Archive for Scholastica

New Publication at the Open Journal of Astrophysics!

Posted in Open Access, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , , , on October 2, 2020 by telescoper

Time to announce another new paper in the Open Journal of Astrophysics. The latest publication is by Amy Louca and Elena Sellentin, both of the Sterrewacht Leiden in the The Netherlands, and is entitled The impact of signal-to-noise, redshift, and angular range on the bias of weak lensing 2-point functions. This is another one for the Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics folder.

Here is a screen grab of the overlay:

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.

We actually published this one a few days ago but there was a slight delay registering the metadata and also I was very busy, so this post is a little late. With this paper, we have published as many papers so far in 2020 as we did in 2019 so with several more in the pipeline this looks like being our busiest year

Arguing the Case for Preprints

Posted in Open Access with tags , , , , on September 23, 2020 by telescoper

This is Peer Review Week 2020 as part of which I am participating tomorrow afternoon (Irish Time) in a live panel discussion/webinar called Increasing transparency and trust in preprints: Steps journals can take.

Working in a field like astrophysics, where the use of preprints as a means of disseminating information and ideas is well established, I’m always surprised that some people working in other disciplines don’t really approve of them at all. See for example, this Twitter thread. Still, even in the biosciences, preprints have their advocates and there are signs that attitudes may be changing.

That is not to say that things aren’t changing in astrophysics too. One of the interesting astronomical curiosities I’ve acquired over the years is a preprint of the classic work of Burbidge, Burbidge, Fowler and Hoyle in 1957 (a paper usually referred to as B2FH after the initials of its authors). It’s such an important contribution, in fact, that it has its own wikipedia page.

Younger readers will probably not realize that preprints were not always produced in the electronic form they are today. We all used to make large numbers of these and post them at great expense to (potentially) interested colleagues before publication in order to get comments. That was extremely useful because a paper could take over a year to be published after being refereed for a journal: that’s too long a timescale when a PhD or PDRA position is only a few years in duration. The first papers I was given to read as a new graduate student in 1985 were all preprints that were not published until well into the following year. In some cases I had more or less figured out what they were about by the time they appeared in a journal!

The B2FH paper was published in 1957 but the practice of circulating preprints persisted well into the 1990s. Usually these were produced by institutions with a distinctive design, logo, etc which gave them a professional look, which made it easier to distinguish `serious’ papers from crank material (which was also in circulation). This also suggested that some internal refereeing inside an institution had taken place before an “official” preprint was produced and this lending it an air of trustworthiness. Smaller institutions couldn’t afford all this, so were somewhat excluded from the preprint business.

With the arrival of the arXiv the practice of circulating hard copies of preprints in astrophysics gradually died out, to be replaced by ever-increasing numbers of electronic articles. The arXiv does have some gatekeeping – in the sense there are some controls on who can deposit a preprint there – but it is far easier to circulate a preprint now than it was.

It is still the case that big institutions and collaborations insist on quite strict internal refereeing before publishing a preprint – and some even insist on waiting for a paper to be accepted by a journal before adding it to the arXiv – but there’s no denying that among the wheat there is quite a lot of chaff, some of which attracts media coverage that it does not deserve. It must be admittted, however, that the same can be said of some papers that have passed peer review and appeared in high-profile journals! No system that is operated by human beings will ever be flawless, and peer review is no different.

Nowadays, in astrophysics, the single most important point of access to scientific literature is through the arXiv, which is why the Open Journal of Astrophysics was set up as an overlay journal to provide a level of rigorous peer review for preprints, not only to provide a sort of quality mark but also to improve the paper through the editorial process.

As for increasing transparency and trust in preprints, I think I’ll save some suggestions for tomorrow’s webinar. A good start, however, would be for journals to admit their own limitations and start helping rather than hindering the dissemination of information and ideas.

New Publication at the Open Journal of Astrophysics!

Posted in Open Access, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , , , on September 15, 2020 by telescoper

A day may come when I don’t write a blog post every time we publish a new paper in the Open Journal of Astrophysics, but it is not this day…

Today’s new publication is by Liliya Williams (of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities) and David Zegeye of the University of Chicago and is entitled Two-component mass models of the lensing galaxy in the quadruply imaged supernova iPTF16geu.

Here is a screen grab of the overlay:

You can click on the image to make it larger should you wish to do so.

Incidentally, you may notice that Scholastica have added MathJax to the platform to render mathematical expressions in the abstract.

You can find the arXiv version of the paper here.

