feature may be of less interest to astrophysicists, who already have platforms for sharing data and whose data sets are often very large, but it might work for smaller examples.

Anyway, the new feature from arXivLabs that the arXiv blog post is about allows users to include ScienceCast material directly on the arXiv. Here’s how it looks:

Activating the ScienceCast feature using the slider allows one to see any content there directly on arXiv. Which is nice. I’ll be interested to see what the uptake is like. I may even play around with it myself, although that will have to wait until I’ve finished marking examinations…

New Publication at the Open Journal of Astrophysics

Posted in OJAp Papers, Open Access, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , on January 12, 2023 by telescoper

Time to announce another new paper at the Open Journal of Astrophysics. This one was published officially on 9th January 2023. The latest paper is the second paper in Volume 6 (2023) as well as the 67th in all. This one is in the Astrophysics of Galaxies folder.

The latest publication is entitled “Wide Binaries as a Modified Gravity test: prospects for detecting triple-system contamination” and the authors – Dhruv Manchanda, Will Sutherland Charalambos Pittordis – are all based at Queen Mary, University of London.

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 officially accepted version of the paper on the arXiv here.

New Publication at the Open Journal of Astrophysics

Posted in OJAp Papers, Open Access, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , on January 7, 2023 by telescoper

Continuing the process of catching up with business at the Open Journal of Astrophysics, here is the first paper of 2023. This one was accepted before Christmas but the final version only appeared on arXiv after the holiday and was published officially on 4th January 2023.

The latest paper is the first paper in Volume 6 (2023) as well as the 66th in all. It’s yet another in the Cosmology and Non-Galactic Astrophysics folder.

The latest publication is entitled “It takes two to know one: Computing accurate one-point PDF covariances from effective two-point PDF models“. This is a British-French-German collaboration led by Cora Uhlemann of Newcastle University with co-authors  Oliver Friedrich, Aoife Boyle, Alex Gough, Alexandre Barthelemy, Francis Bernardeau, and Sandrine Codis.

This is such an interesting paper that we discussed it at our cosmology journal club at Maynooth University a while ago when it first appeared on arXiv and reading it again since then has suggested a nice project to me!

Anyway, 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 officially accepted version of the paper on the arXiv here.