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Ad hoc Committee on Permissions (CoP)

As more and more journals are becoming digital – with several being exclusively available in digital format – it is increasingly important to establish viable means for ensuring free access to back issues of mathematical journals. For the mathematics community, it would be optimal to have the shortest possible window before open access. On the other hand, a short window would put financial pressure on learned societies and make it difficult to reach a broad agreement.

The IMU Executive Committee – on the advice of the IMU Committee on Electronic Information and Communication (CEIC) – has now created an ad hoc Committee on Permissions (CoP) to advise the IMU on a negotiating strategy regarding the window for open access. 

Specifically, the task of the CoP is to report to the IMU Executive Committee regarding the following:

  • A recommendation for IMU policy on the time frame for making papers freely available after publication, together with technical details such as licenses.
  • A concrete proposal for how to implement this recommendation, for example by outreach to publishers, with the particular goal of negotiating access to existing back issues.
  • Any additional considerations that may affect the availability of past papers, such as the demise of publishing companies or issues with archiving.

CoP has reported annually to the IMU Executive Committee since February 2022 regarding the progress of its work. CoP's final report is expected in May 2024

The chair of CoP is Thomas Brennan (Harvard Law School, US), and his email address for this is Other members are

Henry Cohn (US)
Samuel Hansen (US)
Evelyne Miot (France)
Valeria Simoncini (Italy)
Stephen Watt (Canada)

In addition, CoP also reports to CEIC and liaises closely with its chair Ilka Agricola (Germany).