IMU-Net 61: September 2013
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IMU-Net 61: September 2013
A Bimonthly Email Newsletter from the International Mathematical Union
Editor: Mireille Chaleyat-Maurel, University Paris Descartes, Paris, France

Editorial

Women mathematicians form an important force in the mathematical
research and education. After the establishment of organizations of
women mathematicians in USA and Europe, in 2012 Chinese Mathematical
Society established also its Working Committee for Women in
Mathematicians (WCWM-CMS). Recently WCWM-CMS has made a report on the
current situation of women in the mathematical community in China (see
below). According to this report, in seven major universities in China
among 651 teaching and research staff members in mathematics, there
are 139 women, which occupies 21.35% of the total. If one counts women
doing the research in them, the number is much smaller. Comparing with
the developed countries, world well-known women mathematicians are
much fewer in developing countries. Another example is that in my
university in China, among about 30 new bachelor degree students
majoring in pure mathematics every year, there are only 1 or 2 girls,
although for applied mathematics, numerical analysis, probability and
statistics, there are more girls get in. In this situation, I believe
that it is important to encourage more young girls to get into
mathematics, and the societies including the mathematical communities
should provide to them a good mathematical education system, loose and
suitable environments for working, and good opportunities for their
career developments. At the same time, the communication among women
mathematicians around the world is also very important for enlarging
their voices for their own rights and for the development of
mathematics in the world. It is hoped that in the near future, the
current situation of women mathematicians in the world, especially in
the developing countries, can be improved substantially after common
efforts of our mathematical community.
 
Yiming Long,
Member-at-large of the IMU Executive Committee
 
P.S.
The WCWM-CMS and women mathematicians in China
 
The Working Committee for Women in Mathematics, Chinese Mathematical
Society (WCWM-CMS) was founded in October 2012. Its present chair is
Xing Li, Ningxia University. As one of the branches of Chinese
Mathematical Society (CMS), this committee is a national non-profit
academic organization in which women mathematicians who are engaged in
research, teaching and applications of mathematics could share their
scientific research through academic exchanges both in China and
abroad and let their voice be heard by the world not only as scholars
but also as female.
The aims and objectives of the WCWM-CMS are the following:
1. To encourage women to study and make careers in the mathematical sciences.
2. To promote women mathematicians and women who teach mathematics in
schools and colleges to exchange their experience and cooperate with
each other.
3. To ensure the academic rights and interest of women mathematicians
and women who are doing relative jobs.
4. To cooperate with other organizations on similar objectives in
other countries.
5. To support women mathematician and women members participating
democratic supervision, and encourage them to join in social welfare
activities.
 
In Chinese universities, the female teachers engaged in teaching and
researches are about 45.5% of the total, but the proportions are
variable from one university to the other. Among them, the professors
(senior) account for 28.4%, the associate professors (sub-senior)
43.6%, and the lecturers (middle) 51.9%. The female teachers who work
on Mathematical research are fewer. We did a survey about the number
of teaching and research faculty of the department of mathematics in
Fudan University, Zhejiang University, Peking University, Tsinghua
University, Jilin University and Shandong University. The total number
of teaching and research staff in this survey is 651, among which
there are 139 women, which takes 21.35% of the total. There are 264
professors (senior), 30 are female, this number account for 11.36% of
the total; the number of associate professors (sub-senior) is 230,
including 57 female members, accounting for 24.78%, the number of
lecturers (middle) is 157, including 52 female members, accounting for
33.12%.
 
The Working Committee for Women in Mathematics of the Chinese
Mathematical Society hopes to get support from the International
Mathematical Union and to increase communications with other countries
to achieve further progress, and we do believe that such support and
communications will be a crucial help for our future development.

