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Open Journals - RIOJA Project

Posted: February 17 2007
by Antony Lewis
Following on from the Open Journals thread, I'm happy to say that we now have funding for a project to investigate more fully the implementation of journals on top of the arXiv repository. The project runs for one year and is starting now. It's called RIOJA - see the JISC default website and the proposal.

The project won't actually start a journal as the funding is only short term. However we hope to have a fully functional journal website with journal-arxiv integration, ready to go live at the end of the project if a viable funding source can be identified.

Any thoughts on the desirability or viability of the overlaying journal quality certification on the arXiv repository much appreciated. We will be carrying out more formal surveys as part of the project, but a discussion of the relevant issues people are concerned about would be helpful.

Open Journals - RIOJA Project

Posted: February 20 2007
by Syksy Rasanen
This looks excellent. Do you have any informal idea about the attitudes of editors and senior scientistsyet?

What do you plan to do in practice with the "demonstrator" journal during the year? Just set up and test the software?

Re: Open Journals - RIOJA Project

Posted: February 21 2007
by Antony Lewis
Most editors I've talked to don't seem to feel very committed to their current publisher, so in principle I think they're quite open to the idea, though of course being a bit skeptical about how exactly it would work, quality control and funding. I think most senior scientists are basically in favour if it's done right (there are a bunch on the project advisory panel).

The "demonstrator" journal will be a bit like but we will also be specifying an API for communication with Arxiv for automated data extraction etc and implementing it for one test journal. Arxiv have committed to making some changes on behalf of this project (I hope to include increasing the file-size limit of papers so full-res figures can be included).

Open Journals - RIOJA Project

Posted: February 28 2008
by Anze Slosar
Today the RIOJA got out a "preliminary report" on questionnaire that they put out some time ago. It can be accessed here:

It is truly very long and one gets tired very quickly. Conclusions on page 46 are worth reading and so are "other comments". I liked comments about "crap".

I was surprised how much opposition towards such project was actually voiced. Besides, the answers seem to be binomial, between young guys wanting wikis and things that even I am too old for, and conservative (older?) dudes(ess) wanting slow and painstaking peer reviewing and paper copies that lasts 100 years (literally).

Any comments?

Open Journals - RIOJA Project

Posted: February 28 2008
by Syksy Rasanen
I, too, am surprised by some of the opposition, especially by criticism along the lines of (page 42)

“I see no reason for this journal. We have astro-ph and we have library subscriptions to ApJ and A&A. What would the "added value" be?”

In my opinion, apart from removing some redundancy from the current system, the primary benefit of an overlay journal would be saving money for libraries. Perhaps people are not aware of how much journals cost?

It seems to me that the astrophysics community is more tied to old ways than particle physics/cosmology. Several respondents noted that their decision to read a new paper on the arXiv is affected by whether it has been published, and even where it has been published. I don't think this is that common in particle physics. (Personally, I am suspicious of an old paper that has not been published anywhere, but to postpone reading a paper until it's published? That would never occur to me.)

I agree, Anze, on the wiki thing, community refereeing etc., I don't see the attraction (but feel the repulsion). On the other hand, I don't understand why people want to keep referee reports secret. If the identity of the referee is not disclosed, where is the harm? Why would the journal/referee not want people to see the basis on which they make their judgements?

As a minor point, the reasoning on page 6 is questionable:

"The journals in which the respondents had mostly published their research were: The Astrophysical Journal (476 people), Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (382) and Astronomy and Astrophysics (331). All of those journals are among the top 10 journals by impact factor (as identified by the ISI Journal Citation Reports, 2005 ( Irrespective of ongoing discussions in the literature about the role of citation reports, these findings indicate that they do have weight in the scientists’ decision of where to publish."

If most people publish in a few journals, how does it follow that the reason for doing so is the impact factor? (If people publish mostly in a few journals, they will naturally have high impact factors, whatever the reasons for publishing in them.) The importance of impact factor can be established from the answers to other questions, but not from this piece of information.

Re: Open Journals - RIOJA Project

Posted: March 05 2008
by Boud Roukema
Anze Slosar wrote:Today the RIOJA got out a "preliminary report" on questionnaire that they put out some time ago. It can be accessed here:
"PDF - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader"

What a pleasure to see! The false statement "requires Adobe Acrobat Reader", which in fact is an advertisement for a product requiring the user to agree to keep "trade secrets" secret, occurs next to links to pdf files on so many web pages which would not dream of posting advertisements for a soft drink or brand of toothpaste...

Anyway, nice to see that work on this project is getting underway.

On the practical side, it seems to me that the European Commission has been convinced to support open journals and archiving. i'm not eager to do the paperwork on this, but if someone (some people) is (are) willing to do the paperwork, i'd be happy to be a co-signer (trying to get my institute to co-sign if it's a between-institutes deal) of EU type grant etc. proposals towards an open journal project. In principle a project involving people from different EU institutes is a minimum requirement for EU type funding. i'm in Poland, I don't know if Anze is actually in Berkeley or still has status in Slovenia (?) and i'm sure we could get a few others (Alessandrio in Rome? et quelqu'un(e) d'un des groupes cosmo français) unwilling to do the paperwork but willing to sign.

Since the whole point is to make an open access journal, it shouldn't be a problem for non-EU people if the project has EU funding. :)

Open Journals - RIOJA Project

Posted: August 27 2012
by Sarah Bridle
I think the level of interest in open journals for cosmology was not sufficiently high 4 years ago for anything to take off.
But things changed a fair bit lately with more people taking an interest in Open Access (e.g. the Finch report in the UK) and funding bodies taking a stand.
So maybe Peter Coles's latest suggestions could have some traction.
See his new post ... cs-update/ suggesting the formation of an editorial board, and suggesting senior astrophysicist enthusiasts should contact him.