British Combinatorial Bulletin

The British Combinatorial Bulletin is an annual digest of information about combinatorics in the UK: people, courses, news, publications, and other items of interest.

Over the course of its life it has changed considerably, most notably by a move from paper to Web-based in 2002, and from the editorship of Graham Brightwell to that of the current editor David Penman in 2006. Current and recent issues are available from the Bulletin website (though we hope to move this onto the main BCC site sometime soon).

It has been suggested that the time has come for another substantial change, and we are inviting discussion. The issue is briefly summarised below. Read this post, then head to David Penman’s letter on the BCC website, and give us your views. The matter will be discussed at the business meeting of the British Combinatorial Conference, so come along and argue your case.

The BCC has no official “membership”: the business meeting is open to all conference delegates, and I believe that this discussion should be open to anyone who has a view.

The heart of the Bulletin at present consists of three lists:

  • List A, a list of combinatorial mathematicians active in UK institutions;
  • List B, a list of institutions where combinatorial research is being carried out;
  • List C, a list of books and papers published or submitted during the preceding year.

It is List C in its present format that is up for discussion.

Here is a short summary of the arguments.

  • Pro: it is a useful source of reference for who does what: if you are the organiser of a combinatorics seminar looking for a speaker, or a postdoc looking for a job, or an undergraduate looking for a place to do a PhD, or simply interested in what combinatorialists in Britain are up to, it is a valuable resource.
  • Con: Producing List C involves a lot of work, both for the Bulletin editor, and for the local representatives who have to collect the information and send it in. In any case, the information is available elsewhere, and will become increasingly so.

In connection with the last point, let me remind British readers once again that, as from 1 April 2016, for a paper to be eligible for the REF, the accepted manuscript must be on a publicly accessible website within three months of acceptance, whether or not you have opted for open access publication. Hence a link from your name to such a website will find all your published and accepted papers. Moreover, if you use the mathematics arXiv, you can easily keep preprints there as well (and simply update to the accepted version when the paper is accepted).

Of course, your papers may be listed under Computer Science or Statistics rather than Mathematics, so more than one link might be necessary. For example, if you want my recent papers and preprints, you can find mathematics, computer science, or statistics at the links given here. Such links would not need to be changed at all from one issue of the Bulletin to the next: the workload would be “one-off” rather than continual as at present.

Other possibilities are sites like ResearchGate, or institutional repositories. There is no reason why everybody should use the same location for their preprints, as long as we can link from names (in List A) to publications.

That address again: https://britishcombinatorial.wordpress.com/2015/05/28/bcb-consultation/.

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About Peter Cameron

I count all the things that need to be counted.
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