My question pertains to the journal "American Mathematical monthly" published by the MAA.

I wish to ask whether a paper as a part of a PhD thesis (subject: Combinatorics ) can be submitted to the AMM. Like, how does the community take publications in AMM to be? Most articles there are like extensions to Putnam/ IMO or such matter which can be called advanced undergraduate (according to my valuation). But, will a publication in AMM be valuable for PhD and post-doctoral work (like, will it be considered in the same vein as a publication in a specialized reputed journal), or will it be taken as a minor work? Thanks beforehand.

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    $\begingroup$ There's a difference between your title question and the questions in the body of your post. Which one do you want? $\endgroup$ Oct 1 '20 at 10:39
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    $\begingroup$ Usually the jury of PhD estimates the quality of the results, not where are they published. But in some countries or universities there may be specific rules which explicitly specify the admissible list of journals. If you are talking about postdoc work, the committee may decide that you do not care much about publishing in the most prestigious places, and consider this as your advantage or disadvantage. $\endgroup$ Oct 1 '20 at 13:19
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidRoberts though I want both, but l am more interested in the body! $\endgroup$
    – vidyarthi
    Oct 1 '20 at 15:20
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    $\begingroup$ @vidyarthi: Then I suggest editing the title to give the main question you are interested in, and move mention of supplementary questions to the body text? Having the title a question that isn’t your main question is misleading, and will mean you get answers focusing on the wrong question. $\endgroup$ Oct 2 '20 at 19:28
  • $\begingroup$ @PeterLeFanuLumsdaine the answer to both questions have been given in the several answers posted and i have already accepted one! $\endgroup$
    – vidyarthi
    Oct 2 '20 at 21:26

Of course read the description on the AMM web page about what sort of thing they publish. https://www.maa.org/press/periodicals/american-mathematical-monthly

The Monthly's readers expect a high standard of exposition; they look for articles that inform, stimulate, challenge, enlighten, and even entertain. Monthly articles are meant to be read, enjoyed, and discussed, rather than just archived. Articles may be expositions of old or new results, historical or biographical essays, speculations or definitive treatments, broad developments, or explorations of a single application. Novelty and generality are far less important than clarity of exposition and broad appeal. Appropriate figures, diagrams, and photographs are encouraged.

Your Ph.D. research should be published in a research journal. If some part of it is of general interest (as above) it could then be written up for publication in the Monthly. Of course that version of the result will contain much more background and motivation than the research paper.

  1. You did not explain why you want to publish there since there are so many good research journals. I can hardly see your motivation.

  2. AMM can publish hard results, but only if they are of substantial general interest and only if the proofs are short and not too difficult to follow. I have seen new proofs of classical and rather difficult theorems. One of my favorite is:

A. Dold, Simple Proof of the Jordan-Alexander Complement Theorem The American Mathematical Monthly 100 (1993), 856-857.

  1. Unless as a part of your research you proved something very elegant and of general interest, something that can be explained in a detailed manner in a few pages, your result will not qualify for AMM. What you think about your result does not really matter. It has to be appreciated by others.

  2. Publications in AMM will rarely be regarded as original. Most of the papers give another look at the material that is known already.

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    $\begingroup$ "Original" is rather flexible, I find. Often papers give new proofs of known results, so in this case the originality is of a different kind. Of course, there are also papers that are more like a really good survey of a known result. FWIW, I have a paper to appear in AMM that contains a new, though hardly earth-shattering, result about a known object. $\endgroup$ Oct 1 '20 at 12:48
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    $\begingroup$ I love Dold's little paper, which came to my mind too. In two pages, he proves a much stronger theorem than standard texts on algebraic topology like Hatcher's. I use this in our course for first year graduate students. $\endgroup$ Oct 1 '20 at 14:18
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    $\begingroup$ thanks, my motivation to submit there was repeated rejections from several subject specific journals. So I thought AMM may have a good chance of acceptance, but after reading your answer, I now see it as fruitless $\endgroup$
    – vidyarthi
    Oct 1 '20 at 15:22
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    $\begingroup$ @vidyarthi : It isn't easier to get published in the AMM than in other journals. In fact the rejection rate is rather high. Some people think of the AMM as a "journal of minor research results" but that is not accurate. $\endgroup$ Oct 1 '20 at 21:03

Definitely they publish serious research. For example, this paper

MR0379852 L. Zalcman, A heuristic principle in complex function theory. Amer. Math. Monthly 82 (1975), no. 8, 813–817

has 175 citations as recorded on Mathscinet. (And 351 on Google Scholar). And many other such examples can be given. As I understand their criterion is that the paper is a) of sufficient interest to the broad audience, and b) does not require much background. There are plenty of serious research papers satisfying both criteria.


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