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Discrete Analysis aims to disrupt for-profit academic journal publishers

March 01, 2016

CHICAGO, IL (March 1, 2016) - Sir Timothy Gowers, the world-renowned Cambridge mathematician, and a team of distinguished colleagues are taking on for-profit academic journal publishers with today's launch of Discrete Analysis, a game-changing open access journal.

The peer-reviewed journal marks a new era in academic journal publishing. Discrete Analysis will follow the "diamond open access" model - free to read and free to publish in - and will be entirely editor-owned with no publisher middleman.

The Fight Against the For-Profit Academic Journal Publishing Industry

Gowers has long fought against the mounting subscription prices of monolith publishers like Elsevier. He believes journals should be able to be open access without being held to publisher subscription requirements or article submission fees.

"Unfortunately, many traditional academic journals - often filled with research derived from public tax dollars - are controlled by commercial publishers," said Gowers. "Before the Internet, this made sense, as they had printing presses, distribution networks and the like. But today, this is an anachronism that has to stop."

Gowers hopes Discrete Analysis will serve as a powerful step away from monopolistic publisher control, putting ownership of journals back in the hands of their editorial boards.

Digital Publishing for Academic Journals

In addition to paving the way for editor-owned journals, Gowers said he hopes Discrete Analysis will serve as a model for digital-only publishing. Discrete Analysis will publish each of its articles on a rolling basis, instead of in monthly, quarterly or annual journal issues, in order to bring groundbreaking research to light faster.

"If you have journal issues you're implicitly admitting the old way of doing print was the right way, and what you end up with is a pale shadow of a proper print journal," said Gowers. "We don't want to be that. We want to be aggressively modern and use the internet properly. We're not pretending to be a traditional journal, we're something else."

Scholastica's Role in Realizing Gowers' Vision

The first articles from Discrete Analysis, which feature Terence Tao's solution to the never-before solved Erdős discrepancy problem, are the realization of Gowers' vision and are sure to position it as a top journal. Discrete Analysis will be able to publish open access as a result of its partnership with Scholastica, an innovative online journal platform that features an integrated suite of peer review and publishing tools.

Gowers plans to use a small grant he received from the University of Cambridge to cover Scholastica's nominal submission cost, but says he would not have a problem adopting an author-pays model in the future, which he sees as a viable solution for other journals. "I think authors wouldn't mind at all spending $10 for a submission, which is all that's needed to use the Scholastica software," he said.

Gowers and his team feel the launch of Discrete Analysis is important because it is setting an example that academics can self-publish journals of the highest quality, and that they need not be beholden to third-party, for-profit publishers.

"The amount of work I'm doing as the managing editor and publisher of the journal is very manageable," said Gowers. "I'm not suffering because I haven't got administrative help from a big commercial company. Scholastica makes it very, very easy."

Scholastica co-founder Brian Cody says his team is thrilled to be partnering with the pioneering journal, which is in line with the company's mission.

"Discrete Analysis is a perfect example of why we exist," said Cody. "Scholastica makes managing peer review and journal publishing incredibly cost-effective and easy for busy academics."

Gowers is confident that scholars making the transition to editor-owned, rather than publisher-owned, journals in the future could be a huge boon to open access.

"Commercial publishers are expensive in a way that's generally harmful to academic institutions. We need to rectify this," he added.
About Discrete Analysis

Discrete Analysis is a robust mathematics journal launched by Fields Medalist Sir Timothy Gowers of Cambridge. The journal publishes a range of subjects that are broadly related to additive combinatorics.


About Scholastica

Scholastica is an online platform for academic journals with an integrated suite of peer review and open access publishing tools. Over 300 journals across many disciplines use Scholastica to easily manage their peer review and publishing process at a price anyone can afford.


For more information: email Danielle Padula at


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