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.