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IMU-Net 43: September 2010

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

Editorial: Results of the IMU General Assembly

Every four years, usually before an ICM, the IMU General Assembly (GA) meets to review the past term and to decide on IMU's future activities. This year the GA gathered at Bangalore, India on August 16 and 17. The IMU GA consists of the delegates appointed by the IMU Adhering Organizations, the members of the IMU Executive Committee (EC), and observers invited for purposes of consultation upon specific items on the GA agenda. Only delegates have voting rights. The IMU Statutes describe the role of the GA, see
About 160 persons took part in the Bangalore GA meeting.

Here is a brief summary of the GA results:

  1. Seoul, Republic of Korea, has been chosen as the location of ICM 2014, this congress will take place from August 13 to 21, 2014. Gyungju will be the location of the next meeting of the GA (dates: August 10-11, 2014).
    Please mark the ICM 2014 dates in your calendar!

  2. The Weierstrass Institute in Berlin, Germany (WIAS) was elected as the host of the new permanent office of IMU, starting its operation in 1/2011. The EC has formed a committee to handle all legal and administrative aspects of the move of IMU's office to its new location.

  3. The members of the IMU Executive Committee (EC), the Committee for Developing Countries (CDC) and the IMU members of the International Commission on the History of Mathematics (ICHM) for the term 2011-2014 were elected, see
    Ingrid Daubechies will be the next IMU President.

  4. New IMU Members: On September 1, 2010
    - Montenegro became a new IMU Member,
    - Cambodia, Moldova, Nepal, and Oman became new IMU Associate Members,
    - the Southeast Asian Mathematical Society became a new IMU Affiliate Member.
    The various IMU membership categories are explained in the Statutes.

  5. The Terms of Reference the new Commission for Developing Countries (CDC) were approved, see
    CDC is charged with the mission to manage, strengthen, and promote the programs of IMU in developing and economically disadvantaged countries, to search for funding to support the corresponding activities, and to establish institutional partnerships with scientific organizations with common goals. A Web page for the CDC is under construction.

  6. The GA approved a number of changes in the "IMU Statutes" and the "Procedures for the Election of IMU representatives", see
    The GA also approved 21 resolutions concerning many aspects of IMU's activities, see

  7. The document, prepared by the Committee on Electronic Information and Communication, "Best Current Practices for Journals" was approved, see
    A press release, see
    was mailed broadly. Please read this document and consider spreading it within your community.
    (See item 3. below)

Digital ICM Proceedings of all time and other Historic Material

Finally, at the ICM 2010 Opening Ceremony, the International Mathematical Union has inaugurated the server which provides access, free of charge, to the articles in all ICM proceedings volumes since the beginning of this series of congresses. IMU is grateful to all publishing houses that have granted the right to digitize these books. IMU particularly appreciates the work of R. Keith Dennis (Cornell University) and Ulf Rehmann (Universitaet Bielefeld) who have volunteered to digitize the articles.

The new item "Historic IMU/ICM Digital Material", on IMU's Web page guides you to further digital historic material, including videos of former ICMs, a list of all invited ICM speakers since 1897, digitized IMU/ICM books,...

Martin Groetschel
IMU Secretary

IMU on the Web: Collaborative (La)TeX Writing

Does this sound familiar? You are a co-author with several others on a paper. You are all working at it, and you need to review the latest suggested edits. But among all the emailing of files back and forth, the filename has changed slightly. "What was it?"

"Where did that file go?" This mode of collaborative writing still seems to be the most prevalent, even when there are more and more tools that should take over the burden of managing versions of documents and dispersed authors of them.

A good starting point for some hints toward alternatives is the wiki page LaTeX/Collaborative Writing of LaTeX Documents [1]. A standard version control software, Subversion (SVN [2]) or CVS, works well on LaTeX based documents as they are text documents and allows to track changes and to automatically merge multiple versions, e.g by authors who worked on distinct sections. While it requires authors to learn a certain new work discipline made of 'update-edit-commit', it actually quickly becomes indispensable when the authoring task is larger than a few pages and involves several authors. Version control is often integrated in editing software (such as emacs), is a vital component of development environments such as Eclipse or XCode, and most likely it is also installed on your machine out of the box. If not, you can always try co-editing online using ScribTEX [3] while leaving the burden of versioning to the system. If you'd rather do the edits when offline, then sharing your version over DropBox [4] might be the way to go. DropBox offers a way to keep the files in a specific folder synchronized across multiple machines (possibly all yours!). It requires signup and installation of a DropBox client, but then, it takes care of doing the rest. Notice however that DropBox will not handle merging concurrently edited versions of a file but will create multiple copies when syncing and leave handling the differences to you, maybe with latexdiff [5].

These are just a few tools which may positively impact your work habits with very little time investment.


Olga Caprotti
Chalmers, University of Gothenburg
Member of the CEIC

IMU Current Best Practices for Journals

The CEIC has a new document, which we'd like you to read. While the core audience for this "IMU Current Best Practices for Journals" is primarily editors-in-chief and boards of journals, we hope a wide spectrum of stakeholders in the mathematical literature will find it useful. Whether you are a beginning graduate student, an early career scholar, a senior mathematician, or someone active in the publishing or library communities, we think the document should be of interest.

The CEIC has pondered in the past various technical and policy considerations relating to scholarship in the digital environment. But the prior endeavors had not directly addressed one of the most important topics: running journals. We worked to draft what has turned out to be a relatively short document. We make no claim to cover in depth everything that could be said about the subject, but just what seems today to be most important.

The creation of this best practice document does not imply that mathematical journals are fraught with problems. Indeed, we think mathematical journals generally perform well, and we hope to foster the continuance of same. Some distressing cases, such as those involving plagiarism, or even impact factor manipulation, in some scientific disciplines have received publicity. We hope mathematics can as much as possible, avoid such cases. We live in times during which there is diminished trust in various institutions; a general plea for more transparency is heard in multiple domains.

It is our desire that the elements of "IMU Current Best Practices for Journals" might engender some conversations within editorial boards, and possibly even some short editorials in response.

Carol Hutchins
Courant Library of Math Sciences, New York University
Member of the CEIC

International Mathematical Union Current Best Practices for Journals, endorsed by IMU General Assembly 16 August 2010, bpfinal.pdf

Full CEIC membership:
John Ball (chair), Olga Caprotti, James Davenport, Michael Doob, Carol Hutchins, Peter Olver, and Ulf Rehmann.

Douglas N. Arnold generously contributed to this effort.


2010 Balzan Prize for mathematics

The 2010 Balzan Prize for Mathematics (pure or applied) has been awarded to: Jacob Palis (Instituto de Matemática Pura e Aplicada (IMPA), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) for his fundamental contributions to the Mathematical Theory of Dynamical Systems

2010 Shaw Prize in Mathematics

The Shaw Prize in Mathematical Science has been awarded to Jean Bourgain (Institute for Advanced Study, USA) for his profound work in mathematical analysis and its application to partial differential equations, mathematical physics, combinatorics, number theory, ergodic theory and theoretical computer science.

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