The journal Research in the Mathematical Sciences was founded in 2014 and originally published by SpringerOpen, a division of Springer supporting Open Access journals. In the first article of the introductory issue Ken Ono emphasizes the journal's commitment to Open Access publishing (albeit with a funding structure based on authors paying article-processing fees).

But if you go to the old website of the journal, you are now greeted with this message:

As of January 1, 2018, Research in the Mathematical Sciences (RMS) has transitioned from an Open Access journal to a subscription-based journal with a hybrid Open Access option. RMS continues to be published by Springer Nature and an archive of all articles previously published in the journal is hosted here. All submissions going forward will be considered for the subscription-based journal. Please see the RMS website for more information.

I find it very surprising that within 4 years of existence this math journal had to change its fundamental publishing philosophy.

Is there any more information, beyond the above quote, about what happened to Research in the Mathematical Sciences and why it abandoned its original Open Access vision?

EDIT: As mentioned in the comments, essentially the same thing happened with Research in Number Theory, and Ken Ono's response also addresses this journal as well.

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    $\begingroup$ My guess is that authors weren't willing to pay (or get their grant/university/library to pay) for open access (as found by a rough and ready survey run by Mark Wilson) when they could get it using the arXiv or a number of other free (to authors) options thomas1111.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/… and/or were less than willing to have Springer as their open access publisher of choice. Also, the idea that a publisher can just make a new prestigious generalist oa journal is a bit naïve, given that prestige is only built via community acceptance cf forum of math $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2018 at 21:58
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    $\begingroup$ @DavidRoberts: nevertheless I think this journal represents a very interesting case study and would appreciate any more publicly available information. $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2018 at 22:00
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    $\begingroup$ I agree. But aside from an editor or EiC coming out and confessing no one seemed to want to submit there (the only reason I can imagine for the ), I don't know what else you could definitively find out. $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2018 at 23:16
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    $\begingroup$ I think the same happened to "Research in Number Theory". $\endgroup$
    – efs
    Aug 23, 2018 at 23:18
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    $\begingroup$ They had 17, 26, 40 and 35 papers in the four years as an oa journal. This is a reasonable start, but I guess Springer was hoping for more of a flood of (suitable) papers, and the final decision would have been made there. It certainly wasn't living up to the envisaged scope as per the press release springer.com/mathematics/journal/40687/PSE?detailsPage=press $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2018 at 23:22

1 Answer 1


this thread was forwarded to me. Together with Springer, the RMS and RNT Editors decided to abandon open access as very few authors have federal funding that pays publication charges. The decision was not based on a low number of submissions (note. the oa goal was to publish just 25-30 papers annually). The decision was made in response to the realities of grant support in mathematics. To this end, Springer agreed to maintain the idea of low cost publication (at the Editorial Board's request), and so I am pleased that both journals have an annual subscription fee of only $99USD. Moreover, RMS and RNT are automatically included in existing bundle subscriptions. There has been an upsurge in submissions, and the editors are pleased with the papers it is receiving, and as a result we anticipate increasing the number of published articles per year to 50-60. For example, in RMS the last few years pure mathematicians who have published include Francis Brown, Bill Duke, Ben Green, Dick Gross, Michael Harris, Kannan Soundararajan, Terry Tao, Richard Taylor, Yuri Manin,...., and in applied mathematics papers by Tom Hou, Andrew Majda, P. Souganidis, Richard Tsai, E. Weinan,...

Please consider submitting strong articles to both journals.

Best wishes, Ken Ono

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for responding! I couldn't imagine a better, more authoritative answer. $\endgroup$ Aug 28, 2018 at 12:25
  • $\begingroup$ You are welcome. By the way, Tom Hou not "Tom You" (autocorrect problem). $\endgroup$
    – Ken Ono
    Aug 28, 2018 at 12:27
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    $\begingroup$ "E. Weinan" probably refers to Weinan E. $\endgroup$
    – Ben McKay
    Aug 28, 2018 at 13:27

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