zbMATH Open (formerly known as Zentralblatt MATH) is the
world's most comprehensive and longest-running abstracting and
reviewing service in pure and applied mathematics. It is edited
European Mathematical Society (EMS), the
Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and
The editorial work is done by the Berlin office of
FIZ Karlsruhe, which as a member of the
is a non-profit company and a recognized organisation serving
the public interest. Since January 2021, zbMATH Open has been
available as an open access database.
zbMATH Open is set to become a crucial hub in the global
network of mathematics information. We are already integrating
and connecting a large variety of mathematics-relevant
information and information services in our open access
interface, and aim to enable more links through our APIs. More
details are outlined in
Currently, zbMATH Open contains around 4.2 million
bibliographic entries with reviews or abstracts drawn from more
than 3,000 journals and book series, and some
190,000 books. Our coverage, which starts in the 18th
century, is complete from 1868 to the present day, due to the
integration of the "Jahrbuch über die Fortschritte der
Mathematik" database. Our database contains more than one
million profiles of identified authors connected with various
platforms, the database of mathematical software swMATH, about
35 million references, and connections to various full text
platforms or Q&A forums like
zbMATH Open provides easy access to bibliographic data, reviews and
abstracts from all areas of pure mathematics as well as
applications, in particular to natural sciences, computer science,
economics and engineering. It also covers history and philosophy of
mathematics and university education. All entries are classified
according to the
Mathematics Subject Classification Scheme (MSC 2020)
and are equipped with keywords in order to characterize their
zbMATH Open covers all available published and peer-reviewed
articles, books, conference proceedings as well as other
publication formats pertaining to the scope given above that
present a genuinely new point of view. For the list of journals
and book series covered see the
Editors and publishers are expected to follow the guidelines as
expounded in the
Code of Practice of the European Mathematical Society
together with the
Comments by the EMS Ethics Committee, or the
Best Current Practices for Journals as outlined by the
International Mathematical Union.
For more details concerning indexing decisions see
our FAQ on "Indexing decisions".
Selected articles will be reviewed after the indexing procedure.
More than 7,000 active expert reviewers from all over the world
contribute reviews to zbMATH Open.
Reviewers are selected by the zbMATH Open editor in charge. The reviews
are not intended to serve as replacements for peer-reviewing. They
should instead give a well-balanced description of the content of
the paper within the context of current developments in the
corresponding subject area. Reviewers have, in principle, no
responsibility for checking the correctness or novelty of the
original, but if they discover that it contains a significant error
or that it overlaps significantly with other work, they should
mention the fact. References to related work are always
Every trained mathematician is very welcome to become a reviewer of
zbMATH Open in their specific field of research, see
our FAQ on "Becoming a reviewer" for more
The Mathematics Subject Classification (MSC) is a classification
scheme maintained by
and zbMATH Open. It is used by these reviewing services and many others
to categorize items in the mathematical sciences literature.
The MSC is updated every 10 years, the current version being
MSC2020. See the
classification search or
download MSC2020 (PDF).
The database zbMATH Open contains about 3 million direct links to
electronic versions of the indexed publications, to the
publishers’ websites and/or to electronic libraries and
repositories with open access to the full texts (in particular
Within current electronic library activities, more
retrospective data of journals are made available, too, even
prior to 1868, that give also links to full texts. For
instance, coverage of
journal (Journal für die Reine und Angewandte Mathematik)
has been extended in this way back to Vol. 1 (1826).
For articles from about 600 journals, lists of references are
delivered, with links to their zbMATH Open entries as well as their
electronic versions via DOI.
zbMATH Open is updated daily with new bibliographic data and
abstracts. Reviews are also updated on a daily basis after
initial editorial work has been carried out. The final
editorial work on reviews and abstracts is subsequently done as
quickly as possible.
