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Is anyone familiar with The Open Astronomy Journal?

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Nereid
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Mar4-12, 12:11 PM
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The Open Astronomy Journal, published as part of Bentham OPEN.

From the website:
Aims & Scope

The Open Astronomy Journal is an Open Access online journal, which publishes research articles, reviews, letters and guest edited single topic issues in all areas of astronomy and astrophysics.

The Open Astronomy Journal, a peer-reviewed journal, aims to provide the most complete and reliable source of information on current developments in the field. The emphasis will be on publishing quality papers rapidly and freely available to researchers worldwide.
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Bobbywhy
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Mar4-12, 06:07 PM
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I could not find information on how the OAJ "peer review" is set up, or the qualifications of their reviewers. I don't know if this is important, but I found this at the instructions to authors:

"PUBLICATION FEES: The publication fee details for each article published in the journal are given below:

Letters: The publication fee for each published Letter article submitted is US $600.

Research Articles: The publication fee for each published Research article is US $800.

Mini-Review Articles: The publication fee for each published Mini-Review article is US $600.

Review Articles: The publication fee for each published Review article is US $900.

Book Reviews: The open access fee for a published book review is US $450."
Nereid
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Mar5-12, 09:34 AM
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Here is a link to the journal's Editorial Board. Its Editor-in-Chief is Dr. Christian Corda, the Honourable Editor is Dr. George Ellis, and the two Associate Editors are Herman J. Mosquera Cuesta and Lorenzo Iorio. That seems to be a pretty distinguished line-up.

The journal's review process is described on this page ("Instructions for Authors"); a quote from it:
REVIEWING AND PROMPTNESS OF PUBLICATION: All manuscripts submitted for publication will be immediately subjected to peer-reviewing, usually in consultation with the members of the Editorial Advisory Board and a number of external referees. Authors may, however, provide in their Covering Letter the contact details (including e-mail addresses) of four potential peer reviewers for their paper. Any peer reviewers suggested should not have recently published with any of the authors of the submitted manuscript and should not be members of the same research institution.

All peer-reviewing will be conducted via the Internet to facilitate rapid reviewing of the submitted manuscripts. Every possible effort will be made to assess the manuscripts quickly with the decision being conveyed to the authors in due course. Papers which are delayed by authors in revision for more than 30 days will have to be re-submitted as a new submission.
Per their website, four volumes of the Open Astronomy Journal have been published so far, one each for the years 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.

The first volume contains two "General Articles"; the second, 16 such papers; the third, nine; and the fourth also nine.

There are altogether four "Special Issues", two each for 2010 and 2011.

The first, Special Issue #001, 2010, is entitled "Dark Energy and Modified Gravity". It has eight papers, and an editorial. The second, Special Issue #002, 2010, is entitled "New Highlights in Gravitationally Lensed Quasar Research", and contains four papers (and an editorial).

The third, Special Issue #001, 2011, is called "Gravitational Waves: A Challenging New Window to the Universe", and contains eight papers (plus the editorial). The last, Special Issue #002, 2011, is called "Some Initial Thoughts on Plasma Cosmology"; it has four papers (in addition to the editorial).

Three of the four Special Issue editorials are by members of the Editorial Board; the exception is Special Issue #001, 2010 ("Dark Energy and Modified Gravity"), which has an editorial by S. Nojiri and S.D. Odintsov. The editor of the third (Special Issue #001, 2011, "Gravitational Waves: A Challenging New Window to the Universe") is the OAJ's Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Christian Corda.

The Instructions for Authors page says this about Special Issues:
Supplements/Single Topic Issues: The journal also considers Supplements/Single topic issues for publication. A Supplements/Single topic will be a collection of articles (minimum of 6, maximum of 20 articles) based on a contemporary theme or topic of great importance to the field. Mini-supplements consisting of between 3 to 5 articles are also welcome. A Supplement can consist of either all review articles or a mixture of review and research articles. The Guest Editors' main editorial task is to invite the contributors to the Supplement and to manage the peer review of submitted manuscripts.
All in all it seems to be a reputable, peer-reviewed journal, in the field of astronomy (though perhaps not quite as good, yet, as what it aims to be).

