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The Comptes Rendus is (are) a French Academy of Sciences publication, essentially a 'rapid communication' format. It comes in many flavours, and maths is one of them. Proofs are non-existent (at least in older articles I've read), or perhaps only sketched. I don't know what the reach of CR is outside the francophone world (note that CR is bilingual French/English)

One preliminary question is this:

Are there any equivalents to CR?

Some context: say I have a new result, which I know will be true, and just the grinding calculations need to be done. If I don't want to wait to unveil it to the world, what benefit do I get from publishing in rapid communication journals like CR? I could put the same thing on the arXiv, and while one might point out that a journal is refereed, but how can a proofless/proof-lite article be refereed?

Should I submit to a 'rapid communication' style journal while I finish the work, and then submit the full article elsewhere (+post on arXiv), or can I get away with a short arXiv note and then post and submit the full version when it is done?

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For what it's worth, the one paper I've published in Comptes Rendus was a traditional paper with complete proofs. It was just quite short. My personal opinion is that there is little reason to write research announcements these days. They once played an important role in publicizing results while the refereeing process dragged on, but the arXiv seems to have taken over that function. Just write the full paper! –  Andy Putman Jul 31 '11 at 3:57
Maybe I'm reading too much into "just the grinding calculations need to be done" and "while I finish the work", but this makes it sound like the proof has not yet been completed. If the proof is done and checked but is taking a long time to write up, then a rapid communication journal might make sense, but it's not appropriate if the proof is almost done (even if you're confident the remaining part should be routine). Unfortunately, it can be hard to draw the line between these two scenarios: sometimes you don't realize how subtle the details are until you try to write them down carefully. –  Henry Cohn Jul 31 '11 at 4:29
@Andy and Henry - good points, both of you. Henry, the same question holds of course once I have only the writing up to do, which is fast approaching. Andy, this is worthy of an answer (it is CW after all - opinions are ok :-) –  David Roberts Jul 31 '11 at 23:08
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4 Answers

I hope you will allow me to relate a cautionary tale. Once upon a time, my co-author and I managed to find a counter-example to a conjecture, and we wrote up a corresponding two page paper. We decided to submit our paper to Comptes Rendus (the paper contained all the details, btw, given the existence of the ArXiv, publishing research announcements just seems like resume padding). I was in charge of handling the submission, and so I naturally enough searched online for where to submit the paper. My reaction upon finding the website was "oh, that's funny, Comptes Rendus is a Canadian journal, I always thought it was a French journal". Not thinking much beyond that, I submitted the file. Time went by, and, although I noticed that the journal seemed to be taking a long time to referee a two page paper, I did not think so much about it. Six months later (to the day), the paper was accepted. I then noticed on the journal's website a note that said "On acceptance of a paper, to help defray the costs of publication, a charge of 100 dollars will be requested." Somewhat nonplussed, I emailed the editor in chief whether this was true, and he confirmed indeed that it was, with the helpful remark that, and I quote, "we assume that the researcher usually has a grant to cover such costs". It was only at this point that my co-author realized my blunder. I was then in the awkard position of having to withdraw my paper from the Canadian journal "Comptes Rendus Mathematiques" and submit it to the (French) journal "Comptes Rendus Mathematique". This resulted in not only having to write one embarassing email but two: after asking to withdraw the paper the editor wrote me back and offered to waive the 100 dollar charge, thinking that this was the reason for my withdrawl. In the end, it did get submitted to the correct journal, where it was accepted in two days.

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In the pre-Internet era, the role of CRAS was clear: publishing quickly announcements of results that would be published in full, later and elsewhere. To speed up publication, academicians or corresponding members had the power of accepting a note without having it refereed, with all the inherent risks (I remember the late Raoul Bott quipping, around 1983: "On the stock exchange, CRAS would be rated B"). Nowadays, in view of the role taken by ArXiV in quick dissemination of results, my feeling is that CRAS is more and more evolving to a journal publishing short papers with complete proofs, duly refereed, with the advantage of a quick decision process. In the committees where I've been recently, CRAS is rated as an ordinary journal. The only thing that would prevent me to submit to them, is Elsevier's pricing policy: see http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/621366/bibliographic

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Elsevier of course would be a big factor in deciding to publish in CR(AS). –  David Roberts Jul 31 '11 at 23:04
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Electronic Research Announcements of the AMS is perhaps one such journal. But why not publish in Comptes Rendus? It is well known the world over and has many gems (with complete proofs). For example, Gabber's proof of a deep finiteness result in etale cohomology is in O. Gabber , Sur la torsion dans la cohomologie l-adique d'une variété. C. R. Acad. Sci. Paris 297 (1983), pp. 179–182.

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ERA-AMS is no longer! It stopped in 1997. As far as CR goes, it is (currently) published by Elsevier. –  David Roberts Mar 16 '12 at 1:35
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If you can, there's the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. There's also the International Mathematican Research Notices, but this, I believe, is for short papers and not for just announcements.

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I do not have the same view of these journals than you. PNAS is a general journal, that is considered among the very best in many fields (like cellular and molecular biology) ; I kind of doubt they would publish an announcement. IMRN is a standard journal in most ways, it just tries to have a quick editing process. It would not be suitable for an annoucement, and it publishes papers of all sizes (even very long ones since it now includes International mathematical Reasearch Papers). –  Benoît Kloeckner Jul 31 '11 at 8:01
Maybe things have changed. I haven't looked at PNAS in years but when I was younger, I remember the math papers being essentially research announcements. I also agree that IMRN has become more like a normal research journal. –  Deane Yang Jul 31 '11 at 16:41
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