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Is there any free (as in free beer, i.e., no publication fees or other fees whatsoever), open-access (free and open access to everyone) and peer-reviewed mathematics journal?

I am interested in a list of journals. I am particularly interested in my field which is low dimensional topology and geometry and geometric group theory.

The observation how well a site like MathOverflow or Math Stack Exchange works makes me wonder if a similar system does exist for the peer-reviewing and publication process itself.

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    $\begingroup$ I believe The Electronic Journal of Combinatorics (combinatorics.org) qualifies. But this is of course not a general journal. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 15, 2016 at 15:26
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    $\begingroup$ @Sam Thanks for posting this comment. I found that journal and was delighted to see that the articles weren't much beyond my understanding. Do you know any more journals like this ? $\endgroup$
    – Saikat
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 0:24
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    $\begingroup$ Theory and Applications of Categories $\endgroup$
    – David Roberts
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 2:12
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the clarification; I added it to the main post. $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 9:03
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    $\begingroup$ "Algebraic Combinatorics" (alco.centre-mersenne.org) is a "new" journal which is free open-access. See the introductory editorial here: alco.centre-mersenne.org/item/ALCO_2018__1_1_1_0 $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 23:49

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You're asking for "diamond" open access (to contrast with the gold open access --- peer reviewed but not free --- and the green open access --- free but not peer reviewed). Here are some math journals of this type, that use arXiv as a repository (socalled "overlay journals"):

A more complete list can be accessed at the Directory of Open Access Journals (doaj.org)

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    $\begingroup$ Well, there is some terminological conventions that vary. In some circle, Gold OA means that a journal opens its (typeset) articles, whtether or not they charge for publishing; and Green OA means that a journal allows the peer-reviewed, but not typeset "postprint" to be made available in a repository by the authors. Just to mention that most Green OA articles are peer-reviewed, just not typeset by the journal. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 15, 2016 at 15:50
  • $\begingroup$ It's good to see that LMCS is now an arxiv overlay. If I remember rightly at some point in the past it wasn't. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 14:53
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As other answers mention, such journals certainly exist. Two examples of general journals that fit this definition are

Journal de l'École polytechnique — Mathématiques

Documenta Mathematica

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The New York Journal of Mathematics (http://nyjm.albany.edu/) is a peer reviewed and free online general math journal. It has been publishing since the mid-1990s. It is not an ArXiv overlay journal. Published articles appear on the journal website.

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Acta Mathematica, a top journal, is fully open access by special arrangement with the Institut Mittag-Leffler.

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Yes; only in my research area there are two: ETNA (Electronic Transactions on Numerical Analysis) and ELA (Electronic Journal of Linear Algebra). They are both from noncommercial publishers, one funded by a university and one by a professional society.

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Annales de l'Institut Fourier are now an open access journal: http://aif.cedram.org

Some other journals in France (serious but less known):

Confluentes Mathematici: http://cml.cedram.org

North-Western European Journal of Mathematics: http://math.univ-lille1.fr/~nwejm/

One can also mention the Electronic Journal of Differential Equations http://ejde.math.txstate.edu/ which exists since 1993

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There is a list of Diamond free open access journal here:

https://www.cimpa.info/en/node/62

We try to keep it updated.

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There are plenty of journals which charge no fees, and online access is free. I am surprised that nobody mentioned the Bulletin of the AMS.

Some other examples are Conformal Geometry and Dynamics (electronic only): http://www.ams.org/journals/ecgd/2014-18-06/S1088-4173-2014-00265-3/

Journal of mathematical Physics, analysis and geometry (only electronic version is free), http://jmage.ilt.kharkov.ua/

All these are peer-reviewed and actually of high quality.

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    $\begingroup$ BAMS is not a typical mathematics journal, in that it publishes no or hardly any original research, but mostly surveys/expositions and book reviews. The Notices of AMS are free too, but the same applies (though in a different way). $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 8:32
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The Bulletin of the Iranian Mathematical Society is free access and peer-reviewed journal publishing in English.

