Scopus Listing for the Open Journal of Astrophysics

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I have been asked a number of times about whether or not the Open Journal of Astrophysics will be listed on Scopus. For myself,  I couldn’t care less about getting listed by Scopus – which is a profit-making service run by publishing giant Elsevier as a gate-keeper for the academic publishing industry. I have, however, heard from many individuals around the world that their research managers and the like actually take it seriously, to the extent that a journal isn’t counted as a journal unless Scopus tells them that is the case.

I’m well aware that hanging the “Approved by Elsevier” tag on the Open Journal of Astrophysics would open us up to the accusation that we collaborating with the enemy. I fully understand that moral objection, but I had to weigh it up against the serious practical difficulties facing researchers who are being forced to pay for Gold Open Access as a result of the absence of OJAp from the Scopus approved list. In the end I decided to apply, but to continue to argue against the use of Scopus and related proprietary databases by research institutions as I consider them just as corrosive as league tables.

Last November, therefore, I decided to hold my nose and apply for Scopus listing; I blogged about this here. Just to clarify, although institutions and organizations pay to subscribe to Scopus, a journal doesn’t have to pay to be listed. The application process, though free, is nevertheless rather time-consuming and I was told to expect the process to take several months. I submitted the application on 21st November 2023.

I was quite surprised yesterday (5th January 2024) to receive an email from Scopus containing the following:

The Scopus Content Selection & Advisory Board (CSAB) has reviewed your application and approved it for coverage.

For your information, the reviewer comments are copied below:

+ The articles are consistently of high academic quality, consistent with the journal’s stated aims.
+ This title is a very welcome addition to the literature.

So there we are. The Open Journal of Astrophysics will indeed be listed on Scopus, though I’m told it might take a few weeks to appear as such. From now on, whenever anyone asks me about this I have a definite answer!

This has, however, reminded me to re-apply for listing by Clarivate. I did apply for this way back in March but the application was rejected on the grounds that we weren’t publishing enough papers (although we publish more papers than many of the journals currently listed by them). Since then our rate of publication has increased substantially, however, so I don’t think they can raise the same objection again.

It will be interesting to see if listing by Scopus makes any difference to the rate of submissions and the geographical distribution of the authors concerned. My guess is it probably will, but not immediately. We’ll just have to wait and see?

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