The main aim of the zbMATH Open interface is to offer detailed and
easily accessible information, with the potential to
incorporate results of recent and future developments. New
FIZ Karlsruhe is continuously improving the infrastructure of
its databases. The aim of the following projects is to enlarge
the content and improve the search possibilities of zbMATH Open:
zbMATH Open is edited by
a non-profit organisation for scientific information and
infrastructure, in collaboration with two academic
European Mathematical Society (EMS) and the
Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities.
In April 2016,
took over the responsibilities as editor-in-chief of
zbMATH Open. He is a professor of mathematics at
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universität Hannover.
His main area of research is algebraic geometry.
The deputy editor-in-chief is
He is a professor of mathematics at
Free University Berlin.
His main areas of research are functional analysis and operator
theory with a special emphasis on the theory of Banach spaces.
Both are responsible for the scope and content of the database.
Together with FIZ Karlsruhe and the other two editorial
institutions, they develop long-term strategies for the future
improvement of the service.
From 2005-2016, the Scientific User Committee (SCUC) of zbMATH
served as a scientific advisory board on behalf of the EMS.
Under the guidance of its chairs Jean-Pierre Bourguignon,
Stephan Klaus, and José Francisco Rodrigues, it consisted of
renowned members of the mathematical community, which met on a
regular basis to propose recommendations for further
developments of the database and its associated services.
Since 2017, the newly formed
EMS Committee for Publications and Electronic Dissemination
has assumed the duties of SCUC.
The editorial office of zbMATH Open is located in Berlin.
Most of the editors are researchers from scientific
institutions of the Berlin area, contributing expertise in
their areas of research.
In order to ensure a broad coverage of mathematical literature world-wide, zbMATH Open cooperates with the following international partners:
The history of zbMATH Open, from its origins as a monthly compilation of bibliographic data and reviews of mathematical publications to its current status as a comprehensive database in pure and applied mathematics, recounts a fascinating tale that spans decades of intense developments in information services for scientific literature.
The Zentralblatt für Mathematik und ihre Grenzgebiete was founded in 1931 with the aim to publish reviews of the entire world literature in mathematics and related areas. Zentralblatt became the second comprehensive review journal for mathematics in Germany after the Jahrbuch über die Fortschritte der Mathematik, established in 1868 and active until the 1940s. Although Zentralblatt had essentially the same agenda as the Jahrbuch, the latter maintained the principles of completeness and classification of all articles of one year, whereas Zentralblatt counted on promptness and internationality.
The initiative for the foundation of a new mathematical reviewing journal came from mathematicians Otto Neugebauer, Richard Courant, and Harald Bohr, together with the publisher Ferdinand Springer. The rapidly growing number of newly published mathematics works in the 1920s and the scientists’ need for obtaining quick information on recent material motivated the decision to create an alternative service to the Jahrbuch.
Zentralblatt’s first editorial board consisted of Pavel S. Alexandrov, Julius Bartels, Wilhelm Blaschke, Richard Courant, Hans Hahn, Godfrey H. Hardy, Friedrich Hund, Gaston M. Julia, Oliver Kellogg, Hans Kienle, Tullio Levi-Civita, Rolf H. Nevanlinna, Hans Thirring, and Bartel L. van der Waerden. Otto Neugebauer became the first editor-in-chief, directing Zentralblatt from Göttingen, while the editorial office was installed on the premises of the Springer publishing house in Berlin. Distinguished mathematicians from various countries belonged to the large group of reviewers.
Unfortunately, a large amount of the editorial correspondence documenting the foundational era of Zentralblatt got lost in the turmoil of the Second World War and the post-war period. Nevertheless, it is a fact that within very few years Zentralblatt became a successful journal, with 18 volumes appearing between 1931 and 1938.
Neugebauer directed the new periodical for several years until the political situation in Germany made his position as editor-in-chief unsustainable. In 1933, shortly after the Nazi party rose to power, a law was enacted which banned Jews and political enemies from holding jobs as civil servants. A call to dismiss Courant, Neugebauer, Landau, Bernays, and Noether appeared in a local newspaper and, soon afterwards, Courant escaped to the UK and later moved to New York. Due to this pressure, Neugebauer decided to resign from his post at Göttingen University and in 1934 took up a professorship in Copenhagen, from where he continued his work for Zentralblatt.
