I’m currently on a train heading to London and so am taking the time to do emails and tasks like that. I didn’t get a chance to post last week as I’ve been very busy with other stuff like writing and assessing exams. This week is not much better – a meeting with a publisher in London (not to do with my books though) and a talk at the NAMA conference on Friday. Anyhow, I saw an article over the weekend on universities, not directly relevant to mathematics but obviously the health of mathematics depends on universities – after all, very few people will employ pure mathematicians to do pure mathematics. The article is rather lacking in good examples (such as why we need to fund mathematics via universities!) and as it is an excerpt from a book maybe that is an unfair criticism – the book may have the examples. The article can be found...

## Charles Seife lecture...

posted by Kevin Houston

I haven’t posted a link to a video so here’s a remedy for that situation. Charles Seife is the author of Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea which really is a book about nothing. His latest book is Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception. I haven’t read it yet (usually I wait for the paperback version of a book so that my house doesn’t get totally overtaken by books). Here’s a video of a lecture he gave for...

## Boycott of Elsevier

posted by Kevin Houston

I’ve mentioned elsewhere that the current system of publishing research is flawed. The government, i.e. taxpayers, pays us to do research, we send the resulting papers to journal publishers, we referee the papers and edit the journals for free and then the publishers sell the research back to us for a high price. The result is that the taxpayers pay twice, we work for free and the commercial publishers get rich. My answer to this was to start charging for my refereeing services. A small change but so far no-one has asked me to referee for something from a commercial publisher so it is really no change! However, a bigger and more effective method of change is coming – an academic boycott against Elsevier, considered by many to be a serious offender in this problem, has been started by Tim Gowers. Read the story over at the Chronicle of Higher Education, home to Prof...