Scholastica Webinar – The Open Journal of Astrophysics Project

Posted in Maynooth, Open Access with tags , , on October 2, 2019 by telescoper

As you may know, together with Fiona Morley of Maynooth University Library, last week I contributed to this `webinar’:

If you missed the event itself then you can follow the link here to access a full recording of the webinar. You can also find a quick summary of the goings-on here.

And if all this weren’t exciting enough, here are the slides I used for my bit.

 

The Open Journal of Astrophysics: Scholastica Webinar Reminder!

Posted in Open Access with tags , on September 25, 2019 by telescoper

Just a quick reminder that tomorrow I’ll be participating in webinar (whatever that is) organized by Scholastica to do a about the Open Journal of Astrophysics, which will involved a short presentation delivered over the interwebs jointly by myself and Fiona Morley (Head of Digital Programmes and Information Systems at Maynooth University Library), followed by a question and answer session. The session will be conducted via Zoom (which is the pretty neat platform we use, e.g., for Euclid teleconference meetings).

Here is the advert:

You can sign up here.

Now I have to figure out what I should say.

The Open Journal of Astrophysics: Scholastica Webinar and Plan S

Posted in Open Access, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , on September 13, 2019 by telescoper

Just a quick post to advertise the fact that I’ve been invited by Scholastica to do a webinar (whatever that is) about the Open Journal of Astrophysics, which will involved a short presentation delivered over the interwebs jointly by myself and Fiona Morley (Head of Digital Programmes and Information Systems at Maynooth University Library), followed by a question and answer session. The session will be conducted via Zoom (which is the pretty neat platform we use, e.g., for Euclid teleconference meetings).

Here is the advert:

You can sign up here.

While I’m on the subject(s) of Scholastica and the Open Journal of Astrophysics, I thought I’d add a bit of news about Plan S. Scholastica has been working hard behind the scenes to develop a roadmap that will enable its journals to become compliant with Plan S. The roadmap is here. Three important landmarks on it are:

  • Core machine-readable XML metadata in the JATS standard for all articles
  • Automated Digital Object Identifier (DOI) registration through Crossref
  • Automated metadata, including funding sources, deposited into major indexes and archives including DOAJ and Portico

Currently we do some of these manually for each article, and it’s nice to see that Scholastica is intending to provide these services automatically which will save us (i.e. me) a considerable amount of fiddling about!

 

 

 

Plan S and the Open Journal of Astrophysics

Posted in Open Access with tags , , , , on June 24, 2019 by telescoper

Things have been a little quiet on this side of the Open Journal of Astrophysics but rest assured it has been very busy behind the scenes, with a sizeable batch of papers going through peer review and a number of those are very near the finishing post.

My target was to build up to an average of about one submission a week by the end of 2019, and I think we’re on track to reach that comfortably by the end of summer.

I’ll report more on new publications as they are published, but before that I thought I’d report on a couple of bits of news to do with Plan S, following the issuance last month of revised guidelines.

First, here is a nice summary (taken from this article) of the different ways in principle one could deliver Open Access publishing in a manner consistent with Plan S:

You can click on the image to make it bigger.

The important thing is that the Open Journal of Astrophysics belongs in the column on the far right of the table. I draw your attention to the various comments, especially the one at the end that says the cost of overlay journals is substantially lower. It is, as I explain here.

the authors of this post think it is unclear whether these are compliant with Plan S. That’s a fair comment, but it can be clarified into a definite yes with very few tweaks. It is very encouraging on this point that the CEO of Scholastica (who provide our platform) has written a blog in which he describes the steps being taken to ensure that all Scholastica journals are indeed compliant with Plan S.

Over the coming months, we will announce new functionality that supports complying with Plan S guidelines, and we’re committed to updating our software to meet changes to the Plan S implementation rules as they come out.

I was very happy to read this plan as it includes adding a number of things to the Scholastica system that we currently have to do ourselves (e.g. registering DOIs with CrossRef).

Anyway, another notification from Scholastica has just come in so that will have to be that for now.

 

 

The Cost of the Open Journal of Astrophysics

Posted in Open Access with tags , , , on February 1, 2019 by telescoper

Our recent publication of a paper in the Open Journal of Astrophysics caused a flurry of interest in social media and a number of people have independently asked me for information about the cost of this kind of publication.

I see no reason not to be fully `open’ about the running costs of the Open Journal, but it’s not quite as simple as a cost per paper.

The Scholastica platform we use (which is very nice, simple and easy to use) costs $99 per month. That includes professional website hosting with a custom domain, a built-in website editor (so the site itself can be easily customized), integrated PDF viewer, indexing through e.g. Google scholar, fully searchable metadata, and readership analytics. That amounts to $1188 per annum, regardless of how many submissions we receive or how many articles get published.