Seoul ICM 2014

The next International Congress of Mathematicians will take place at
COEX in Seoul, Korea, from Wednesday August 13, through Thursday
August 21, 2014. The pre-registration process for the ICM 2014 is
underway. If you have not yet pre-registered, please do so by
following the simple instructions at the homepage:
http://www.icm2014.org. The ICM e-News is being circulated to the
people who pre-registered for the congress. We strongly recommend that
you visit the homepage regularly for updated information and ICM
related activities.
 
* NANUM 2014: Application Period Extended
1,000 mathematicians from developing countries will be invited to
Korea during ICM 2014 under the ICM 2014 signature travel grant
program, called “NANUM 2014”. NANUM means ‘generoussharing’ in
Korean. Travel grants awarded will be in the range of approximately
US$1,500 -US$2,500 per person according to the regional groups, making
the total sum of US$2 million. See
http://icm2014.org/en/participants/mathematicians for more details,
e.g., the prerequisites to be eligible for a travel grant.
Applications can only be submitted online at http://nanum2014.org. By
Aug. 31, 2013, about 2,800 NANUM applications were received. The
online submission system was deactivated by Aug. 31, 2013. However, by
popular demand, the submission site will be re-opened on Oct. 16, 2013
and will remain open until Oct. 31, 2013. We hope that this grace
period may enable the people who missed the deadline to submit their
applications.
Important dates:
? Jun. 1, 2013 – Aug. 31, 2013: Applications received
? Oct. 16, 2013 – Oct. 31, 2013: Submission site re-opened
? Dec. 31, 2013: Review of Applications completed
? Jan. 2014: Notification of acceptance
 
* ICM Invited Plenary, Sectional, and Special Lectures
The ICM 2014 Organizing Committee is delighted to announce the full
list of the plenary speakers and sectional invited speakers of Seoul
ICM. For the list of confirmed speakers, visit
http://icm2014.org/en/program/scientific. Plenary lectures are invited
one-hour lectures to be held without other parallel activities.
Sectional lectures are invited 45-minute lectures, several of which
are scheduled in parallel.
 
* ICM Local Programs
This section gathers other scientific activities mostly promoted or
organized by the ICM 2014 Organizing Committee.
The following ICM local programs are already scheduled as of Sep. 31, 2013:
- The Public Lecture for a general audience by James Simons, President
of Euclidean Capital and Board Chair of Renaissance Technologies LLC,
on Aug. 13, 2014,
- The Emmy Noether Lecture by Georgia Benkart, Professor of
Mathematics at University of Wisconsin-Madison, on Aug. 14, 2014,
- The Abel Lecture on Aug. 15, 2014,
- The Panels on the risks of assessment and comparisons in
mathematical education, mathematics teaching, and mathematical
publicity during Aug. 18-20, 2014.
 
* ICM Event: Call for Application (e.g. meeting and/or reception)
The ICM 2014 Organizing Committee welcomes any organization that
wishes to plan an event in and around the congress (e.g. meeting
and/or reception). Any of the events can be staged at COEX (congress
venue) and/or COEX Intercontinental Hotel (350m from COEX) and
applications can be submitted to the appointed PCO of the congress,
MECI, via email at icm2014(at)meci.co.kr. Once submitted, subsequent
price quotes will be issued for applicant’s review. Please return the
completed application forms no later than Feb. 28, 2014.
 
* ICM Sponsorship
Several institutions have already committed their contribution to ICM
2014, especially for NANUM 2014 program. Any organizations willing to
support this important event is invited to contact the Secretariat at
icm(at)icm2014.org.
 
* ICM Exhibition: Call for Application
The ICM 2014 Organizing Committee invites organizations and colleagues
to submit an application for exhibition booths. The ICM 2014
Exhibition is open to any organization, which may seek an opportunity
to promote one’s experience, programs, products and services through
operating commercial and/or non-commercial booths at the congress. The
exhibition will take place in Hall C1 (3F), COEX and the allotment of
booths will be on a first-come-first-served basis. Applications for an
exhibition space should be submitted to the appointed PCO of the
congress, MECI, via email at es(at)icm2014.org by May 31, 2014. For more
details, refer to the Exhibition Prospectus at
http://icm2014.org/en/sponsors/exhibitors.
 
