Astronomy and Astrophysics: A European Journal

Toward the end of this meeting the first Editor-in-Chiefs were appointed. Oort took the initiative in proposing "to the Board of Directors" that Steinberg and I should take over this task. We accepted, and later prepared a memorandum on the division of the tasks between us. With this step the date of 1 January 1969 for the start of the journal became more realistic. The biggest problem now was to finalize the contract with the publishers.

The following meeting is officially regarded as the first meeting of the Board of Directors. It took place in Paris on 11 October 1968. The meeting began with a word of welcome by the Director General of the CNRS, Professor Jacquinot. The meeting had been called on at short notice because Mayer-Kaupp, who was in charge of the negotiations for Springer had been away until 23 September, and it was only useful to hold the meeting if a reasonable draft contract was available. Because of the short notice, five of the eleven Board members were unable to attend, so that it was decided that all decisions made were to be provisional.

The first act of the Board was to elect Blaauw as its first Chairman. Mazières was elected as Treasurer of the Board. The main business of the meeting was to discuss the draft contract with the publisher. The advice of the ESO lawyer, Walters, was also available. The Board went through the contract, article by article, and made changes where it saw necessary. Then Mayer-Kaupp, who was present in the building, was invited to attend the meeting and given the proposed changes. He accepted them and the new contract was then adopted by all the Board members present. The contract, between ESO and Springer, would be signed at the next meeting. Since it was now already October and the first issue of the journal was scheduled to appear in January, this had to be a formality.

Other matters discussed were (1) an agreement between the Board of Directors and the Editors, (2) a draft agreement between the Board and ESO, (3) the matter of Sub-Editors (it was decided that there would be no sub-editors), (4) the composition of the Board of Editors, and (5) the sections which would be listed in the table of contents. Finally the matter of the Supplement Series was discussed. This publication was to be independent of the Main Journal and Springer, and was to be published by the Board of Directors. It was decided to approach Braes of the Leiden Observatory to ask him to take charge of the publishing. All articles would be submitted to the Editors-in-Chief and would only be sent to Braes after they had been refereed and accepted. It was not clear at this time where the binding and mailing would take place. In contrast to the Main Journal a page charge would be levied. The first issue of the Supplement Series appeared in January 1970.

It was clear that a new meeting would be necessary within the near future, if only to sign a contract with the publisher and make certain that no insurmountable problems made it impossible for A&A to appear on time. Therefore the 2nd meeting of the Board of Directors took place on 2 December 1968 at the ESO headquarters on the Bergedorfer Strasse in Hamburg. An interesting sidelight of this meeting was the interest shown by two other countries to become part of the journal. Switzerland sent the director of the Geneva Observatory, J. Golay, as observer, and Italy sent the director of the Trieste Observatory, M. Hack.

This meeting gave an official form to the journal. A contract was signed between the Board and ESO, which now gave a legal status to the decisions of the Board, and enabled it to take financial responsibilities. A contract was signed between ESO (acting for the Board) and Springer Verlag to publish the journal for a 5 year period. A contract was signed between the Board and the Editors for a 3 year period. A memorandum was prepared by the Editors on the sharing of the responsibility for the editorial work, which was discussed by the Board. The Standing Rules for the Board of Directors was approved, which included rules for membership, expansion and financial contributions. A vice-chairman was elected: B. Stromgren. All was now complete: the first issue of Astronomy & Astrophysics was to appear 5 weeks later.  

October 1999