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    $\begingroup$ (+1) And with reasonable time of review. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 18, 2016 at 8:35
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    $\begingroup$ They seemed to have moved to Springer and introduced APC's now. $\endgroup$
    – Arno
    Commented Sep 24, 2020 at 21:44
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A very recent (diamond open-access) journal has been lauched with the support of many major research institutions in France:

Annales Henri Lebesgue

Also, the editors and founders wrote a small paper (French, English) in order to emphasize the relevance of struggling for an open access world nowadays, and describing how the journal works.

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INTEGERS: The Electronic Journal of Combinatorial Number Theory

Published since its inception 15+ years ago as free and peer-reviewed electronic journal; by now it is in addition available in print (not freely, of course).

In addition to Combinatorial Number Theory, as the name indicates, it also has a focus on Game Theory.

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Journal of Integer Sequences: https://cs.uwaterloo.ca/journals/JIS/

Electronic Journal of Qualitative Theory of Differential Equations http://www.math.u-szeged.hu/ejqtde/index.html

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Australasian Journal of Combinatorics: http://ajc.maths.uq.edu.au

Moved a couple of years ago from print/subscription to online/free, using the accumulated surplus from many years of small profits on subscriptions to fund the ongoing costs (which are not very high).

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There are two excellent (new) open access journals from Cambridge University Press:

Forum of Mathematics, Sigma: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=FMS

and

Forum of Mathematics, Pi: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=FMP

I think they both cover the spectrum of pure mathematics (though they don't say 'pure' in their descriptions)

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    $\begingroup$ So, the first is for papers about sums, and the second, for papers about products? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 22:14
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    $\begingroup$ Seems to have APC = Article Processing Charge ... $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 23:08
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    $\begingroup$ they say, "for the first three years Cambridge University Press will waive the publication charges" and it also says that only authors with access to funds will be expected to pay (indeed I published in the one on sums and did not have to pay) $\endgroup$
    – JamesM
    Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 23:43
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    $\begingroup$ As stated on their webpage (e.g. here journals.cambridge.org/action/newsTop?jid=FMS ) papers submitted after Jan.1 2016 will be charged APC after acceptance, if the authors have access to funds. But I cannot find anywhere on their website how much the APC is! $\endgroup$
    – YangMills
    Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 16:00
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    $\begingroup$ (-1) So it is NOT free open access. And typically it is a very bad system: paying for being published totally discredits the level of the articles. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 13, 2019 at 17:01
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International Journal of Group Theory is a free peer-reviewed journal published by the University of Isfahan in English.

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The original question asked about low dimensional topology and geometry. For sufficiently algorithmic research in these areas, the Journal of Computational Geometry may be relevant. For instance, a recent issue includes a paper on the space complexity of recognizing low-dimensional manifolds.

Another algorithmic journal that I regularly publish in, free-as-in-beer to both authors and readers, is the Journal of Graph Algorithms and Applications.

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Two more FAPP (for all practical purposes). Nobody mentioned them.

With slighty more applied emphasis http://www.complex-systems.com/contribute.html

All issues besides the current one (four per year) are open access and there are no fees.

Also, don't forget PNAS. http://www.pnas.org/site/authors/guidelines.xhtml Open access after one year. Very fast reviewing. PNAS has always published top quality short mathematical papers. http://www.pnas.org/content/by/section/Mathematics?FIRSTINDEX=10

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  • $\begingroup$ It has occasionally published some less than top quality papers (at least one of which was not properly copy-edited, in my opinion) $\endgroup$
    – Yemon Choi
    Commented Feb 18, 2016 at 13:19
  • $\begingroup$ "Open access: Authors of research articles may pay a surcharge of $1,350 to make their paper freely available through PNAS open access option." $\endgroup$ Commented May 31, 2016 at 8:32
  • $\begingroup$ That's for immediate open access. PNAS becomes open without payment after about a year. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 1:07
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    $\begingroup$ So it is not free open access... $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 13, 2019 at 18:29
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Annales Academiæ Scientiarum Fennicæ is a very good, free and open access journal. It primarily publishes papers in analysis but is open to all fields of mathematics. Geometric group theory fits pretty well into the profile of the journal. The MathSciNet Mathematical Citation Quotient for 2016 was 0.75.

