Some updates during the coronavirus | COVID-19 epidemic

The world is responding to the global coronavirus and COVID-19 epidemic in many ways.  One of the most important is by socially distancing ourselves from one another.   While this helps slow the spread of the epidemic, it also cuts us off from friends and family.  Most people are also cut off from their places of work. Below I describe two changes from the AMS in response to the epidemic.  The first change is a way in which it is possible to set up remote pairing without direct access to your institution.  The second is a change for reviewers in the time you have to review, plus information about how to go to “Inactive” status temporarily.

Access to MathSciNet and AMS journals during the COVID-19 epidemic

For those of you who are trying to work from home, the AMS is modifying the remote access method.  The goal is to enable researchers to access AMS material, including MathSciNet, without going to your institutions.

The AMS provides remote access options for subscribers to our content, including MathSciNet. In normal circumstances, this remote access can be set up while on campus or while connected via an institution’s VPN (in order to validate IP-based access).  [Instructions for the standard method to set-up remote access to MathSciNet are in this earlier post.  Roughly the same method works for journals, too.] We realize many students, faculty, and researchers did not have an opportunity to initiate this access before leaving campus and have communicated instructions to our library partners.

Our information systems colleagues have developed a solution and notifications were sent to libraries on 25 March 2020 with instructions and a unique link to share with their patrons.  Your library, department, or institution will have to inform you about the particular page and link that are unique to your institution. When you visit this page, you will see a short message about our Remote Access service, and a link to initiate 90 days of access on your device. Access may be set up via any web browsing device with JavaScript, cookies, and local storage enabled. If you use multiple browsers or devices, the link must be visited using each individual browser or device.


For our reviewers, many of you are trying to continue to review.  We are grateful for your efforts.  At the same time, many of you are unable to review right now.  That may be because you don’t have access to your usual resources, such as the library or your institutional accounts, or it could just be because you have too much to deal with right now.  Whatever the reason, writing reviews is not going to be your highest priority.  If you would like to take a break from reviewing, please write to us at  Include your reviewer number and say that you would like to become “inactive”. There are two ways to do this:

  1. become inactive until you contact us again or
  2. become inactive until a specific date that you provide.

If you choose to become inactive, please let us know in which of the two ways you prefer to become inactive.  We are updating our messages telling reviewers that an item is ready for them to review so that the messages also contain this information.

Meanwhile, we are under a “stay home” / “shelter in place” order in Ann Arbor.  Therefore, we are unable to send printed articles and books at this time.  So, if you currently don’t accept PDF items, you will not be receiving items to review.  If you want to start receiving PDF items to review, please contact us at

For more information about the AMS actions related to the coronavirus and COVID-19, please visit  For more information about access to AMS online materials, see the AMS news item:

We are one part of the huge endeavor that is mathematics.  We hope that these steps can be of some help in the bigger picture.  We wish the best for our reviewers and users.

About Edward Dunne

I am the Executive Editor of Mathematical Reviews. Previously, I was an editor for the AMS Book Program for 17 years. Before working for the AMS, I had an academic career working at Rice University, Oxford University, and Oklahoma State University. In 1990-91, I worked for Springer-Verlag in Heidelberg. My Ph.D. is from Harvard. I received a world-class liberal arts education as an undergraduate at Santa Clara University.
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