In Paris, during the last week of August 2014, the largest European meeting of the community of solid state physicists took place. This meeting was co-organised by the EPS’ Condensed Matter Division and the Condensed Matter Division of the French Physical Society (SFP).
In a special (parallel) session on Wednesday afternoon, the “future of physics publishing” was discussed with an audience of around 100 participants. Bart van Tiggelen (CNRS and SFP) introduced the session with remarks about the current situation which he qualified as “out-of-equilibrium”, characterised by a market torn between ever rising journal subscription fees, the growing impact of Open Access Gold, the parallel use of “green” repositories, and the general uncertainties about the required budgets. He also questioned the overall scientific value of “prestige” journals, and assessments based on general journal impact factors.
Various editors-in-chief (EiC) of major physics journals then gave short presentations exposing their viewpoint on the current situation and possible evolutions in the domain. Among them, Gene Sprouse, EiC of APS publishing; Eberhard Bodenschatz, EiC of New Journal of Physics (DPG/IOPP), Giorgio Benedek, EiC of EPL (EPS/EDP Sciences/SIF/IOPP) and Maria Bellatone, senior editor of the European Physical Journal (EPJ: Springer/EDP Sciences/SIF).
The contributions by the editors-in-chief gave rise to a lively discussion with the audience about budget issues in general, and the payment of referee fees in particular. The rise of the publication market in Asia in terms of scientific contributions, number of referees and economic support was also debated. The complex entanglement of assessment and diffusion of knowledge is a known – but unsolved – problem. Pre-publication peer-review still seems to be considered to be the most adequate means of evaluation of scientific content. The audience and speakers agreed together that Open Access Gold models must be supervised by learned societies and the scientific community in order to prevent economic pressure on the scientific quality of publications of the future.
Read the account of the CMD25-JMC14 conference here.