4 May 2004
HU ISSN 0374 - 0676 (print)
HU ISSN 1587 - 2440 (on-line)
With the advent of large-scale surveys and widely available CCD photometers on large numbers of small telescopes around the world, the number of new variable stars being discovered is phenomenal. New variables number in the thousands to tens of thousands per year now. It is no longer possible, or desirable, to publish an issue of IBVS solely on the discovery of a new variable, unless the star is of special astrophysical interest and significant observation and analysis are included in the paper submitted to IBVS. Similarly, it is now possible to observe times of minima for eclipsing variables in very large numbers to high precision, so that it is no longer possible, or desirable, to publish only a few such timings in an individual issue of IBVS.
These developments are very good for the field of research on variable stars. But they do require a change of publication habits and strategy for IBVS. All useful variable star observations still need to be published so that they are in the public domain. Substantial reports are published as individual issues of IBVS. Shorter reports of new variables and timings are collected into single, larger issues, but published immediately in electronic format.
FOR PUBLICATION IN IBVS THE MAIN FACTOR THAT DECIDES IN WHICH FORM A PAPER IS ACCEPTED IS ITS INFORMATION CONTENT.
If the information to be published is that a new variable has been found, but without substantial observations and analysis, then this will be a "Report on New Discoveries" note in the shortest format, where a finding chart, type and light curve should be provided. Photometry of known variables without discussion, or with short remarks (that may include times of minima) are directed to "New Observations of Variables".
When additional, but still simple, information is available, the notes are published in collected form, with possible short remarks, together for a number of objects up to 4 pages. This includes collected times of minima for several binaries (we ask authors to submit their results once, or at most twice, per year). In cases of more information, e.g. analysis of multicolour light curves, or a single colour light curve for an astrophysically very important variable, or time-critical notes for important coming events, etc., full, four-page papers are appropriate. The editors make the final decision of the format based on the referees' reports.
IBVS provides rapid electronic and paper publications of observations, analyses and new discoveries. Four-page papers are appropriate for publication of significant discoveries and analyses where rapid publication is desirable and where authors wish to "lay claim" to a discovery in a competitive field. Where a more substantial journal article is intended and there is no time-critical need for IBVS publication, double publication of the same material in IBVS and then elsewhere is not desirable and should be avoided. For rapid electronic publication of shorter reports, discoveries and timings that are then collected into longer issues, IBVS is the best choice to place such material in the public domain.
Summarizing, IBVS now has the following possibilities:
1. Notes on New Discoveries: appearing one-by-one, published electronically immediately, and printed as every 100th issue so that they can be referenced (see IBVS 5500);
2. Notes on New Observations: similar to the above, with data files, no discussion, some extra information, the first such issue is IBVS 5599;
3. Collected times of minima of eclipsing binaries: (we do not accept only 1-2 minima for 1-2 stars) e.g. IBVS 5487; new elements of variables for a large number of stars, e.g. IBVS 5495; in these cases the length may extend over the 4 page limit;
4. Observations of stars: short format, multicolour data, some extra information as in IBVS 5491, 5499;
5. Full, four-page papers with substantial results: These could also be collected items such as IBVS 5478, 5480, 5501, 5509.
We would like to stress that, as written in an Editorial Note already in 1996:
Preliminary results are, as a rule, not acceptable, except in those cases where the release of the preliminary information is relevant for the variable-star community (e.g. the discovery of new variable objects, their first description, etc.). Since IBVS is an express journal, preliminary results on known objects based on several-year-old observations are NOT acceptable. In such cases, publication of the complete and final analysis must be recommended for submission to other regular astronomy journals.