The launch of the European Physical Journal [EPJ] in 1998 as a merger of Il Nuovo Cimento, Journal de Physique and Zeitschrift für Physik, triggered a succession of mergers and transformations of existing journals of the founding partners. After 15 years, EPJ is proud to present itself as a continuation of several European journals, with its 9 different sections that cover the main fields of core physics.
The strategy in the last few years to develop journals that target specific needs of the scientific community has been very successful: EPJ H– Historical Perspectives on Contemporary Physics (free for EPS members), launched in 2010, that addresses the historical development of ideas from the physics and physicists’ perspective; EPJ Plus launched in 2011 as a transformation of Il Nuovo Cimento B, that serves as a general physics journal but also as an outlet of the undervalued works of validation and verification of already published results not considered novel enough for mainstream journals, yet fundamentally important for the foundations of science. This is witnessed by its rapid growth in terms of authorship and readership.
While it is gratifying to see how EPJ grew, the problems publishers face are also growing, including the role – if any – peer-reviewed journals will play in the near future and under which financial models: subscription, hybrid, or open access (and all of its variants: sponsored, author-pays, membership, etc.).
Open access can be offered either by converting existing journals or by launching new ones. EPJ is following both paths, the former with EPJ C – Particles and Fields that will soon convert into a full open access journal under SCOAP3, and the latter with a series of topical journals in newly emerging fields, such as EPJ Photovoltaics (2010), EPJ Data Science (2012) and EPJ Nonlinear Biomedical Physics, EPJ Techniques and Instrumentations and EPJ Quantum Technologies that have just been or are being launched.
With the implementation of this overall strategy, aimed to further develop the EPJ brand (like BMC or PLOS), the hopes are high that the dark clouds on the publishing horizon will quickly fade away to leave space for a bright future of further achievements and success.