Letter to the Editors of "Sugaku Tsushin" (A quarterly journal in the Mathematical Society of Japan which is almost equivalent to "Notice of AMS") from Takashi TSUBOI, which appears in Sugaku Tsushin vol. 17 no. 1, (2012) at page 124.

Original letter in Japanese

The future of Mathematical journals and the Elsevier Boycotte

This letter is a personal one to inform the member of the Mathematical Society of Japan about the current state of the Elsevier Boycotte, which began at the beginning of this year 2012 and in which I am personally joined. It also aims to ask the editors to consider to organize articles on this movement when the state of the movement changes.

The way of purchasing mathematical journals is different from one institute to the other. In our university some important part is purchased as a bundle with other sciences, and it is not clear what will result from the discussions mainly in the mathematical community.

However, since it might cause some effect on all the community, I would like to ask the members to be interested in our movement.

At the end of April, 2012, there are more than ten thouthand researchers who take stand at

"The Cost of Knowledge"

http://thecostofknowledge.com/

As for myself, I got the information of this movement on the web on January 31 or February 1, and I add my name there, saying, won't publish, won't referee, won't do editorial work. I heard a lot about the rapid increase of the price of the contract with Elsevier and other publisher in our university, and in the board meeting of Mathematical Society of Japan. We studied the way to make consortium. As is written in the appeal "the importance of journals in the research of mathematics" by the Board of the Mathematical Society of Japan, for the research of mathematics we need to buy mathematical journals, maintain them in the library. But because of the inceasing price of the journals, I heard of many mathematical departments who abandoned to renew the contract to buy them. So I put my name on the page which is one of few possible protest to the situation. Since I am not an editor of Elsevier mathematical jounals, there are no problem about Editor. About my paper, I can decide where to send by myself. I wondered for a while whether I should refrain from refereeing, but I thought that I would explain it directly to the author if necessary.

Later I got an e-mail asking me whether I am willing to sign on a statement which explains the purpose of the boycotting, and I signed. The document is

http://gowers.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/elsevierstatementfinal.pdf

Let me explain a little on that. Mathematical journals are published to disseminate the research results in mathematics and in the process of publishing them, editting and refereeing mainly rely on the voluntary work of mathematicians. We may consider that it is a part of professional job of mathematician. The journals thus published are bought by university librares and it becomes a reliable base for the next research. We hope the scientific journals should be published by publishers who think the public benefit is the most important issue. The way of bussiness of Elsevier is rather contrary. Elsevier bought many publishing companies to get bigger share in the scientific journals. The price of journals is not transparent at all especially when they sell journals in bundle. The incease rate of the price is very high. The company does not support peer review system and does not act ethically. Thus we would like to invite mathematicians to participate in boycotte. Please read the document for more detailed data and discussions. I also recommend to read the blog post by Gowers "Elsevier - my part in its downfall"

http://gowers.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/elsevier-my-part-in-its-downfall/

which initiated this movement.

The signatory contains Fields medalists as well as the important members of IMU, although they are participate as individuals. This movement is also called Academic Spring, and there are many articles in news papers and scientific journals. The background, the response of media, the response of Elsevier and other informations can be found at

http://michaelnielsen.org/polymath1/index.php?title=Journal_publishing_reform

There will appear an article

"Mathematicians take a stand" by Douglas N. Arnold and Henry Cohn in Notices of AMS, June/July 2012,

which is already uploaded in

http://arxiv.org/abs/1204.1351v1

If you agree with our purpose and find no problem around you, please participate in the boycotte.

Now among the signatories of the document,

there continue the discussions on the experience of Journal of Topology, on the Elsevier's responses, on the other publishers, on the open access questions, on the future prototype of mathematical journals, etc.

The movement made Elsevier withdraw support for RWA, but it is still unclear whether we get something in the price of the journals or bundling problem. I would like to ask the members to keep interested in this movement.

Takashi TSUBOI (the University of Tokyo)