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American Astronomical Society Journals Going Electronic Only

Monday, June 2, 2014 - 11:00

The AAS and IOP Publishing (IOP) have decided that all AAS research journals published with IOP will become electronic only and will no longer print paper editions. This transition will take effect with the 2015 subscription year and affects the Astronomical Journal (AJ) and the Astrophysical Journal (ApJ)Astrophysical Journal Letters (ApJL), and Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series (ApJS).

The decision to move to electronic-only publishing was spurred by changes in the way that information in the astronomical sciences is being created, distributed, and consumed. Print publications are simply unable to accommodate the growing amount of content that is “born digital.” Moving to an electronic-only delivery mechanism aligns with the AAS’s forward-looking approach to the dissemination of scholarly knowledge. The Society began distributing its journals online in the mid-1990s, well before the Internet became a mass medium. Electronic-only publication will allow for further development of them outside of the constraints of print. In fact, the AAS has regarded the digital journal the "version of record" since 2000, and the Society ensures the longevity of the digital version by depositing all journal content at Portico, a trusted third-party preservation resource that is widely used.

Over the past decade the number of print subscribers to theAJ and ApJ has dwindled, while the number of electronic-only subscribers and the amount of content published in the journals have both increased. Since the mid-1990s our priority has been to place our time and effort into the digital journals’ ongoing development, as exemplified by spinoff services such as the Astronomy Image Explorer. The decision to focus exclusively on digital publishing will enable us to provide even better service to our authors and readers.

Individuals and libraries that currently subscribe to the print and electronic versions of the AJ, ApJ, ApJL, and/or ApJS will be offered an electronic-only renewal for 2015.

Christopher Biemesderfer
Director of Publishing
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