The struggle to produce the reviewing journal became more difficult throughout this period, however, for the Nazis tried to influence the editorial policy. Neugebauer eventually gave up his position as editor-in-chief in 1938 after a series of incidents, including Levi-Civita being dismissed from the editorial board without his knowledge. Following his withdrawal, other letters and telegrams of resignation were sent to Springer by editorial board members Bohr, Hardy, Courant, Tamarkin, and Veblen, and by a very large number of reviewers. English-language contributions to zbMATH Open were greatly reduced by the middle of 1939 and all but gone by the beginning of 1940.
Neugebauer moved to the USA in 1939, accepting an offer at Brown University which had been arranged by its dean Roland G. D. Richardson, who was also the secretary of the American Mathematical Society and saw the opportunity to use Neugebauer's expertise in the American project of founding a reviewing journal of their own. Upon leaving Europe, Neugebauer burnt most of the editorial correspondence of Zentralblatt and records of the journal except for the cumulative index. The first issue of the Mathematical Reviews, the American-based mathematical reviewing journal modeled on Zentralblatt, saw the light in January 1940.
In 1939 the Prussian Academy of Sciences and the German Mathematical Society took over the management of Zentralblatt. Harald Geppert, a mathematician and devoted Nazi, was nominated as managing editor ("Generalredakteur") of both the Jahrbuch and Zentralblatt, with Ludwig Bieberbach, also a devoted Nazi, as supervising editor. Until 1945, the editorial offices of the two journals continued working independently of each other, but sometimes they shared information, scientific literature and reviews.
The collapse of Germany after World War II led to a temporary suspension of the work at Zentralblatt. Berlin evolved as a divided city: West-Berlin (sectors of the Western Allies) and East-Berlin (Soviet sector). The Soviet administration took responsibility for the Prussian Academy of Sciences, which was reopened in 1946 as the German Academy of Sciences. Due to the initiative of the Academy and of Springer, Zentralblatt came to life again in 1947, while around the same time it was decided not to revive the Jahrbuch, of which the last volume (covering the year 1942) had been published in 1944.
The editor-in-chief was Hermann Ludwig Schmid, who played an important role in the reconstruction of Zentralblatt, reviving contacts with former colleagues, inviting many of them to work again as editors or reviewers and finally succeeding in restarting publication. Following Schmid’s appointment as professor in Würzburg in 1953, Erika Pannwitz, who had worked as an editor for both the Jahrbuch in the 1930s and Zentralblatt since 1947, took over the editorship.
The construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 caused a renewed division in Zentralblatt. The barrier cut off West-Berlin from the Eastern part of the city, causing many complications for Zentralblatt and its editors. While the editorial office was located in Adlershof (East Berlin) on the premises of the German Academy of Sciences, Zentralblatt’s publishing house Springer and about half of its staff members, including Pannwitz, were located in the Western districts. To make communication and the exchange of material between Zentralblatt’s office and Springer possible, Pannwitz and two other members of staff were given special permits by the German Democratic Republic to enter East Berlin without strict control.
Together with other West Berlin editors, she set up an
additional temporary editorial office within the Springer house
at Heidelberger Platz. The split-up of editorial
responsibilities for Zentralblatt became official with the
cooperation agreement between the German Academy of Sciences
and the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities in 1965.
The academies agreed to continue Zentralblatt with the editing
duties to be shared equally by both Berlin offices, with
printing and distribution to be done by Springer. Walter
Romberg was in charge of the Eastern editorial board, while
Pannwitz continued as editor-in-chief of the Western office.
She stepped down from this position in 1969, and Ulrich Güntzer
became her successor.
