Mathblogging.org are doing interviews with mathematical bloggers. My turn came up; the result is here.
One statement in the interview that might be misleading: “All the current debate about open-access and author-pays are largely irrelevant to mathematicians, since most recent papers I am looking for will be there.”
Use of arXiv is very far from universal among mathematicians, and I have no good explanation why. I have been very surprised recently at how few prominent mathematicians post papers there systematically. A related discussion: http://publishing.mathforge.org/discussion/145/how-to-increase-author-selfarchiving-in-mathematics/
Also, we do have some good diamond OA journals, but I doubt very much that the author-pays model is irrelevant to mathematics. The Cambridge University Press Forum of Mathematics seems like a serious effort. It makes sense to me for author-pays journals to exist, provided they are run by non-profit organizations and the fees are an order of magnitude less than currently proposed.
Maybe I was a bit too brief, though I believe what I said was basically right – the reason for my brevity is that I have argued the point at length on the blog!
The case of Forum of Mathematics is interesting. Tim Gowers assures me that if the journal receives a letter saying “I am retired and have no access to funds for page charges”, or “my department/University doesn’t pay page charges”, then they will not be charged. What is to stop all universities producing such a letter? Also, their page charges will be only half an order of magnitude less than commercial rates.
And thanks for the link, and good luck with your efforts!
Thank you so much for posting this interview. It was really educating and I received a lot of knowledge from it.
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