The Illinois Journal of Mathematics (IJM) was founded in 1957 by R. Baer, J.L. Doob, A. Taub, G. Whitehead, and O. Zariski, and has quickly established itself as a preeminent journal of mathematics. The IJM has published many influential papers in the four decades of its existence, most notably the proof of the Four Color Conjecture by K. Appel and W. Haken. Distinguished researchers such as A. Calderon, S.S. Chern, H. Kesten, and K. Uhlenbeck have served as Editors of the IJM. The current Editorial Board consists of Stephanie Alexander, Jean Bourgain, Burgess Davis, Philipp Griffith, C. Ward Henson, A.J. Hildebrand, Craig Huneke, Joseph Rosenblatt, and Jang-Mei Wu, with Hildebrand serving as Managing Editor.
During the first few decades of its existence, IJM was partially supported by the AMS and the University of Illinois. However, since the mid 1980s, IJM has been almost entirely self-supported through subscription income. IJM is contributing to the Mathematics Library through an exchange program whereby the library receives over 250 journals from 46 countries, valued at $25,000, at no cost in exchange for subscriptions to IJM.
IJM is nearing completion of a major reorganization and expansion effort, aimed at shortening and streamlining the publication process, reducing the backlog of papers, and increasing the quality of the papers published in the journal and the reputation of the journal within the mathematical community. The changes include a major expansion of the journal which now publishes nearly twice as many pages as a few years ago; the addition of an electronic edition (available at the journal’s website; a more attractive look with a redesigned glossy cover; and a number of operational changes.
The most significant operational change is that the UIUC Department of Mathematics has taken over as the publisher of IJM, a service that was previously performed by the University of Illinois Press. The entire journal operation is now handled in-house, within the UIUC Department of Mathematics, under Debbie Broadrick, the Production Manager of the journal.
The operational changes mentioned above have resulted in significant cost savings and made it possible to expand the journal, while holding subscription costs nearly steady. As a result, IJM is now one of the lowest priced journals in mathematics, both in absolute terms ($135 per year) and on a cost per page basis. The subscription cost per page for IJM is now 10 cents, compared with around 20 cents for most AMS journals, and nearly $1 for some commercial journals.
A permanent display with information about the history of IJM, its founders, and editors, has been placed in the Mathematics Library in Altgeld Hall. The display, which was put together this summer by the Candace Homco-Ryan, the library’s graduate student assistant at the time, is located in the back of the reading room, to the right of the circulation desk. The displayed materials will be rotated periodically.