FoM: denied publication

After the 15 months delay experience had with G&T which was told in the post “Anonymous peer-review after 15 months“,  I decided to submit to FoM the article arXiv:0907.1520 “Emergent algebra”, even if this decision seemed to go against the view I hold, namely that gold OA is not the right OA. So I took the risk to disappoint people which have views which I respect, like Orr Shalit with his “Worse than Elsevier, worse than …“. Let me explain why:

  1. The article Emergent algebra deserves a “stamp of quality”. Providing such stamps is one of the roles of FoM, according to Timothy Gowers. So, I went for such a stamp, because really that’s all this article needs. Moreover,
  2. I highly respect the mathematicians who initiated FoM and I would be very glad to hear about their opinion on this piece of research which looks like it does not finds it’s place (because it’s revolutionary, I say, but hey, I’m the author, I am allowed to say this).
  3. I was expecting to get a detailed, useful, fair review from this new journal started by people described at point 2.
  4. I was curious what will happen, if it will matter that I expressed publicly my dislike for a new gold OA journal, in posts like this ones:  Quick reaction on Gowers’ “Why I’ve joined the bad guys” and Second thoughts on Gowers’ “Why I’ve joined the bad guys”. I was NOT expecting to matter, after all math is math and opinions are opinions. But I was still a bit curious.

Today, 30 April 2013, I just received an e-mail from FoM.   In a sense, I got my stamp of quality and I express my thanks for it.  I reproduce the message:


Dear Dr. Buliga:

I write you in regards to manuscript # Sigma-2013-0027 entitled
“Emergent algebras” which you submitted to the Forum of Mathematics,

Unfortunately, your manuscript has been denied publication in Forum of
Mathematics. Although it is an interesting line of investigation,
based on advice from experts in the area, it was felt that the results
are not compelling enough for publication in Sigma.

Thank you for considering Forum of Mathematics, Sigma for the
publication of your research. I hope the outcome of this specific
submission will not discourage you from the submission of future

Dr. Bruce Kleiner
Forum of Mathematics, Sigma

Editors: Dr. Simon Donaldson, Dr. Bruce Kleiner, Prof. Curtis McMullen

As I said, if people like Donaldson, Kleiner and McMullen say that’s “an interesting line of investigation”, what could I ask more? Ah, maybe a referee report? As I was expecting, see previous point 3? (As for “experts in the area”, I would like to meet them, because it’s a new area, I invented it.) Or at least, which interpretation is correct, ” although it is an interesting line of investigation, based on advice from experts in the area”,  or this one “based on advice from experts in the area, it was felt that …”?

More intrigued I was by the expression, which I never encountered before in a message from a publisher: “your manuscript has been denied publication in Forum of Mathematics”.

It’s a coincidence, it may have no meaning, but I can’t help to notice that  in the morning I posted “Research banana republic“, where I take the side of Mike Taylor’s post “Predatory publishers: a real problem“. In that post Mike Taylor criticizes among others the Cambridge University Press, which is the publisher of FoM.  In the evening I got the previously written message from FoM concerning “denied” publication of my article. But, but … it’s math, not politics! Nah, it has to be  a coincidence.

4 thoughts on “FoM: denied publication”

  1. Thank you Stephen, as you say: “Onward!” Have you seen Geometric Ruzsa inequality on groupoids and deformations where the Ruzsa triangle inequality is proved to be a consequence of the mindblowing n \in \mathbb{N} and n > 0 then n \geq 1 and a bit of emergent algebras? And thanks, David (first comment has to be approved, hence the delay). But “level” without any argument has no place in mathematics, at least that’s what I believe and wait for a PLoS or better, PeerJ GREEN variant of publication to appear for mathematicians (i.e. with technical and not “level”, open pre- and post- peer-review). Besides, also because “denied” is a funny word, in my (hyper-active) imagination I think that’s not a “level” problem, but from this data alone is hard to get an objective viewpoint.

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