On Mon, Apr 8, 2013 at 6:40 PM, Russell Standish <li...@hpcoders.com.au>wrote:

> The policy I'm referring to (editorial rejection based on perceived
> interest or status) seems likely to be a reaction to the very "junk
> science" problem you mention.

I don't know what that means.

> What I am saying is in this wired world, where journal space is not a
> scarce resource, papers should only be rejected for obvious scientific
> reasons

In this wired world anything and anybody can get published, some online
journals will publish anything if you pay them, or hell you could post it
right here for free; but getting published is one thing getting read is
something else. Space may not be a scarce resource but time certainly is,
nobody can read everything so good scientist look to high ranked journals
like Nature and Science to find the best stuff. It's true that you're
relying on the judgement of the editors but history have proven their
judgement is pretty damn good. And if you disagree with the editors
decision just publish it someplace else, just don't expect Science or
Nature to endorse it.

  >  papers should only be rejected for obvious scientific

I agree, I can think of only 2 reasons for rejecting a paper, it's not
important or it's not true.

> Other papers, where there are doubts or confusion, should be subject to
> the author adequately addressing the referees' criticisms.

And that's how Nature dodged a bullet during the cold fusion fiasco. It's
largely forgotten today but back in1989 soon after their notorious cold
fusion press conference Pons and Fleischmann did submit a paper to Nature,
and given that at the time Pons and Fleischmann were respected scientists
and knowing the potential importance of it the editors put it on a fast
track for publication; and In just a few days they received comments from
the referees. They wanted more data confirming the cold fusion reaction,
but even more important, they wanted clarification of the experimental
setup. As described in the paper the experiment was so vague and nebulous
it would be impossible for anyone to reproduce it. Pons and Fleischmann
responded that they were busy and just did not have time to supply the
requested data. They then withdrew the paper and got it published in a
third rate journal few had heard of.

The results were predictable, others tried to reproduce the experiment but
got no interesting results, Pons and Fleischmann said oh we forgot to
mention for it to work you must  do this and that. And so others would try
again with this new refinement and again they got nothing of interest and
again Pons and Fleischmann said oh we forgot to mention for it to work you
must also do that and this. After a few dozen iterations of this reputable
scientists, mindful that they were mortal and only had a finite number of
years to do science, grew tired of this silly game and moved on to other
more productive things. And now Pons and Fleischmann are no longer
respected scientists, but Nature is still a respected journal.

> > Furthermore, with Google, or Google Scholar, and arXiv, you don't need
> the status of Nature or Science to make your article visible or cited.

If you're satisfied with arXiv and don't want a endorsement from Nature or
Science then what are you complaining about?

  John K Clark

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