Archive for The Open Journal of Astrophysics

Open Journal Updates

Posted in Open Access, The Universe and Stuff with tags , on October 16, 2018 by telescoper

Just finished today’s teaching so I thought I’d chill for a few minutes and pass on a few quick updates about the Open Journal of Astrophysics, which was formally (re)launched last week.

The first thing is that at the weekend I sent an online training video and guide around the members of the Editorial Board and introduced them all to the new platform’s messaging system, which is a very convenient way for us to keep in touch. I had lots of volunteers for the Editorial Board and I couldn’t select everyone but I tried to choose members with a good geographical distribution, spread of expertise, and gender balance. We may add more in due course, as we’re still quite cosmologist-heavy, but I think we have enough to get started: we have editors in Australia, France, Italy, United States of America and Mexico as well as the United Kingdom.

We have received some submissions already and are dealing with them through the new platform, which is requiring the Editors to engage in some `on-the-job’ training. Hopefully they’ll get the hang of it soon!

Another relevant piece of news is that we have updated the DOIs associated with the papers we published with the old platform to point to the new site so they are now fully incorporated. For the record these are:

10.21105/astro.1708.00605

10.21105/astro.1603.07299

10.21105/astro.1602.02113

10.21105/astro.1502.04020

I’ll also take this opportunity to remind you that the Open Journal of Astrophysics is open for new submissions, so please feel free to give it a try!

Finally, I’d like to point you to an article about Open Access Publishing in the latest Physics Today, which begins

Publishers of scientific journals are facing renewed threats to their business models from both sides of the Atlantic.

You better believe it!

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The Open Journal Launch Event

Posted in Maynooth with tags , , , , on October 9, 2018 by telescoper

Tuesday afternoons are usually quite busy for me, with teaching sessions from 12-2 and 3-4 this term, but today turned into almost four consecutive hours of activity as I gave a talk on Open Science at a lunchtime event as part of Maynooth University’s Library `Publication Festival’ which, in turn, is part of `Research Week’. I talked about Open Science generally from the point of view of astrophysics for a bit, but the main purpose of the event was to launch the Open Journal of Astrophysics which also marks the debut of Maynooth Academic Publishing as an OA publisher. Fortunately I’d managed to get everything up and running before the talk so I was able to show the assembled throng the actual journal with actual papers.

Anyway, here are my slides if you’re interested.

P.S. The gentleman at the left of the picture is Professor Philip Nolan, the President of Maynooth University, who launched today’s event.

P.P.S. I’d like to point out that I did not mock the UK Prime Minister Theresa May by dancing at the podium prior to my presentation.

 

 

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.

 

The Open Journal of Astrophysics and NASA/ADS

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on September 18, 2018 by telescoper

As I’m working on the Open Journal of Astrophysics project quite a lot these days I’m probably going to be boring a lot of people with updates, but there you go.

First astro.theog.org is now transferred to the new platform here. It doesn’t look like much now but there is a lot sitting behind the front page and we will get the new site up and running when we’ve got various administrative things approved.

Another thing I forgot to mention in yesterday’s post concerns the SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System which (for the uninitiated) is a Digital Library portal for researchers in astronomy and physics, operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) under a NASA grant. The ADS maintains three bibliographic databases containing more than 14.0 million records covering publications in Astronomy and Astrophysics, Physics, and (of course) the arXiv e-prints. In addition to maintaining its bibliographic corpus, the ADS tracks citations and other information, which means that it is an important tool for evaluating publication impact.

One of the issues that we’ve had with the handful of papers published so far by the Open Journal of Astrophysics is that, because it is an overlay journal, the primary location of the papers published is on the arXiv, alongside other content that has not been refereed. Up until recently searching ADS for `All bibliographic sources’ would return OJA papers, but `All refereed articles’ would not. I’m glad to say that with the help of the ADS team, this issue has now been resolved and OJA papers now show up as refereed articles, as demonstrated by this example:

I know that this was a particular worry for early career researchers who might have been deterred from submitting to the Open Journal of Astrophysics by the fear that their publications would not look like refereed publications. They need worry no longer!

