International Mathematical Union endorses ‘Best Practices’ in Electronic Scholarly Publishing.


May 10, 2002:  The Executive of the International Mathematical Union has endorsed a broad ranging set of recommendations on Electronic Information Communication. 

These recommendations, written by its Committee on Electronic Information and Communication (CEIC,, suggest ways in which mathematicians, librarians, and publishers can help shape the future of scholarly communication. The common principle used to formulate recommendations is that those who write, disseminate, and store mathematical literature should act in ways that serve the interests of mathematics, first and foremost.

The 15 "best practices" touch on almost every area of scholarly electronic publication, and include such things as:


·        Suggestions to authors to version their electronic preprints, to post them on publicly available servers, and to become knowledgable about copyright

·        Advice to librarians to make decisions based on journal price and policy, to be alert to the distinction between posted and refereed papers, and to use web statistics with care

·        Encouragement to publishers to provide key journal information (abstracts and reference lists) without subscription, to make entire articles similarly available after a suitable period of time, and to archive material in formats that have open standards.


While the recommendations are aimed at the mathematical community, almost all apply to other scholarly disciplines as well.

The advice is meant to ease the transition in scholarly communication both for present scholars and for future generations.

The 15 specific recommendations will be updated in the future, and more detailed information will be added for each. The full text is available at or



Martin Grötschel, Konrad-Zuse-Zentrum, Takustr. 7, D-14195 Berlin, Germany, e-mail:,

Jonathan Borwein, Centre for Experimental and Constructive Mathematics, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby BC V5A1S6, Canada, e-mail:



The International Mathematical Union (IMU) is an international non-governmental and non-profit making scientific organization, with the purpose of promoting international cooperation in mathematics. It is a member of the International Council for Science (ICSU).