Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, April 16, 2004

Another declaration of independence

Gerard van der Geer is the managing editor of Compositio Mathematica (CM), a journal owned by the Foundation Compositio Mathematica. CM was published by Kluwer until late last year, when van der Geer, frustrated by a long history of unwanted price increases, declared independence and moved the journal to the London Mathematical Society, which has been the publisher since January 2004. The LMS version of the journal is not free, but one-third less expensive than the older Kluwer edition. Note to those who would launch new journals: van der Geer was able to do this more easily than other editors who declare independence because Kluwer never owned the journal. Van der Geer sketches a brief history of the journal, including the move from Kluwer to LMS, in an opinion piece, We Can Make a Change in the May 2004 issue of Notices of the AMS. Excerpt: "We hope that mathematicians will send a message to highly priced journals by asking their libraries to switch subscriptions from expensive journals to less expensive ones. We appreciate how difficult it is to persuade libraries to take on anything new, but think of the consequences if no one shifts subscriptions: it will be a vindication of the attitude that mathematicians are price insensitive and publishers can charge what they like. Conversely, if libraries take on new subscriptions to less expensive journals, we can show that there is a point to publishers lowering prices." (PS: I've been following this story since September 2003 when the journal announced its move. Thanks to Rick Johnson, Raym Crow, and George Porter for different facets of the bigger picture. Also see my list of other journal declarations of independence.)