We Can Make a Change | Gerard van der Geer, Managing Editor, Compositio Mathematica | May 2004
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"On October 27, 1928, the Dutch mathematician L. E. J. Brouwer, well known for the fixed-point theorem named after him, received a telegram from Erhard Schmidt advising him to refrain from any action in relation to two letters he was about to receive until after speaking to Carathéodory, who was expected to visit. When Carathéodory arrived, Brouwer opened the letters. One of these was from Hilbert, who bluntly wrote that he was no longer able to cooper- ate with Brouwer because of their widely differing views in matters concerning the foundations of mathematics. Hilbert had therefore asked permission from the editorial board of Mathematische Annalen to end the editorship of Brouwer with that journal. Brouwer considered this a bla- tant injustice and decided to take up the challenge. But at the end of the conflict—named a “frog-and-mouse battle” by Einstein—and despite an appeal by Brouwer to Hilbert’s wife, Brouwer had to leave. He was furious and decided to found his own journal. He negotiated with the Dutch pub- lisher Noordhoff, who agreed, and Brouwer attracted a large editorial board consisting of forty-seven mathe- maticians, including many famous names. In 1934 the first issue of Compositio Mathematica appeared....
During the intrigues around Compositio in 1951, a foundation with the name of Internationaal wiskundig tijdschrift COMPOSITIO MATHEMATICA (international mathematics journal C.M.) had been founded. Brouwer’s quarrelsome character may have led to this measure, which in hindsight now looks so prescient. The aim of the foundation was to publish the journal, and it owned the name of the journal. This fact enabled us to look around for another publisher.
I contacted the American Mathematical Society to ask whether they were interested. To my pleasant surprise there was an immediate answer from AMS publisher John Ewing with a very attractive offer. I also contacted the London Mathematical Society, who also made an attractive offer. Other offers were also received. It was very difficult to choose between the favorable offers of the AMS and the LMS; in the end we decided on the basis of geography to choose the LMS. We had to delay moving to the new pub- lisher till the contract with Kluwer expired (December 2003), and as of January 2004 the change took effect. The launch of the reborn journal was at the Phoenix meeting of the AMS last January.
The journal moved to the LMS on the understanding that the price would fall considerably. We also took the occa- sion to reformat the journal to six issues on a larger page size but with the same annual mathematical content. The LMS manages the publication of the journal and has an agreement with Cambridge University Press (CUP) to market and distribute the journal on their behalf.
The price has fallen by a third, and this marks a permanent shift to a lower pricing policy....
—Gerard van der Geer, Managing Editor, Compositio Mathematica
Universiteit van Amsterdam, email@example.com, http://www.compositio.nl"