Except for one thing ...

(to be continued)

Bobbywhy
#4
Mar5-12, 03:30 PM
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Is anyone familiar with The Open Astronomy Journal?

Nereid, Thank you for all the information on the Open Astronomy Journal, especially the peer review part. Seems efficient to use the internet, too, for faster reviewing. I scanned multiple articles and they certainly appeared "reputable" to me, a non-astronomer. I will continue to consult it. In my opinion it is a great idea to disseminate astronomical research for free. Too many times I have been stopped by a demand to pay first to read some interesting paper.
twofish-quant
#5
Mar6-12, 09:23 AM
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The quality of the articles doesn't seem to be very high. There are a few articles here and there that don't look awful, but on the whole the quality is pretty dreadful. The only point of peer review is for quality control, and they don't seem to be doing a good job at that.

Personally, I don't really see the point of this journal. Anything worth reading is going to be at the Los Alamos Preprint server or ADS.

In my opinion it is a great idea to disseminate astronomical research for free. Too many times I have been stopped by a demand to pay first to read some interesting paper.
You do know about http://adswww.harvard.edu/ and http://www.arxiv.org/ ?
Vanadium 50
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Mar6-12, 10:48 AM
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Quote Quote by Bobbywhy View Post
I scanned multiple articles and they certainly appeared "reputable" to me, a non-astronomer. I will continue to consult it.
They are not. You will be filling your brain with crap.

Quote Quote by Nereid View Post
Three of the four Special Issue editorials are by members of the Editorial Board... All in all it seems to be a reputable, peer-reviewed journal, in the field of astronomy.
As are many of the papers. This is not the sign of a reputable journal. Furthermore, "Plasma Cosmology" has moved from fringe to crackpottery. But worst of all, Bentham has accepted SCIgen-generated fake articles. So there is no peer review worthy of the name.
Nereid
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Mar6-12, 11:48 AM
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Quote Quote by Vanadium 50 View Post
Quote Quote by Nereid
Three of the four Special Issue editorials are by members of the Editorial Board... All in all it seems to be a reputable, peer-reviewed journal, in the field of astronomy.
As are many of the papers. This is not the sign of a reputable journal. Furthermore, "Plasma Cosmology" has moved from fringe to crackpottery. But worst of all, Bentham has accepted SCIgen-generated fake articles. So there is no peer review worthy of the name.
I found this, which may be (one example of) what you're referring to: OA publisher accepts fake paper

You left out the key part of my earlier post, in your quote; namely, "Except for one thing ... (to be continued)"

Yes, Special Issue #002, in Volume 4 (2011) - containing four papers, in addition to the editorial - is crackpottery of the finest (i.e. worst) kind. It is blatantly obvious that none of those papers went through any kind of peer review*.

What puzzles me is why first-rate astrophysicists - such as George Ellis - seem willing to have their names associated with a journal which has so obviously failed in its stated aims.

Equally puzzling - or perhaps more puzzling - is the fact that Jeremy Dunning-Davies is the editor of that special issue (he's also a member of the Editorial Advisory Board). IMHO, a reputable journal - one which seeks to live up to the kind of aims OAJ posts about itself - would make very sure that the editors of special issues were people who are experts in the topics covered by those issues. In this case, Dunning-Davies seems to have no track record in plasma astrophysics (per ADS), or even in astronomy, cosmology, plasma physics, or astrophysics. Worse, one arXiv preprint - of which he is co-author - was "withdrawn by arXiv administrators due to excessive unattributed and verbatim text overlap with the pre-existing Wikipedia article on redshift".

* or if they did, none of the reviewer(s)' suggestions etc were followed.
twofish-quant
#8
Mar8-12, 01:06 AM
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Quote Quote by Nereid View Post
What puzzles me is why first-rate astrophysicists - such as George Ellis - seem willing to have their names associated with a journal which has so obviously failed in its stated aims.
Inside of every creative astrophysicist, there is a crackpot trying to get out. A lot of being a productive scientist is to try to keep that inner crackpot under control. It's very common to have someone that is distinguished in one area, and who is a total nut job at something else. In fact I'd go so far to say that in some cases being a nut job is useful, because the person got the Nobel for the one situation in which he was a crank, but was right.

