A forum on mathematical publishing

There’s been lots of great discussion on the future of mathematical publishing in recent weeks, largely inspired by the boycott of Elsevier (1) (2) (3). Mostly this has been happening on blogs, particularly Tim Gower’s, but also here and a number of other places. There’s a nice index of this discussion in a wiki page on Michael Nielsen’s site, to the extent that it’s possible to index a discussion happening all over the internet!

I think a lot of people find it somewhat frustrating that this discussion is predominantly happening in blog comment threads, however. It’s hard to maintain conversations, and almost impossible to coordinate people with similar interests and concerns. Andrew Stacey and I thought that it might be helpful to set up a forum (like the nForum, associated the to nCafe, or meta.mathoverflow.net) to alleviate this.

Thus, please check out Math 2.0! We’ll see what sticks. :-)

Our hope is that this might provide a better home for more focused discussion, and a place for people who want to coordinate concrete next steps in reforming mathematical publishing. Come in and join us!

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4 thoughts on “A forum on mathematical publishing

  1. By the way, there is a news report February 14 (with links) in the NY Times:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/14/science/researchers-boycott-elsevier-journal-publisher.html?_r=1&ref=science

    Of course the NYT and other print media are also changing fast, so it’s also an open question what their future will look like. Meanwhile, mathematicians and others have to make shorter-term decisions,
    as do administrators who feel forced to rely on the reputations of “top” journals in a field. Not to mention the struggling librarians whose budgets keep getting cut.

  2. Also this month, there’s been a kerfuffle over a bizarre, obtuse, and probably entirely incoherent “theory of everything” paper. I think this could be a bit of a case study/cautionary tale in the stumbling blocks to effective dissemination of “generalizable knowledge” (as we refer to science results in my research administration world).

    Points being raised in comments on Retraction Watch (the first source I saw on this incident) include:
    * Journal proliferation –> easier politicization of science?
    * Necessity for publishing negative results
    * “Publish or perish” –> everyone starves while gorging on fluff?
    * Citation constellations
    * Bankrupt peer review
    * Value in discussion, even disbelieving

    &c. Things to keep in mind while trying to DO IT BETTER.

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