Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A free CG journal?

For the last few years I've been discussing the possibility of setting up a free computational geometry journal with my colleagues. For me the two main reasons of having a free journal is the price we pay for a subscription (CGTA costs EUR 1,041/year) and the copyright transfer.

The idea would be to make the journal completely free which would require it to be as low maintenance as possible. The aim is to make the journal belong to the community and hence minimize the workload on individuals. How can this be achieved and what are the issues that must be considered?
  • The journal should work as a traditional journal with the difference that papers are only published on-line and are free to access by anyone.

  • The editorial board (including the Editors-in Chief) should be changed regularly. I believe 3-5 years is a reasonable time to serve as an editor.

  • Fairly large editorial board, say 30 (reliable) researchers. Try to distribute the papers among the editors.

  • The editors have to take greater responsibility throughout the process - from submission to publication. For example, the editor has to check that the final version is in the required format. One should also allow the editors to have more power, for example, if authors don't follow the stated procedures then the editor should have the right (within reason) to reject it, all to minimize work for the editors.

  • Aim to only accept high quality research since this will decrease the number of submissions (at least in the long run). Since the journal isn't making any money it doesn't have to publish any issues if there are no papers accepted.

  • Where to host it? If we buy a domain name then it doesn't really matter where we host it and we could move it if necessary. A domain name is cheap so this isn't a problem.

  • Free Journal management systems are available. I played around with Open Journal Systems which might be adequate (needs to be investigated further).

  • How to get ranked? If the journal is successful it will get ranked sooner or later. Is this a problem initially?

  • Name of the journal? Suggestions?

It doesn't sound hard, but I'm sure I forgot lots of issues. Comments and ideas are highly appreciated.

Friday, January 2, 2009

2008 - the year of reviewing

The other day I thought about what I've been up to in 2008. Looking back I felt that I've been very busy but haven't had enough time for research. At the same time last year I had approximately 12 months of exciting "2008-time" in front of me to do something new and intersting, so how did I waste it:

- 1 month vacation
(I miss the 43 vacation days I had while doing my postdoc in the Netherlands...if it wasn't for the weather and the food I might even consider going back)

- I spent almost 2 months travelling (research visits and conferences).

- 2 months reviewing papers!!!
Yes it's true! I spent almost two months of 2008 reviewing papers. I'm sure you wonder how it can add up to two whole months. Well, I reviewed 9-10 journal papers. Each of them required 2-3 days of full time work (on average). I reviewed roughly 60 conference papers - each of them took 2-3 hours to review (on average). In total 25 days of journal reviewing and roughly the same amount of conference reviewing. Scary stuff! This is almost 20% of my work time in 2008! What do I have to show for it? Well, I actually got a free book from Springer (reviewing for DMKD) and a "Certificate of Recognition" from CGTA as a "Top reviewer"...Yeah!

This left me with 7 months for research, teaching and administration. Obviously this has to change in 2009. Either I decrease my vacation (don't think so) or the amount of time I spend on travelling and reviewing. If you read this far then you probably realised that this post is just a long excuse on why I have to turn down review requests in 2009.

- My four 2008 highlights were SWAT (I really enjoyed being the pc chair even though it took a lot of my time), Mohammad Farshi's and Damian Merrick's PhD graduations and that I had a record number of journal publications (7).

Happy New Year!