Terry Tao: Game Theorist

Terry Tao is the Australian winner of the Fields Medal in mathematics. He edits the Journal of the American Mathematical Society. I was referred to his website to take a look at his journal submission policies. Suffice it to say, they are a hard-line attempt to encourage fewer and better submissions. For instance, because of a back-log they currently claim to be declining all papers. That is a strong commitment and I wonder if they could stick to it if something truly path-breaking comes along.

Tao covers his base there too:

As JAMS editor, I receive a large number of submissions regarding either famous open problems (e.g. Riemann hypothesis, Goldbach conjecture, Navier-Stokes regularity, etc.), or famous theorems (Fermat’s last theorem, Four-color theorem, Cantor’s theorem, Goedel’s theorem, etc.). Such papers are held to an exceptionally high standard, and doubly so for a premier journal such as JAMS; extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, especially in view of the very many failed attempts to prove these types of problems. In order to conserve limited refereeing resources, and to avoid possible embarrassment and damage to reputation for the submitter, I am thus imposing extremely strict quality standards on any such submission. In order to even be sent to a referee, any such submission must

Any submission which does not attempt to satisfy these requirements in good faith will be rejected without refereeing. All such decisions will be final. I will not consider any further revisions or resubmissions beyond the first when it comes to these sorts of submissions; it has to be perfect the first time, or it will not be considered at all.

Basically, if you haven’t already got a well-known resolution, he isn’t going to waste that journal’s time on it. Basically, Tao doesn’t care about the Type II error (rejecting a famous paper). I guess some other journal will pick it up and his journal wont have to take the cost of all of the speculative submissions on this stuff. JAMS is a closed shop.

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