Mathematician Timothy Gowers launches innovative journal

On March 1, a new kind of journal launched. Discrete Analysis is a journal that aims to provide mathematicians with an inexpensive, high-quality alternative to traditional modes of publishing.


The major difference between Discrete Analysis and conventional journals is that rather than publishing and electronically hosting the articles on a journal website, the articles will be made available through arXiv, an open access digital repository where many mathematicians post their work already. This also simplifies the submission process. Mathematicians who have posted an article on arXiv need only provide their name, contact information, and the arXiv URL for their article to the Discrete Analysis submission system. At this point, the article undergoes a traditional peer review process. Accepted articles are published on arXiv and assigned DOIs, and links to the articles are organized on the Discrete Analysis website.

Additionally, Discrete Analysis is a completely open access journal. Articles are openly available to anyone at no cost and there are no article processing fees, so there are no costs for authors either. This is made possible by a relatively low cost of maintaining the journal of approximately $30 per accepted article which is covered by grant funding received by the journal.

The managing editor of Discrete Analysis is Timothy Gowers, gowersa Fields Medalist and professor in the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics at the University of Cambridge. Gowers argues that since mathematicians routinely make their work available on arXiv before submitting to journals, the only important function left for journals to manage is peer review. Discrete Analysis takes advantage of low-cost, alternative options for article submission and publication, while maintaining a rigorous peer review process. The journal also includes some additional value-added features such as editorial introductions for articles and options for authors to update their articles, while maintaining a version of record.

The journal’s scope is described on its website:

“Discrete Analysis is a mathematical journal that aims to publish articles that are analytical in flavour but that also have an impact on the study of discrete structures. These include (all or parts of) harmonic analysis, ergodic theory, topological dynamics, growth in groups, analytic number theory, additive combinatorics, combinatorial number theory, extremal and probabilistic combinatorics, combinatorial geometry, convexity, metric geometry, and theoretical computer science.”

For more information see Gowers’s blog posts about launching Discrete Analysis and announcing the journal.

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