I know of one Nobel Prize winner that was convinced that black holes do not exist, and so no one dared mention the word "black hole" around him.

But the journal article format is a horrible way of presenting non-standard ideas. What you really want is one brief review article, and Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics had a great article a few years back that summarized all of the various non-standard cosmologies. That way you can quickly familiarize yourself with the crackpot theories and ideas, so that they are in the back of your mind.

However, for the purpose of being an avenue for totally crackpot ideas, even OAJ is worse than Arxiv.org. Submitting something to Arxiv,org is free.
Nereid
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Mar8-12, 06:20 PM
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Quote Quote by twofish-quant View Post
Inside of every creative astrophysicist, there is a crackpot trying to get out. A lot of being a productive scientist is to try to keep that inner crackpot under control. It's very common to have someone that is distinguished in one area, and who is a total nut job at something else. In fact I'd go so far to say that in some cases being a nut job is useful, because the person got the Nobel for the one situation in which he was a crank, but was right.

I know of one Nobel Prize winner that was convinced that black holes do not exist, and so no one dared mention the word "black hole" around him.

But the journal article format is a horrible way of presenting non-standard ideas. What you really want is one brief review article, and Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics had a great article a few years back that summarized all of the various non-standard cosmologies. That way you can quickly familiarize yourself with the crackpot theories and ideas, so that they are in the back of your mind.

However, for the purpose of being an avenue for totally crackpot ideas, even OAJ is worse than Arxiv.org. Submitting something to Arxiv,org is free.
It may well be that 'the inner crackpot' is very common, possibly a trait of the majority, in the sense of wishing/hoping/etc to be the person who finds/invents/presents a radically new idea that is also the next major chapter in mainstream physics textbooks*.

This particular OAJ Special Issue is rather different however.

Consider, for example, that the editor (Dunning-Davies) seems to have had no qualms with what seems remarkably like plagiarism (the arxiv preprint he was co-author of; see my earlier post). Now the Thornhill paper in that Special Issue is full of Figures that are both the work of others and unattributed (to take just one example). May we conclude that Dunning-Davies is either incredibly slack (he did not, in fact, review Thornhill's paper before giving it the go-ahead for publication) or condones borderline intellectual fraud?

Another example: one's inner crackpot is at peace with the need to be scrupulously accurate when it comes to summarising the work one cites, to referencing all the central ideas associated with your paradigm shift, to doing a diligent literature search, etc, etc, etc. In a word, there is a bedrock of scholarship principles you do not abandon, under any circumstances. Yet the instances in those Special Issue papers where such principles are prominent by the absence are legion; for example, many of Scott's primary sources are press releases and science popularisations! And Smith's contains at least one instance of his gloss being opposite to the stated conclusion of the paper he cites.

* perhaps even me; see, for example, this analysis I did, some time ago; do you think I would have invested so much time and effort had I not hoped, against all odds, to find a rough diamond there?
Dotini
#10
Mar8-12, 07:37 PM
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Quote Quote by Nereid View Post
do you think I would have invested so much time and effort had I not hoped, against all odds, to find a rough diamond there?
Even as a retired layman, I feel your pain.

Once a topic such as "plasma cosmology" is declared anathema, apostate and excommunicated to outer darkness, then polite, educated, respectable people should not discuss it.

Naturally, this leaves the field open to amateurs and opportunists to exploit for even more marginal purposes such as catastrophism.

Respectfully submitted,
Steve
dipole
#11
Mar8-12, 10:12 PM
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Quote Quote by twofish-quant View Post
Inside of every creative astrophysicist, there is a crackpot trying to get out. A lot of being a productive scientist is to try to keep that inner crackpot under control. It's very common to have someone that is distinguished in one area, and who is a total nut job at something else. In fact I'd go so far to say that in some cases being a nut job is useful, because the person got the Nobel for the one situation in which he was a crank, but was right.

