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Welcome to JOMA - Our Godparent

David A. Smith

In addition to being the great-grandchild of the Monthly, JOMA is also the spiritual successor to MAA's first online journal, Communications in Visual Mathematics (CVM), which unfortunately never got beyond its prototype issue. The editors of CVM, Thomas Banchoff and Davide Cervone, wrote in their counterpart to this article:

"The CVM is interested in developing expository techniques that go beyond what is possible in the traditional printed journal. One form that this can take is a highly linked, layered document that provides additional information about terms or ideas used in the document; the author can write at a level of detail appropriate for a knowledgeable audience while still providing additional support for those who are less familiar with the subject. ...

"A second approach is to depart more radically from the standard written format ... [for example] ... a virtual tour of an art exhibit that ... lets you move among the artworks and either read about the mathematics involved, see movies of the surfaces, or interact with VRML versions of the objects.

"A third approach uses a more traditional linear document style, but augments it with color images, movie clips and interactive graphics. ..."

All of these presentation styles are illustrated in the prototype CVM, and all will be warmly embraced in JOMA. CVM's content, mission, and audience were quite different from JOMA's, but the quality of materials in its first issue and the loftiness of its goals set standards we intend to live up to.

As they say in show biz, "timing is everything." CVM may have been before its time, at least in the sense of readiness of the intended audience of readers and writers. A lot has changed in the past two years, and we have many indications that the time is right for JOMA. Here is a partial list of our strengths:

  • A well-financed home in the Mathematical Sciences Digital Library (MathDL), with excellent prospects for a stable financial base beyond the NSF-funded startup period, as well as excellent prospects for high visibility as a component of the National Science Foundation's Digital Library initiative.


  • A rich vein of existing materials from well-supported online projects that will be mined for content over the next few years.


  • A strong base of eager volunteers ready to help with refereeing and reviewing chores.


  • Expressions of interest from a substantial group of eager, smart, hardworking potential authors with exciting ideas for articles that would not necessarily fit in print journals.


  • A broadly based and highly competent editorial board.


  • A well-established and well-known service provider, Math Forum.

I hasten to add that, while our resource base is strong, nothing about this operation is a closed shop, and nothing is (or ever will be) carved in stone. In particular, new volunteers and new contributors are always welcome. Critics, cheerleaders, and other commentators are also welcome -- please use our Letters to the Editor link. By the time of our second issue, we expect to have threaded discussions attached to every JOMA item that anyone wants to discuss.

This remark is addressed particularly to potential authors: Nowadays, anyone can "publish" online anything they want to, and most college campuses have help available for doing just that. The advantage of publishing in JOMA is that everything is peer-reviewed and carefully edited. We will maintain a standard of quality that colleagues and administrators will appreciate and reward.

David A. Smith, "Welcome to JOMA - Our Godparent," Convergence (September 2004)