Worse than Elsevier, worse than …

by Orr Shalit

I recently received the following email from Cambridge University Press:

Submit your article online now

Dear Dr Shalit
We are delighted to announce that the online submission systems forForum of Mathematics, Pi and Forum of Mathematics, Sigma are now live. Forum of Mathematics offers fully open access publication combined with peer-review standards set by an international editorial board of the highestcalibre, and all backed by Cambridge University Press and our commitment to quality.
Don’t forget:
  • For the first three years Cambridge University Press will waive the publication charges
  • After this, a publication charge for authors will be set at £500/$750, this charge being based on real publishing costs and overheads
etc., …,
Authors benefit from:• Peer-review by experts

• Free, permanent, worldwide access to your article
• High editorial and production service
• The author will hold the copyright of published papers via a Creative Commons license
• State-of-the-art online hosting, including forward reference linking and extensive content alerts
• Free online colour
• Global dissemination of your paper
Kind regards,
Cambridge Journals

To which I replied:

Dear ************,

I will not submit a journal to FOM because I strongly object to author processing charges, and your journal endorses this practice.

Kind regards,
Orr Shalit

I blogged on this subject before. I just want to add here that in my opinion, the fact that FOM does no collect money from authors for the first three years does not make it better than other predatory journals, it makes it worse. Cambridge University Press uses its prestige to endorse the practice of author charges, and it uses its money to make it look sustainable, to get us used to the idea.

I really hope that mathematicians will not flock behind the leaders of this initiative. The overall impression I get is that my hopes are hopeless. So here is one last cry: you are going in the wrong direction! Even if dpearments change so much that everybody gets a fair budget for publishing (which I find hard to believe), do we really need another item in our academic lives where we have to fill in a form to get $750 for a simple academic activity? And how can one possibly consider submitting a paper to FOM when one can submit to some other journal for free and save one’s department $750?

 Here is an example of how to do it right.