I know of one Nobel Prize winner that was convinced that black holes do not exist, and so no one dared mention the word "black hole" around him.


But the journal article format is a horrible way of presenting non-standard ideas. What you really want is one brief review article, and Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics had a great article a few years back that summarized all of the various non-standard cosmologies. That way you can quickly familiarize yourself with the crackpot theories and ideas, so that they are in the back of your mind.

However, for the purpose of being an avenue for totally crackpot ideas, even OAJ is worse than Arxiv.org. Submitting something to Arxiv,org is free.
Are you refering to Ivar Giaever?
twofish-quant
#12
Mar9-12, 03:15 AM
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Quote Quote by Dotini View Post
Once a topic such as "plasma cosmology" is declared anathema, apostate and excommunicated to outer darkness, then polite, educated, respectable people should not discuss it.
It's not so much that one shouldn't discuss it, rather that there is nothing new to discuss. One should keep track of crackpot theories in ones field, since every now and then there is a crackpot idea that turns out to be right. (One example, is the anthropic principle which is starting to be respectable among cosmologists.)

However, journal articles are to report *new* results, and if someone comes up with the same arguments and same results that you've had over the last ten years, then there is nothing new to say. In that case, the best form of communication is a review article, with maybe an update every three years to see if anything has changed. There is an excellent review article on non-standard cosmologies in Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and it's a nice time saver because you can get a good summary of all of the crackpot ideas in one go.

The other thing about crackpot ideas is that in cosmology, most crackpot ideas are not *original* crackpot ideas. Plasma cosmology has been around since the 1960's, and based on what we knew in 1965, it seems perfectly reasonable. But we've seen a lot of stuff since 1965, and it doesn't make any sense any more. Now if someone comes up with a *new* variation on plasma cosmology, then that would be interesting but just give me an abstract of what makes this different.

Naturally, this leaves the field open to amateurs and opportunists to exploit for even more marginal purposes such as catastrophism.
It's not so much amateurs, since there are a lot of crackpots with tenured professorships. There's also a fine line between "total crackpot" and "distinguished scientist with strange ideas." There's one former president of AAS that has some very odd ideas on galactic jets.
turbo
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Mar9-12, 05:58 AM
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Quote Quote by twofish-quant View Post
It's not so much amateurs, since there are a lot of crackpots with tenured professorships. There's also a fine line between "total crackpot" and "distinguished scientist with strange ideas." There's one former president of AAS that has some very odd ideas on galactic jets.
You don't have to be fringe or crackpot to get these offers of publication in on-line journals. I get at least one a month, perhaps two.

If you have a decent paper in the works, polish it up and submit it to a Springer journal (no per-page-fees). They will assign a referee or two to either tear it up or suggest improvements. When the paper is tweaked to conform to the standards of your referees, Springer's editor will suggest that you submit the paper to ArXiv before they present it in their on-line or print journals. Pretty classy operation.

If you have to pay $600-800 plus per-page and formatting fees to a journal, you are dealing with a "vanity publisher" that has no credibility.
Nereid
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Mar9-12, 10:57 AM
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Quote Quote by twofish-quant View Post
It's not so much that one shouldn't discuss it, rather that there is nothing new to discuss. One should keep track of crackpot theories in ones field, since every now and then there is a crackpot idea that turns out to be right. (One example, is the anthropic principle which is starting to be respectable among cosmologists.)

However, journal articles are to report *new* results, and if someone comes up with the same arguments and same results that you've had over the last ten years, then there is nothing new to say. In that case, the best form of communication is a review article, with maybe an update every three years to see if anything has changed. There is an excellent review article on non-standard cosmologies in Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and it's a nice time saver because you can get a good summary of all of the crackpot ideas in one go.

The other thing about crackpot ideas is that in cosmology, most crackpot ideas are not *original* crackpot ideas. Plasma cosmology has been around since the 1960's, and based on what we knew in 1965, it seems perfectly reasonable. But we've seen a lot of stuff since 1965, and it doesn't make any sense any more. Now if someone comes up with a *new* variation on plasma cosmology, then that would be interesting but just give me an abstract of what makes this different.



