EDP Sciences

Astronomy and Astrophysics: A European Journal

The next meeting took place on 3 July 1968 in the University Foundation, Egmontstraat, Brussels. This was scheduled to coincide with an ESO Council meeting in Brussels, which had just been completed. Although decisions were to be made at this meeting, as they were at the April meeting, this is not yet considered as the first meeting of the Board of Directors. The participants were the same as at the Leiden meeting, except for van Bueren and Ledoux. In addition, Heckmann (ESO), Blaauw (ESO), Velghe (B), Fehrenbach (F), Kovalevski (F) and Voigt (G) were present. The minutes were taken by Miss Geier (ESO) and I was chairman.

The situation at the beginning of the meeting was as follows:

France The CNRS has endorsed the merging of all major French astronomical publications in A &A, and has agreed to pay a $ 24.000,- subsidy. The French delegates to the Board will be Mazière, Delhaye, Schatzman and Fehrenbach.

Netherlands The Dutch Astronomical Council has agreed to merging the BAN in A&A, and has agreed to pay $ 10.000,- subsidy. The Dutch delegates will be Oort and van Bueren.

Belgium The Belgian delegate will be Velghe, but it is not yet official. The subsidy will be $ 3.000,- in 1969.

Scandinavia The delegates will be Stromgren and Funke, and the subsidy $ 10.000,-.

Germany The Germans now have agreed to sponsor A &A. Biermann, Fricke and Unsold will be the delegates to the Board. The method of paying the subsidy is still under discussion. The possibility of merging the ZfAP depends on negotiations underway with Springer.

ESO The ESO Council agrees to make its administrative and legal services available to A &A. The ESO Council has authorized its Director to conclude (1) a contract with A &A, and (2) a contract with the publisher. It would therefore be possible for ESO to act as financial agent for the Board, although the financial responsibility remains with the Board. ESO would not contribute financially to the journal, although it did not charge for "legal" services rendered to A &A.

The situation as regards a publisher had changed somewhat since the last meeting. There were now four publishing houses which had made offers: Springer Verlag, Reidel, North Holland and Wolters Noordhoff. Reidel and Wolters Noordhoff were the cheapest, but the reason for not further considering Reidel had been discussed in the previous meeting. The Board considered Wolters Noordhoff too inexperienced. Springer had indicated in its bid that if it were chosen it would stop publication of the ZfAp. Since this would enhance the chances of success for the new journal, it was attractive. But the meeting felt that this was not a strong enough reason to accept a higher price. Heckmann, voicing the sentiment of the meeting, proposed contacting Springer again to negotiate a price reduction. He stated that "One should not be afraid of dropping Springer, as the ZfAp will slowly die once the new journal is formed." The meeting was adjourned for 20 minutes, while a telephone call was made to Springer. This resulted in the agreement by Springer to lower his bid to that of the lowest bidder. Detailed negotiations were to take place in the near future. Although it was not until October that a final agreement was reached, Springer was hereafter considered as the foremost candidate for publisher of the journal.

At this point another problem arose. Kovalevski, speaking for a group of fundamental astronomers mostly from France, proposed to split the not yet formed journal into two parts: a large one for astronomy and astrophysics, and a smaller one for celestial mechanics. The reason given was the specialized needs for publication in this field. While the meeting was sympathetic to this view, soon after Fricke objected to such a division, since it might lead to a subsequent splitting of the journal into a number of over-specialised journals. Eventually Fricke, Kovalevski and Morando prepared a short paper in which their conditions for publishing on Fundamental Astronomy and Celestial Mechanics were stated. This subject became one of the original sub-sections of the journal, and no further problems were forthcoming.