Report on ICIAM Dianoia

Dianoia celebrated its ninth year of publication in 2021, and its third year as an online newsletter.

Overall, things are very good. The editing and publishing interface, set up by Rob Carr, is excellent, and has required only a few minor tweaks. One intriguing one: Some prankster entered about 5000 bogus subscriptions (this greatly slowed down the e-mail distribution of the notice of publication); we now have a captcha-type check for new subscribers, and legitimate subscribers should receive their issues more quickly.

Two things happened in the past year that will enhance the professionalism of the newsletter:
(1) Having received approval from ICIAM Board to formalize the Editorial Board Committee, it became official at the beginning of 2021, and has 12 members, including the chair. At the moment, everyone's term is 2020-2024. The level of engagement of committee members varies widely, and fluctuates, as people have many other responsibilities. At the moment, it is satisfactory: We have been getting enough material for each issue, and when items come up for discussion, enough people join the conversation that we have been able to resolve questions.

(2) Following one discussion, we decided that we ought to have an editorial policy, and several editorial committee members formulated one, as follows:

"ICIAM’s newsletter, ICIAM DIANOIA, welcomes articles relevant to applied mathematics, its applications in industry, and non-technical news articles which are of sufficiently broad interest to ICIAM and its member societies. <A list of topics that have been included in previous DIANOIA issues can be found below.> General rules of DIANOIA's operation include: (a) no advertising; (b) no payment of authors for articles; (c) DIANOIA may give permission to reprint articles if asked; (d) DIANOIA may reprint relevant articles from other newsletters, with permission.

"One of the missions of DIANOIA is to disseminate news of ICIAM activities and calls, as well as important information concerning the ICIAM Prizes and Congresses. But the scope of DIANOIA is much larger than ICIAM itself, and will publish news and articles of interest to a large community of mathematicians interested in the applications of mathematics and its interactions with other fields of science and with industry and with society.

"It is up to the discretion of the DIANOIA editorial board to decide which articles to include. If you have any doubts whether a particular topic might be of interest, please get in touch with a member of the editorial board before submitting a contribution."
There are also two areas for future improvement:
(1) One thing that has been lost with the conversion from a PDF newsletter is the ability to archive issues, or even to print out a complete issue. This has been observed as a lack. When we started up the newsletter, the possibility of adding the capability to output a PDF version was mentioned. If there is sufficient interest by the ICIAM Board, and if the ICIAM Board is willing to commit resources to effecting this, we can find out whether it is practical.

(2) At the moment, the only person with access permission to set up articles on the website is the Editor in Chief. This is not a serious problem, and it is not easy to see how to broaden access (since one gets access to a large collection of directories and files, some of which may be quite sensitive). But over the long run, it might be worth making the effort to cordon off Dianoia files from the rest of ICIAM's business on the website so that it would be possible for other editors to work on the newsletter, without compromising other ICIAM documents. 

The Editorial Board Committee will be happy to receive comments, feedback and advice, at the meeting or at any time.


Barbara Lee Keyfitz

Barbara Lee Keyfitz is Professor of Mathematics at The Ohio State University. She has a PhD from New York University, and works in the analysis of partial differential equations. She is a Past-President of ICIAM, and Editor-in-Chief of ICIAM Dianoia.