Posted by Jason Polak on 28. July 2012 · 2 comments · Categories: math · Tags: , , , ,

Since the start of The Cost of Knowledge website requesting support in the form of signatures from the academic community to boycott Elsevier in various degrees, I have taken more interest in academic publishing. Elsevier happens to be currently placed in the limelight by dissatisfied academics as a prime example of unfair practices such as journal bundling and exorbitant prices and The Cost of Knowledge site already has 12532 signatures at the time of this post.

The urge to vanquish the likes of Elsevier and others has lead to the open-access publishing model, which has been around for some time. I decided to take a closer look at open-access, being motivated by the recent announcement of a new set of author-pays open-access math journals by Cambridge University Press: “Forum of Mathematics”, which consists of two tiers: Pi and Sigma, the former for the high-impact papers that potentially interest many mathematicians, the latter for everything else that doesn’t get rejected. These journals are expected start their official acceptance of submissions on October 1st, 2012.

These journals will have their papers available online for free under the Creative Commons CC-BY license, and they will be free to publish in for three years. After these three years, it is expected that publishing will cost the author to pay 750 from grants or departmental funds, unless the author can demonstrate that he or she does not have access to these funds. There have been extensive discussions on the blogs of Terence Tao and Timothy Gowers, and these discussions have surprised me with the amount of negativity towards the new journals.

In this post I shall explain these open-access journals in a bit more detail, and explain why I think such ventures can only be good for mathematics.
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