Mathematicians as Publishers

A new initiative in the mathematics research community is gearing up to do the work traditionally organized by a publisher.

By | January 21, 2013

FLICKR, FEATHEREDTARAn initiative called the Episciences Project, backed in part by the French government, aims to offer an alternative to traditionally published journals. By self-organizing the peer-review process and cutting out copy-editing, math researchers hope to eliminate the need for traditional publishers and provide an inexpensive means of disseminating peer-reviewed research online.

Researchers in many fields, including the life sciences, say that they already do the most labor-intensive part of publishing—peer review and formatting their own papers—and many have questioned whether publishers are truly required for the dissemination of research.  The Episciences Project, started by University of Grenoble mathematician Jean-Pierre Demailly, now aims to make that leap, using the servers of arXiv, a preprint server that now accepts more than 7,000 submissions in math and physics per month.

Mathematicians will submit to yet-to-be created journals, each of which will have editors and an editorial board to help organize peer review and to decide the journal’s internal policies. In all Episciences journals, the reviewed papers would be published alongside its un-reviewed counterpart.

The major cost of the project will be maintaining the websites and servers that store the publications. That expense could run over $800,000 in the United States, but it could eventually be covered by the journals’ authors and readers. “We will have a global platform capable of drastically reducing an individual journal’s administration costs,” Demailly told Nature.

 

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