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All Posts by Christopher Biemesderfer

Journals Update: The AAS Journals Business Model is Sound

My last two columns have looked at some issues related to the Society’s publishing business model. In July, I wrote an overview of the Open Access advocacy that has been taking place all year. And in September, I reviewed (at some length!) the value proposition of the scholarly publishing process generally. In this column, I want to try and impress you with the merits of the business model we use (and have used for 100 years). I will do that by addressing the two principal arguments I hear for switching to a pure open access approach.

Does the AAS publish book reviews?

Fri, 2012-08-17 15:59 -- CBIEMES

The AAS will only publish book reviews for books that cover astronomical education, career development, and public policy. Educational book reviews may be submitted to the Astronomy Education Review. The AAS News Digest occasionally contains summaries of non-scientific books in the areas of career development or public policy. The purpose of these summaries is to alert our members to the existence of publications which they may not find in any other way and which the staff judges to be of interest.

Why have you closed up "multicell" but not "single-cell"?

Thu, 2012-08-16 17:38 -- CBIEMES

AAS journals close up dependent prefixes (non-, ultra-, sub-, super-, multi-, etc.). Multi- is a dependent prefix (you cannot say "the cell is multi"), and so is closed up. But "single" is not a dependent prefix; it is normal adjective (you can say "the cell is single"), and so the proper form is a hyphenated compound adjective, single-cell.

Why does "early-type" have a hyphen in some places but not in others? Shouldn't this be consistent?

Thu, 2012-08-16 17:37 -- CBIEMES

Compound terms such as "early type," "V band," and "intermediate redshift" are hyphenated when they are used as adjectives (as in "many early-type stars were seen in intermediate-redshift V-band observations") but open as nouns ("we find many early types at intermediate redshifts in the V band"), following conventional English style for compound nouns and adjectives.

I was always taught not to split infinitives. Yet the copyeditor changed my "to confirm empirically the result" to "to empirically confirm the result.. Isn't that wrong?

Thu, 2012-08-16 17:32 -- CBIEMES

Split infinitives are an old chimaera of English grammar. Actually, it is not true that it is illegal to split infinitives in English. To quote the Chicago Manual of Style , "Although from about 1850 to 1925 many grammarians stated otherwise, it is now widely acknowledged that adverbs sometimes justifiably separate the "to" from the principal verb." (5.106) ApJ , as a modern journal, is happy to concur.

Is physics singular or plural? For example, in the sentence "The uncertain physics of convective and circulatory flows need/needs to be addressed" should the verb properly be "need" or "needs"?

Thu, 2012-08-16 17:31 -- CBIEMES

Physics, while plural in derivation, is generally construed as a singular noun except when referring to several "physics" (i.e., two or more different systems of physics). In this sentence, where the meaning is "uncertainty in the field of physics," the singular form "needs" would be correct.