This remarkable German-German cooperation lasted until 1977 and
resulted in Zentralblatt renewing its international standing in
mathematical reviewing, despite the complicated political
During the decade of the 1970s the annual production of
mathematical publications doubled, reaching a volume that could
no longer be handled by hand. Simultaneously, advances in
computer science and databases called for a modernization of
Zentralblatt. Güntzer entered several partnerships with various
scientific institutions to benefit from their computing
facilities for the editorial work at Zentralblatt. Bernd
Wegner, who took over the position of editor-in-chief for the
West Berlin office in 1974, further developed the ideas of
technically advancing the service. Recording of the text
started being done on magnetic tapes and, from these, the
printed version of Zentralblatt was produced.
Due to the reorganization of all information and documentation
centers in West Germany and the intended integration of
Zentralblatt into one of these, the Academy of Sciences of the
GDR, formerly German Academy of Sciences, terminated its
cooperation contract with the
Heidelberg Academy of
Sciences and Humanities.
The reviewers from the GDR had to quit their services for
Zentralblatt, and from then on all processing of literature was
handled solely by the West Berlin editorial staff.
In 1979 the West Germany government established the
Fachinformationszentrum Energie, Physik, Mathematik (the
– Leibniz Institute for Information
Infrastructure) in Karlsruhe. The Zentralblatt Berlin
office was incorporated as a subsidiary, while the Heidelberg
Academy of Sciences and Humanities remained responsible for
content and Springer stayed in charge of printing, marketing
With the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, the political
circumstances changed again. The Academy of Sciences of the GDR
was reorganized and some former members of the East Berlin
editorial office resumed their work for Zentralblatt. The
Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities,
FIZ Karlsruhe, and Springer continued as editors and
publisher. Since 1999 the
Society has been involved in Zentralblatt as an
additional editorial institution.
The revolutionary developments in information technology and
computer science enormously helped to improve Zentralblatt’s
services. The first release of the database as an offline
version on CD-ROM called CompactMATH was published in 1990.
Soon afterwards TeX was introduced for the typesetting of
complex mathematical formulas. The transition of Zentralblatt
to a service accessible through the Internet was accomplished
in 1996; the database was named MATH and subsequently renamed
In 2004 all records from the Jahrbuch were digitized and
incorporated as an extension to the database. Moreover, the
complete bibliographic data of
(Journal für die reine und angewandte Mathematik) were added
from its first issue of 1826. This makes zbMATH unique as the
most comprehensive source of mathematical information from 1826
to the present. From 2012 to 2015 Gert-Martin Greuel was
serving as editor-in-chief of zbMATH. This period has been
marked by many substantial developments to enhance the online
service; perhaps most notably, he put special emphasis on
the addition of the software layer, and on significantly
improving the author database, the integration of reference
data, and profile functions. Since 2013 zbMATH has had a new
logo and look and has been distributed only in electronic form.
After a concerted effort by zbMATH stakeholders, the Joint
Science Conference (Gemeinsame Wissenschaftskonferenz) agreed
in the first week of December 2019 that the Federal and State
Governments of Germany would support FIZ Karlsruhe to transform
zbMATH into an open platform. As a result zbMATH Open has
become a freely accessible research tool for the mathematical
community worldwide since January 2021.
This step was inspired by the International Mathematical
Union's 2014 vision of a Global Digital Mathematics Library:
"to provide a coherent and sustainable open platform in which
all mathematics-relevant information and data can be brought
together, comprehensively accessed and used free of charge
under a uniform interface".
In future, zbMATH Open will connect mathematical databases
and platforms in such a way that considerably more content will
be available for further research and new research questions
for collaborative work in mathematics and related fields.
The qualitative demands of the academic community regarding
coverage of mathematical literature have not changed over the
decades since the publication of the first Jahrbuch and the
foundation of Zentralblatt. The criteria of completeness,
timeliness and objectivity remain a fundamental goal for
mathematics reviewing organs. The incorporation of modern
technologies into the core of the service, including linkage to
complementary material, semantic enhancement, author
disambiguation and inclusion of mathematical software, make
zbMATH Open an indispensable tool for researchers in their search
for accurate and high-quality information on mathematics