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    • CommentRowNumber1.
    • CommentAuthorgowers
    • CommentTimeFeb 10th 2012
    I hope that some day in the not too distant future we will have moved to a system of dissemination and evaluation that is web based and very unlike the current system. However, I don't want to split the mathematical community into those who are ready for big changes and those who are not, so I think we need to move in stages, each one being a fairly modest change. And it seems to me that the first stage is to create some new, cheap (or ideally free), high-class electronic journals so that nobody with a good paper can argue that they risk harming their career by avoiding the expensive publishers.

    It would be useful to have a rough idea what the "missing" journals are, so to speak. It may be that some areas have good journals already (I know that probabilists set up a very successful electronic journal a few years ago, for example). It may also be that some areas would need two journals, one for really excellent papers and one for good solid papers. I've got a reasonable idea what would be required in combinatorics. But what about other areas? I think this is an important question and would be very interested to know what people think (even if ultimately they'd like to go beyond journals).
    • CommentRowNumber2.
    • CommentAuthorCharles Rezk
    • CommentTimeFeb 10th 2012
    The areas I move in are pretty much covered by:

    * Geometry & Topology (which is a top journal)
    * Algebraic and Geometric Topology (G&T's little sibling)
    * Homology, Homotopy, and Applications
    * Theory and Applications of Categories (electronic only)

    All of these have all their papers freely available online; all except the last (I think) have a print version libraries can pay for too.
    • CommentRowNumber3.
    • CommentAuthorYemon Choi
    • CommentTimeFeb 10th 2012

    I for one would like something to substitute for the Journal of Functional Analysis. (My own feeling, but I could very well be mistaken, is that GAFA has both a slightly different focus and a higher median “quality” these days.) There is also, lower down the ladder as regards algebraic functional analysis, the Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Applications.

    A couple of newer free journals in analysis have been set up in the last couple of years, but I don’t think they have reached the status where those of us needing to play these silly publication games can gladly submit there. Perhaps if more senior people submit to them then their stock will rise.

    Disclosure: I have a paper in JFA and a paper in JMAA, and done a fair amount of refereeing for the latter.

    • CommentRowNumber4.
    • CommentAuthorAlexander Woo
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th 2012
    One almost infinite need is for cheap low-level journals in graph theory and similar types of combinatorics.

    There are many mathematicians in this area in teaching-oriented positions doing research either in the small amount of time they have for it or in occasional projects with undergraduate students. Each of them might only write a couple relatively short, almost entirely uninteresting papers per decade, but that adds up to a lot of papers.

    It is true that, for example, Ars Combinatoria is not that expensive, but it has a 6 year backlog. That should give some idea of the demand.

    One could argue that the research community benefits very little from this work, but that is not true. For example, many students in our graduate programs actually were taught by these mathematicians as undergraduates, and they will certainly be better prepared if their undergraduate professors (US-usage) are involved in research.
    • CommentRowNumber5.
    • CommentAuthorTerence Tao
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th 2012

    I guess I can plug Analysis & PDE, an MSP journal where I am an editor, which is basically the analysis version of Geometry & Topology, and has respectable citation indices (for those people who have to care about such things). Thus far it hasn’t had many submissions from the functional side of analysis, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t be able to take such submissions.

    • CommentRowNumber6.
    • CommentAuthorYemon Choi
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th 2012
    • (edited Feb 22nd 2012)

    Thanks, TT - I must sheepishly admit that I hadn’t heard of Analysis & PDE before. Well, the calibre of the authors to date seems a bit daunting, but certainly this will now go on my list of journals to consider if I ever strike gold. (In all honesty, I think only one of my papers to date would have been a realistic candidate for submission there.)

    • CommentRowNumber7.
    • CommentAuthorNoah Snyder
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th 2012
    In the parts of topology that I work on things are pretty well covered. In addition to the ones listed above, there's also the new Quantum Topology journal. The one thing that might be missing is some higher volume lower quality journals. AGT's has become a high quality journal, and there's a substantial hole below it.

    In subfactors the dominant journals are CMP, JFA, and IJM. I'm not sure where else to even try sending good but not Duke-quality subfactor papers. There's definitely a need here. I'd be curious to hear whether operator algebras more generally is in a similar situation. Also mathematical physics more generally there's not really competition for CMP. (Full disclosure: I love submitting to CMP because I've had great experiences working with them, in fact good enough that I don't care who owns them.)

