Posted by: Administrator | 14/01/2016

Save the LMS Journal of Computation and Mathematics

At the SGM 5 February 2016, the Motion was defeated 138 to 153 [as recorded from the Scrutineer’s oral statement, needs checking], with 1 abstention. There were about 40 people present; the outcome was determined by proxy votes.

Reflections

Some Floor Statements at the SGM 05 February 2016

On 16 Oct 2015 the Council of the London Mathematical Society (LMS) made decision to close the LMS Journal of Computation and Mathematics (JCM), a peer reviewed free for the readers and free for the authors open access online-only journal published by the LMS as a charitable activity; the LMS paid to  the Cambridge University Press (CUP) for hosting the JCM on CUP’s  website. A group of LMS members requisitioned a Special General Meeting (SGM) with the aim of reversing this decision. The SGM will take place at 15:30 on 5 Feb 2016 in the Paget Room at BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JP.

Letters in support of the Journal of Computation and Mathematics:

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Responses

  1. It it interesting that Terry Lyons uses the name “Journal of Computational Mathematics” rather than the actual title “Journal of Computation and Mathematics” since the former title accords much more with my own, and others, interests. The latter title suggests that computation is an add-on to mathematics, rather than an essential part. The web site does refer to “papers in computational pure and applied mathematics”.

    This illustrates it seems to me that the web site of the JCM could be much improved, and more forceful, reflecting for example some of the views expressed by Tim Gowers. Compare it with, say, the web site of the Journal of Symbolic Computation.

    The site could also give information on the average gap between acceptance of a paper and publication. This can be quite low for an e-journal, even for TAC just one day. This speed of publication can be a positive factor for authors.

    The fact that the JCM has been free to authors and readers is surely nowadays a significant factor for authors trying to get established, as well as retired authors like myself although I do not expect to contribute more to this field. It is surely useful to mathematicians in developing countries.

    Thus I hope the LMS will continue to publish a free journal in this field.

  2. As a very satisfied author of a paper published by JCM (refereeing was prompt and in depth, catching a serious error, that we fortunately were abel to fix, etc etc), I felt it was an obligation to join LMS to be able to bring my vote on this issue.

    I am dismayed by creative accounting tricks mixed with ill-used “impact” and “quality” terms in Council’s decision on JCM. I feel that it has damaged reputation of LMS in the community, and steps are needed to address this.

    (this is a re-post of a comment I have left in http://discussions.lms.ac.uk/openaccess/2015/11/12/recent-letter-to-the-council-of-the-lms-regarding-the-lms-jcm/)

  3. There are 2 points which I would like to make with regard to the proposed closure of the JCM.

    Firstly, the LMS Council’s stated intention is to “consider development of a new and better journal in … the interface between computation and mathematics …”.

    This would have a different name and possibly a slightly different remit. Members would be asked to decide how this can be achieved.

    All this seems sensible. What is hard to understand is why it’s necessary simultaneously to close down the JCM. A more obvious route would be to consult and plan first, so that there is continuity, so it is clear what will happen, clear that whatever that may be is genuinely better, and so that the experience available from those involved with the JCM is not lost.

    Secondly. The accounts produced by Susan Hezlet to show the cost of the JCM include a large proportion of staff costs and overheads.

    From a spreadsheet: of the £499,466 cumulative costs £132,406 are the savings that the LMS would have made if the JCM did not exist.

    If the direct staff costs and overheads are to be taken into account then is the council proposing to save these overheads and staff costs by closing the JCM? This is unlikely: in fact these costs will exist with or without the journal. Again, a natural course of action would be to continue with production of the JCM until such time as it is agreed that a more efficient use of resources is available, appropriate and ready to go.

    Personally, I believe the LMS should be trying to support and encourage research which is interdisciplinary; the REF and most UK university managers do exactly the opposite, in spite of many fine speeches, and possibly good intentions. Provision of a journal supporting interdisciplinary research in mathematics and computer science is one way the LMS is being useful in this respect. Oh the other hand the proposed withdrawal of the JCM will certainly not help to motivate research in such interdisciplinary areas.


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