Combinatorial Journals are Changing

I used to ask most combinatorialists I met for their opinion about the level of various journals. With this feedback, I compiled a rough journal ranking for combinatorics papers (for personal use). This was a very educational experience for me as a new combinatorialist. I learned that different people have rather different opinions. For example, people tend to have a higher opinion of the journals of their own combinatorial sub-field.

However, people’s opinions did not vary much with respect to the very few top combinatorics journals. In particular, I don’t recall a single person who didn’t agree with Journal of Combinatorial Theory Series A being one of those (and similarly Combinatorica). This makes the following announcement quite significant:

“The majority of the JCT A editorial boards have recently notified Elsevier that they will not be renewing their contracts, and will resign after December 2020”

(Thank you Pablo Soberón for telling me about this.) The reason for this development is JCTA belonging to Elsevier. A new substitute journal has been created: Combinatorial Theory. This journal is “mathematician-owned, and fully open access, with no charges for authors or readers.” It already has a very impressive editorial board.

It would be interesting to see what happens next. So far not a lot of information can be found online. Are any combinatorialists plan to stand by JCTA? What about Elsevier’s top graph theory journal: Journal of Combinatorial Theory Series B?

There is one thing I really like about JCTA, and very much hope that Combinatorial Theory would adopt. Out of the stronger combinatorics journals, JCTA seems to be the one most open to all different types of combinatorics. From what I hear and see, all others tend to be at least somewhat biased towards some sub-fields. I’m told that JCTA originally focused on enumerative combinatorics, but this seems to be far from the case in recent years.

If you have more information about these developments, I would be very happy to hear!

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