We look forward to welcoming you at the congress in Seoul, Korea.
 
Hyungju Park
Chairman, ICM 2014 Organizing Committee

IMU on the Web

IMU letter's to ICSU on Questions on Open Access and Evaluation by Metrics
 
1. What requirements do funders of research in your country or subject
area currently make, or plan to make, as regards open access
publication, including open access to data? (Please give links to
relevant documents.) What advantages and disadvantages do you see in
such open access requirements, whether in your country/subject area or
elsewhere?
 
Requirements vary from country to country and even within agencies in
a country, e.g. NIH vs. NSF in the US. (Although NSF has recently been
tasked by the Administration with formulating an open access policy
for funded research.)
 
The mathematical community is fully in favor of open access to its
publications. This is exemplified by the success of arXiv, along with
other preprint repositories and personal web pages. Indeed, in 2001
the IMU issued a "Call to All Mathematicians to Make Publications
Electronically Available"
http://www.mathunion.org/fileadmin/CEIC/Publications/Call_to_All_Mathematicians_to_Make_Publications_Electronically_Available.pdf
 
There is a concern that a rapid switch to open access could affect the
publishing system as a whole, thus putting at risk the integrity,
quality, and long-term availability of the mathematical record.
A number of small independent publishers (such as societies) fear that
there is no alternative source of revenue to subscription, that
author-pay models will create an incentive to publish more or relax
quality control, in addition to being unfair to authors with different
profiles.
 
Most mandates are based on CC-BY licenses, which is of concern to
mathematicians in that it is unsuitable for preserving the integrity
of the scientific record. For instance, the copyright policy of
Documenta mathematica is much more restrictive:
http://www.math.uni-bielefeld.de/documenta/tex/akzept-eng.ps
 
The obsession on open access might divert attention to some real issues:
 
a) The term open access is itself steadily losing its meaning (in
principle: refereed publications are freely available to anyone over
the internet as they are published, either at publisher's website
(gold), or through some repository (green)). Mandates tend to accept
embargo periods for green open access (OA), which is thus not OA),
publishers tend to accept deposit of some preliminary version of the
published paper (which is thus not OA), etc.
 
b) To empower authors in view of green OA, funders tend to develop
open archives and mandate depositing there, where one can find
preprints, postprints or other kinds of reports. This is considered a
good thing in math, but mostly as the natural successor to preprint
dissemination, while not replacing the reference library that
mathematicians need on the long term to keep the version of record of
validated papers. In some fields, notably cryptography, there is a
growing tendency to place "long versions" in open archives and publish
"short versions", which makes "the version of record" a subject of
debate, especially when page numbers, or even theorem numbers, change.
 
c) Similarly, gold OA publishers tend to recover costs by charging for
publication of new material. The preservation and availability of old
papers not being a priority of today, there is a high risk to lose
important reference papers in the mid term.
 
2. To what extent are metrics being used to evaluate universities,
departments and individuals in your country or subject area, what
metrics are used, and how are these influencing publication trends and
incentives for researchers?
 
Again, this varies by country, by institution and by discipline.  At
most major US research universities, metrics play no role in Science
and Engineering --- at least so far.  On the other hand, in other
countries, e.g. the research assessment exercises in the UK, in Spain,
the Czech Republic, South America, China, etc. they play a very
significant role in individual and/or departmental evaluations.
 
The U.K's 2013 REF exercise, the successor to the earlier metric-free
Research Assessment Exercises, will use citation data from SCOPUS
(Elsevier) in some subject (including Computer Science but not
Mathematics). This is a supplement to peer assessment. (See
http://www.ref.ac.uk/pubs/2011-02/#d.en.69578)
 
Among serious mathematicians, metrics have essentially no influence on
publication or research incentives, although there is evidence of
their influence in certain countries, e.g. China which rewards
monetarily publication in high ranked journals, and among researchers
in second tier institutions. Ranking of journals was tried in
Australia, and subsequently withdrawn in part due to pressure from
mathematicians. In their paper "Nefarious Numbers", in Notices of the
American Math. Soc., Volume 58, issue 3 (2011) Douglas Arnold and
Kristine Fowler document the unreliability and misuse of citation
metrics, making them completely unusable in mathematics.
 
