Indeed, I think this chronology of exasperation raises some questions about just what interests journal editors are actually working towards, and about how as a result journals may be failing to play the role that the scientific community has expected them to play.
If the journals aren't playing this role, the scientific community may well need to find another way to get the job done.
Of course, in addition to publishing the Comment, I also did all the things that people have suggested that I should have done (I'm not an idiot!). My grad student and I gave talks on the subject; we published paragraphs in other papers in other journals when we could reasonably fit them in; we emailed and talked it up among other colleagues; and I placed the longer version of the Comment on my Georgia Tech web site and my company web site fairly quickly. However, in doing so, we risked having the Comment rejected as "not new." And the journal in question is the correct place for it; to not publish a Comment there or have it rejected is tantamount to accepting the incorrect result. And, unfortunately, other journals in the field don't accept Comments.
Also, the vast majority of scientific papers are mainly correct, and the few mistakes that do leak through aren't a problem, which could explain the paucity of Comments. The paper on which I commented was so egregiously and completely wrong that it clearly merited a Comment, and so it should've been very easy for the journal to realize this, especially when its chosen anonymous reviewer confirmed my team's results. That my story has propagated so far and is eliciting so much controversy seems to me to imply that we're apparently all a bit naive on the subject, and those who aren't should weigh in to help enlighten the rest of us.
And I also called and emailed several times the senior editor's boss, who is actually a friend of mine, but he claimed to have had limited ability to interfere (perhaps he was afraid that I might do something crazy like write an article on my experience with the Comment and put it on the internet...).
As I mentioned in the Addendum, a lot more transpired, but the story is long enough. Also, some of the additional stuff is even more disturbing, but the story seems to be disturbing enough as it is, so let's leave it at that.
Thank you, Jody Tresidder, grouse, and John Fredra, for your comments. You have it exactly right; the system is set up to publish Comments, and it really should be able to do so, so why does it have such a difficult time actually doing so?
« Older The New Liberal Arts book is out.... | In light of the recent tragic ... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments
Buy a Shirt