Sunday, December 10, 2023

Where do Journals go to Die?

In 2011 I had a post, here, about a real journal called The Antarctica Journal of Mathematics. Note that I put in the link in the last sentence; however, if you go there you will get to a page that IS labelled with the name of that journal, but all of the links on it are either broken or go to a place to sell domain names. I assume the journal is dead, but I can't find any evidence that it was ever alive. When I googled it I got the link above for the first hit and my 2011 blog post for the fourth hit.

On Wikipedia I found a debate about deleting the Wikipedia webpage for it, which I assume won since there is no webpage for it.  Here is that webpage: here.  That page also debates whether the journal was a joke, though they conclude that it was not a joke.


If you try to go to The Journal of Combinatorics and Number Theory using that link you will find

a) There is a page, but it says that the  journal is discontinued.

b)  You can click to see the table of contents from Vol 11, No 1 to Vol 12 No. 3.

c)  There is a mechanism to click on stuff and BUY articles from those issues but I do not know if it works, and I am not going to find out.

d) For issues before Vol 11, there is a place to click for prior issues. When you click on it you get to the NOVA publishers webpage but no indication of where to go for prior issues of this particular journal.

e) There is no Wikipedia site for the journal. That might not mean much, there is no Wikipedia site for  Raegan Revord either, and she deserves one (I linked to her IMDB page).

f) Why do I care? Actually, I don't care much. However, I DO have an article in that journal, co-authored with Larry Washington and Sam Zbarsky. It was refereed seriously and we were never asked for money, so (1) its probably not a scam, and (2)  there was some quality control  (or the referee didn't get the memo). It was in Volume 10, No. 1. There is  no way for me to verify that it was ever published. Fortunately I will never have to. Also, the paper does not need to be published to be known since (1) I blogged about it  here and (2)  its on arxiv's here. Someone read it (probably on arxiv) and wrote a followup paper, see here.



1) Why did The Antarctica Journal of Mathematics die?

2) Why did the Journal of Combinatorics and Number Theory die?

If an author publishes in a journal that dies, and the journal does not maintain a good website, how can the author prove that he published there, if they need to? For a paper journal they may have a paper version of the journal, but for an e-journal they may be SOL.

If the paper is not on arxiv (or a similar site) it may be lost forever. Note that even if you wanted to pay for an article in either of those journals, it might be impossible. 

3) I wonder- are journals losing money since people are using arxiv and hence not buying the journals?

I only use journals to get credit from my school for publishing, and to get a good proofread from the referee. NOT to get an article out there. Thats what arxiv is for! Also, in my case I can email my article to the few people who care. And I can blog about it. 


  1. Evangelos Georgiadis7:28 AM, December 11, 2023

    Don't despair there is proof-of-existence for
    that it did get published.
    You could use the waybackmachine --
    a nifty yet antiquated toolkit:

    The mildly amusing thing about this journal is that it was operated out of NYC, and charged a whooping 8.87692% NYC SALES TAX on every online purchase ... (at least for the 130.00 USD articles).

    1. You might wish to donate to the Internet Archive to help make sure they don't go out of business.

  2. Electronic publications disappearing isn't only a problem for academic journals. National Libraries (like the Library of Congress in the USA) tend to collect everything that was published, from daily issues of large national newspaper, to the monthly discount leaflet of your neighbourhood grocery shop.

    They have recognized a long time ago that there is a shift from paper to digital, and that digital publications need to be preserved as well. It is not an easy problem, and I don't know what their current state of preserving is. But if I had a need to show that I published something in a now defunct e-journal, and that journal was published in the USA, I would inquire at the Library of Congress. Or the relevant national library if it was published elsewhere.

    Though Antarctica may not have a national library.

  3. They both turn up on an ISSN search

    Antarctica Journal of Mathematics
    published in India from 2004 according to the Indian registry

    Journal of combinatorics and number theory
    published in the US
    Details of holdings at

    1. (bill) I clicked on those entries and while they are evidence that the journal existed, they did not lead to getting access to the article in them- OR I didn't know where to click. SO- can I actually access articles from those journals from the links you provide?

    2. Hold on Bill. We are now working under the assumption that the journal at some point had provided free access to the articles, or is this not what is being implied here? check the link in the first comment, it does not seem to hold. At least you got some partial answer to (f) - the article did get published.

    3. When you go to the worldcat link, you see libraries that have holdings for these journals. You can go to any local library in your neighbourhood and ask for an 'Inter Library Loan' (ILL) request. Libraries worldwide participate to provide access to eachothers content via this system.

      In general, libraries world wide use the LOCKSS system to archive electronic journals. Ask your local librarian at an academic library to get access. As you know many journals are not open access and are behind paywalls. The archived versions can't be made available in open access in many cases.

    4. (Bill) I am NOT assuming that journals at one time had free access. Indeed, there are TWO problems here: websites going away (though some of the commenters seem to have a solution to that) and also PAYWALLS, which may be the topic for another post.

  4. Hey, I just saw this post linked from Hacker News!

    You may be very interested in the Internet Archive's "Internet Archive Scholar" project.

    The Internet Archive started it in 2018 to do exactly what you were writing about—recovering and storing every single journal article ever published, making sure it can be accessed (and found/read) far into the future.

    You can read more about that here:


    and watch the 2021 talk:

    - "Internet Archive Scholar: Supporting Perpetual Access to Open Scholarship through Infrastructure" by Jefferson Bailey

    Enjoy! :)

    - - -

    Link Rot is a similar issue.

    A certain percentage of websites die off each year, so URLs that linked to those pages slowly break.

    Older documents (Supreme Court cases, journals/books/articles, etc.) have >50% dead links now:


    They link to URLs that just don't exist anymore.

    This is why it's very important for places like the Internet Archive backing these things up.

    If you're interested in that, also see this fantastic article on the Internet Archive's blog:


  5. The Antarctica Journal of Mathematics was indexed in Math Reviews (MathSciNet) for a while, from 2004 to 2008. Of the 94 indexed articles, only 5 were reviewed. Also, 28 of the 94 list the same person as a coauthor. The mode of the 2-digit MSC classification numbers of the papers is 54 (General Topology), occurring 51 times.