    Higher category theory doesn't seem to really have a good journal home. The good papers go to Advances if they're category theoretic, or G&T/AGT if they're topological. JPAA is another home for tensor category papers. A good alternative to Advances and JPAA here would be great.
    • CommentRowNumber8.
    • CommentAuthorYiftach Barnea
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th 2012
    I am not completely sure about prices but in algebra there is no real competition to J. Algebra. So it would be very nice to have a top cheap electronic journal in algebra. More specifically in group theory there is more choice, but I am not sure there is much cheap choice.

    I am also quite fond of Advances. My impression is that most top journals look for papers that solve (or make a big progress) on well known problems. Advances, at least according to its mission, is more open to new ideas and new constructions which do not necessarily relate to existing problems. I am not sure there is any replacement (cheap or not) to it.
    • CommentRowNumber9.
    • CommentAuthorzskoda
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th 2012
    • (edited Feb 11th 2012)

    I second 8 that there is a need for a math-society driven top level journal in algebra in general (that is: not too focused on better covered group/representation theory or number theory, which had several of their own journals). Communications in algebra has large volume, so while the price per page is not that much a problem it is overall a sizeable subscription pricewise and most of the institutions I had relation to in past had no subscription for it; besides it is not as good as Journal of algebra. If we look at the list of journals issued or distributed by American Mathematical Society and Soc. Math. de France which is at this alpha journals list we see that most of the journals are of general nature and besides we have there listed specialized journals for algebraic geometry, number theory, representation theory, operator theory, computation, applied mathematics, dynamics, probability, history of mathematics. London Math. Society controls new Journal of topology and there is a related control over new Journal of K-theory whose board went to better deal than before with Kluwer. Thus the most obvious big gap in big-society driven publication is algebra without quite well represented group/representation theory and number theory.

    I also feel a difficult fragmentation in mathematical physics. For much of that area the things are OK. String theory gets easily published almost anywhere. Old fashioned mathematical physics (like analysis of Schroedinger operators) has its own favorite journals, even among the general ones (even Annals get biased toward those often). With the rest it is a problem. Letters in Math. Physics (Springer) and Communications in mathematical physics (Springer) are excellent but not enough for such a big area of science; besides they are bpth in Springer and not handled by a mathematical society, and Communications in particular, is not affordable for many libraries. Most of other journals in mathematical physics are published by more physics oriented boards (e.g. Journal of Math. Physics, Journal of Physics A) and like to reject papers which did not get enough close to a concrete physical application. This makes many of my colleague and even some collaborators resorting to a not so honest style with a long introduction talking about general motivation, metioning so many references and talking Planck scale physics and all kinds of bullshit which is not even touched in the calculations in the paper. If you do not do that you get rejected, while if you do that, you obscured the text and cheated the reader. It is becoming an accepted, received and normalized behaviour in number of areas like in the study of noncommutative space-times and so on, where I happened to write few articles. It is always a frustration when you risk a quick rejection of the paper just because you reject the impulse to write a nonsense introduction mentioning quantum gravity and alike without true excuse for that. I am talking about average level publications in journals of the level of Journal of physics A. The fate of their publishing depends less on their results and more on their packacking and presentation. I know authors who publish by steady pace very non-original work but have established patterns how to package and do not mind getting through 2-3 journals per paper per publication until acceptance. On the other hand, I feel if one has a paper rejected one should rethink through the whole issue, redo the part of the research and so on, and not just go to the second journal and do the job by persistence.

    • CommentRowNumber10.
    • CommentAuthorlouigi
    • CommentTimeFeb 17th 2012
    Apparently *applied probability* could still use more options: a friend in that area who was nervous about the boycott wrote the following to me:

    "I personally feel that Stochastic Processes and Applications is a very important journal and either it either needs to be brought out of the hands of Elsevier or a rival journal needs to be set up, which can accommodate the very broad readership of SPA. Note that many of the cheaper/free probability journals (Probab. Theory Related Fields, Ann.Probab., Ann.Applied Probab., Ann.IHP B, Elec. J. Probab.) sit at one end [i.e., theoretical probability] of the market. SPA has many users from many different communities within probability [and for some of these communities] SPA is the best you can aspire for."

    Probability seems to me in better shape than just about any other area of mathematics -- and apparently we still need more options.
    • CommentRowNumber11.
    • CommentAuthornarayana
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2012
    I also agree with Alexander that graph theory and related areas are in need of cheap or open access journals. After the advent of computer science, graph theory has become tremendously popular and an explosion in the number of articles.