Incidentally, that image also shows that citations are tracked through the CROSSREF system, in which OJA papers are registered when published and issued with a DOI. All this happens behind the scenes from the point of view of an author, but it involves a lot of interesting machinery! A discussion on facebook the other day led to an academic publisher stating that one of the greatest costs of running a journal was registering publications for citation tracking. In fact it costs a maximum of $1 per article (see here). The industry is relying on academics not understanding how cheap things actually are.

 

The Open Journal of Astrophysics – Call for Editors

Posted in Maynooth, Open Access with tags , , , on September 17, 2018 by telescoper

It’s nice to see that my recent post on the Open Journal of Astrophysics has been attracting some interest. The project is developing rather swiftly right now and it seems the main problems we have to deal with are administrative rather than technical. Fingers crossed anyway.

I thought I’d do a follow-up re-iterating a request in that recent post. As you will be aware, the Open Journal of Astrophysics is an arXiv overlay journal. We apply a simple criterion to decide whether a paper is on a suitable topic for publication, namely that if it it is suitable for the astro-ph section of the arXiv then it is suitable for the Open Journal of Astrophysics. This section of the arXiv, which is rather broad,is divided thuswise:

  1. astro-ph.GA – Astrophysics of Galaxies.
    Phenomena pertaining to galaxies or the Milky Way. Star clusters, HII regions and planetary nebulae, the interstellar medium, atomic and molecular clouds, dust. Stellar populations. Galactic structure, formation, dynamics. Galactic nuclei, bulges, disks, halo. Active Galactic Nuclei, supermassive black holes, quasars. Gravitational lens systems. The Milky Way and its contents
  2. astro-ph.CO – Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics.
    Phenomenology of early universe, cosmic microwave background, cosmological parameters, primordial element abundances, extragalactic distance scale, large-scale structure of the universe. Groups, superclusters, voids, intergalactic medium. Particle astrophysics: dark energy, dark matter, baryogenesis, leptogenesis, inflationary models, reheating, monopoles, WIMPs, cosmic strings, primordial black holes, cosmological gravitational radiation
  3. astro-ph.EP – Earth and Planetary Astrophysics.
    Interplanetary medium, planetary physics, planetary astrobiology, extrasolar planets, comets, asteroids, meteorites. Structure and formation of the solar system
  4. astro-ph.HE – High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena.
    Cosmic ray production, acceleration, propagation, detection. Gamma ray astronomy and bursts, X-rays, charged particles, supernovae and other explosive phenomena, stellar remnants and accretion systems, jets, microquasars, neutron stars, pulsars, black holes
  5. astro-ph.IM – Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics.
    Detector and telescope design, experiment proposals. Laboratory Astrophysics. Methods for data analysis, statistical methods. Software, database design
  6. astro-ph.SR – Solar and Stellar Astrophysics.
    White dwarfs, brown dwarfs, cataclysmic variables. Star formation and protostellar systems, stellar astrobiology, binary and multiple systems of stars, stellar evolution and structure, coronas. Central stars of planetary nebulae. Helioseismology, solar neutrinos, production and detection of gravitational radiation from stellar systems.

The expertise of the current Editorial Board is concentrated in the area of (2), and a bit of (5), but we would really like to add some editors from different areas (i.e. 1, 3, 4 and 6).  We  would therefore really appreciate volunteers from other areas of astrophysics (especially stars/exoplanets, etc). If you’re interested please let me know. Please also circulate this call as widely as possible among your colleagues so we can recruit the necessary expertise. The journal is entirely free (both to publish in and to read) and we can’t afford to pay a fee, but there is of course the prestige of being in at the start of a publishing revolution of cosmic proportions!

If you join the Editorial Board we will invite you to an online training session to show you how the platform works.

Thank you in advance for your interest in this project, and I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

 

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).