“As an independent society publisher in a field where funding is limited, and article processing charges (APCs) are not viable, how do we see our open future? The American Mathematical Society (AMS) publishes some 25 journals, 80 books per year, and an essential discovery gateway for mathematicians – MathSciNet®. We do our own production, operate our own digital platform, provide in-house customer service, and — amazingly – even have our own print shop and warehouse for our books and journals — print still being a vital part of mathematical culture. Publishing accounts for 70% of operational revenues. Our membership sits at around 30,000 mathematicians around the world, and we provide programs and services to mathematicians around the world, not just members – indeed we give away much in service of our mission to support mathematics. Importantly, it is worth noting that around 18% of articles published in AMS journals are from authors supported by federal funding. If we add authors supported by a range of other funders around the world, the number is around 40%.
It is quite clear that open or public access is a good thing – how could it not be? The big question for scholarly societies, which has been raised again and again, is how may we provide openness in an equitable, inclusive and sustainable way? …
I am not going to argue that openness in itself leads to inequity. Indeed, it makes sense that if an author may publish their work without financial burden, and that readers can read articles, and engage with data without financial burden, the world will be a better place. Unfortunately, in our politically motivated rush to open, there are fissures in the publishing landscape that have the potential to drive inequity….
The AMS already offers zero embargo Green OA, and Diamond, along with subsidized Gold options. Some of our journals are just freely available. All our journal content is freely available after five years. And yet, this balanced portfolio still allows for revenues that support the mathematical community through the host of programs offered to mathematicians from students and early career researchers onwards.
As we look to funding agencies to interpret the “Nelson Memorandum”, perhaps it is this spirit of balance in the name of equity and inclusiveness that can inform our discussions.”