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I am wondering if anyone can provide information on the Indiana University Mathematics Journal, as I have been able to find very little (ie aims and scope) on their website. I have the following list of questions.

  1. What kinds of papers do they "like" to publish? Should submitted papers be solving open problems, introducing entirely new concepts, etc.?
  2. Do they put more weight on certain fields over others?
  3. Roughly, what are their review times?

In general, I suppose my main question is, "If I have a new paper, how can I tell that it is a good fit for the journal"? This question may be impossible to answer, but I would greatly appreciate some intuition.

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    $\begingroup$ Regarding the general question: look at recent (<5 years) paper published in the journal. For example, you could search the journal in mathscinet and focus on the Math Subject Classification in which you wish to publish. $\endgroup$ Jul 17, 2020 at 15:42
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    $\begingroup$ Igor's suggestion is great, one of the best things I did my last year of graduate school was to look through the mathscinet listings 46L37 to see where every paper was published, and click through to the reviews of every paper that looked like it was something I should be aware of. That kind of comprehensiveness is not possible in larger MSC listings, but just going through the past few years is already a huge help. $\endgroup$ Jul 17, 2020 at 15:52
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the comment @IgorBelegradek, I didn't think of Mathscinet and will give that a shot. $\endgroup$
    – user918212
    Jul 17, 2020 at 16:10

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The key portion of the FAQ reads:

The initial review is handled by the Managing Editor and by members of the Editorial Board and/or other departmental reviewers, depending on the area of expertise. This initial review is usually completed within weeks and, for most manuscripts, this is when it is determined whether or not a manuscript might eventually be accepted for publication. A paper deemed a candidate for publication will be sent to an external referee, whose report weighs heavily on the formal editorial acceptance or rejection of the manuscript.

The essential thing here is that the initial quick opinion and suggestion of a referee is done by members of the IU math department. So you should submit papers which are close enough to an IU faculty member's interests that they'll be familiar with the topic and able to suggest an appropriate referee. So all of mathematics is ok subject-wise (since we're a broad department), but within a given topic the closer it is to IU expertise the better the fit is.

The other two important parts in terms of your questions about turnaround is that the initial quick opinion step takes only a few weeks, and that there's typically a single referee which means it's faster than journals with two referees. Part of keeping the first stage fast is that sometimes papers are rejected simply because no appropriate referee was identified within two weeks, so please don't take it personally if this happens, the point is to keep the turnaround quick so you can submit elsewhere without losing time.

(Full disclosure: I am a member of the IU math department and do regularly review for them.)

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