Episciences-Math, let’s talk about this
The presentation of the project Episciences-Math, as given here:
The editorial process envisioned for the Episciences-Maths epijournals is quite standard: authors submit their articles after making them available in arXiv or in HAL, and provide the ID of their e-print to a specified epijournal of their choice. The Editorial board of that epijournal handles the submission exactly as for a traditional scientific journal, appointing referees, and deciding to publish – or not – when the report is received. If the article is accepted after suitable corrections have been made, it is subsequently listed on the web page of the journal as a link to the actual file, the final version of which is stored solely in the open archive. At some point in the future, the Episciences platform might also allow the publication of additional contents attached to each article (review by a reporter or by the editorial boards of epijournals, additional data provided by the author: source codes, lecture notes, presentations …)
The Episciences-Maths initiative will be supervised by an “Epicommittee” composed of leading mathematicians. Its role is to stimulate the constitution of editorial boards willing to create new epijournals, especially thematic epijournals in areas not yet covered, to manage possible takeovers of existing journals, and finally to treat any ethical and professional issues. Members of the Epicommittee may or may not themselves take responsibility of an epijournal.
This is the project announced in the “Good guys” post by Gowers. Many mathematicians are looking forward to see the details.
Several posts on this blog witness the desire to see that epijournals become reality. Don’t get me wrong, therefore, if I make some comments about some aspects which worry me a little:
- The public presence of this project is very low. Am I wrong about this? Please send me links to relevant places where this project is explained and …
- … discussed! Is there any public discussion about it, besides the fact that almost everybody who cares to comment wishes the best to the project? Yes, the creators of the project may say “it’s out project, be patient”, but that would be plain wrong. That is because it does not matter whose project is, provided that it is a successful one, or, in order for the project to have success, they need us, those who are waiting to see what is this really about.
- The third point is that, just by looking at the presentation, I don’t get what is new in this project, excepting the fact that the final versions of the articles will be hosted by HAL or arXiv. Annals of Mathematics did this, why do the Episciences think they will succeed?
- I get that they hope to create the SEED of a journal, but platforms for journals exist already. The problem of scientific publication is not technical, it is psychological. I don’t get how they want to address this.
- What about all the features which many people expect? Comments, peer-review, multiple journals “publishing” the same article (i.e. independent, multiple, peer-reviews by different journals for the same article, according to different communities interests, like Andrew Stacey suggests on G+), who will review the articles, what incentives will have mathematicians to publish in an epijournal, knowing that hiring committees and moronic bureaucratic organisms are still pushing authors to publish in traditional ways?
I invite anybody to discuss, here or anywhere. This satisfied silence, after the bad cop – good cop pair of posts by Gowers, looks to me as if our mathematics community is a bit sedated. Or maybe many mathematicians just think our field does not need to change publication practices, even if every other scientific field does it (I am mean, but really, that’s the truth.)