02 October 2006

Proof that Open Access is Better

You may not care much about the Poincaré Conjecture - shame on you - but you should definitely be interested in the way in which its proof has been announced.

Most mathematicians would have submitted their paper to some high-profile publication in order to gain maximum publicity. But not old Grigori Perelman. A well-known churl of a genius, Grigori simply posted his proof to the arXiv.org server, and says he has no intention of publishing it elsewhere. So for one of the most important mathematical achievements of recent years, the open access repository has been chosen over all the traditional methods.

The press release from Cornell University has an interesting thought:

"Perelman's choice of arXiv to disseminate his proof is a watershed event in scholarly communications," said Sarah E. Thomas, the Carl A. Kroch University Librarian. "Although Perelman declined the Fields Medal, perhaps, if offered the Clay Mathematics Institute prize for solving the Poincaré Conjecture, he'll donate the million dollars to the arXiv to enable the global community of scholars and scientists to continue to benefit from this transformative resource."

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