Found a great entry on Terry Taos blog : a guide to strengthening math inequalities, with examples and tricks, entitled “Amplification, Arbitrage and the Tensor Power trick”.

At the end of that article the comments digress towards the relevance of Math Journals, and this is taken up in a linked blog entry – “more on Journals

I repeat here the comment I made on that blog, namely –

The Journal is dead, long live the Journal.On balance, I think this is just another case of the internet removing the middleman, while improving supply.

If we were to take the best features of the Journal System and translate them to the web what would that be like?

Well, we already have – wildly successful – so whats missing?

I tend to look to blogs such as Gowers, Terry Taos and others to refer me to interesting ArXiv papers…

So.. should we just add usability features to ArXiv?
eg –
– vote on quality of paper – eg 4 stars
– peer review / suggestions for clarification/improvement
– page rank for papers [ if many papers refer to paper X, its more important, and the authors are more important ]

I think there is emerging already a surrounding economy of blogs/review sites that do the job of summarizing, surveying and recommending the significant papers…

Perhaps the issue of ‘paying someone to review’ is solved by having Mathematicians spend a certain part of their funded time on freely available reviews/surveys/critiques of arXiv papers?

I think there is a minority who would pay for a regular high quality survey magazine monthly, theres probably a market for it – so it could be that journals can adapt to this more nimble business model. You’d probably want a pdf in your email, or a loging site for that, or maybe its paid by having ads appear on the ArXiv style site?

One precedent for this in the linux development world is the site, which sells its freshest news, and offers older news for free. works well, but I guess doesnt make a huge profit… maybe unis could subsidize something like that for math? Seems more efficient use of money than journal fees.