Official statement by founding editors of J. Algebraic Combinatorics

From Chris Godsil, Ian Goulden, David Jackson, received today:

We were the founding editors of Journal of Algebraic Combinatorics when it started in 1992. Recently we joined the editorial board of the journal Algebraic Combinatorics, and are no longer active with the Journal of Algebraic Combinatorics. We urge researchers in algebraic combinatorics to consider submitting their work to Algebraic Combinatorics, to help ensure its success.

Comments on the flipping of J. Algebraic Combinatorics to the Fair Open Access model

The European Mathematical Society Newsletter September 2018 issue includes an article by Mark C. Wilson (MathOA) and most of the editors involved in the switch from JACo to AlCo. Some key quotes:

In terms of community support, almost everyone has been behind us – support has been particularly strong among younger mathematicians.

Another of our initial concerns (as far as I remember) was the amount of our time and effort we would have to put into the flip. As it turned out, this was not so bad (mainly thanks to MathOA support) so other editors considering flipping in the future should not be discouraged by this matter.

MathOA receives funding from AO-OA

Academy-owned Open Access (AO-OA) is a project involving research libraries such as University of Pittsburgh, University of California, MIT and Ohio State. They have generously promised funding for 5 years for supporting flipping of journals via MathOA. Thanks very much to Kathleen Shearer for her central role in organizing this.

Comparing Algebraic Combinatorics with its predecessor


Journal of Algebraic Combinatorics has been published by Springer since 1992. It was founded by Chris Godsil, Ian Goulden, and David Jackson.

In June 2017 the four editors-in-chief gave notice to Springer that they would resign at the end of the year. The entire editorial board (except for two members who decided to retire on the grounds of age) followed the EiCs to a new home. The new title is Algebraic Combinatorics, currently published by Centre Mersenne. Note that this journal is run according to the Fair Open Access Principles, so that any subsequent change of publisher will not require a change in the title of the journal. The switch was facilitated by MathOA.

Springer is attempting to continue the old title J. Algebraic Combinatorics with new editors.  Ilias Kotsireas has accepted the offer to be EiC, despite explicitly being asked not to by the former EiCs.

The entire editorial board of Algebraic Combinatorics, including the 4 current EiCs, consists of 43 people. JACo, on the other hand, has 15 including 4 Advisory Editors.  Using the American Mathematical Society’s invaluable (and paywalled) resource MathSciNet, we can look for at papers written by various editors, having either primary or secondary classification 05E (Algebraic Combinatorics). We find the following data for JACo.

  • EiC – Kotsireas 0
  • Advisory board (4 people) 1
  • Editors (10 people) 9

However for AlCo we find

  • EiCs (4 people) 69
  • Editorial board (4 people almost randomly selected from 39) 110

AlCo has published 12 papers since January 2018 and received 140 submissions since July 2017.  According to one of the EiCs, the quality of submissions has risen since the move from Springer (although some subfields have reduced in quantity, which he attributed to authors waiting until AlCo is fully indexed).

It is completely clear that Algebraic Combinatorics is the continuation of the original journal founded in 1992, and the journal currently called JACo is a “zombie”.

Clear statements by senior members of the algebraic combinatorics community about this disparity would faacilitate the transfer of reputation from JACo to AlCo and allow the former title to die a natural death. The founding editors should insist on their names being removed from the JACo site. They founded a journal, and it continues under a new name, with them as editorial board members. The old title is now simply a distraction.

Changes to MathOA board

Victor Reiner has transferred from the Advisory Board to the main board. He was instrumental in the successful flipping of Journal of Algebraic Combinatorics, and has recently been elected as a member of the council of the American Mathematical Society.

Those people who are not members of either board, but have performed much service for MathOA, are now listed under About/Governance Structure.

TIB joins supporters of Fair Open Access

The German National Library of Science and Technology has signed up to support Fair Open Access via FOAA.  Quoting from the press release:

Prof. Johan Rooryck, President of FOAA, was pleased to welcome the German National Library of Science and Technology on board: “TIB has agreed to support one of the journals of Mathematics in Open Access (MathOA) that are flipping to Fair Open Access. TIB is the first Supporting Participant to join us since we started FOAA in the summer of 2017, and we hope to welcome many more libraries and organisations in the future. We have set up a participant program for this purpose.”

May this be the first of many!

MathOA is now on Twitter

We use the handle @oa_math.

MathOA receives funding from Foundation Compositio Mathematica

We are pleased to announce that Foundation Compositio Mathematica is financially supporting the activities of MathOA. The Foundation already supports journals Algebraic Geometry and SIGMA which run along Fair Open Access lines. It also supports mathematics via subsidies for mathematical conferences, prizes for mathematical accomplishments and other initiatives.

Algebraic Combinatorics already has 46 submissions, will launch by January 2018

Our last post said:

At the end of June 2017, the four editors-in-chief of the Journal of Algebraic Combinatorics informed Springer that they will not renew their contracts, which terminate on 31 December 2017. All of the editorial board members have also resigned, to form the editorial board of a new journal that has been called Algebraic Combinatorics, run according to Fair Open Access Principles. Algebraic Combinatorics is now up and running with interim editors-in-chief Satoshi Murai and Vic Reiner. The transition to Fair Open Access was supported by the organisation Mathematics in Open Access (MathOA).

The editors of the Journal of Algebraic Combinatorics are Akihiro Munemasa, Christos Athanasiadis, Hugh Thomas and Hendrik van Maldeghem. Once their contracts with Springer expire, they will become editors-in-chief at Algebraic Combinatorics.

Those skeptical about whether this plan will work should look at the journal’s website and editorial platform. From the horse’s mouth:

We have had about 46 submissions in the last two months, of which roughly 12 or so were withdrawn from JACO and resubmitted to us, and 4 of those have already been accepted– the rest are in process, and that seems to be going smoothly’, says Vic Reiner. ‘The volume of submissions has been pretty exciting, and we are of course maintaining our high standard. We are confident that we can have the first issue in January 2018. And, of course, there is the fact that now all of the editorial board have resigned from JACO with the EiC’s, and all but two re-joined the ALCO board, with the two resigning due to age. Also, community support remains strong. Everyone I talk to at meetings is very happy about it, and thanks us.’

See the full press release.

Journal of Algebraic Combinatorics flips to Fair OA

The editors-in-chief and editorial board of Journal of Algebraic Combinatorics, currently published by Springer, have given notice of resignation. The Editors-in-Chief will see out their contracts with the old journal, until 31 December 2017. They will start a new journal, Algebraic Combinatorics, run according to the principles of Fair Open Access.The new journal, to be published in association with Centre Mersenne, is already open for business, with interim editors Victor Reiner and Satoshi Murai. To my knowledge this is the first time a mathematics journal has switched from a large commercial publisher to an open access model, let alone Fair Open Access. We hope it starts a trend, and congratulate the editors in chief Akihiro Munemasa,  Hendrik van Maldeghem, Christos Athanasiadis and Hugh Thomas.