Translation in English of
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
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
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
However, since it might cause some effect on
all the community, I would like to ask the members to be interested in
At the end of April, 2012, there are more than ten thouthand researchers who take stand at
"The Cost of Knowledge"
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.
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
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"
which initiated this movement.
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
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
If you agree with our purpose and find no problem around you, please participate in the boycotte.
Now among the signatories of the document,
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.
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
Takashi TSUBOI (the University of Tokyo)