The mathematics community would generally agree that use of "Impact
Factors", and other measures based on the journal rather than the
article, are very flawed. We commend that the evaluation must be based
on the articles and not on the journals. (see for instance
http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00604117)
 
3. What useful role, if any, do you think ICSU can play in these matters?
 
One potential role would be to keep careful track of the differences
between fields, and try to ensure that policies are suitably
formulated so that they can be adapted to the culture and standards of
each individual scientific field.
 
ICSU should also bear in mind the wider utility of science and that
citation data is an introspective measure. (See for instance p. 83 of
Rankings and Accountability in Higher Education: Uses and Misuses.
UNESCO, 2013,
  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002207/220789e.pdf.)

Establishment of AMMSI North Africa Region

The African Mathematics Millennium Science Initiative (AMMSI) is a
distributed network of mathematics research, training and promotion in
Africa. Overall coordination of AMMSI is from the Programme Office,
under the directorship of Wandera Ogana, at the School of Mathematics,
University of Nairobi, Kenya.  Initially the network operated only in
Sub-Saharan Africa but, in August 2013, it was extended to North
Africa. Hence there are now six AMMSI regions, namely: Central Africa,
Eastern Africa, North Africa, Southern Africa,  Western Africa Zone 1,
and Western Africa Zone 2. Each region is made up of a number of
countries and has an office which promotes AMMSI activities in the
constituent countries, under the direction of a Regional Coordinator.
Details can be found at the AMMSI website given below.
 
By joining AMMSI, North Africa will now benefit from a number of
activities and projects which include: (a) Annual postgraduate
scholarships, funded by IMU/CDC (b) MARM, a project which promotes
mentorship and linkages and is implemented in collaboration with IMU
and the London Mathematical Society (LMS) (c) Conference grants to
enable postgraduate students attend conferences in Africa, funded by
LMS. Envisaged future activities include visiting and postdoctoral
fellowships, research funding, and support for organization of
scientific meetings.
 
More details can be found at: http://www.ammsi.org

TWAS: free access to mathematical literature for developing countries

TWAS, the World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in
developing countries (http://twas.ictp.it/) offers access to a lot of
scientific resources (including mathematics), which are either
1. "Open Access", 2. freely accessible for developing countries, or 3.
accessible at reduced price for developing countries:
http://twas.ictp.it/links/open-access-scientific-information.
 
The special access to scientific literature for developing countries
is through http://www.research4life.org/, which consists of the four
networks HINARI, AGORA, OARE and ARDI. The ARDI network is the most
relevant for mathematicians. On their website
(http://www.wipo.int/ardi/en/)
one can click in the left column on "Journals" and find the list of
journals  concerned by this program (see also
(http://www.wipo.int/ardi/en/journals.html). These journals are either
freely accessible or accessible at reduced price (depending on the
country's GBP) to the scientists of the countries appearing on the
list approved by the World Intellectual Property Organization
Organization (WIPO). This list can be consulted at
http://www.research4life.org/institutions/
 
For the researchers who do not have access to sufficient bandwidth to
download material from the Internet in a timely manner and/or cannot
afford the connection, the Abdus Salam International Center for
Theoretical Physics (ICTP) offers to send articles in mathematics and
physics as email attachments. This is offered through the electronic
Journals Delivery Service (eJDS):  see http://ejds.ictp.it/ejds/,
which requires registration and is cost-free.

Subscribing to IMU-Net

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Previous issues can be seen at:
http://www.mathunion.org/imu-net/archive/
last updated: 2013-09-29