Mathematicians are stupid

The situation today: mathematicians write papers, referee papers, are journal editors, and then later have to pay if they want to look at their own papers or the papers of their colleagues.

How can this be? Well, because they are stupid. They sign away their copyrights to commercial publishers. Of course, if you first give something away, then afterwards you no longer have it. Sad.

Make sure mathematics is accessible

If you publish something, make sure your colleagues can read it without first paying a publisher. It is a good idea to have stuff on your home page, and in a university repository, and on arXiv. Perhaps you can think of other publicly accessible places.

It is not necessary to sign away copyrights. Experience shows that one's papers also get published if one doesn't.

I regard it as unethical to sign away the rights to research that was paid for by public money. A form of corruption. Transferring public funds to your private friends the publishers.

Journal policy

There are very simple things a managing editor who shares this point of view can do. E.g., tell the author "Your paper was accepted. We advise against signing away the copyrights."

A lot of good research has disappeared behind a paywall. Since, for many potential readers, this research is effectively inaccessible, there is something else editors of open access journals can do: they can explicitly welcome papers that have little original content, but re-treat, elegantly and with full references and credits, important material that was hidden behind the paywall.

Promotion / tenure policy

Some journals tend to have high-quality papers, and sometimes bureaucrats reward people for publications in journals that are advertised as being high-quality. Now that we are in the process of moving away from all too expensive journals, it is no longer appropriate to use this yardstick. Quite the opposite: a publication in a closed-source journal shows disregard for the mathematical community. A better yardstick is to take only those publications into account that can actually be accessed. It is the duty of committee members to strongly protest against the use of journal ratings.