Journals structuring

As of 2021, SciPost follows a “mild layering” approach to journals in a given field.

At the top is a “flagship” journal, with the most stringent acceptance criteria.

This is accompanied by a “Core” journal, with more accessible criteria.

We are also planning a “Selections” venue (not yet active) highlighting the very best publications, see https://scipost.org/SciPostSelect/about

For an example, see the current offerings in Physics at https://scipost.org/journals/?field=physics

This layering allows to offer top-tier publishing venues aiming to replace existing “glossy”-class journals, while offering more accessible alternatives for scientists to publish their whole portfolio of articles through our systems.

We welcome community questions, feedback and suggestions on the current construction.

The discussion here will form input for future considerations on potential restructuring of our journals offerings.

3 Likes

Some statistics would help, in particular the evolution in time of the numbers of articles published in SciPost Physics and SciPost Physics Core. My impression is that the latter publishes a fraction of the articles of the former. Eventually, it should be the opposite.

Could you please specify how the best publications will be selected? Why will they be considered as the best? I am not aiming at changing or criticising anything in this particular journal series, just want to understand the approach. Thank you!

While I don’t have a strong opinion on whether there should be one journal or multiple, I have several specific concerns that the current implementation does not address.

Layering in general

Differentiation of works by separating them into different tiers or different journals may be a useful instrument to the research community. At the same time, differentiation may also have the downside of compromising the transparency of the publishing process and trust in it. I fear the current implementation does not meet a level of reliability that would be necessary to make layering impactful and useful. In order to improve, the outcome of the evaluation should be as easy to justify as possible for any party, including the readers, and the decision making should be easy to understand both internally and externally.

Mild layering

I am especially concerned by the term “mild layering”, which seems like a euphemism. Does “mild” mean that the different layers are similar and hence there’s no clear difference? If yes, why should there be layers at all?

Or does “mild” mean that an author shouldn’t be disappointed if they end up in the lower layer, while the layers are actually very different? If yes, why wouldn’t they?

Standards across communities

Another complication in differentiating works into multiple journals is the need to coordinate multiple communities. SciPost Physics combines a fair fraction of HEP and cond-mat papers. To the best of my knowledge, these communities have vastly different notions of impact. If filtering of manuscripts into journals becomes community-dependent, the usefulness of the separation drops.