Posted by: Administrator | 14/11/2015

Ronnie Brown: JCM — question about costs

[Reposted from a comment on the Open Access Blog of the LMS.]

Just to give some of my background, I was an Advisor to the LMS
Editorial Board (for algebraic and general topology) for 20 years till
my resignation in 1994; I was a founder member of the Editorial Boards
of TAC (Theory and Application of Categories) and HHA (Homology,
Homotopy and Applications), and have been on the Editorial Board of
JHRS (Journal of Homotopy and Related Structures) since its inception.
TAC is purely electronic, and its principles are given in the paper.
“Experience with a Free Electronic Journal: Theory and Applications of Categories”,
by Robert Rosebrugh

HHA has a print version, and free access is now restricted to
papers over 12 months old. JHRS is now supported by Springer.

One of my first recommendations for TAC was a paper which I had received
and recommended as Editor for the LMS, but which was rejected on grounds
of length. I therefore asked i the author if he was willing for it to be published asap in TAC.

The advantages of purely electronic publishing are of course quick
publication and access, once a paper is accepted, and low costs. Indeed
the work for the paper is done by the author, the referee, the editor,
and the copy editor, who in the above cases are all academics. So the
financial support if any comes in effect usually from their universities.

So I was somewhat surprised by the costs allocated by the LMS for the JCM, of £380k over 18 years.

Indeed my proposal in the late 1990s for a Welsh Mathematical Journal
(electronic) and for which I had obtained a promise of Welsh Development
Agency funding of £6k, was turned down by a committee of the
University of Wales partly on the grounds that the LMS had required an
allocated £60k for this new e-journal JCM. I had thought the idea that
Wales ought to have at least one academic journal would get support in

It would therefore be interesting to know how the figure of £380k over
18 years is actually arrived at.

It is difficult to make a judgement on the reported failure of the
Journal of Computational Mathematics to reach certain targets unless one
knows what those targets were, in order to make and evaluate comparisons.

As an example, one of the difficulties for small or new journals not
supported by big publishers is to get listing by Reuters ISI. I once did a small survey of Chief Editors of small mathematical journals and found considerable resentment of ISI at rejections for unknown reasons (and lack of courtesy). ISI targets are unpublished. But they make a LOT of money from their listings.

My support for the continuation of the LMS Journal of Computational Mathematics is also partly based on the view that it is important for a Society largely based on Pure Mathematics to have some hand in the area of computation, particularly symbolic computation.

Ronnie Brown


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