On top of that we pay for the Peer Review service, which amounts to $10 for each submission (subject to an annual minimum of $250). We pay that whether or not a submission is published. So far we have rejected significantly more than we have accepted. This system provides automated emails, deadline reminders, an interface for searching sorting and assigning submissions to editors, file versioning & blindness control, a reviewer database, metrics to track performance, etc.

The final charge is only for papers that are accepted: we pay a fee to Crossref to register the Digital Object Identifier (DOI). That costs a princely $1.

There are no* other charges, as editors and referees give their services for free. Since all papers are typset by authors we do not use the Scholastica typesetting service (which is $5 per 500 words). If you’re thinking of setting up a non-overlay journal you might want to pay for that.

The actual cost per paper therefore depends on how many papers we publish. If we had 25 papers submitted in a year and published 10 the net cost per published paper would be ($250+$1188+$10)/10= $144.80, but that reduces as the number of published papers increases. For 50 submissions with 20 published it would be ($500+$1188+$20)/20=$85.40, and so on.

Some publishers argue that Open Access publication justifies an Article Processing Charge of several thousands of dollars. I think I’ve demonstrated that it doesn’t. Any charge over a hundred dollars or so is pure profiteering, bearing in mind the huge economies of scale inherent in large organizations.

In reality we have a combination of sources of funding that will be able to pay the annual fee for the foreseeable future. Ignoring this element, the marginal cost per published paper is just $11…

I hope this clarifies the situation.

*As has been pointed out in the comments, there is of course the cost of running the arXiv. The current funding model for that involves a membership program according to which institutes pay a fee depending on how heavily they use the arXiv. The top fee is $4400 per annum, for an entire institution. Some OA journals charge that much as an APC for a single paper!

The Open Journal is Open for Submissions Again!

Posted in Open Access, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , on October 8, 2018 by telescoper

I have now finished moving the Open Journal of Astrophysics onto the new Scholastica platform, and it is now open again for submissions! It has taken a lot longer to get to this point than I thought it would when I first proposed the Open Journal of Astrophysics way back in 2012 but better late than never!

Full instructions for authors can be found here. It is there that you will find the `submit’ button shown above, which will take you to a form through which you can upload your paper. All you need to do is upload a few details and the arXiv ID of your paper and we’ll take it from there.

The membership of the Editorial Board is listed here.

The papers published so far can be found here.

Oh, and there’s a blog that will include topical posts about matters astrophysical here.

In a nutshell, any paper that’s suitable for the astro-ph section of the arXiv can be submitted to the Open Journal of Astrophysics. We will consider any `traditional’ papers as well as others which may find it difficult to publish in other journals, such as papers on astrophysics education and outreach, or technical papers relating to instrumentation, mission proposals, and other documents.

Well, that’s about it. I just remains for me to thank all the people without whom this project would never have got off the ground, chiefly Chris Lintott, Arfon Smith and Adam Becker, developers Stuart Lynn and Marc Rohloff, Fiona Morley and the team at Maynooth University Library, and of course the good folk of the wonderful arXiv!

The Open Journal of Astrophysics Blog

Posted in Open Access with tags , , , on October 5, 2018 by telescoper

Since I’ve recently been boring all my readers with a stream of stuff about the Open Journal of Astrophysics, I thought I might as well continue by pointing out that this journal also has a blog feature, on which we will include commentaries on some of the papers published and on wider issues in astrophysics. To illustrate this feature I’ve written a short post about the background to the Open Journal project, which you can find here. The text is as below.

I first proposed this idea several years ago and it has taken a while to make it happen, but here we are at last.

Astrophysics has taken the lead for many years in opening up access to scientific publications – all publications of any merit are available for free on the internet via the arXiv and, in my opinion, the traditional journals are already more-or-less redundant even without considering their “astronomical” cost. The one thing that seems a consistent objection to dispensing with journals altogether is the element of peer review.

My suggestion was that we set up a quick-and-easy system to circumvent the traditional (ruinously expensive) publishing route. The basic idea is that authors who submit papers to the arXiv can have their papers refereed by the community, outside the usual system of traditional journals. I was intially thinking of a website on which authors would simply have to post their arXiv ID and a request for peer review. Once accepted, the author would be allowed to mark the arXiv posting as “refereed” and an electronic version would be made available for free on the website. What we have now is a little more involved than that, but the basic idea remains the same.

Whether or not this idea is a success really depends partly on the willingness of the community to submit high-quality papers here, and partly on the performance of those of us involved on the Editorial Board at providing the community with what I hope will prove to be an effective resource.