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The importance of an open access journal, by JM Aguilera


It is such a wonderful idea to have a journal dedicated to molecular gastronomy, which is elegantly described in a sheet of paper glued to the door of Hervé’s office as “… the scientific discipline looking for the mechanisms of phenomenon occurring during the preparation and consumption of dishes”. In line with the present times, I would add that these phenomena have also effects on the bioactivity of food components in our bodies, hence, on our health and wellbeing.
It is also farsighted that the International Journal of Molecular Gastronomy (IJMG) is in the format of an open access publication. As such it has all the advantages that are permitted today by modern digital communications : it is fast, interactive, and almost costless. In contrast, conventional publications of scientific research are undergoing a serious crisis due to the high costs, lengthy review procedures, poor follow-up communications, and paid access to information. This last issue is leaving most of the people not associated with science without access to information on research generally supported by their taxes. On the other hand, only one of the major science publishers in the world reported in 2010 a profit margin of 36% on revenues of over US$ 3.0 billion.
One of the most attractive and unique things that an open access publication like this may offer to scientists is for them to become directly involved in the ex post evaluation of already published papers. As many of us have experienced, there is no better review of an article than when it is used as a reference for our work or to interpret our own data and results. Thus, we would like to invite interested readers to actively participate in discussing published articles through the Comments section of the journal. The ex-post review is a paradigmatic departure from the traditional ex-ante review process in operation since the initial years of the Royal Society, which is based in the criteria of editors to select suitable reviewers and the (and time) of the latter to do a thorough job.
Because of the nature and scope of the journal, we encourage researchers to make experiments mimicking culinary conditions but of course, respecting the procedures and practices of good science. In the same vein, manuscripts describing unexpected or even negative results in important issues that may save time and efforts to other researchers are also welcome.
The start of a new journal is always difficult because the performance of scientists nowadays is almost exclusively evaluated by citations, impact factors, rankings of journals and so on. We should be aware that an open access journal may at first neither be listed in large databases (like ISI) nor have a high impact factor, so we should enthusiastically invite some of our distinguished colleagues to publish in IJMG so as to rapidly build a solid reputation and get an attractive impact factor.
We must congratulate and thank Hervé This for leading this initiative and putting many hours of work to get it started. It is up to all of us, him and the Editorial Board, to continue this endeavor and make it successful.

José M. Aguilera
Paris May 19th 2014

16 rue Claude Bernard
F-75231 Paris Cedex 05
Tel: 33 (0) 1 44 08 18 43
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