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From: Greg Kuperberg <greg_at_MATH.UCDAVIS.EDU>

Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2001 17:27:43 -0800

On Wed, Jan 31, 2001 at 11:02:55AM +0000, Manfredi M.A. La Manna wrote:

*> 1. what is the point of publishing in journals with high acceptance rates?
*

*> As a 100% acceptance rate is equivalent to vanity publishing, surely any
*

*> journal where the majority of submissions are published is not worth
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*> submitting to.
*

I am sure that the acceptance rate in mathematics is much higher

than in many disciplines, and I would guess that it is higher than in

economics. My explanation is that, because of the nature of the research,

mathematicians rarely disagree about what is right or wrong, and they

even agree more than you might expect about the quality of papers.

I am not an expert observer of other disciplines,

but I remember that a dean at Harvard University (Henry Rozovsky)

told me that mathematicians ahd a reputation among deans for consensus

in hiring decisions. We still think that we fight a lot over hiring,

but maybe not as much as some departments.

On that note, I also believe that journals in mathematics, especially

good journals, enjoy self-selection by the authors. For example many

American mathematicians think of the Annals of Mathematics as the supreme

math journal. I'm not sure how the Annals earned this status or whether

any single journal deserves it. I also suspect that some of the Annals

don't want quite that much authority. Still, even if it is partly a

self-fulfilling prophesy, the Annals is obviously an excellent journal.

*> 3. the suggestion ventilated by someone on the forum that papers posted on
*

*> the web could somehow be refereed by well-disposed readers, in economics is
*

*> simply preposterous;
*

I work in a subdiscipline of mathematics with many papers in the arXiv,

which is an archive of mostly prepublished papers. In my opinion,

the arXiv works so well that any peer review of its articles, even

traditional journal publication, is ex post facto. The question is

whether traditional publication is still the best system in its new ex

post facto role. I don't think so, but I agree with you that peer review

needs more structure than just letting readers "write in the margins".

That's been tried before: it may be okay for Amazon.com but it will

never work for math papers.

Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2001 17:27:43 -0800

On Wed, Jan 31, 2001 at 11:02:55AM +0000, Manfredi M.A. La Manna wrote:

I am sure that the acceptance rate in mathematics is much higher

than in many disciplines, and I would guess that it is higher than in

economics. My explanation is that, because of the nature of the research,

mathematicians rarely disagree about what is right or wrong, and they

even agree more than you might expect about the quality of papers.

I am not an expert observer of other disciplines,

but I remember that a dean at Harvard University (Henry Rozovsky)

told me that mathematicians ahd a reputation among deans for consensus

in hiring decisions. We still think that we fight a lot over hiring,

but maybe not as much as some departments.

On that note, I also believe that journals in mathematics, especially

good journals, enjoy self-selection by the authors. For example many

American mathematicians think of the Annals of Mathematics as the supreme

math journal. I'm not sure how the Annals earned this status or whether

any single journal deserves it. I also suspect that some of the Annals

don't want quite that much authority. Still, even if it is partly a

self-fulfilling prophesy, the Annals is obviously an excellent journal.

I work in a subdiscipline of mathematics with many papers in the arXiv,

which is an archive of mostly prepublished papers. In my opinion,

the arXiv works so well that any peer review of its articles, even

traditional journal publication, is ex post facto. The question is

whether traditional publication is still the best system in its new ex

post facto role. I don't think so, but I agree with you that peer review

needs more structure than just letting readers "write in the margins".

That's been tried before: it may be okay for Amazon.com but it will

never work for math papers.

-- /\ Greg Kuperberg (UC Davis) / \ \ / Visit the Math ArXiv Front at http://front.math.ucdavis.edu/ \/ * All the math that's fit to e-print *Received on Wed Jan 03 2001 - 19:17:43 GMT

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