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Top math journals

  1. Mar 5, 2009 #1

    I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this question, but here goes.

    What are the top three math journals? I want to purchase a few but seeing as they can be a bit expensive (I am a starving undergrad :cry:) I want to get the most for my money. I just reached the point where I feel I have enough background to finally start understanding some articles. (I will soon have calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra behind me.) Also, which areas of mathematics has the most opportunity for new research?
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  3. Mar 5, 2009 #2
    Nice, a starving undergrad is an undergrad. Have you checked out your library? There is usually a large selection of you-name-it journals hovering around the shelves of the journal section. Have a look at those if those are accessible because you won't be restricted to reading a couple of journals.
  4. Mar 5, 2009 #3
    I agree with aostraff... goto the library to look at a lot of journal in different subjects. Maybe start by looking at journals in which some of your favorite faculty have published recently. Perhaps even look up their articles... it would give you a heads up on thieir research, in case a research opportunity avails itself to you!

    At the very least, you can peruse a lot of journals, getting a feel for the field yourself (and what sub-field your interested in).

    Heck -- I still do most of my journal reading at the library (or through our library's online subscriptions) rather than subscribe myself! It's cheaper and more likely to keep my apartment clean!
  5. Mar 5, 2009 #4


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    OP, you've just gotten the most valuable advice you could hope for, and I'll add one more wrinkle. Search the Internet for subjects that you're interested in, and if your library does not subscribe to those journals, talk to the research librarian(s) and see if they can get the journals you want on an inter-library loan. Journal subscriptions can be very expensive, and if you can get copies on loan and spend a bit of time at the photocopier, you'll get access to a LOT of material very cheaply.
  6. Mar 6, 2009 #5


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    I think my University's Library System is pretty decent. They pay millions every year for subscriptions (electronic and, sometimes, paper), and possibly more important, indexing services (e.g. webofscience, ISIKnowledge--think Google Scholar on steroids). This might (anti?)date me, but I sometimes wonder what they did back in the days before all this at-your-fingertips access. On the other hand, this might be fueling our ADDish and information-loaded society (even at an academic level).
  7. Mar 6, 2009 #6


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    Sometimes I find that as I'm reading an article, I come across a citation I want to look up and I catch myself thinking that it's going to be too much work to look that up - that I'll have to open up another window, login to the library website, search the journal title, scroll through the archives, and wait for Acrobat to open up a file through my high speed internet connection - and that's assuming that the reference is in a journal I don't already have bookmarked.

    Then I give my head a shake.
  8. Mar 6, 2009 #7
    Any decent university has electronic archives of the top journals. If you want to read the articles from a specific journal, just the print whole thing each time a new issue is published. It's a lot cheaper than actually buying them.

    There are some journals like American Mathematical Monthly that might be nice to actually buy for yourself, but journals like Annals of Math I would just get from the library. I would also doubt that an undergrad would understand much of any of the articles in the top journals. In this regard AMM is a lot better choice to read and if you want to know what kind of research is done, just start going to research seminars in your area.
  9. Mar 6, 2009 #8
    First surf the web for topics you are interested in. You can find alot of free information there before spending money.
  10. Mar 6, 2009 #9
    There's also www.arxiv.org .. search for some of your professors and see what they're up to.
  11. Mar 7, 2009 #10
    I really am not sure how much top math journals a beginning undergraduate (having taken calculus, linear algebra and ODE) can understand. Probably the most influential, big journals are Annals, JAMS, and Inventiones. And there are Acta Mathematica, IHES, and so on. What I am guessing is unless you have a wide knowledge outside those math courses, you won't be able to find a single article that you can understand properly.

    The advice I want to give is that first you should increase your knowledge. Read more textbooks. You will have plenty of time to read journals later.

    But in the meanwhile what you can try is (as someone suggested) Mathematical Monthly, Notices, and perhaps Bulletin of AMS. But even with the Bulletin it is tough for even graduate students (especially to understand the whole article!).

    Your school probably has subscription to all of these that you can access electronically through the library system, perhaps even off-campus. Also instead of searching for good things to read yourself, it can save you time if you just ask your professors. They will know what your interests are and they will know what articles are suitable at your level. Because after all, that's why graduate students have advisors.
  12. Mar 7, 2009 #11
    Thanks for the advice! Right now I am finishing up at a community college though so they don't have a lot in the way of math journals :( but I will be transferring in the fall to a much better school so hopefully I will have a lot more access.However, I was hoping to do some reading this summer.

    Unknot, you are right I probably wouldn't understand a lot of it but I was hoping that it would give me a direction for what kind of independent studying I should do over the summer.

    Anyway thanks everyone!
  13. Mar 8, 2009 #12


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