The Importance of MathSciNet to Mathematicians

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Leading subject indexes provide critical information to academic researchers, enabling them to conduct a thorough review of literature with speed and efficiency. The work done by subject matter experts to curate and classify materials and develop field-specific controlled vocabularies has tremendous value. MathSciNet, an online publication of the American Mathematical Society (AMS), serves as a prime example of this. The database originated in 1940 as the journal Mathematical Reviews, edited by Otto Neugebauer. Today, with a team of trained mathematicians, editors, and more than 21,000 PhD reviewers, MathSciNet is the most reliable source in the field of mathematics.

Mathematical literature is growing exponentially, at a rate of about 3.6 per cent per year, and the entire body of work doubles every 19 years. While the advancement in mathematical literature is tremendous, the quality is not consistent or uniform across the spectrum. The growing volume of mathematical literature makes getting accurate and relevant search results more important than ever. 'Reading a math paper takes a lot of time and it takes a lot of effort. So before making a decision that you are going to read a paper, you want to make sure it is the right paper,' says Edward Dunne, Executive Editor, Mathematical Reviews at AMS.

'Using a subject specific database means your searches are going to be more productive and more precise, especially if researchers are doing in-depth research or trying to maintain current awareness,' says Kathy Wolcott, Acquisitions Librarian at Mathematical Reviews, a division of the American Mathematical Society. MathSciNet offers an alternative to pure machine learning approaches to indexing the scholarly literature. 'Part of what we do is human-aided computing and part is computer-aided human endeavor,' says Dunne. When cataloging, MathSciNet provides extremely granular subject-relevant details about the literature. This means researchers achieve more meaningful results and save time by gaining both accuracy and precision.

And while most databases provide abstracting and indexing, MathSciNet also provides users with 3rd party reviews of the published literature. By providing detailed mathematical reviews and an environment where mathematicians can quickly take in a great deal of information about a wide variety of research, MathSciNet provides a tremendous service.

To request a free trial of MathSciNet on EBSCOhost or EBSCO Discovery Service, please contact your EBSCO representative, or visit