Geo Profiles: Sedimentologika - A new diamond open access journal for sedimentology
Have you ever wondered if it is possible to avoid paying a high price to publish your own research in journals for which the readers also have to pay to read your work?
Valentin Zuchuat, NSRG founding member, former PhD and Postdoc at the UiO and now Lecturer and Researcher at RWTH Aachen in Germany, is part of the steering committee of Sedimentologika. A brand new Diamond Open Access (DOA) scientific journal about sedimentology. Here, people can publish their research and access scientific studies on all types of sedimentary processes, deposits or environments, across all spatial and temporal scales FOR FREE.
The NSRG truly supports this initiative and is very grateful to all members of the Sedimentologika steering committee for their effort and persistence in bringing this initiative to fruition.
Below you can read our full interview with Valentin – who speaks on behalf of the Sedimentologika committee.
Valentin tell us, what is Sedimentologika?
Sedimentologika is a Diamond Open Access (DOA) scientific journal about sedimentology, in which people can publish their research and access scientific studies on all types of sedimentary processes, deposits or environments, across all spatial and temporal scales FOR FREE. In addition, it will be free to share and disseminate any material published in the journal as in, no embargo period. We are finalizing its creation so not yet open to submission, but hopefully very soon.
" The way the publishing system works today keeps a lot of scientists from around the world away from the tools they need to compete for top scientific positions. "
What is the motivation behind Sedimentologika and why do you feel there is a need for yet another journal?
If you receive and read this article, you are aware of how expensive it is to a) publish in, and b) to access research owned by for-profit publishers. It is basically like going to the restaurant with your own food that you have prepared, and this restaurant charges you and your friends a ridiculous amount of money to eat it. As a consequence, a lot of scientists around the world might not have the money to publish their research in journals with global reach, and therefore do not benefit from the same visibility as scientists who can afford it. This is discriminatory. It also means that fewer fellow researchers will see their study and sadly, some people won’t trust it if it is published in a regional or local journal and fewer people will cite it. Additionally, exorbitant paywalls mean that a lot of people don’t have access to the latest, state-of-the-art science, and that is especially the case for low-income countries.
The way the publishing system works today keeps a lot of scientists from around the world away from the tools they need to compete for top scientific positions. But the worst of all, in my opinion, is that paywalls prevent the public and policymakers from accessing the raw and processed data necessary for them to make important decisions based on the available science, despite the fact that they are providing money for this research to be conducted in the first place. In times when science is more and more challenged, the transparency and accessibility of DOA-journals like Sedimentologika helps even out the playing field, making the academic system more inclusive.
Valentin Zuchuat from the Sedimentologika committee (Photo private).
Who is currently in Sedimentologika team?
Right now, we are a group of 11 people (voluntary-based) who got together in order to deal with all the admin related to the launch of the journal, including: Domenico Chiarella, Emilia Jarochowska, Ian Kane, Marta Marchegiano, Aurélia Privat, Miquel Poyatos-Moré, Euan Soutter, Yvonne Spychala, Camille Thomas, Romain Vaucher, and myself (Valentin Zuchuat). All propositions made or decisions taken by this “steering committee” are then presented to the Sedimentologika Slack community, where people can vote on each proposition presented to them.
" ...first, we won’t have an impact factor, but the journal will get one eventually. I say eventually because impact factor is a very shallow metric that is both prone to manipulation and a poor reflection of journal quality. "
In addition to voting on what the steering committee proposes, we have tried to engage the community in the design and development of Sedimentologika, and we will keep doing so. For instance, we have working groups focussing on the type of papers that you can publish in Sedimentologika (original research paper, methods paper, etc.), the actual design of a Sedimentologika publication (font, reference style, etc.), diversity, equity, and inclusion (ongoing discussion on abstract languages for example), data availability, etc. Once the administrative part of the journal is well underway, we will be looking for an editorial board, which will deal with publications submitted to the journal. But basically in order to be as transparent as possible, Sedimentologika is open to everyone, even for its decision making, and we are always looking for people to help us run the administrative and future scientific parts.
What are the target topics are for Sedimentologika?
Research that deals with any types of sedimentary processes, deposits, features, or environments, across all spatial and temporal scales, on Earth and other planetary bodies.
Yvonne Spychala has also been key in highlighting our interest in including papers that deal with interdisciplinary research (e.g. sediments and biology, sediments and society) as well as sedimentological education and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in sedimentology.
Is there an impact factor?
It takes a few years for any journal to receive an impact factor. So, at first, we won’t have an impact factor, but the journal will get one eventually. I say eventually because impact factor is a very shallow metric that is both prone to manipulation and a poor reflection of journal quality. Part of the motivation for Sedimentologika is to move beyond these outdated metrics.
When and where can we submit a manuscript?
We hope to launch Sedimentologika in the second or third quarter of 2022.
What else should everyone know about Sedimentologika?
Sedimentologika, like Volcanica, Tektonika, Seismica, and GeomorphologyDOA, is driven by the community for the community. We are always looking for motivated people keen on giving a little bit of their time to make Sedimentologika a viable and recognised peer-reviewed scientific journal. Running such a journal will also require some funds (website maintenance, typesetting, formatting, etc.), so we are also welcoming private individuals or societies and public institutions willing to sponsor this initiative.
If anyone is keen on helping us out, please get in touch with any members of the steering committee, or get in touch with us on Twitter @Sedimentologika.