AAS Asks arXiv.org to Let Authors Post Research Notes
On behalf of Chris Lintott, Lead Editor of Research Notes of the AAS (RNAAS), I have written to the chair of the Science Advisory Board for the arXiv preprint repository (often called astro-ph) to ask for help resolving an issue that has troubled the AAS journal editors and our author community.
We launched RNAAS in November 2017 to allow for the publication of short notes of interest to the community but not sufficient for an article in the Astrophysical Journal (ApJ) or Astronomical Journal (AJ). Examples include brief observational reports, negative results, or notes on minor technical items. In order to be able to offer this service without fees for either author or reader, we use a streamlined review procedure. Instead of a lengthy peer review process, we provided a simple moderation policy where the RNAAS editor and his colleagues either accept or reject each submission.
RNAAS has proven extremely successful. Since its inception we have published more than 340 research notes, 48 (so far) this year alone. We have received strong positive feedback, and more than a third of the research notes have already been cited, some many times.
Thus it is extremely disappointing to discover that research notes are being excluded from the arXiv. Many of our authors have asked for an explanation via email or social media. The closest to a consistent answer anyone has received is that the arXiv is simply enforcing a policy of requiring submissions to be at least three pages long. Apparently shorter submissions need to approved individually by moderators who find the resulting workload — roughly one research note per astronomy moderator per week — too onerous. This seems implausible.
There are several ways that we could resolve this with minimal effort, and we remain hopeful that something can be worked out.
Editor in Chief, AAS Journals