Cogent Social Sciences (Dec 2023)

Reliability or liability in the contemporary mathematics publishing process? An ethical and technological case study

  • Alexander Stoimenov

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 9, no. 2


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AbstractIn this article, we examine issues of correctness and ethics in mathematics publishing through recent developments in the publishing landscape. Errors are especially critical in mathematics research, but questions on how proper journal management should maintain correctness have received comparatively little attention. As basis of our analysis, we use experiences by the author and colleagues, as well as published accounts of various incidents. Specifically, we build on the monograph case of the preceding article, and discuss actions by the involved parties through a list of anonymous aliases. The study focuses, qualitatively, on conformance to standards of scientific conduct. Exposing dubious practices of editors, authors, and reviewers, we provide evidence that consistency efforts at various venues for scientific communication are insufficient. The role of the internet and digital reserve is discussed, as well as modern trends like automated journal infrastructure, machine verification, and citation statistics. To address the resulting problems, we suggest that paying reviewers is the only viable neutral (bias-unsupportive) reward scheme, but that it must be coupled with stricter journal-internal inspection/grading. We also propose, describing in detail, a facility that allows authors to (discreetly) evaluate editors, and a setup to address correctness disputes.