EPL – the first 25 years
Jun 13, 2011 1 comment
The Internet has had a profound impact on many areas of modern life, and that includes the traditionally cosy world of journals publishing. With anyone able to "publish" their own work by uploading it to a free-to-access preprint server or onto their own website, the once-dominant role of the traditional scientific journal is under threat. And with library budgets being squeezed around the world, publishers have needed to come up with clever strategies to maintain their publications' profitability and circulation.
In this special video report, Michael Schreiber, editor-in-chief of the letters journal EPL, describes some of the challenges facing such scientific publications. The video was filmed in Munich at a special 25th-anniversary meeting of the journal, which was originally known as Europhysics Letters before being rebranded as EPL in 2007. The journal was originally set up in 1986 as a collaborative venture among the French and Italian physical societies, the UK's Institute of Physics (which publishes physicsworld.com) and the European Physical Society (EPS).
But despite the pressures on publishing imposed by the Internet, traditional journals such as EPL are alive and well. As Schreiber explains, one key reason for their continued success is that the material they publish is peer reviewed, which imposes rigorous quality control and means researchers know that what is in the journal is worth reading. "There is so much dubious research on the Internet nowadays", Schreiber explains, "that it's not possible to have an overview or a feeling of what is good or bad, but with a journal [you] can rely on [what it contains]."
As for the future of EPL – what Schreiber calls "the flagship journal of the European Physical Society" – he is sure that by the time the journal celebrates its 50th anniversary, it will be purely online, have gone completely global, and contain many more good papers than it does now. A quarter of papers published in EPL are already from the US, with many from other growing scientific superpowers such as India, China and Brazil. But Schreiber – a physicist from the University of Chemnitz in Germany – is looking forward to receiving papers from an even more unusual source, as you can find out by watching the video.
About the author
Matin Durrani is editor of Physics World