Since January 1, 2021, the mathematical journal Publications mathématiques de l’IHES is available online and can be downloaded for free with no registration required. The printed version of Publications, still published by Springer and unchanged in its classic format dear to its readers, is available for sale at IHES.
This change reflects the will of the director of IHES, Emmanuel Ullmo, of the editor-in-chief, Nicolas Bergeron, and of the Institute’s scientific council, to make this prestigious international journal easily and quickly accessible to the entire mathematical community, that will thus be able to read the articles in their final version as soon as they are published.
Publications mathématiques de l’IHES is a high-impact international mathematical journal, launched in 1958 by the founder of the Institute, Léon Motchane. The scientific quality of the articles published, as well as the material quality of the printed volumes, the “blue notebooks”, meant that Publications mathématiques de l’IHES rapidly became a scientific journal of great renown, appreciated and respected by mathematicians all over the world.
During its 62 years of history, Publications mathématiques de l’IHES has had several editors-in-chief. Jean Dieudonné (1959-1979) was succeeded by Jacques Tits (1979-1999), Etienne Ghys (1999-2009), Sergiu Klainerman (2009-2012) and Claire Voisin (2009-2019). Nicolas Bergeron, professor at the École normale supérieure, took over in July 2019.
It is precisely on Nicolas Bergeron‘s initiative that Publications mathématiques de l’IHES became open access in January 2021. Below, he describes the publishing process for this journal and explains the impact of this change.
How did you become editor-in-chief of Publications mathématiques and why do you find it interesting?
It is my predecessor, former editor-in-chief Claire Voisin, who asked me to take over in 2019. I am very interested in editing, which becomes all the more meaningful when done for a journal as prestigious as Publications mathématiques de l’IHES. Since just a small number of articles are published every year, mathematicians submit only their best work, which makes the editorial process extremely stimulating. I am very positively impressed by the enthusiasm with which the members of the editorial board, as well as the referees, are willing to read in detail the articles we receive. This is yet another proof of the remarkable quality of the papers that are submitted to the journal.
What is the selection process for Publications mathématiques?
The articles are submitted directly to me. I make a first selection and then contact the members of the editorial board to get their opinion on the interest and quality of the papers. The works that are considered relevant for Publications mathématiques are then sent to two or three referees who will check them in detail. Only about ten articles among the fifty or so that I submit to the editorial board are published each year in the journal and it is a great responsibility for the board to choose those that really deserve to appear.
What changes has the journal gone through since you arrived?
When I arrived in 2019, I took on the task of renewing the editorial board. Historically, algebra, geometry, and dynamical systems have had a strong representation in Publications mathématiques de l’IHES. The recent arrival in the editorial board of Hugo Duminil-Copin, a probabilist, and Alessio Figalli, an analyst, will hopefully widen the spectrum of subjects covered in the journal.
Becoming open access at the beginning of this year is another important change, which marks our desire to make mathematics easily accessible to anyone interested in it.
Why is it important that Publications mathématiques be freely available?
For years now, mathematicians have been making their papers freely accessible on the internet. This is part of a global trend, in which funding agencies, such as the European Commission for research, are increasingly asking scientists to make their work easily available.
To do so, researchers either use open access platforms, such as arXiv, or their own web pages. The versions published in this way are often not the most recent and usually do not take into account the editing done during the reviewing process thanks to the work of the journals’ review committees. This deprives the scientific community of the possibility to read the latest and improved versions of the articles. That is why it is important that scientific journals at the level of Publications mathématiques de l’IHES are open access.
This comes with multifold advantages. Readers have direct access to a high-quality electronic version. Those who love to annotate the paper volumes can still do so, as printed copies are published by Springer and available for sale at IHES. Publications mathématiques de l’IHES being diamond open access, this means that the authors are not charged either, and making the electronic versions freely available also comes with perks for them: facilitating access to their papers increases their visibility and therefore their potential impact, while leaving the selection process unchanged.