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Christmas present for the inspired December 17, 2008

Posted by dorigo in books, news, personal, physics, science.
Tags: ,

In my department mail is distributed in the mailboxes lining the west wall of the entrance hall during the late morning, and I usually get it when I leave the building. This is what happened today, when I found a package sent from Auckland, New Zealand. I allowed myself a minute to wonder who could be sending it, while I walked to my car: could it be Marni ?

It was not from Marni, although the contents made me think of her. The box contained a few christmas cards, plus two vouchers and a note.  It was from Morag Hickman and Chris Leonard, editors of Phys Math Central, PMC A to be precise, a online free publishing, peer-reviewed journal of which I am an editorial member. I have reviewed two papers from them in the last two years, and I am happy to help such endeavours, when the scientific publishing world is dominated by greedy Elsevier.

The vouchers are waivers of the submission fee for papers sent by January 2009 to the editors; in alternative, they can be used to get a 50% discount for later submissions (I think until June 2009). Now, I do not have to pay for paper submission fees when I publish, because my institute gladly provides the necessary funding; but I know many out there are not in the same luxurious situation. I am thinking in particular at independent researchers such as, indeed, Marni (but not for long yet!), or Garrett, or Alejandro.

So here is my offer. You can get one of those vouchers as a Christmas present if you submit a title, an abstract, and a proof of any kind that you do know what to write in the paper, plus your statement that you intend to use it as soon as possible, and no later than June 2009. You can submit directly to the comments thread below: I will take your word for it. Of course, anonymous entities should not apply. I also reserve the right to turn down a request without the need to explain my motives. Moreover, since I would hate these vouchers to go unused, I am opening other channels to find suitable recipients, so if you have a good idea of how to use them, please hurry!


1. Guess Who - December 17, 2008

Of course, anonymous entities should not apply.

Drat. But I like being an “entity”. Same class as almighty Q according to Star Trek taxonomy.😉

2. Kea - December 17, 2008

I’m a long way from Auckland! What a nice idea, but I’m too busy worrying about my talk in January and by the end of January I might not be so poor any more. Surely there is someone out there still waitressing who would like to take up the offer?

3. changcho - December 17, 2008

“…when the scientific publishing world is dominated by greedy Elsevier…”

Ok good, I am not the only one who thinks this.

I have some ideas for papers, however in planetary science/celestial mechanics, but thanks.

4. Ptrslv72 - December 18, 2008

Sorry I miss a point here. Since when does “greedy Elsevier” ask the authors for a submission fee? I thought that anybody could submit a paper to Physics Letters, Nuclear Physics etc. without paying anything (unless he/she insists on having colour pictures in the printed version). That said, it might be true that Elsevier overcharges the institutes for the subscription to the journals, but I don’t see how this constitutes a problem to penniless authors. Nowadays, publication in a journal is just a sort of “badge of quality” for a paper, and nobody waits for the journal version to read it. The availability of the results to the scientific community is guaranteed by the arXiv.

I am somewhat more suspicious of journals that are freely accessible but take money from the authors. Doesn’t this cast doubt on the objectivity of the reviewing process? After all, these journals might have an incentive not to reject too many papers, lest their only source of income dries up. An what happens when a paper is turned down? Does the author get a refund?

5. dorigo - December 18, 2008

Hi Ptrs,

don’t forget that there are unresting souls who are banned from the arxiv, and they are all around here listening…

As for Elsevier: I remember getting charged by them, but I might be wrong -in any case they are really too greedy and I hope university libraries cancel their subscriptions in mass.

I have no idea of the policy for papers that do not get published -it never happened to me😉 . Maybe somebody here does ?


6. carlbrannen - December 20, 2008


I hadn’t considered PMC and didn’t even know they existed. I see that they haven’t been around very long. It appears that they have a nice (readable) format for articles and cover mesons. I’ve been typing up a paper extending Koide’s lepton mass formulas to the hadrons. So far I’ve completed the mesons but have yet to do the baryons. I can promise to get this done by, say, January 10 if you are willing to waive the fee.

I don’t think anyone should waste a waiver so I’ll put a link to the paper (which includes the mesons) here. I’d been writing it up for Foundations of Physics (I like their 1-column format and they are free), but it really doesn’t fit in with the rest of their stuff, and their stuff is not freely readable.

So if you do want to offer a waiver, I will take it only if I can get the paper out by January 10th. That gives time for someone else to use the waiver if for some reason I can’t, though I don’t see a lot of traffic asking for it in the comments yet.

7. dorigo - December 20, 2008

Hi Carl,

it’s yours. Send me privately your address! And don’t worry about missing deadlines…


8. carlbrannen - December 22, 2008


I accept, much thanks, however, this is subject to the condition that if someone with a paper more likely to be accepted comes along, you won’t complain if I defer to them.

We’re getting very wintery weather here in Seattle. More snowfall on top of snow that has not melted from a week ago which is not our usual winter weather.

9. ISIS | Presenttips - February 17, 2009

[…] Christmas present for the inspired « A Quantum Diaries Survivor […]

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