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Annales Mathematicae Silesianae

Annales Mathematicae Silesianae publishes significant research and survey papers from all branches of pure and applied mathematics, and reports of meetings. It welcomes contributed papers that develop important, new mathematical ideas and results or solve outstanding problems. The journal does not have article processing charges (APCs) nor article submission charges

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The Far Eastern Mathematical Journal is free access and peer-reviewed journal publishing in Russian and English.

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http://www.compositionality-journal.org/

Compositionality describes and quantifies how complex things can be assembled out of simpler parts. Compositionality, the journal, is an open-access journal for research using compositional ideas, most notably of a category-theoretic origin, in any discipline. Topics may concern foundational structures, an organizing principle, or a powerful tool. Example areas include but are not limited to: computation, logic, physics, chemistry, engineering, linguistics, and cognition.

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Combinatorial Theory is a new open-access journal in combinatorics that replaces Journal of Combinatorial Theory, Series A, whose entire editorial board recently resigned to from it (effective January 2021).

Algebraic Combinatorics is the result of a similar effort, and is the successor of Journal of Algebraic Combinatorics, a Springer journal that continues in diminished form.

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Aside from Theory and Applications of Categories, which I mentioned in the comments, there is a new journal that publishes higher category theory and related areas, namely Higher Structures.

This journal publishes articles that make significant new contributions to mathematical science using higher structures, or that significantly advance our understanding of the foundational aspects of the theory of such structures. The scope of the journal includes: higher categories, operads and their generalisations, and applications of these to Algebra, Geometry, Topology, Combinatorics, Logic and Mathematical Physics.

One very good point is that the journal uses an explicit open access license, rather than merely being free (as in your favourite bubbly drink) to read.

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Last year I compiled a list of such journals related that are either generic or related to algebraic geometry: http://math.commelin.net/agdoaj.html. For a long list of journals see https://thomas1111.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/some-serious-open-acess-journals/ by Thomas Sauvaget.

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Advances in Combinatorics is a new arXiv overlay journal that ''aims to be a top-level specialist journal in combinatorics.'' The journal has a very strong editorial board with Dan Král' and Tim Gowers serving as managing editors. See this post and this post on Tim Gowers's blog for more information. As of now, the journal is completely free beer, with financial and administrative support from Queen's University Library.

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The Bulletin of the Irish Mathematical Society

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The Journal of Singularities. The editorial board is impressive, and it seems to be pretty much an ideal case of open access journals: "... In order to fund the Center, and to expand our activities in the future, we rely on video-textbook sales (at low prices), licensing deals with institutions and publishers, donations, investors, and advertising revenue. Our goal is to grow to the point where we can fund additional activities, such as: in-office tutorials and review sessions for undergraduates in the Greater Boston area, 24/7 video-chat tutoring, postdoctoral research positions (including office space), hosting of mathematics research conferences, and adding more Worldwide journals."

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    $\begingroup$ Don't vote this journal down unless you check it. The description provided above is weird, but the journal seems reasonable. It seems really free and it is referees in MathSciNet. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 1:48
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Journal of Logic and Analysis

"This journal examines the interaction between ideas or techniques from mathematical logic and other areas of mathematics, especially, but not limited to, pure and applied analysis. "

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The Hardy Ramanujan Journal publishes papers in number theory. It is totally open access, peer reviewed and is an epijournal based on the HAL platform.

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