The OAS and replicability
Sep 17, 2014
Bishop Hill in Journals

The news that there is a new learned society for atmospheric scientists is very exciting and I'm sure that everyone at BH wishes those behind the move every success.

The focus is inevitably going to be on the Open Atmospheric Society "throwing down the gauntlet to the AMS and AGU" angle, but I'm also struck by the "throwing down the gauntlet to scholarly publishers" angle, summed up in this important position statement by the OAS regarding its journal:

[There is a] unique and important requirement placed up-front for any paper submitted; it must be replicable, with all data, software, formulas, and methods submitted with the paper. Without those elements, the paper will be rejected.

In the wake of Climategate I tried to interest the Committee on Publication Ethics, the umbrella body for scholarly journals, in the issue of replicability, but after two years of them procrastinating I took the hint and dropped the subject.

My guess at the time was that no learned journal wanted to be the first to demand data and code up front, frightened of scaring away potential authors. What, then, will be the impact of the Journal of the OAS? Will mainstream climatologists simply refuse to go near it? Will JOAS wither and die for lack of papers? Or will people start to look at those who submit to the traditional publishers and ask what it is they have to hide?

It's going to be fascinating.

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