Let’s suppose, hypothetically, that the Elsevier boycott succeeds in decreasing the importance of many major mathematical journals. Let’s also assume that the basics of the journal system still remain unchanged — academics need to get their work certified by acceptance in journals, acceptance which demonstrates that their work is correct and reaches some particular level of importance.
Then we will need a lot of new journals, or new publishers for old journals if more editorial boards jump ship. And those journals will need editors.
I would love to hear from people with editorial experience what it would take make editing for those journals appealing and survivable. I think that many of us have been tentatively thinking of creating better journals, but are intimidated by our lack of knowledge of the effort required. I see that many leaders of the boycott movement are editors at nonprofit journals: Danny Calegari at Compositio, Henry Cohn at SIDMA, Matt Emerton at Selecta, Terry Tao at JAMS and so forth. (By the way, it is incredibly intimidating digging through you folks’ CV’s!) I think it would provide a wonderful anchor of reality to this conversation, to hear from experienced people about what it would take to get a journal going without a corporate owner.
This is the most obnoxious of all blogspots — the one that asks an already busy person to do more work. But, if any editors out there feel up to it, I think it would be a great help.