Re: The Economist: Publish and perish

From: <ark_at_CASSIOPAEA.ORG>
Date: Wed, 27 Nov 2002 18:43:16 -0500

On Mon, 18 Nov 2002 20:40:04 -0500, Peter Suber <peters_at_EARLHAM.EDU> wrote:

>At 10:37 PM 11/18/2002 -0200, you wrote:


>Here's a free story on the Bogdanovs in the New York Times

In my opinion this story is somewhat unbalanced. It is based on selective data. What has been omitted (contrary to the first articel by Dennis Overbye) is listed here:

>And here's one in the Chronicle of Higher Education, accessible only to

Another biased view. To balance this view it is good to read statements
by Robert Coquereaux, Daniel Sternheimer, and also the interview with
Bogdanov brothers themselves:

Then you have it covered from various angles.

But the main problem in this thread is the proceder of peer reviewing and what to do about it. For me the action of the editor of Classical and Quantum and Gravity is just funny. If they are really serious, they should re-review all the papers published in the journal, because there will be more equally or even more controversial. Of course they will not do it. Who would do?

I know physicists who say that 90% of papers published in Phys Rev A is junk. My estimate is 40%. It is easier to sort things in mathematical journals. My own estimate is that perhaps only 1% of papers in Communications in Mathematical Physics is junk. I can be wrong, of course. If I am to tell from my own experience, it is good to have a variety of journals. Depending on my paper, how much time I am going spend on it, whether it is a technical paper that will survive any scrutiny, or more speculative or controversial one, when it certainly will make some referess hostile because it it presents a competitive theory. Referees and editorial boards consist of human beings, and sometimes (often?) will lack either the necessary objectivity or patience.

It is good to have highly ranked and difficult to publish journals, but sometimes, when in the library, and in search for "fresh and crazy ideas" to fuel my own thinking, I would browse through "low rank" and "exotic" journals, sometimes with a success.

ark (Arkadiusz Jadczyk)
Received on Wed Nov 27 2002 - 23:43:16 GMT

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