|Summaries of recent Board meetings|
Condensed minutes of the regular meeting of the Board of A&A
3 May 2008, Bonn, Germany
All Board members (except one) attended as well as the reperesentative of ESO. The two Editors in Chief participated and also two people from the Finance Administration and Accounting of ESO. Part of the meeting was attended by the Director and three further representatives of the publisher, EDP Sciences. Also present were one editorial assistant from the A&A Paris office and the Director of the CDS.
The chairman, Dr Meynet, welcomed especially the new country representatives, among them the one from the new A&A member country Croatia.
The Board agreed with the Agenda for the meeting. The Board approved the minutes of the 2007 meeting in Vienna as well as the minutes on electronic votings of the past 12 months.
Report of the Editors
In addition to what is in the written report, Dr Bertout stated the journal is healthy. Numerous diagrams and statistics were presented. Dr Walmsley presented similar data for the Letters part of A&A.
The Board discussed at length apsects of the intensified language editing performed on the accepted papers. The Board also discussed aspects of the nature and value of the impact factor of A&A. The discussion shows that the elevation of the impact factor is among the largest achievements of the journal of the past few years. The best way to increase the impact factor is to attract papers which are expected to be cited a lot.
It is discussed that many agencies make improper use of impact factors. It is not clear what A&A can do to alleviate the problems caused by the improper use.
Chairman thanks the Editors for their efforts.
Report of the CDS
Dr Genova reported in general on the numerous activities of the CDS. She emphasized those of relevance for A&A.
Activities within the 5th, 6th and 7th EU Framework programme were presented. Among these the Virtual Observatory figures prominently.
Report of the Publisher
In addition to his written report, Mr Quilbé presented the activities of EDP Sciences. The number of subscriptions is stable, the pay-per-view service was opened, the "'last-article-fee" scheme was reported on. Accepted articles are now available on the A&A website a few days after the accepted version is received.
EDP Sciences actively develops further tools for the journal. Among them is the implementation of the tool "DEXTER" (allowing to read values from figures published) and the production in full XML.
Chairman thanks EDP Sciences for their efforts.
Fee for Free Access
Based on a document presented it is discussed if it is useful/helpful to introduce the option to have an accepted article in immediate free access when the authors pay a fee. Consequences for subscriptions were feared but were refuted, the system is not intended to replace astro-ph, and it would not affect the business model of the journal.
The Board approved to implement the "Fee for Free Access" option for a trial period.
Institutional access fees
The Publisher reports that more and more institutes shift from a printed+online subscription to only an online subscription. This has implications for how the electronic access has to be regulated. Big institutes (or even a large research organisation) may have just one subscription allowing all its branches access (through IP-address or addresses). Thus it may be needed to go to a subscription price based on the size of the institute (organisation), the size perhaps based on the number of FTE (full time employees).
The Board recognizes that such practices may erode the subscription model of A&A. The Board expects the Publisher to report regularly on the developments.
An A&A preprint server
The publisher has proposed to come to an A&A preprint server. A paper submitted through the system would immediately get a DOI and all early citations will go to that paper as a citation of A&A. The Board fears this will be a lot of work and defers a decision on an implementation.
New article numbering schemeThe EC has sent a letter to the other three large astronomy journals to come to a joint move in the direction of an article numbering scheme. The Board feels that the proposal should be reiterated with the publisher.
Extending the contract with EDP Sciences
The Board approved to extend the contract up to the end of 2009. The number of pages to be publsihed will be 18000. The price for figures to be printed in colour in the Letters will continue to have a discount of 100%, for those in regular papers it is 50%. Letters will be in Open Access. The subscription price will increase by 2.2% (inflation).
Scale for country contributions
Several seeming inconsistencies had been found in the way the contributions of the various countries had been calculated. Large fluctuations had occured. The subcommittee comments (in addition to what was said in their written report) on their study. They propose to base the contribution on the average of the respective GDP over the last 3 years. The Board approves the new scheme and notes it requires a change in the Standing Rules and By-Laws.
Starting with the contents of two documents, the actual level of the country contributions is also discussed. At stake is a viable business model for A&A. Effects of an increase of the number of participating countries are addressed.
A further important aspect is the drive to come to fully Open Access. If that were to be achieved, the costs of producing the well laid-out publications, the maintenance and operation of the A&A website and the interactions with the archives (CDS, ADS) still have to be paid. It would require, at current estimates, an 8-fold increase of the country contributions.
Various aspects of the finaces were discussed. Then the budgets were approved. The issue of the regulations for the page-charges were addressed; changing the current practice would lead to more costs.
The Call for Tenders
The Call for Tenders has been prepared and has been issued. At the time of the meeting 4 letters of intent have been received. The procedures to select the next publisher from the bids expected are explained. The selection committee will consist of the EC plus the two past members of the EC, supplemented by the two past Board Chairmen.
The selection committee will do their work and a final decission will be presented to the Board, hopefully before the end of 2008.
Election of members of the EC
The Vice Chairman was continued for two years. Two Board members were elected as new EC country representatives.
A report was given on the progress of the organisation of the SWYA.
The plan to make a 40th anniversary issue of A&A was presented. 40 Papers will be reprinted preceded by introductory notes.
Plans for activities during the IAU GA in Rio de Janeiro (2009) were discussed.
Bulgaria was elected to become member of A&A as of 2009.
The year 2009 would be (under the current SR&BL, a year without a full Board meeting, unless there is the clear need for an extraordinary meeting.