Posted by: Administrator | 12/01/2016

SGM 5 Feb 2016: Motion as submitted by the Requisitionists on 12 Jan 2016

We, Requisitionists of the Special General Meeting, hereby put this motion:

Instruct the Council to continue publication of the LMS Journal of Computation and Mathematics as a charitable activity, thus reversing the Council’s decision to close down the Journal.

Supporting Notes

We ask all LMS members to vote for the Motion stated above.

The background of the Motion. We considered the LMS Council decision to close the Journal a mistake serious enough to justify convening a Special General Meeting of the Society in accordance with Statute 19 of the LMS Charter and Statutes. We requisitioned this meeting in a letter to Council of 10 November 2015, with the object of the meeting being to reverse the LMS Council’s decision. It is important to correct the mistake with minimal disruption of publication to the JCM.

The JCM is an online-only open access peer reviewed (and peer reviewed to the highest standards) journal, free for authors and readers. It is one of the rare examples of a mathematical journal that allows and encourages the publication of data files and computer codes supporting the mathematical content of papers.  It is the only LMS publication that fully responds to the new technological demands of mathematics publishing.

By closing the JCM the Council puts all LMS peer-reviewed online publishing on a 100% commercial basis.

The already existing commercial online journal, the Transactions of the LMS, charges an authors’ fee of £800 to £1,600 per paper (+ 20% VAT, if payment comes from the UK or EU). In effect, this is a £960 to £1,920 charge for access to peer review made by fellow mathematicians for free as a charitable contribution and service to the community.

The charitable nature of the JCM. As a charity, the LMS enjoys significant privileges including tax breaks. To justify its charitable status, the LMS must spend money on its charitable objects.

Being free both for authors and for readers, the JCM is a shining example of a truly charitable activity which fully complies with the LMS Royal Charter, which lists among the LMS charitable objects:

(iii) To print, publish and distribute gratuitously or otherwise the Proceedings and Journals of the Society containing such communications as in the opinion of the Council are worthy of publication;

(vi) To make grants of money or donations in aid of mathematical investigations or the publication of mathematical works or other matters or things for the purpose of promoting invention and research in mathematical science, or its applications, or in subjects connected therewith;

The quality and standing of the JCM. The JCM plays a unique role as the leading journal in a specific and increasingly important cross section of advanced theoretical mathematics: symbolic and/or absolute precision arithmetic computations — frequently at the limits of the capacity of modern computers — in algebra, representation theory, combinatorics, number theory, algebraic geometry, etc. The real strength of the JCM is hard core computation at the boundary of what is possible. Moreover, the publications in the JCM help (and aim) to push this boundary farther and farther away, and make possible theoretical results that nobody believed were achievable just a few years ago.

This aspect of the Journal’s work  will become only more important in the future.

The high reputation of the JCM is witnessed by letters of support from our colleagues in the UK and around the world.

The blogs

will run a comprehensive discussion of the role of the JCM and its service to the British and international mathematical communities. The medium of blogs allows our colleagues from outside  the LMS and from overseas to take part in this discussion. Please check the blogs — it is likely that new contributions will appear right up to the last minutes before the SGM.

The innovative ground-breaking  nature of computational pure mathematics represented in the JCM makes it unattractive to commercial publishers. This is why it has been, and remains, the  LMS’ duty to step in and run the Journal as a charitable activity.

The alleged financial issues. Members should not be confused by the alleged huge costs of the JCM which have already been mentioned in some discussions and which might be reported as potential savings, in the run-up to Special General Meeting. The actual costs of publication of the JCM are modest and not long ago were comparable, per annum, with the cost of a small grant and even now, after changing the web hosting provider, are comparable with the cost of a LMS workshop grant. The data from official LMS Annual Reports filed with the Charity Commission in 2005 — 2015 show the modest scale of the JCM costs:

£ 467    in 2005
£ 741      in 2006
£ 367      in 2007 (11 months)
£ 341      in 2008
——       in 2009 (no figure given)
£ 4,294      in 2010
£ 4,894      in 2011
£ 5,930      in 2012
£ 6,180      in 2013
£ 7,224      in 2014
£ 15,275      in 2015

The growth from 2010 most likely can be explained by the change of a web hosting provider which happened around that time; unfortunately it appears that no attempts have been made on the part of Council to find cheaper providers of Internet hosting.

The jump in costs in 2013–15 is likely to be the result of Council’s instructions to Editors of the JCM to increase the number of published papers and pages of at least the same quality as those recently published. Every additional paper resulted in additional per paper and per page charges being paid to the Cambridge University Press.

Still, the costs of the JCM are modest and it is instructive to compare them with the total LMS income figures:

£ 2,288,142    in 2010
£ 2,484,898    in 2011
£ 2,220,556    in 2012
£ 2,399,378    in 2013
£ 2,613,903    in 2014
£ 2,908,113    in 2015

With income on that scale, we perhaps need to improve efficiency elsewhere rather than close one of the most cost-effective and technologically advanced channels of worldwide dissemination of modern mathematical knowledge.

 

Requsitionists of the Special General Meeting:

Professor Bryan Birch FRS
Professor Alexandre Borovik
Professor Ronald Brown
Professor Peter Cameron
Professor David Epstein FRS

Professor Victor Flynn
Dr Tony Gardiner
Dr Andrew Glass
Professor Timothy Gowers FRS
Professor Derek Holt

Professor Jon Keating FRS
Professor Andrey Lazarev
Professor Josef Lauri
Professor Charles Leedham-Green
Professor Angus Macintyre FRS

Dr Kay Magaard
Dr Christopher Mulvey
Professor Graham Niblo
Professor Jeffrey Paris
Professor Beatrice Pelloni

Professor Norbert Peyerimhoff
Dr Colva Roney-Dougal
Professor Peter Rowley
Professor Tony Scholl
Professor Sergey Shpectorov

Professor Leonard Soicher
Dr Alina Vdovina
Dr Theodore Voronov
Professor John Wilson
Professor Robert Wilson

12 January 2016

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Responses

  1. From Volker Mehrmann, TU Berlin.

    A colleague pointed out the plan to close the LMS J. of Computation and Mathematics to me. With the danger of repeating other peoples arguments, I would like to suggest that mathematical societies like LMS should rethink the issue of closing green open access journals but rather put an effort and further funds into more such journals. I am not commenting on this particular journal but suggest that in general more green open access is generated by societies to replace a number commercial journals (of all publishers). I don’t believe we can replace all commercial journals by open access butI think it is time that the communities make this effort to ensure the furture of science and the free access to information. Scientific societies (who else) act in the interest of their members and should therefore invest some of their funds into such activities.


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