Journaling

Brilliant strategy by Jason Ya!  See related blog post here…

Where do I send this?!?!  I have found myself working with this question often, lately, which is great! Finding a good problem is hard, and figuring out the math is hard; often it is actually impossible, as when you try to prove something that is not true (ask me how I know!).  When you do find something true, and manage to prove it, writing it up is also incredibly time consuming, but somehow you manage. Great! You have produced a manuscript! This is a great victory! But still, here you are, wondering what to do with it.

In my first projects, I worked with more experienced researchers, who came up with good journal ideas and kindly took that part of the process out of my hands.  Also, I had some papers that came out of workshops with proceedings volumes, so the question of where to submit was easily answered.  More recently, I have been working on a wider variety of projects, alone and with other early-career researchers, meaning none of us are quite sure what to do once the manuscript is finished.  How do I know what journals are reputable and rigorously peer-reviewed?  How do I know what journals will impress people reading my CV enough that they will offer me a job or approve my tenure application?  There are a lot Google-able answers for these first two questions; here are some nice ones I found on the question of reputability and comparing good journals.

The harder questions for me are: What are good journals for smaller results? Expository work?  Research with undergraduate students?

Smaller results often fit well in regional/single university-based journals.  For example, my math brother Jeremy Muskat and I have a paper in the Rocky Mountain Journal of Mathematics.  I had a really wonderful experience working with David Grant, an editor for RMJM.  Others I have heard are good things about:

My colleague Katie Haymaker and I recently wrote a mostly expository article, something I had been wanting to do for a long time. In the process of searching for the right venue, I discovered many journals I hadn’t known about.  These journals aim at many different audience levels, so it is worth looking at their recent papers to get a feeling which one is right for a given paper. At the middle/high-school level, the Girls’ Angle Bulletin is great (email girlsangle@gmail.com to inquire about submitting). The MAA publishes two college-level expository journals that I knew very little about before this search. The College Mathematics Journal publishes articles a really interesting array on topics relevant to the college mathematics curriculum, especially the first two years. They seem to be perhaps aimed more at the educator than the student.  On the other hand, Math Horizons specifically targets these students: “We target undergraduate students who are enthusiastic about mathematics and have some mathematical training, but may be early in her or his college career. Imagine writing the article for a math-loving first-year student who is midway through the calculus sequence.”  For those aiming for graduate students and PhDs in all areas, the Notices of the AMS accepts article submissions, including for the “WHAT IS…?” column.  For higher-level, more focused expository writing, here is a nice MathOverflow thread which gives many options.  I notice that the thread mentions the above-listed Rocky Mountain Journal of Mathematics, and some of the other smaller journals also publish expository work.

Other great expository journals:

Work involving or written by students can be hard to place.  These projects may not be advanced enough to work in most research journals, but may be substantial and well-crafted enough that they really cry out to be published. Ursula Whichter also wrote a great post about publishing work involving undergraduates.

Involve is a journal specifically for papers that involve undergraduate or graduate students.  For really outstanding undergraduate projects, that may or may not involve any new results, there are a few journals for papers fully written by undergraduates: SIAM Undergraduate Research Online and Rose-Hulman Undergraduate Mathematics Journal.  Also, many links on this page are good resources, though not all are still active.

More ideas? Other good venues for publishing work that is a little different?  Let us know in the comments!

 

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7 Responses to Journaling

  1. Ursula says:

    I wrote about looking for journals here:

    http://blogs.ams.org/mathmentoringnetwork/2016/12/23/publishing-research-with-undergraduate-co-authors/#more-1154

    You can look at the pages for specific journals inside MathSciNet, which is a good way to figure out what they cover and how often they are cited.

  2. Edward Dunne says:

    As Ursula points out, you can find out about journals by using some of the resources built into MathSciNet.

    One way is to think of a journal, then go to the “Journal” search tab in MathSciNet and find the journal. MathSciNet will give you some data about the journal (including a normalized computation of citations). You can also look at what is in recent issues. When you click on “List Journal Issues”, you can skim through the journal one issue at a time. Also, the facets side bar will cull some information about what is in the issue: the primary mathematics subject classifications occurring (in order of frequency), the names of the authors, and the institutions represented.

    Another thing to do is to look for a topic, such as Ginzburg-Landau equations, and search on that. You could put the search term in the title field, the review text field, or the Anywhere field. If you want recent results, you can restrict the time period to, say, > 2014. In the facets sidebar, you can look for the journals in which this search is most frequently represented .

    Finally, you can search for an author. This might be because this author is an expert on the subject. Or, it could be because this author tends to write articles of the type you are interested in. One caveat: Mathematical Reviews generally covers research mathematics. So our coverage of expository articles is incomplete. For instance, Quanta Magazine’s great articles about mathematics are not covered. Anyway, back to my original train of thought… In the search results for the author, the facets sidebar will again have the list of journals in which the author has published, listed by frequency.

    Finally, something not related to Mathematical Reviews / MathSciNet (where I work): When I was getting started in mathematics – when we had phones and the US Mail, but no web and no arXiv, there was a tradition (for postdocs and junior faculty) of sending your preprints to more established researchers, asking for comments on the paper, but also asking for suggestions where to send it. I have noticed that a lot of mentoring about the profession has now been moved to the web. People post questions to MathOverflow or even Facebook and Twitter. That does produce answers. But I am still an advocate of relating to people: write specifically to some people and ask for their opinion.

  3. Allen Stenger says:

    Thanks for this wide-ranging but detailed survey!

  4. Greg Friedman says:

    One thing that is often overlooked (or was by me until I learned better thanks to some mentors) is that sometimes choosing an appropriate journal is not as important as choosing an appropriate editor. If you can find a reasonably appropriate journal that has an editor that knows something about your subject, that editor is likelier to find a suitable referee who will appreciate your results. In fact, some folks first think of a likely possible editor first and then look into where that person is an editor second!

    Also, even though this may be fairly controversial, there are some web sites that rank math journals. It’s probably not good to get into a mindset that there’s really some distinction between the journal that is ranked 11th and the journal that is ranked 12th and the older lists might not be so up to date, but this can still be a good way to get a sense of a journal’s reputability and roughly what tier you should think of it in, at least take with several grains of salt. With those caveats, here are some of my favorite sites to consult:
    https://www.austms.org.au/Rankings/AustMS_final_ranked.html

    http://www-users.math.umn.edu/~arnold/math-journal-ratings/ERA2010_math_journals.pdf

    http://conteudo.icmc.usp.br/pessoas/andcarva/jourclass.html

    Note – that last one is 20 years old and so doesn’t even include some of the newer journals.

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