It's not so much amateurs, since there are a lot of crackpots with tenured professorships. There's also a fine line between "total crackpot" and "distinguished scientist with strange ideas." There's one former president of AAS that has some very odd ideas on galactic jets.
While not disagreeing with anything you said, I would like to point out that the Special Issue ("Some Initial Thoughts on Plasma Cosmology") is not, in fact, about plasma cosmology. Well, not the plasma cosmology you were, very likely, referring to (i.e. that of Alfvén). As the Dunning-Davies editorial makes clear (or not), the four 'content' papers of that Special Issue are about "the electric universe".

Thornhill's paper ("Toward a Real Cosmology in the 21st Century") is actually quite explicitly anti-science. The abstract begins by baldly stating that cosmology is one of the humanities:
A real cosmology must be a broad and coherent natural philosophy. It may always be incomplete, based on our limitations, but to be valid there can be no exceptions in our experience. In particular, cosmology must address issues of life and the human condition. Therefore it must be a truly interdisciplinary pursuit. Modern specialized science is a hostile environment for such a quest.
Later he presents contemporary cosmology as a religion, with "the electric universe" as a different, competing religion; for example:
However, the Big Bang is ideology and not science. Science welcomes refutation and the unknown while Big Bang adherents exhibit the same disregard of contrary evidence
and religious intolerance of dissent, as do fundamentalist believers in other creation myths [...]
They [science and religion] haven’t yet separated. That can only occur when cosmology can explain coherently and scientifically the origin of human myth and religions, which logically have nothing to say about the creation of the universe but much to tell about mankind’s earliest memories of terrifying events in the prehistoric heavens. It requires an interdisciplinary forensic investigation technique, which is not taught in any university. But it is only from investigating all human experience, particularly the meaning of capricious, battling celestial ‘gods’ hurling thunderbolts in the heavens, that a panorama opens on the human situation on this fragile blue planet and we comprehend our ‘doomsday’ fear and religious longing for the reestablishment of ‘paradise on Earth.’ From such an understanding a real cosmology must begin if it is to have any relevance for us.
Given this, it is not a surprise to find so many of the key aspects of scientific papers missing (e.g. attributions, accurate summaries of others' work, clear separation in the presentation of data and discussion).
Nereid
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Mar20-12, 04:03 PM
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Quote Quote by Nereid View Post
Here is a link to the journal's Editorial Board. Its Editor-in-Chief is Dr. Christian Corda, the Honourable Editor is Dr. George Ellis, and the two Associate Editors are Herman J. Mosquera Cuesta and Lorenzo Iorio. That seems to be a pretty distinguished line-up.
It seems that Ellis has withdrawn, and is no longer associated with OAJ (source).
matt.o
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Mar20-12, 06:04 PM
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Quote Quote by turbo View Post
If you have to pay $600-800 plus per-page and formatting fees to a journal, you are dealing with a "vanity publisher" that has no credibility.
So you would class ApJ as a vanity publisher that has no credibility because they have page charges?
turbo
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Mar20-12, 06:09 PM
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Quote Quote by matt.o View Post
So you would class ApJ as a vanity publisher that has no credibility because they have page charges?
I was commenting on on-line journals that have no printing and distribution costs. When they have to make all their money off per-page fees, formatting charges, etc, they are playing to researchers who have no reasonable expectation of getting published in respected print journals.
twofish-quant
#18
Mar22-12, 03:53 AM
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Quote Quote by turbo View Post
When they have to make all their money off per-page fees, formatting charges, etc, they are playing to researchers who have no reasonable expectation of getting published in respected print journals.
It's much worse than that.

They are playing to people that either can get in or don't know about the Los Alamos Preprint Server. That standards for getting your paper onto the preprint server is very low and there are a bunch of crappy papers there, but it's overwhelmed by the good stuff, and the fact that there is some garbage in Los Alamos Preprints makes it in my view more effective, since you can't get any "vanity" by just uploading a paper there.

Asking someone to pay several hundred dollars for something they could get for free looks a lot like a "anti-intelligence" test.


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