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Mathematical research depends on a body of research literature that has reliable content and assured persistence. Mathematicians use the literature to anchor new research in the old, and mathematics crucially depends on the integrity of this structure. For many years, journals have provided the framework for creating this body of literature. Those journals adhered to standards of scholarship that were designed to protect their integrity. Recently, however, a few electronic journals have adopted practices that threaten these past traditions. This could have profound consequences for future mathematicians who may not be able to rely on the research literature in the way we do today.
Articles posted on a journal's website should be considered "published" unless the journal indicates clearly in the posting itself that the article is not in final form. Once an article is "published" it should be revised only in one of two ways -- by adding a link in the article to a dated revision or by replacing the article with a dated revision and adding an evident link to the original article. This practice should apply to every aspect of the published article, including the text, title, references, and ancillary information. Published articles and all revisions should persist indefinitely in the scholarly record.
If a journal currently indexed by Mathematical Reviews® does not adopt these best practice standards, coverage of that journal will cease and the editors of the journal will be informed. Coverage will be resumed only when the journal agrees to these basic standards of scholarship.
This policy was approved by the Mathematical Reviews® Editorial Committee on October 1, 2005.