Monday, September 12, 2011

Euresis, a New, Multidisciplinary Journal


This is a weekly post by Nidhal Guessoum (see his earlier posts here). Nidhal is an astrophysicist and Professor of Physics at American University of Sharjah and is the author of Islam's Quantum Question: Reconciling Muslim Tradition and Modern Science.
I recently discovered Euresis, which is the title of a new multidisciplinary, online, open-access journal as well as the name of an Italian association which aims at “the promotion of the scientific endeavor” among the general public. It also seems to be interested in issues related to education, creativity, philosophy, theology, and more. As the website states, the association’s aims is to “promote, at an academic level, an understanding of science as a fully human pursuit, rooted into the universal human quest for beauty and meaning.”
Unfortunately, the association seems to be moving along very slowly, as one can note by the dates on the articles it has published on its website: the most recent one dates back to March 15, 2010, with four others in the preceding 18 months.

In fact, its journal has only had one issue (published in July 2011), and its contents correspond to the papers given in a symposium titled “Discovery as an Event”, held in San Marino in 2009. (We are reminded that “euresis” is the Greek word for “discovery”.) More on this first issue below.

Now, this is not quite a typical academic journal. It does, of course, have a bona fide and apparently solid editorial board (editors-in-chief and board), though there are no guidelines on submissions and on the reviewing process. Also, there is nothing wrong in principle with a purely online and open-access journal, though very few such journals have acquired a high reputation for quality and substance.
Most importantly, the fact that it is a “multidisciplinary” journal will present it with the greatest challenges, in my view, both in the kinds of papers it may receive (I imagine that it will receive a fair share of flim-flam packaged as “multi” or “inter” disciplinary) and in its capacity to review and accept genuine but complex articles that go beyond the typical fare. The journal’s website tells visitors that issues will cover proceedings from conferences and workshops that are part of the activities of the Euresis Association as well as thematic issues that will be open to contributions from scholars and scientists at large.
The first issue of Euresis Journal deals with scientific discovery, the theme of a 2009 Symposium titled: “Discovery as an event: Understanding the dynamics of human advancement in science and culture.” One can see on the symposium’s website that the meeting  was attended by several top-level scientists (including at least two Nobel prizewinners) and scholars (such as Owen Gingerich and Yves Coppens), and many of them did indeed have their papers published in this new journal, a nice gesture from such well-known scholars who could have easily decided to save their work for more high-visibility venues.
Interested readers can find the papers here, where they can be downloaded either individually or as part of the whole issue (in pdf). I particularly recommend the following articles:

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