Initiative about Open Access and Scientific Publishing


July 20, 2019 


Initiative of ICIAM Member societies on Open Access Publishing

Currently important developments are taking place that may have a major impact on science in general and mathematics in particular.

Due to proposed regulations of the European Union and other countries all over the world, research results that are funded by public money have to be published open access.  

We support the movement towards open access and indeed mathematics has a longstanding culture of liberal green open access policies. We think that open access publishing will be a key component if not the publishing model of the future. 

However, the current discussions in certain regions, particularly Europe, appear to be prioritising Gold Open Access with article processing charges (APCs). We see several unintended consequences of such an approach:

●    Researchers that do not have funding for APCs are denied their right to publish (e.g., in developing countries or underfunded research areas).

  • To secure or increase profits, quality may be sacrificed, both in terms of editorial selection and production quality.

●    Intransparent pricing models may lead to increased costs.

These key concerns affect society-based publishing houses, like for example those of EMS, AMS, and SIAM, and in particular those of smaller societies, and the mathematics community in general.

Society-based publishing houses generally agree on the following basic principles for their publishing models:

  • They will guarantee high quality publications without any compromises. 
  • They guarantee long-term availability and access to all publications.
  • They manage costs responsibly in transparent pricing models while maintaining quality.
  • They serve the mathematical community and not unrelated shareholders and surplus funds are used to support the community (e.g., publishing of books, support of conferences, prizes).

·      Community based publishing houses see themselves as a part of a wider community where the stakeholders (publishers, editors, authors, reviewers, and libraries) collaborate.

In view of the current situation, new community-based open access publishing models should be explored that follow these basic principles and at the same time give society-based publishing houses a sustainable financial future. The ICIAM board  starts this initiative to bring all these stakeholders together and to develop such a publishing model of the future.



At the moment there are several possible alternative models discussed in the community.  Examples of such models are. 

1.   Subscribe to open: existing subscription payments from libraries continue but the publications are made open access if sufficient libraries subscribe and continue to renew. 

2.   A national or even global funding pool is formed where library organizations or funding bodies (or even companies) fund open access publishing. 

3.   Virtual mirror journals are formed that guarantee the open access and avoid the hybrid character of a journal. 

4.   Classical publishing based on subscription continuous and the content of the article immediately before publishing is posted on servers of the journal, the arxiv or national servers.

5.   Complete open access publishing (based on voluntary work of the mathematical community) without revenue for the publisher.