Similar to Gutenberg's invention of book printing in the 15th century, the invention of computers in the 20th century has started a revolution in communication and information structures. The enormous possibilities offered by electronic handling techniques of data are widely used by scientists, since their desktop computers are connected worldwide on the internet. For the production and dissemination of scientific journals this yields new automatic techniques which save labor and costs.
Since May 1996, the scientific journal DOCUMENTA MATHEMATICA has been available on the internet from servers in Bielefeld (Germany) and Urbana (Illinois, USA) with URL's
Its articles are simultaneously published on both servers. Additionally, they are mirrored worldwide on more than 35 servers of the European Math Society EMIS. Hence, everywhere in the world, there is instant access to these articles immediately after electronic publication. Once a year, a printed volume is published containing the articles of the preceding year. The printed volume is obtained directly from the annual volume files distributed on the internet.
DOCUMENTA MATHEMATICA is open for all mathematical fields. Authors send their manuscripts as TeX files by email to one of the editors, presumably to somebody close to their working field. The editor organizes, again by email, the peer review process for the manuscript, taking care that it will be finished within a reasonable amount of time.
Immediately after its acceptance, the formated manuscript is transferred to the author for final proofreading. As soon as DOCUMENTA MATHEMATICA has obtained the author's permission, the article is published on the internet and later in the printed annual volume. It is easy to produce, in addition, a CD with the content of all the volumes.
The articles can easily and quickly be formated into a uniform style by using the TeX style files developed by the Technical Managing Editor ULF REHMANN. They are offered in the DOCUMENTA server under Instructions for Authors for the four TeX dialects Plain TeX, AMS-TeX, LaTeX2.09 and LaTeX2e and have to be prepended to the articles in order to give them the uniform layout required by DOCUMENTA MATHEMATICA.
The DOCUMENTA style files have been designed to have the following properties:
Using these style files, for example the ICM Abstracts for the International Congress ICM 1998 were produced, electronically and in print, in a uniform format.
Also, the ICM Proceedings 1998 were produced that way as an extra volume of DOCUMENTA MATHEMATICA. Thanks to the new electronic production methods it was possible, for the first time in the hundred year history of the ICM, to publish two of the three volumes - as printed books - already before the congress started, while the volume containing the reports on the ceremonies of the congress appeared still in the same year 1998.
DOCUMENTA MATHEMATICA is electronically produced, starting from article submission and ending with the digital printing of the annual volumes. Therefore, not only the time period between submission and publication of articles is considerably shorter than for many other journals, also, the work to be done by the editors is less. There is a permanent electronic editorial conference: The editors always have confidential internet access to the list of articles under peer review and can comment on them. The status of the articles is permanently recorded in that list. All correspondence concerning the publication process is done by email, hence it is easy to maintain scientific quality, because referees can be chosen worldwide , according to their expertise, and without delay by conventional written correspondence delivered by the post office.
The technical work for the production of the internet publication is automatized by a professional software package (Author: ULF REHMANN). For example, for a TeX file of a manuscript to be published, a single computer command does the following:
The annual volumes are printed in Rosenheim (Bavaria, Germany) and are available at a low price. Order forms (ps, ascii) are available on the DOCUMENTA server.
During the last years, prices of mathematical journals have increased significantly. Many libraries of math departments are forced to cancel subscription of journals, cannot afford to buy the monographs they desparately need for teaching. Upon comparing various journal prices it becomes obvious that journals from commercial publishers are often much more expensive (e.g. by a factor of 10) than those pubished by universities.
What are the costs caused by the production and internet publication of DOCUMENTA MATHEMATICA to the University of Bielefeld ?
Since DOCUMENTA MATHEMATICA is produced electronically, there are no costs for postage, paper, copying or travel. Also, there are no costs for the electronic tools like TeX, emacs, ghostview, perl etc., since those are maintained there anyway.
By running the journal, less than 2 % of the resources of a typical PC are absorbed. Since most scientists have a desktop PC, and since the operation of the journal practically does not reduce the power of the host machine, there are almost no investment costs. To give an idea: Today, after 40 months of production, the DOCUMENTA server requires 165 megabytes on a 10 gigabyte disk.
We will give here an estimate of the costs of production and maintenance of the server at Bielefeld. The following four positions have to be considered: (All prices are given in Euro. At the time being, 1 Euro ~ 1.05 US $.)
Including hidden costs we obtain a total of 200 Euro per year. On the occasion of a costs prediction for the same purpose which we made four years ago, we assumed a total of 1253 Euro. We here compare that old prediction with the actual analysis:
Prediction (1995) | Actual costs (1999) | |
---|---|---|
Depreciation, power, storage | 330 Euro | 21 Euro |
Network costs | 333 Euro | 120 Euro |
Costs of edition | 390 Euro | marginal |
Technical maintenance costs | 200 Euro | marginal |
Total | 1253 Euro | ca. 200 Euro |
The difference results from the facts that the software is more efficient, and that we now can use a PC with little hardware and running cost and with significantly inreased capacities, rather than a workstation as we did four years ago. Costs will decrease further in the future, marginalizing the production costs even more.
The new and efficient methods of production and distribution make it possible that mathematical journals do not have to be ordered for years in advance. The reader can look up abstracts and articles in the internet and can decide which is of interest for him and which volume he/she wants to order. A survey of journals can be found e.g. on the web sites Osnabrück und Regensburg.
DOCUMENTA MATHEMATICA therefore offers a subscription , that is, subscribers get an automatic email message with abstract and title every time a new manuscript is published.
The access statistics of DOCUMENTA MATHEMATICA show that every article has been downloaded an average of twice every three days, just from the servers at Bielefeld and Urbana. Here we counted access to dvi or postscript files, and only those, for which the full amount of data really was transmitted. We did not count access to the html abstracts nor automatized access by big data servers. Also, access via the many servers of the European Mathematical Society was not counted.
This very positive development is demonstrated by the histogram below, showing the monthly access rates. Access to dvi or postscript files is marked red, the transmitted data rate is marked green (in 100 kilobyte units). The strong access increase in July 1998 reflects the publication of the ICM'98 Proceedings (volumes 2,3). In October 1998, volume 1 was published with numerous graphics and photos, which explains the large amount of transmitted data.
Access to the total volume files are not counted in this histogram. Here we have the following access numbers: 765 for volume 1-1996, 553 for volume 2-1997, and 737 for volume 3-1998.
DOCUMENTA MATHEMATICA has an author friendly copyright policy. The author only gives the right of publication to the journal, but retains the copyright under the only condition that repeated publications should cite the original publication in DOCUMENTA MATHEMATICA.
31.8.1999: A.K.Louis, P.Schneider, U.Rehmann,
Managing Editors of
DOCUMENTA MATHEMATICA.