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Emerging From the Storm: SIAM Publications in Strong Health

By Kivmars Bowling

2021 was yet another intense year, and I hope that you and yours fared well. Disruptions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have affected SIAM Publications in various ways, but here I want to share some of the exciting developments and innovations that are underway as we hopefully begin to emerge from the storm.

Submissions to SIAM journals remain incredibly robust. 2020 set a record high with more than 6,000 submissions, and 2021 approached that level again with the arrival of more than 5,900 papers. The last two years have thus exceeded all previous years in terms of the number of authors who sought publication in SIAM journals. This achievement speaks to the outstanding quality and high regard in which authors and researchers hold SIAM publications.

This submission level also begets increased pressure for the incredibly hardworking journal editors-in-chief, Editorial Board members, and editorial support staff. I want to thank everyone for their continued work and commitment. Journals are ultimately communities of people who continuously share ideas, and the strength of the SIAM community is both striking and appreciated. Compared to 2020, journal article downloads in 2021 increased by at least 10 percent and were set to exceed pre-pandemic levels — a feat that once more attests to the high quality and global demand of SIAM journals among readers around the world.

As always, the new year brings various editorial transitions. SIAM extends its sincere gratitude to the outgoing journal editors-in-chief for all of their work during their tenure and warmly welcomes their successors (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. The outgoing and incoming editors-in-chief for the SIAM Journal on Applied Algebra and Geometry (SIAGA), SIAM Journal on Imaging Sciences (SIIMS), SIAM Journal on Numerical Analysis (SINUM), and SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing (SISC).

The SIAM Books program has experienced both positive and negative impacts from COVID-19. While print sales have faced a sharp decline in both 2020 and 2021—indeed, printing itself has been hit with industry-wide challenges in the last year—e-book sales have risen dramatically due to high demand among institutional libraries that are expanding their online resources. It remains to be seen whether this reaction reflects a permanent shift, but we do expect print sales to recover as the world rebounds from the pandemic.

Moreover, it was heartening to see our book acquisition editors start attending in-person conferences again at the end of 2021. We hope that the vital in-person conversations with potential book authors will continue to grow in 2022. If you have any ideas for monographs or textbooks, please contact Elizabeth Greenspan (Executive Editor of SIAM Books) at [email protected]. SIAM also intends to publish more general interest books in the future, so do get in touch if you have ideas.

Although 2021 brought many pandemic-related disruptions, it allowed us to make progress in the following key areas.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

SIAM announced its new Name Change Policy for all authors of SIAM publications in early September 2021. SIAM respects that authors may seek to change their names for reasons such as marriage, divorce, alignment with gender identity, or religious conversion. Authors can now initiate a name change by contacting [email protected]. Those who do so will not be asked to specify the reason, and legal proof of the name change is not required. However, SIAM may request information to reasonably establish the author’s identity.

In addition to establishing our own Name Change Policy, SIAM joined the National Laboratories Name Change Initiative For Published Research Outputs. This effort supports researchers who wish to change their names on published research outputs.

In 2020, SIAM joined the “Joint commitment for action on inclusion and diversity in publishing.” All major commercial publishers and many societies have now joined this industry-wide group. Committees continue to develop standardized recommendations that consider the types of demographic data that should be collected and explore ways to do so meaningfully, all while addressing privacy issues.

SIAM Digital Library Upgrade

The upgrade to the SIAM Digital Library—which hosts our journals, books, and proceedings—is well underway and scheduled to go live in the first quarter of 2022. This upgrade will deliver an array of new features, including responsive design, related content recommendations, an Extensible Markup Language (XML) full-text versions of articles in addition to PDFs, enhanced support for digital supplementary materials like embedded video and code, and an integrated SIAM online bookstore that will allow SIAM to sell e-books directly to individuals for the first time.

Open-access Business Models

SIAM continues to remain compliant with open-access mandates from research funders. For example, all SIAM journals are Plan S-compliant via the green open-access route. Various open-access business models are emerging across the publishing industry, ranging from gold open access/transformative agreements to “Subscribe to Open.” All have pros and cons that we must carefully consider to ensure that SIAM publications maintain the highest quality and remain financially sustainable in the future. To that end, SIAM is currently creating a data warehouse to disambiguate our datasets and analyze each institution’s publication and subscription activities with the society. This warehouse will enable us to model potential ways forward while simultaneously safeguarding the quality and standards for which SIAM is known.

Expanding ORCID Peer Reviewer Recognition

Following a successful pilot in 2020, all SIAM journals now permit referees to recognize and log their SIAM peer-review work in their ORCID accounts. The ORCID records indicate that they have served as a reviewer for a particular SIAM journal but of course do not reveal the specific article in question. More than 700 referees have already taken advantage of this opportunity since the option became available; this number represents about 35 percent of total referees.

Prophy’s Referee-finding Tool

SIAM is cooperating with Prophy Science to integrate its referee-finding tool within EJPress, our manuscript submission system. In the near future, SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing (SISC) editors will be able to search for reviewers whose expertise aligns with the paper that is under review. In an earlier SIAM trial, editors found this tool to be helpful and noted that it sometimes led them to reviewers upon whom they did not previously call. If Prophy proves successful for SISC editors, we will consider implementing it for all SIAM journals.

Please Recommend SIMODS to Your Library

After a very successful launch period, the SIAM Journal on Mathematics of Data Science (SIMODS) will join the SIAM collection of subscription journals in 2022. Jobs in data science are projected to increase by an impressive 30 percent in the next decade, so we expect SIMODS to go from strength to strength.

To ensure that you and your colleagues continue to have access, please recommend SIMODS to your institutional library by downloading this recommendation form and forwarding it to your librarian. Your faculty support is key to this journal’s success. If you have any questions, reach out to Patricia Hartner (SIAM’s Manager of Institutional Sales and Licensing) at [email protected]. Answers to frequently asked questions about SIMODS are also available online.

Finally, I close with one last request: always be sure to download SIAM articles from the SIAM journals platform when you are logged into your institution (whether remotely or by IP address when on campus). Every downloaded SIAM article demonstrates the value of SIAM resources and acts as a vote for your library to retain SIAM journals. In these times of pressured budgets, librarians are looking increasingly closely at the number of times users download articles from SIAM journals. In some cases, librarians have even cancelled SIAM subscriptions without informing the faculty.

I look forward to seeing and speaking with more of you in person next year. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] with any questions or comments.

  Kivmars Bowling is the Director of Publications at SIAM. 
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