A very famous question on MathOveflow asks for examples of good mathematical writing. Here, I'd like to narrow down the topic and ask:


Could you point out some examples of good mathematical writing organization: that is, can you give reference to papers that distinguish themselves for a particularly good exposition, structural organization, style, typesetting, formatting, references organization, organization of the table of content, organization of the index (if there is any), acknowledgement section, dedication or epigraph, name and affiliation of the authors, etc?

In other words, I would like you to point out papers where the "details" mentioned above (that are often overlooked in the process of writing a paper by mathematicians who focus only on the results of a paper rather than on the presentation) are particularly well-crafted.

Note that I would prefer references to preprints that are available on the ArXiv, because published papers tend to reflect the choices of the journal when it comes to matters of style.

  • $\begingroup$ You want to see well crafted documents be it articles or something else? $\endgroup$ – dustin Feb 19 '15 at 0:44
  • $\begingroup$ @dustin, yes, research articles. $\endgroup$ – Dal Feb 19 '15 at 6:42
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    $\begingroup$ Check out the small booklet (about 100 pages) "Mathematical Writing" (Mathematical Association of America Notes) by Knuth (ISBN 10: 088385063X). It is (of course) not an actual paper. $\endgroup$ – Moritz Feb 21 '15 at 17:29
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    $\begingroup$ It would be nice if the phrase "A very famous question" was a link to the said question. Were you referring to mathoverflow.net/q/358 ? $\endgroup$ – epimorphic Feb 24 '15 at 18:50
  • $\begingroup$ None of the answers appeal to you? I think Nick's answer along with mine are good enough...considering we seem to have actually put in some effort to answer. I also wonder why every answer has been downvoted here. $\endgroup$ – Kugelblitz Feb 28 '15 at 14:08

While I was trying to get pdfs of books written by Polya, I came across an award named after him here:


Looks like there are a whole slew of awards given to outstanding articles/papers/books:

  1. http://www.maa.org/programs/maa-awards/writing-awards/carl-b-allendoerfer-awards
  2. http://www.maa.org/programs/maa-awards/writing-awards/chauvenet-prizes
  3. http://www.maa.org/programs/maa-awards/writing-awards/hasse-prizes
  4. http://www.maa.org/programs/maa-awards/writing-awards/trevor-evans-awards
  5. http://www.maa.org/programs/maa-awards/writing-awards/george-polya-awards
  6. http://www.maa.org/programs/maa-awards/writing-awards/paul-halmos-lester-ford-awards
  7. http://www.maa.org/programs/maa-awards/writing-awards/robbins-prizes-0

These links link you to various awards given for good quality research and writing; you can see past winners and encounter good papers.

But you've specifically asked for papers with good organised writing structure, so these links below are the awards given specifically, for outstanding articles and expository papers:-

  1. Levi Covenant award: http://www.ams.org/profession/prizes-awards/ams-prizes/conant-prize
  2. George Polya award: http://www.maa.org/programs/maa-awards/writing-awards/george-polya-awards
  3. Paul R. Halmos - Lester R. Ford Awards: http://www.maa.org/programs/maa-awards/writing-awards/paul-halmos-lester-ford-awards
  4. David P. Robbins Prize: http://www.ams.org/profession/prizes-awards/pabrowse?purl=robbins-prize

Being a tenth grader, I obviously haven't had much exposure to papers (Mainly because the vast array of contemporary papers are in journals which require you to subscribe to them by providing verification that you're a professional in some field of math/science; I'm not).

But, coincidentally, I had come across a paper I thought was excellent and saved it. Looks like it was the recipient of the fourth award I've mentioned in the aforementioned list; the David P. Robbins Prize. It's written by Thomas C. Hale.


I think it's really good and is really clear. Very organised as well, providing contents as well as a useful Index.

If I come across better ones, I shall update this post.


Here's a couple review papers that (in my opinion) are written and organized excellently with respect to the categories mentioned:


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