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November 23, 2011

Publications of the nLab

Posted by Urs Schreiber

A while back some of us started thinking that it would be useful to add to the nLab a peer-review functionality, whereby certain versions of entries could get an official stamp saying something like “This material has been read and carefully checked by an expert referee, it seems to be reliable”. This is the way it works for instance also at the scientific wiki called Manifold Atlas.

We have made this happen for instance with the entry geometric realization of simplicial topological spaces, after we noticed that it was being cited in publications. You can see its referee report here.

In the course of the discussion of these issues, it became clear that not only does peer-review add value to existing nnLab material, but offering official publication status also adds incentive for authors to put material into the nnLab in the first place. In other words, in addition to its functionality as a “lab book”, it could also function as a scientific journal. That branch now exists and is called

  • The Publications of the nLab,

    a web-based journal for peer-reviewed publication of original research and expository writing on topics in mathematics and mathematical physics that are usefully discussed from the point of view of category theory and homotopy theory/higher category theory.

There are still some administrative issues to be organized behind the scenes, but we do have a first published article now:

  • Tom Leinster, An informal introduction to topos theory, Publications of the nnLab, vol 1, no. 1 (2011) .

This went through a refereeing process as usual for journals. The referee report is in fact publically available, see the details listed here.

Meanwhile a second article has been submitted and is with the referee. Our idea is that once two articles have gone fully through the publication process, so that one can see at examples what the nnPublications are going to be like, we formally install an editorial board consisting of names from the list of “tentatively confirmed” editors here (whereas currently the nLab steering committee still plays the role of the editorial board for the nnPublications).

Posted at November 23, 2011 11:57 PM UTC

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Re: Publications of the nLab


Posted by: David Roberts on November 24, 2011 4:34 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Publications of the nLab

Hooray! We should all raise a virtual glass of champagne. If I didn’t have a talk to write for tomorrow, I’d raise a real one.

Since Urs’s original, characteristically energetic, let’s-just-do-it, there’s been a lot of work put in by a lot of people. I’ve had rather selfish reasons for being involved, but others have been extremely generous and giving of their time.

In particular, Andrew Stacey deserves some public appreciation for all his work and feats. He now has a program that takes your Latex source and not only converts it into the appropriate nLab blend of html and iTex, but also automatically adds in hyperlinks to all the relevant nLab pages. And he’s even set things up so that each reader can make all those links either visible or invisible, as they prefer. It’s amazing!

Posted by: Tom Leinster on November 24, 2011 10:55 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Publications of the nLab

Today, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day. I guess we can all offer especial thanks to Urs and Andrew and others who have put so much work into this!

The nLab has become, in just a couple of years, a force to be reckoned with. Each day one hears from others how useful and powerful a resource it has become (as mentioned for example by Urs with regard to citations of the article geometric realization of simplicial topological spaces). I’m hoping that the Publications will maintain a high standard for polished and useful exposition; Tom’s article has already set that bar nice and high. So, raise your glass to Tom!

Posted by: Todd Trimble on November 25, 2011 1:10 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Publications of the nLab

Today, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day.

Ah! So that’s why there’s nothing on the arXiv today.

Posted by: Andrew Stacey on November 25, 2011 10:17 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Publications of the nLab

Access to the referee’s report is true value added.

Posted by: jim stasheff on November 25, 2011 1:09 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Publications of the nLab

Speaking of journals, I’ve just learned that Advances in Mathematics are branching out in a new direction :-)

Posted by: Tom Leinster on November 27, 2011 10:10 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

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