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Elsevier one year on: “essentially nothing has changed”

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?

First papers in Forum of Mathematics Pi and Sigma

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.

Not mentioned on The Aperiodical this month, March/April

Here’s a round up of some other recent (and now less so) news stories we didn’t cover in full.

13 New 3-body orbits discovered

Physicists from the University of Belgrade have discovered numerically 13 new solutions to the 3-body problem, in 2 dimensions. Described as “quite a feat in mathematical physics”, the discovery makes progress towards the long-standing problem of determining how three particles, when left to move under the action of their gravity on each other, will behave. The solutions they’ve found are all for particles moving in a 2-dimensional plane, and are represented using points on the surface of a sphere to describe the position of the three particles.

Article from Science

Arxiv Paper

Claimed disproof of the Triangulation Conjecture

The Triangulation Conjecture, a result in topology, may turn out to be false as UCLA’s Ciprian Manolescu claims to have disproved it. The conjecture claims that every compact topological manifold can be triangulated by a locally finite simplicial complex, which means that, roughly, any surface (well, n-dimensional surface) can be divided into triangles in a specific way that topologists find exciting. The conjecture has already been disproved in dimension 4, although hope was held it might be true in higher dimensions. We’re still waiting for confirmation the disproof is correct, but if it is it wipes out many topologists’ hopes of being able to divide certain types of surfaces into triangles in a specific way.

Blog post on the topic, with an interesting comments discussion

(via Dave Richeson on Twitter)

Math Cannot be Patented

A patent suit filed in the Eastern District of Texas has been dismissed on the grounds that mathematics cannot be patented. Uniloc, described in an article on news blog Rackspace as ‘a notorious patent troll’, alleged that a floating point numerical calculation by the Linux operating system violated U.S. Patent 5,892,697. You can’t patent maths!

Mathematics Cannot Be Patented – Case Dismissed at Rackspace

Transactions of the LMS: an open access journal

Fans of Open Access journals will be pleased to hear that the London Mathematical Society is launching one, titled Transactions of the London Mathematical Society. The LMS would like to emphasise that:

By launching this journal, the LMS is not promoting any particular cause and we do not advocate one publishing payment model over another.

Details can be found on pages 8-11 of their most recent newsletter.

LMS Newsletter #424

The Good, the Bad and Gowers

Prof Sir Tim Gowers has published a couple of very interesting posts on his blog this week, explaining his thinking behind a couple of announcements to do with Open Access.

Elsevier has made lots more maths articles free to access

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 publication1. 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.

  1. 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 Guardian’s open access round-up

These open access round-ups I’ve been doing are a good idea, eh?

The Guardian agrees: they’ve posted their own open access round up. It’s less of a “what’s new” and more of a “the story so far”, though.

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