Editors Feedback on Our Recent Initiatives

Since 1960, we have been developing our mathematics journals program by establishing constructive partnerships with the community. Feedback from Editors has been a key factor in the development of our mathematics journal program as well as our initiatives to address the needs of the community.

Especially throughout 2012, the Editors of our mathematics journals have been invaluable with their constructive feedback and we would like to thank them for their continued input and support.

We would like to share with you some of the Editors' feedback on our recent initiatives:

"As co-Founder, co-Editor-in-Chief, and Managing Editor of Applied and Computational Harmonic Analysis (ACHA), I have the opportunity to work with the Elsevier publisher as well as the editorial office, and often found the Elsevier people very supportive. While participating in several of the previous Editors' conferences, I got to know quite of few of them personally, and have learnt a lot of what they have been doing to improve their services and support. Their enormous amount of effort to provide various useful tools for the ACHA editors and contributors is greatly appreciated. Examples include: "Prioritizing management" in the EES, "Your paper, your way", and the development of the "Article of the Future" which allows authors to provide rich contents such as details, links, and even videos for the readers.

Nowadays, Science Direct is available to virtually all users over the world, being affordable by even the poorly funded universities in the western world, free to most underdeveloped countries, and at much lower cost to the developing ones. Of course the accelerated and improved "Open Access" policy and practice is welcomed by all authors and readers, particularly this exciting announcement of the release of all the deep back files for mathematics journals, with every article published from 4 years ago back to Volume 1, Issue 1, available and free to access by all."

Charles Chui
Editor-in-Chief of Applied and Computational Harmonic Analysis

"In recent years many commercial publishers have focused on their profits while not equally improving the quality of service for which they charge their high fees. The protests in the scientific community now appear to have lead to a change of policy by Elsevier and several other publishers. Steps in the right direction can be seen by the opening of the archives to the community and by the changes in the pricing policies."

Volker Mehrmann
Editor-in-Chief of
Linear Algebra and its Applications

"Anno 2012 there are well over 500 mathematics journals, many catering for a specialist audience and playing an important role in particular sub-disciplines of mathematics. Without the support of commercial publishers the majority of these journals would not be viable. A strong relationship between the mathematical community and commercial publishers is, in my view, vital for the health of mathematics. Regrettably, in recent times this relationship has become highly strained and is currently perceived by many mathematicians to no longer be mutually beneficial.

I have considered it an important task as Editor-in-Chief of JCTA to try to work toward restoring the balance, and am very pleased with some of the recent changes announced by Elsevier in how JCTA will operate. Significant price reductions, the opening up of back archives, and making papers freely available four years after publication are all important steps towards a more cooperative future."

Ole Warnaar
Editor-in-Chief of
Journal of Combinatorial Theory, Series A

"Throughout my tenure as Editor-in-Chief at JDE I have had the opportunity to work closely with publishers and others at Elsevier. This position enabled me to observe firsthand many positive initiatives taken to support the journal, and the mathematics community in general.

Earlier this year Elsevier committed the funds to establish the JDE Hale Award, honoring the memory and celebrating the legacy of JDE's long-time; Editor-in-Chief, Jack K. Hale, one of the most influential researchers in differential equations during the past 50 years. Sponsored by JDE and Elsevier, this annual award will recognize an outstanding paper published in the journal. I have also seen Elsevier expanding its financial support of mathematics societies and their conferences, ranging from funding receptions and awards to hosting invited speakers and providing travel grants for students.

One of the most exciting developments is Elsevier's decision to open up free access to the complete archives of its mathematics journals. This means that a substantial archive of seminal work across all fields in mathematics is now available to everyone. For JDE, which started publishing in 1965, this means over 5,000 articles from our archives will be freely available.

We are all aware of the dangers of plagiarism and how it can negatively impact published work and researchers' careers. While not a new program per se, a huge amount of effort is going on behind the scenes to provide guidelines and tools for editors, authors, and referees so that the quality and integrity of published work are safeguarded, not to mention all the time and resources I see spent properly handling and following up on ethical cases and protecting authors' publication rights."

