My colleague and I intend to prepare a paper on occasion of our advisor's birthday (he turns 65 in two years). As the preparation and publishing of a math paper takes some time, I commenced planning now. We both have defended our theses.

I would appreciate any tip on this issue. For instance, the quality of journal and the number of authors. In addition, should we share our idea about such paper with advisor?

  • What sort of paper. Is this an advancement in Mathematics or a retrospective of your advisor's work? – Buffy Jul 26 '18 at 10:24
  • as an advancement in Mathematics – user40491 Jul 26 '18 at 10:26
  • Whatever type of paper, I have to say this is a really nice idea. upvoted. – Solar Mike Jul 26 '18 at 11:24
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    I'd think it would be better to do some kind of a non-trivial contribution in the actual working field of your advisor. But "just" a paper would suffice, probably. You might want to organise a special issue, though, as recommended below. – Oleg Lobachev Jul 26 '18 at 16:35

As you are aware, timing the publication of a Mathematics paper is basically impossible as you don't have control over editors, reviewers, publication schedule, etc. But assuming that you want to proceed anyway, I'd suggest that you not make it more complex than it already is. If the two of you have the sufficient ideas and can write the paper, then stick to that. Bringing in others is likely to make the process slower, not quicker.

This is just opinion, but I'd suggest making it a surprise, and just noting the advisor in the acknowledgements. But make it a paper everyone will be proud of. If you tell him you might get an objection.

  • Thank you for your reply. To my understanding, if we prepare separate papers would be better than a joint paper, am I right? – user40491 Jul 26 '18 at 10:42
  • If you want to write separate papers (I have no opinion on that), then you might contact several other of his students and just suggest to them that they might also want to dedicate their next paper to this prof. That might make it easier to assure that at least one of them is published before the big event. Some of them will already have a paper in progress and adding a dedication should be acceptable. However, for political reasons, it would be good if you could reach every living student. – Buffy Jul 26 '18 at 10:45

If your advisor has had a large enough impact on his field or sub-field, it may be possible to organize a special issue in honor of his birthday. For example, Donald DeAngelis had a special issue of Ecological Modelling dedicated to him. The first article was titled "Next-generation ecological modelling: A special issue dedicated to Donald DeAngelis on the occasion of his 70th birthday".

The entire issue may be found here and a non-paywall press released here.

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    +1. A lot of work to organize in a short time, but yes. Great suggestion. – Buffy Jul 26 '18 at 13:23
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    Useful vocabulary item: festschrift. – Peter Taylor Jul 26 '18 at 13:47
  • @PeterTaylor Thanks for teaching me a new word! – Richard Erickson Jul 26 '18 at 13:52

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