Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
June 18, 2024

Most historical academic journal in mathematics started and continues at Hopkins

By VICKY ZHU | February 7, 2024



Dr. Christopher Sogge, the current editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Mathematics, shared his experience working for the oldest journal published at the Johns Hopkins University Press. 

The Johns Hopkins University Press, established in 1878, is the oldest university press in the United States. It publishes academic journals and books, both online and in print, and advocates for the accessible distribution of various mediums of knowledge. The American Journal of Mathematics, the most historical mathematics journal in the Western Hemisphere, was founded and started publishing in the same year as the establishment of the press. Though the press’s first journal was on a field in STEM, most academic journals published today focus on the humanities and social sciences.

Dr. Christopher Sogge, a J.J. Sylvester professor in the Department of Mathematics at Hopkins, is the current editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Mathematics. His research specializes in partial differential equations and harmonic analysis. 

Sogge joined Hopkins as a faculty member and became an associate editor for the journal in the late ‘90s. He has a deep respect for the journal’s history, especially its founder James Joseph Sylvester — the namesake of Sogge’s professorship. Prior to becoming an editorial board member, Sogge submitted his own works to the journal. Around 2004, Sogge became the editor-in-chief. 

In an interview with The News-Letter, Sogge explained the journal’s submission process. 

The editorial team consists of five main editors who select pieces for publication and twelve associate editors. Scholars can either directly submit their work to an editor or to the journal. 

When the five main editors, which includes the editor-in-chief, receive a paper, at least two referee reports are required to evaluate the work. If the referee reports are strong enough, the main editors then read the paper and gather for a vote. 

Sogge shared the important qualities in an academic paper on which the editorial board bases its decisions. 

“The paper has to be correct, original and interesting to a wide audience. We are not a specialized journal, so we cover all areas of mathematics. So it is important that the topic is not an esoteric corner in mathematics,” Sogge said. 

Every year, the journal receives roughly 350 papers and accepts only 50. As the editor-in-chief, Sogge tries to ensure that the journal acts responsibly in making fair and justified decisions regarding acceptances or rejections. He found this to be a challenging part of his work.

Sogge identified the Johns Hopkins University Press’s crucial role in publishing researchers’s hard work in multiple fields. When asked about advice for The News-Letter as a student-run press with a long history, he encouraged the editorial board members to look for topics that are not only interesting to ourselves but also to a wide range of readers. 

Sogge then reflected on his favorite part of working for the American Journal of Mathematics. 

“Being involved with the Johns Hopkins press is just great. I take pride in the journal’s history and being part of it here at Johns Hopkins,” Sogge shared. 

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