Shui-Nee Chow
Professor of Mathematics, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USAEditor-in Chief of
Journal of Differential Equations

"Throughout our tenure as Editors-in-Chief for Nonlinear Analysis: Theory Methods & Applications we have been striving to constantly improve the quality of articles and to further develop the journal's unique character. This required a drastic change of the Editorial Board, with the aim to attract excellent Authors and Reviewers as well. In order to achieve our goal we have received all possible support from Elsevier and its very cooperative staff members, with whom we are in permanent and close contact. By nowwe are receiving about 2500 articles a year, and only a very small fraction of this number will be further receiving a rigorous reviewing to meet the high standard of the journal.

In recent years, plagiarism and ethical aspects in publishing have become important issues that Elsevier has addressed by investing a good deal of work. We are continuously monitoring all papers we receive and contributions that were already published in the Journal and act in an appropriate fashion when an ethical issue arises.

All Editors of our board are absolutely essential. Their constructive feedback and co-operativeness helped us to further improve the quality of the Journal. Of course our quality Reviewers are also an essential part of the process. We warmly thank all of them for their continued hard work and support.

One of the aspects that we find particularly important is the close contact with Authors. For us Authors come first. An effective system for timely answering all questions regarding their papers has been implemented. Now every Author receives at least one answer to his/her query within 24 hours.

In our eyes, a small number of open access elite Journals make no sense in a large community. In this respect, the coexistence of the open access system and the traditional subscription-based system is the best, reasonable solution for different obvious reasons. However, we do believe that commercial publishers must take care with concrete actions to address the issues raised by the scientific community in recent times. Science and scientific output is a delicate "commodity". In this sense, commercial publishers should not be focused exclusively in the increasing of the profit. We are very pleased to see the changes of policy by Elsevier with concrete actions. See the open letter from the Publishers for further details and important initiatives."

Siegfried Carl
Editor-in-Chief of
Nonlinear Analysis: Theory, Methods & Applications
Enzo Luigi Mitidieri
Editor-in-Chief of
Nonlinear Analysis: Theory, Methods & Applications

"As co-Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Approximation Theory (JAT), I certainly can't be viewed as a person with no conflict of interest when it comes to defending Elsevier. Nevertheless, the truth of the matter is that Elsevier did plenty of very concrete great things for JAT in particular and for the approximation theory community in general.

Just a few examples...

  • Open access to all JAT papers published more than 4 years ago is regarded as a huge concession by Elsevier and everyone I talked to was very much appreciative of the new policy. I personally won't benefit from it though, since I have full access to www.sciencedirect.com.
  • Elsevier rewards each year five JAT editors by Amazon.com and Elsevier book gift certificates. This is not a huge deal but our editors still love it.
  • Elsevier has generously volunteered to become one of the sponsors of the Vasil Popov Prize.
  • Elsevier is working hard to replace EES by a new online publication processing system. I know Elsevier takes it very seriously to keep up with technology and to make sure that they remain competitive in the Information Age. Let's hope that the new system, called Evise, will successfully address the shortcomings of the current system and will be a winner.

Let me add that although some of the criticism directed at Elsevier does not come as a surprise given the ongoing debate on the changes that are required to reorganize the traditional scientific information dissemination platforms while adapting to the new conditions, sometimes I have the feeling that a large number of scientists hold and express rather naive and impractical views about how the world of science should operate. I find the Elsevier boycott sophomoric and certainly nonconstructive. It is also a puzzle for me why Elsevier has been singled as the bad guy.

I agree that there must be a mutually beneficial correlation between scientific and commercial interests and I am glad to see that Elsevier is taking serious steps toward achieving this goal."

Paul Nevai
co-Editor-in-Chief of
Journal of Approximation Theory (JAT)