ScienceOpen Author Interview Series – Lorenzo Iorio

ScienceOpen continues our series of interviews with our new authors with Professor Lorenzo Iorio ( ), who has just published an article on ScienceOpen entitled „Orbital effects of a monochromatic plane gravitational wave with ultra-low frequency incident on a gravitationally bound two-body system.“ ( )

Professor Iorio is a physicist working in the field of general relativity and gravitation. He has published over 180 articles and holds a permanent position at the Italian Ministry of Education, University, and Research (M.I.U.R.). He is qualified by the Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale by the M.I.U.R as an Associate Professor for Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Earth and Planetary Physics, as well as Theoretical Physics of Fundamental Interactions.

Q–First of all, what prompted you to publish your work with ScienceOpen? Why do you believe in the idea of Open Access publishing platforms for the sciences?

A–Some years ago, I had a positive experience with another Open Access journal, now closed, by another publisher which implemented a system similar to yours in some points, with (pre-)publication reviews by referees whose identity was disclosed along with their evaluations and paper rankings. I liked it very much. So, I was excited when I noticed that, apparently independently, you adopted a similar approach! Moreover, I had a good feeling overall about your project, which looked to me affordable and reliable.

Q—Can you describe the research you’ve just published with us at ScienceOpen a little?

A–Gravitational waves are a key prediction of the General Theory of Relativity by Einstein which has still to be directly tested. Until now, only somewhat indirect evidence of them has been available. Unfortunately, the magnitude of the predicted effects induced by them is extraordinarily feeble.

If they really exist, they could also be used as powerful tools to gather information about extreme astrophysical and cosmological processes which, otherwise, could not be obtained from usual messengers such as the electromagnetic waves (visible light, x rays, etc.) As such, it is of the utmost importance to look for as many independent scenarios as possible to test their existence.

In particular, certain primordial events of cosmological nature may have produced relic gravitational waves of extremely low frequencies. If they pass through the orbit of, say a planet revolving about a star or a spacecraft orbiting a planet, they could slightly alter the shape and the spatial orientation of their orbits, revolution after revolution.

In view of the ongoing and forthcoming progresses in the orbit determination of celestial bodies thanks to important technological advances, it could be important to use the orbital evolutions as effective probes to constrain to a tighter level the possible values of key parameters of such ultra low frequency gravitational waves.

In this context, I calculated the long-term orbital effects induced by such a kind of wave on the orbit a two-body system without any a-priori restrictions on either the orbital configuration of the orbiter and the spatial direction of the incoming wave acting as a perturbation.

Q—-What would you say to emerging and junior scholars who are contemplating the publishing landscape for their work?

A–Follow a balanced approach with different options. I mean, try first to publish some papers in already established journals, then try with other Open Access platforms. But, please, be careful in choosing the venue! Avoid absolutely any scams around (take a look at the Beall’s blog, but also in this case be critical: if a publisher is listed by him, it may be because of some problems just with certain specific journals, not with all of them. It may well be that the journal you choose is ok), and check if the journal is really serious. Do not necessarily be discouraged if the journal you choose has not (yet?) an impact factor: if the project is sound, probably it will have one sooner or later. However, it would be better if other forms of metrics would be adopted as well.