Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rejecta Mathematica

Rejecta Mathematica is a new "open-access, online journal that publishes only papers that have been rejected from peer-reviewed journals in the mathematical sciences." "Every paper appearing in Rejecta Mathematica includes an open letter from its authors discussing the paper's original review process, disclosing any known flaws in the paper, and stating the case for the paper's value to the community."

I have to admit that reading these open letters in their inaugural issue, I was surprised by the histories of some of these papers. Some were caught in the gap between subjects (not enough physics to be published in a physics journal, not of broad enough interest to be published in a math journal). Other papers received rejections from reviewers on rather slim or debatable grounds (of course, we only hear from the authors in their own words, so we only get one side of the story). Other authors gave up or moved on, and didn't even try to revise and resubmit their article to the same or a different journal.

This raises the interesting question of whether such a journal would be welcomed in the atmospheric sciences community (Rejecta Meteorologica?). Certainly, I have seen some manuscripts rejected at Monthly Weather Review and other journals that I edit or review for that would fit into one of these categories. What are your thoughts?


Blogger jimmyc said...

1. We should probably let that journal operate for a while and watch the drama unfold.

2. Sounds like a good repository for ideas. But, however interesting, ideas are not that compelling until applied successfully.

3. Why not create a negative results journal where the process of discovery is explored rather than the discovery itself? This sounds more like a cross between teaching and research and more akin to graduate school style education.

4. Should the atmospheric sciences have a journal like this? I like the concept of a followup critique of the paper by the author and quite frankly the harsher the better. It would allow the substance to be defined, the flaws shown and the avenues available for continued work might be there. This is an excellent way to keep ideas abound rather than locked away in a prof's drawer as he/she awaits a grad student who could tackle such an idea with a freshness and different perspective. Perhaps there is more value here than I originally perceived.

However, this may be the 2nd rate ideas pile as typically 1st rate ideas find traction. The key might be to have an ensemble of people who vote on the rejected paper such that no paper need be rejected by the journal, and people can judge for themselves if the ideas have merit. The good ideas float to the top of the rankings.

November 12, 2009 at 7:37 PM  

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