Every work represented in the Proofscape library has a registered access type, which indicates the nature of our license to use the material.

If you want to see more mathematics in Proofscape, then please read on! And sign the petition below!


For now there are just two different access types, and these are represented by the codes given in Fig. 1.

PUB Public Domain
OPN Open Access
Fig. 1 Current access types

Briefly, PUB is for works that have entered the public domain, while OPN is for works available under an open access license. In general works enter the public domain 70 years after their authors are deceased, and this means that we are free to use the material without restriction.

Meanwhile living authors may elect to release their work under various open access licenses such as the Creative Commons licenses, or the open access variants offered by Springer, Elsevier, and other publishers. As long as the license for a given work allows derivatives (for example CC BY-SA), we can create and share Proofscape modules representing that work.


In the near future we hope to expand our horizons with two new access types:

PRE Preprint
SBN Subscription
Fig. 2 Proposed access types


If you're a mathematician you probably upload your work to a preprint server like arXiv, or simply host it on your own home page, before submitting it for publication with one of the big publishing houses.

The idea of the proposed PRE access type is that you should be able to upload you work to Proofscape too. We'd love to see a new three-step process:

  1. Upload your work to a preprint server.
  2. Upload it to Proofscape.
  3. Send it to a publisher.

For this to work you'd have to make your preprint available under a license that allows everyone to create and share Proofscape modules based on it. That means authorising a particular type of derivative work, and means the "Proofscape License" would be a little more permissive than, say, the arXiv license. (You agree to that one every time you upload a paper to arXiv, and it grants them the perpetual and non-exclusive right to distribute the article.)

Now, publishers have no problem with us sharing our work on preprint servers, and we think they should treat Proofscape in exactly the same way. Even after publication of the official version of a paper, preprints can stay online, and publishers simply ask that a link to the final version be added. Likewise, we think you should be free to license your work for use on Proofscape, and publish it later. This is the idea of the proposed PRE access type.

If you would like to see this feature become a part of Proofscape, please

Sign the Petition

so that we can let publishers know!

Subscription services

The publishing model we disucssed in the last section works for big publishing houses because they have institutional subscribers like university libraries, which subscribe for access to the official published versions of academic papers. If you are currently affiliated with a university then you can access everything in their subscription while you're on campus, and even off-campus via ezproxy or similar services that most schools offer.

Now imagine if every book and article you could access by subscription could also be studied on Proofscape! That's the idea of the proposed SBN access type. Books and articles assigned this access type would be listed in the Proofscape library, but in order to view modules based on them you would have to be on campus or connecting through ezproxy (or else have your own personal subscription). If you would like to see this feature added to Proofscape, please

Sign the Petition


We, the users of Proofscape, believe it is in the best interests of the mathematical community to be able to collaboratively study as much mathematics as possible. We want to be able to use Proofscape to discuss our latest work, including our preprints. We also believe that if you have access to a published mathematical proof then you should be able to study that proof using the site.

Therefore we call on publishers to...

  1. ...Treat Proofscape just like a preprint server. Mathematicians should feel free to license their preprints for use on Proofscape before publishing them. We agree that all derived modules will contain a link to the final published version.
  2. ...Work with Proofscape to develop subscription-based access. Anyone who can read a theorem or proof on a publisher's server should also be granted access to view Proofscape modules derived therefrom.

Add your name

In order to sign the petition all you have to do is send an email to more.access@proofscape.org with subject "petition" and with your first and last name in the body of the email. If you like, feel free to also write any additional thoughts you may have on the matter. Or don't. It's up to you.