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I am an undergraduate mathematics major. I have made a draft of a paper on group theory. My paper is not a breakthrough. After scanning through a lot of journals I have come down to Journal of Group Theory and Journal of Algebra. Both are prestigious math journals. And the recent history of both journals doesn’t support undergraduate authors.

I do have the support of my advisor so editing will not be a big problem for me.

Do undergraduates have a decent shot of publishing in these journals?

  • Welcome! The second part of your question is probably addressed by this question about journal workflow, though if you need an answer beyond that you can edit your question. Congrats on the research! – cactus_pardner May 5 '18 at 18:07
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    What is the meaning of "the recent history of both journals doesn't support undergraduate authors"? I doubt that there is any sort of direct discrimination against younger people or undergrads or whatever, but, unsurprisingly, expectations for writing style and substance of results tend to create a high bar for beginners, since you're competing against experienced people. – paul garrett May 5 '18 at 18:50
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    They set the standards high : up to you to meet or exceed them - it’s not about any sort of « ism »... – Solar Mike May 5 '18 at 19:32
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    It seems like the question in the title and the question in the text are completely different, with completely different answers. – knzhou May 5 '18 at 19:38
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    I'm voting to close because of the unsubstantiated (and unclear) claim "recent history of both journals doesn’t support undergraduate authors", and because the title and the actual question don't match. It's unclear what the actual question is. – David Ketcheson May 6 '18 at 11:01
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In fact, I published a paper in the Journal of Algebra based on work I did as an undergraduate (I was a graduate student by the time it was published).

Certainly, there's no policy discriminating against undergrads (or anyone for that manner). It's hard to rule out very subtle ways that cues affect people's judgement; it's actually quite rare that I am asked to referee a paper by someone I've never heard of, so I do notice and probably adopt a more skeptical attitude when asked to referee a paper by someone whose work I have no experience with. Still, this is a subtle effect, and there's nothing to be done about but to do good work and get your name out there.

Actually, there's a decent chance that the editors and referee won't notice that you are an undergrad. (If they do notice, it will likely because you are affiliated with a university where they expect to know any professor in your field, and thus will investigate when they see an unfamiliar name.)

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  • another way they could notice is if you acknowledge your "advisor". – Forever Mozart May 6 '18 at 1:37
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    I'm actually quite surprised that they aren't double blind... – xuq01 May 6 '18 at 2:15
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    @xuq01 With Arxiv in widespread use, double blinding is not terribly effective. Also, the amount of experts in a given subject is often quite small. – Tommi May 6 '18 at 5:21
  • @TommiBrander It makes sense. In my field most major venues are double-blind and quite effective. But it's not a terribly small field either. – xuq01 May 6 '18 at 6:37
  • @xuq01 I think the flip side of this is that most mathematicians would be horrified by the idea of waiting until their results are refereed to circulate them. – Ben Webster May 6 '18 at 19:06

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