In this week's Economist, there's a heart-warming story of a successful journal start up. Rejecta Mathematica is a "real open access online journal publishing only papers that have been rejected from peer-reviewed journals in the mathematical sciences". As the Economist reports,
Rejecta was conceived three years ago by four graduate students at Rice University, in Houston, Texas. Two of its founders, Michael Wakin and Christopher Rozell, had just had a paper on card counting in blackjack rejected. Good work, said the reviewers, but find some other place for it. When they could not, they, along with Mark Davenport and Jason Laska, decided to cut out the middle man and found their own journal.
I said it was heart-warming. This is a game beloved of journal publishers across the world who are prone to sit around and dream up challenging new titles. I recall that The Journal of Library Closures was a favourite suggestion during the last recession to hit universities. Editors can do this as well. I've felt for a long time that The Journal of Unpublishable Papers would be a great hit – with authors at any rate – although its far-too-honest title might keep it out of citation indices. On mentioning this idea to a group of colleagues a while back, I was met with a wall of scepticism, mostly on the grounds that this journal already exists – even if its editors are keen to fudge its purposes through a more positive-sounding title. Rather encouragigly, however, even Rejecta is finding it has to reject papers.