One of the most prestigious journals in mathematics is called Topology. It is based at Oxford, its first issue was in 1962 and it has published many of the most important papers in the the field of topology. Since 1994 it has been published by Elsevier, and many mathematicians have been concerned over the high price that Elsevier has been charging for the journal ($1665/year). Today the entire editorial board of the journal resigned, effective the end of the year. In their resignation letter, they stated:
… the Editors have been concerned about the price of Topology since Elsevier gained control of the journal in 1994. We believe that the price, in combination with Elsevier’s policies for pricing mathematics journals more generally, has had a significant and damaging effect on Topology’s reputation in the mathematical research community, and that this is likely to become increasingly serious and difficult, indeed impossible, to reverse in the the future.
A few years ago a group of editors from another Elsevier journal in the area of topology, Topology and its Applications, also resigned, for similar reasons. They founded the new journal Algebraic and Geometric Topology, a free online journal (that also has an annual printed volume). One of this group was my Columbia colleague Joan Birman, who wrote an article for the AMS Notices about the issues involved.
Berkeley topologist Rob Kirby, back in 1997, wrote a letter to Elsevier that also discusses these issues. John Baez has a web-page about this that he has just updated to include information about the Topology situation, including a copy of the resignation letter.
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