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    • CommentRowNumber1.
    • CommentAuthorMark C. Wilson
    • CommentTimeJan 29th 2013

    I am to be on a a panel discussing open access, open research, etc. Most of the online discussion comes from the biomedical sciences. I thought it would make sense to give a viewpoint from the mathematical sciences. Some disciplinary differences that came to mind:

    • math has smaller grants
    • the pace of publication is slower
    • the methodology is different - there is no real replication, proofs are (supposed to be?) checked by referees
    • math has a huge number of journals considered to be of good quality - we don’t have the Science/Nature/Cell pressure.
    • we have a lot of experience with the arXiv model
    • most academic fields are international, but mathematics perhaps the most, being so language-independent and not requiring “big science”.
    • we perhaps know more about the mechanics of publishing than biologists, because of our interaction with TeX for decades

    From these one might predict that

    • mathematicians are less happy about author fees

    Any help in fleshing this out would be appreciated.

    • CommentRowNumber2.
    • CommentAuthorDmitri Pavlov
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2013
    Another aspect worthy of mentioning is that math papers are useful for decades,
    whereas biomedical papers are usually useful only for a few years.
    (A notable exception to this rule seems to be the field of paleobiology, where papers older than 200 years are routinely cited,
    as I recently learned on some blog.)

    This also affects citations, heavily distorting the usual measures like Impact Factor.

    >math has a huge number of journals considered to be of good quality - we don’t have the Science/Nature/Cell pressure.

    I disagree. It seems to me that JAMS/Inventiones/Annals play a similar role in math.
    • CommentRowNumber3.
    • CommentAuthorMark C. Wilson
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2013

    It is widely believed in many areas of biology, as I understand it, that a job at a “top” research institution requires publishing in the glamour journals. This is absolutely false in mathematics.

    • CommentRowNumber4.
    • CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2013

    And in fact impossible. The statement ’you need a paper in the Annals to get a job’ is ridiculous. Also Science/Nature/Cell papers are incomparable with maths papers in any journal, as they are very light on details. It would be like publishing a paper with theorems but no proofs.

  1. Concerning the role of top journals (say, 5 of them including publication de l’IHES and Acta), my feeling in France is that most fundamental mathematician that get a paper in one of these journals gets a professor position, and most fundamental mathematician that get a professor position have had one paper published there before. So, publishing in a few given journals is neither sufficient nor necessary to get the higher-level positions, but it is not far from being so either.

    Note that in France, lower positions (« maître de conférence ») are tenured to so it may mitigate the above statement.

    • CommentRowNumber6.
    • CommentAuthorDmitri Pavlov
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2013
    Whereas it is true that in first tier departments hiring committees look at the papers themselves and pay little attention to the journals they were published in,
    I have heard stories about hiring committees in second tier departments telling their members to look for candidates with papers in Annals or Inventiones.