Featured Journal Interview
According to a recent analysis of
Essential Science IndicatorsSM data from
Reuters, the journal Geometry & Topology
is having a growing impact in the field of
journal's current record in the database includes 356
papers cited a total of 1,226 times from January 1, 1999 to
December 31, 2009.
Geometry & Topology is published by Mathematical
Sciences Publishing, and its Managing Editors are Professor
Colin Rourke of the University of Warwick in the UK and
Professor Walter Neumann of Columbia University in New York
In the interview below, ScienceWatch.com talks with
Professor Neumann about the journal's history and citation
Did you expect Geometry &
Topology to become highly cited, or is this surprising to
It does not surprise me. Geometry & Topology has always aimed
to be the leading journal in its field.
How would you account for the high citation rate
of Geometry & Topology?
To the extent that citation rates correlate with quality of research, I
would say that the high citation rates mirror the quality of the research
we publish. Whatever success we have had in maintaining consistently high
standards lie in large part in our editorial policy: Although each paper is
handled by a single editor, the final decision is made by consensus of the
whole editorial board.
"Geometry & Topology covers a broad and
highly active part of mathematics..."
After a recommendation (either pro or con) has been made, there is a
discussion period during which anyone can argue against the recommendation.
Even if a paper has been recommended for publication, two additional
editors must volunteer to have their names on the paper as seconders,
otherwise the paper is rejected.
Other journals have since emulated our editorial procedure, but without
including the names of all three endorsing editors in the published paper.
I think this is a mistake.
Would you give us a brief history of the
The journal was founded in 1997, primarily by Colin Rourke (Warwick) and
Rob Kirby (Berkeley), with the aim of eventually replacing the journal
Topology, based in Oxford, which had long been the premier journal
in the field. The pricing policy of Topology was perceived by many
to be damaging both to the journal itself and therefore to the field it
served, and the editorial board of Topology finally resigned in
2006 over this and has not been replaced.
Geometry & Topology was originally open access, but although
it eventually outgrew volunteer labor and had to start charging for access,
it still has a subscription rate which is among the lowest in the industry.
In the process of this change, a non-profit publishing company was founded
in Berkeley, Mathematical Sciences Publishing, which now owns Geometry
& Topology and several other new mathematics journals, and also
provides publishing services to Annals of Mathematics and
Pacific Journal of Mathematics, among others.
What historical factors have contributed to the
success of Geometry & Topology?
Geometry & Topology covers a broad and highly active part of
mathematics, and there was a clear need for a fairly priced journal in the
field. The strong editorial policy has certainly played a role, and it has
been supported by the very strong editorial board (most of the original 24
editors are still with the journal although the board has grown by 50%).
Have there been specific developments in the
fields served by Geometry & Topology that may have
"Geometry & Topology has always aimed to
be the leading journal in its field."
There have been several major developments in the field since the journal
was founded, but they would not have lifted our journal more than others in
the field without our ongoing attention to standards. The best-known
development is of course the work of Perelman, solving the century old
Poincare conjecture and going far beyond it.
Perelman's papers are on the arXiv as preprints and he will not allow them
to be updated or reprinted. However, we have an issue devoted to this work
which includes the well-known "Notes on Perelman's papers" by Kleiner and
Lott, which link directly page by page to Perelman's arXiv preprints.
What, in your view, is this journal's main
significance or contribution in the field of Mathematics?
Providing a forum for dissemination of the best results in the field.
How do you see your field(s) evolving in the next
There is a lot of excitement on many fronts: symplectic geometry, low
dimensional topology, geometric group theory...I could go on and on. The
fields we cover have been constantly growing. Twenty years ago there was
one clear leading journal in the field, Topology, publishing about
1,500 pages a year.
Geometry & Topology now publishes about 3,000 pages a year,
while our sister journal Algebraic and Geometric Topology, which
started publishing in 2001, publishes about 2,500 pages a year, and the
also excellent Journal of Topology, which started publishing in
2008 with the former editorial board of Topology, already
published over 1,000 pages in 2009.
What role do you see for your journal?
Providing an affordable high-quality journal covering the broad range of
fields encompassed by its title.
Geometry & Topology
Walter Neumann and Colin
Rourke, Managing Editors
Mathematical Sciences Publishing, publishers
Geometry & Topology's current most-cited paper in
Indicators, with 41 cites:
Ozsvath P, Szabo Z, "Knot Floer homology and the four-ball genus,"
Geom. Topol. 7: 615-39, 2003. Source: Essential Science
Indicators from Thomson Reuters.
KEYWORDS: GEOMETRY, TOPOLOGY, EDITORIAL POLICY, JOURNAL HISTORY, PRICING
POLICY, PERELMAN, POINCARE CONJECTURE, SYMPLECTIC GEOMETRY, LOW-DIMENSIONAL
TOPOLOGY, GEOMETRIC GROUP THEORY.