Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship Winter 1999

Journal Reviews and Reports

New Journal of Physics:
An Author-Funded Journal Published by the Institute of Physics (http://www.iop.org/) and the German Physical Society (http://www.dpg-physik.de/)

John Haynes
Journal Publisher
Institute of Physics Publishing

New Journal of Physics () is a new electronic publishing venture we have recently embarked on in partnership with the German Physical Society. We are also actively encouraging other national physical societies to join NJP as associate members.

Mission and business model

NJP's mission is to publish original research articles of outstanding scientific quality that merit the attention of physicists - i.e. 'you-really-should-read-this!' type of paper that have broad appeal, high impact and float well above the flood. NJP covers all physics and the first articles are now on-line. As well as being peer reviewed and web based, all articles are available free of charge to anyone with access to the Internet. Because NJP is not subscription based we have adopted a financial model where authors of published articles pay an article charge ($500 per article).


There are strong forces at play in the world of scholarly publishing and during the planning stages for NJP we consulted a large number of physicists about current trends. At the forefront of these discussions came the clear need to develop other methods of publishing and financing peer-reviewed archival journals alongside the traditional subscription-based model which is coming under increasing pressure. The steady growth of physics literature and the rise in journal subscription prices are outstripping library budgets and shelf space. The publishing landscape is experiencing rapid change in other dimensions too, especially in the development of new technology. The Internet now provides readers, authors and publishers with powerful new tools to deliver and access information. We believe that NJP - a high quality, Internet journal accessible at no charge to readers - provides a real opportunity for learned society publishers to chart an innovative and responsible way forward.

Benefits for NJP authors

Authors benefit from the high visibility of publishing their papers on the Institute of Physics Web site, already one of the most accessed sites in physics. These are the early days for NJP, with only a small number of papers on-line, yet there have been over 1000 full-article downloads in the first two months since going live.

To reduce the time taken in the publishing process we conduct most of the journal's business (e.g. submission, peer review, as well as publication) by electronic means and much of the day-to-day work is carried out by the journal office in the UK. For example, we act as the receiving house for new submissions and handle most correspondence, leaving Editors to concentrate more on persuading authors to submit papers and to play a key role in scientific issues. Editors select all referees and make publication decisions. We have a number of papers going through which take advantage of the electronic medium with links and supplementary material as well as others containing multimedia elements such as video clips and simulations. We believe that authors will increasingly use these features which are not possible in printed journals. NJP has all the usual features expected of an electronic journal including alerting, searching and citation linking. Articles are available in PDF and HTML formats. A further benefit is that authors and readers no longer need to wait for issues to be published; individual articles are posted to the web site as soon as possible after proofs are finalized.

Long-term commitment

The journal's editors and staff, together with the publishing partners, are committed to building NJP into the leading scientific journal in its field by publishing articles of outstanding scientific quality with broad appeal and high impact across a broad spectrum of physics. We are exploring the options for archiving with third parties. Judging by the high level of interest already shown by librarians and physicists alike, we are sure that NJP will play a pivotal role in the future of physics publishing.


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