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    • CommentAuthorKaveh
    • CommentTimeMay 31st 2012 edited

    Probably most have heard about this, but just in case someone has missed it, here is a short post and a longer post.

    The petition itself is here. You may want to check the Access2Research site and the Wikipedia article about it.

    I don't know if there is a precedence but it might be a good idea to have a system message about this petition.

    • CommentAuthorHenry Cohn
    • CommentTimeMay 31st 2012

    I'm not convinced this is something MO should be endorsing. The petition itself is vaguely worded enough that it could be satisfied in harmless ways, but some proposals (like a six month window for open access) have the potential to screw up the subscription publishing model in mathematics before the community has a chance to set up a viable replacement. This would be inconsequential for fields like medicine, where doing cutting-edge research requires a lot of funding and it's easy enough to pay publication costs using that funding, but it's a big deal for mathematics. Given a few years, I believe the mathematics community will put alternative systems in place, like sponsoring consortia for open access journals, and our publishing problems will be solved. However, this will take serious discussions and negotiations, which can only be carried out so fast. I believe we have little to gain from outside interference, but a lot to lose, so I'm hoping we can design our own publication system before governments design one for us based on biology and medicine.

    • CommentAuthorgrp
    • CommentTimeMay 31st 2012
    I think posting on meta is more than enough.

    It is tempting to use MathOverflow for political means, even if the intent is innocuous enough and "obviously for the good of the profession." There are enough blogs and alternative fora that most of the scientific community will have received some notice about the petition. In particular, likely has links to the relevant material. There are also several small groups trying to design and implement alternatives on various scales.

    The major reason for posting something like this on MathOverflow is also a bad reason: that many mathematicians read MathOverflow. Until the community decides that it wants to have activism along with its research, I think I and several others will agree with Henry Cohn's stance, paraphrased: this is not research, so it does not belong on the MathOverflow forum. It is also not a good fit for meta.mathoverflow, but fortunately meta receives little enough traffic that meta will not be seriously harmed by the very occasional call for activism.

    Gerhard "Ask Me About System Design" Paseman, 2012.05.31