What do you think about a Journal of very short papers (JVSP)?
How short can be a publishable mathematical research article? Thinking about the structure of a research article, it is clear that a lot of the information is packed in the references. Let’s take this to extreme (idea inspired by this comment which I made at this post by Terence Tao).
Suppose I put two articles on arxiv, let them be “arxiv:8765.4321” and “arxiv:9876.5432”. I work hard on them and I arrive to “publishable” material at the version 2 of the first article and at the version 3 of the second. Therefore I have now
- Paper A = arxiv:8765.4321v2
- Paper B = arxiv:9876.5432v3
Because I believe in open access (of the green kind) and because I don’t want too many trees killed for badly disseminating my results, I am submitting one paper to JVSP.
My paper has one page, title, abstract, body and references.
The body of the paper has a few line “Motivations” section, pointing to references [R1], [R2], [R3]. Then comes the “Main result” 😉 which has one theorem. The proof of the theorem has the following form:
by Theorem 2.14 [Paper A] we get that such and such satisfies the hypothesis of Theorem 1.3 [Paper B]. Therefore such and such is a X. But, according to theorem 4.3 [R1], any X is an Y and we are done.
If there is place left, I may add a corollary, a short conclusion and references [R1], [R2], [R3], [Paper A], [Paper B].
I do not publish later Paper A and Paper B, as they are in their respective versions.
An extreme case of a very short paper would be this. I only have Paper A, which contains Theorem 1, with complete and laborious proof. I submit for publication a very short paper which has as only result the content of Theorem 1 [Paper A], with proof “see Theorem 1 [Paper A] for all details”.
What are the advantages of this?
- I keep the paper, without restrictions concerning the style, length, etc, on arxiv, which is free access.
- I validate results of Paper A because the referee of JVSP paper validates in fact the result of the arxiv paper.
- I support the open access movement.
Why would I be an editor of JVSP and which would be my goals?
- Because I want to find a solution of the problem of peer-reviewing free access and green open access papers.
- Because JVSP is a journal with really low costs and a fun idea.
- Because technically and morally an author submitting to JVSP gives all the needed information and still owns his/her creation, and as an author I like this.
- Goal 1: publish solid results, not rubish.
- Goal 2: JVSP to satisfy the conditions of being included in the ISI list and so on…
Is this feasible? Maybe, with a good management of the process. For example, provide a rather rigid template for the paper, keep a site with open calls for reviewing submitted papers (only titles given), retract visibly and make a big deal about previously published papers which turn out not to be correct, or duplicates, or whatever. Propose to reviewers to be publicly known, if they wish so.
UPDATE: Helger Lipmaa points to the journal “Tiny ToCS“. However, the real purpose of JVSP is not to be brief, but to create a “subversive”, but with rigorous and solid results old-school like journal for promoting free open access.
Another journal could be “The RXI Journal of Mathematics” which is as rigorous as any journal, only it asks to have at least 3 occurences of the string ‘rxi’ in the text.
David Roberts discusses about fitting a paper into a refereed tweet. It is an interesting idea, some statements are too long, but some of them not. On the top of my head, here is one: “A Connected Lie Group Equals the Square of the Exponential Image, Michael Wüstner, Journal of Lie Theory. Volume 13 (2003) 307–309 Proof: http://emis.math.ca/journals/JLT/vol.13_no.1/wuestla2e.pdf “, here is another which satisfies also the requirements of JVPS “W is a monad, David Roberts, Theorem: W:sGrp(S)->sS lifts to a monad. Proof:http://arxiv.org/abs/1204.4886 “, which will appear in the New York Journal of Mathematics, an open access journal.