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discussion forum. The forum is no longer active but much discussion took place on these pages so an archive has been preserved.Taking an entire editorial board to form a new journal is a drastic difficult move that requires to give up the former journal’s name (and reputation).
Move of K-theory and Topology to Journal of K-theory and Journal of topology has passed with understanding of the community that the editors are essentially the same and the new journals quickly got indexed in the relevant indices and are gaining momentum to the top class accepted journals. On the other hand, there were some other mistakes. Like during the transitions the K-theory was not making acceptances of papers for a bit, this delay hurts young people; also they did not notify the owner before of many of the problems. One must first ask for resolution of the list of the problems and if the response is not adequate only then to move. Ranicki done a good job to help the transition of abandoned old K-theory, so that it published its backlog finally (if I understood the story correctly).
My understanding is the the journal of topology, replacing topology, has never regained their original number of subscriptions. On the other hand, the managing editor (Ulrike Tillmann) has been happy with the rate of subscriptions growth.
We need to work on ways of reducing and managing the downsides to a switch!
Is the original number of subscriptions an aim in itself ? The libraries cancel subscriptions anyway and we get the papers on the arxiv anyway. The important thing is weather the citation rate and real credit for the authors in the new journal is close to the one in the old journal. With such replacements the careers of mathematicians won’t be hurt. I agree we have to reduce the downsides of the switch but I perceive the subscription volume as the non-fundamental one.
(Ideally, the switch should be from the proprietory journal to the replacement journal which is an online journal only, with free access, like Theory and Applications of Categories).
About 8. In France , the INSMI (math institute of the CNRS) and RNBM (a network of mathematical libraries) have started a program of “counter-bundling” for non-profit society editing journals. The idea is to negotiate several-years-contract, the mathematician pledging to keep to keep subscriptions, while the editor gives large access to all mathematician in France. So, this sounds very much like a bundle, the point being that we are talking about very cheap journals. The first contract is ready or almost, with the European Math Society.
The point of this is the prevent libraries to unsubscribe from this cheap, high-quality but unbundled journals. That does not completely answer your point, though it is something that can be done.
Concerning the author pays model, I do not think it is a good idea. Even quite cheap journal would charge 1000 $ a paper, and I think it worse to prevent mathematician without grant to publish, than preventing them to read the journal version of papers. In fact, author-pays could be an option if we really keep casts down (no proof reading, electronic review system that relate the reviewer to the author without human intervention could get down the price to 100 $ a paper or less).
Another option, is institution-pays-open-access. This is being tried by high-energy physicists, see SCOAP 3 which managed to have many institutions pledge they will redirect the funds from subscriptions to funding the consortium. One particularly interesting feature of this model, is that we can use commercial publishers in the way they should be used: pay them for providing a given service (devising a publishing system, providing support in the process, etc.) without giving them the property of the journals and articles, and thus with the possibility to change publisher anytime if one has a better offer.
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