A year and a bit ago, we posted about Elsevier’s possibly-generous, possibly-cynical move to make all papers in its maths journals free to access four years after their publication. I lamented at the time that the only way to access the free papers was through Elsevier’s sanity-sapping ScienceDirect portal.
Well, not any more! The Mathematics Literature Project (which we never got round to posting about when it started, sorry) has collected together all the content that’s been made available and collected it into nice BitTorrent packages for anyone to download. The MLP page on Elsevier open access journals has links to torrents of the complete back-catalogues of 39 journals, going up to 2009. They intend to update the torrents yearly, as more papers become available under the permissive licence.
The MLP was set up by Scott Morrison, who deserves a big pat on the back for putting in so much tedious work downloading papers and compiling the torrents. The project is also analysing journals to get an idea of how beneficial Elsevier’s licence is – if papers are available on the arXiv anyway, it doesn’t matter too much what Elsevier does with their copies. So far, at least in the journals the project is concentrating on, the vast majority of papers are on the arXiv or authors’ webpages anyway.
Elsevier open access mathematics torrents at the Mathematics Literature Project
The Mathematics Literature Project
Mathematics Literature Project progress at the Secret Blogging Seminar
Scott Morrison’s academic homepage
Previously: Elsevier has made lots more articles free to access
via David Roberts on Google+
A new post on Gowers’s Weblog gives, with permission, a letter of resignation from the editorial board of Elsevier’s Journal of Number Theory sent by Greg Martin. Gowers promises that the letter makes “interesting reading”, and he’s right.
Martin points out that it has been over a year since the Elsevier boycott began (covered on this site in the Open Access Update of 25th of May). The boycott currently claims 13,656 researchers have signed up. Martin says that the boycott caused “a flurry of communication back and forth between Elsevier and our editorial board (and those of other journals, I’m sure)”, but, he says “now the dust has settled, and I must conclude that essentially nothing has changed”.
In an interesting letter, Martin reflects on the original Gowers blog post, and on the Elsevier reaction to it, including a proposal to pay a fee to editors for processing articles (Martin says, “we want access to be less expensive; we’re not looking for extra dough in our pockets”).
Read the letter: Elsevier journals: has anything changed?
I had hoped that The Future of Scholarly Mathematical Intercourse would arrive chaperoned by The Future of Publishing.
The first papers in Cambridge University Press’s new journals, Forum of Mathematics Pi and Forum of Mathematics Sigma, have been published — $p$-adic Hodge theory for rigid-analytic varieties by Peter Scholze in FoM Pi, and Generic mixing theory via vanishing Hodge models by Minhea Popa and Christian Schnell in FoM Sigma. But since the journals are more interesting for the medium they’re delivered by than their message, I’d like to take a look at the experience I had when accessing them.
Elsevier has just announced in its third open letter to the mathematics community (how much does that sound like a Papal Bull?) that all of the archived material from its “primary mathematics journals” is now free to access.
This completes the process begun in April, when they made everything published after 1995 and before 2008 free. From now on, all articles in the affected journals will be made free to access four years after publication ((Sadly, because this is Elsevier, the articles are only available through the user-contemptuous ScienceDirect, so the incidence of heads being banged on desks is likely to go up once people start trying to access it and encountering the site’s maddeningly hyperactive sliding toolbars)). The journals involved include Advances in Mathematics, Discrete Mathematics, and the Journal of Algebra. It looks like each journal now has a prominent “Open Archive” section on its homepage, containing a list of recently dispaywalled articles.
The march of the righteous towards victory over the rent-seeking publishers continues apace, so here’s another Open Access round up. I’m not even going to bother trying to remain impartial any more, for the following reasons: