February 17, 2012
What follows is an extended comment on the proposal of pre-print peer review by Sabine Hossenfelder.
She suggests, inter alia, that the authors pay a submission fee for each paper and the referees get awards for their reports. But is the fees-related part of the proposal necessary at all? Perhaps the universities could donate some funds (as they already do for the arXiv) to get the thing going, and major professional societies (APS, AMS, etc.) could chime in too (and the authors can donate on a purely voluntary basis). To replace the awards for refereeing and the author fees one could use some kind of “points” (pretty much like the reputation points on the stackexchange sites): submission of the first paper is free, and the next ones are “paid” by the points obtained from refereeing. There could be some points gained for any report and extra points if the author(s) like the report (and express this by marking it as “favorite”).
UPDATE: another interesting and very detailed proposal on an alternative peer review model is Open Peer Review by a Selected-Papers Network by Chris Lee.
February 12, 2012
It all began with the blog post Elsevier — my part in its downfall by the Fields medalist Timothy Gowers which has caused quite a stir and culminated in the creation of the web site thecostofknowledge.com with an online petition to boycott the Elsevier publishing house (see also this recent post by the Fields medalist Terence Tao).
What is more, the ongoing discussions on the future of math journals, see e.g. [1 2 3 4 5], have now got quite a momentum. The physicists have also launched a similar incentive SCOAP3, and there is a proposal for pre-print peer review by Sabine Hossenfelder.
It is apparent that we need to improve many aspects of the existing publishing system, and the forthcoming change will hopefully also affect the peer review (see e.g. here), and I would like to stress here one aspect of this change which remains somewhat implicit at the background of the ongoing discussions. The suggested versions of Peer Review 2.0 appear to agree in one thing: we need the reduction of subjective bias of the worst sort (culminating in the referee reports essentially saying nothing but “I think this paper is not good enough for this journal”), and I do hope that we, the science community, can bring at least this particular change forth.
August 27, 2010
Elon Lindenstrauss: watch online | download FLV file
Ngo Bao Chau: watch online | download FLV file
Stanislav Smirnov: watch online | download FLV file
Cedric Villani: watch online | download FLV file
For a discussion of their work see e.g. this post of Terence Tao and the official laudations.
In hindsight it’s rather funny to look at the rumours on the names of the awardees that have circulated on the net for some time.
June 3, 2010
One of the world’s greatest and most influential mathematicians, Vladimir Arnold, passed away today in Paris, France. He made major contributions, inter alia, to the fields of dynamical systems (the famous KAM (Kolmogorov-Arnold-Moser) theory) and topology (he is one of the founding fathers of symplectic topology). I hope that the prominent mathematicians like Terence Tao or Timothy Gowers will say more on their blogs about Arnold’s scientific legacy as they did for Israel Gelfand (update: Terence Tao has a recent post on the Euler–Arnold equation).
In addition to leaving a great legacy of mathematical theories, results and open problems, he authored a number of graduate and undergraduate textbooks (the best known perhaps being Mathematical Methods of Classical Mechanics) which were a major influence.
May 21, 2010
Walter Rudin died on May 20, 2010 at the age of 89 after a long illness.
From Dick Askey:
Many of us learned mathematics from some of his books or papers. His being at the Univ. of Wisconsin was one of the main reasons I came here. His book on real and complex analysis was written for a course needed here. It provided a book which made it possible to teach enough real and complex variables so students could move to more specialized courses in analysis after a year of graduate study rather than the two years needed previously when there were year courses in real variables and complex variables. Informally among graduate students, his books were called the blue Rudin, the green Rudin, the yellow Rudin, etc. The fact that he wrote them seemed to many to be more important than using the title of the book.
To learn more about W.R., see also here.
March 7, 2010
As I often update old posts instead of writing new ones, below is the (possibly incomplete) list of most recent updates: