Status Calendar

15 October 2018
Date-StampReported Status
24 SeptemberNew Submission
25 SeptemberEditor Assigned
5 OctoberReviewers Assigned
12 OctoberUnder review
15 OctoberReviewers Assigned
16 OctoberUnder review

On 15 October, the reported status of my probability paper reverted from Under review to Reviewers Assigned. That change means that at least one reviewer who had accepted the assignment has since withdrawn. Since the reported status of my paper has ceased to be monotonic, I'm not going to post a separate entry for each change, but will just up-date the table above until the status becomes Reviews Completed.

Up-Date (2018:11/26):

The reported status and its date-stamp have remained unchanged since 16 October. Since the editor moved relatively rapidly between receipt of the paper and assigning it to reviewers, I'm going to infer that the editor is likely diligent and that the reported status would have been changed had all reviews been returned, or had a reviewer withdrawn since 16 October.

I've read of one journal that requests that reviews be returned within two weeks, but more typically journals ask that they be returned within three weeks, within four weeks, or within a month. I know that many reviewers fail to meet these requests.

I've seen very little data on how long the typical review takes; that data was not partitioned according to outcomes. Useful data partitioned according to whether the review were competent is surely not available.

Up-Date (2018:12/16):

The reported status and its date-stamp remain unchanged after the passage of two months.

Under Review

12 October 2018

With a date-stamp of 12 October, the reported status of my probability paper has become Under review, indicating that a set of reviewers have accepted the assignment. (Editorial Manager seems to be inconsistent about capitalization.) There were no changes in the date stamp when the status was Reviewers Assigned, so it seems that the first set of reviewers accepted the assignment.

It is possible for reviewers to withdraw, in which case the reported status would revert to Reviewers Assigned. Otherwise, one expects that within about a month the reviewers will complete their task, and the status will become Reviews Completed, followed by Editor Has a Decision.

On previous occasions, rather than saying that my own paper would probability be rejected by reviewers, I've made the statistical claim that most reviews of academic papers result in rejection. But, at this stage, I am more willing to say that my paper will probably be rejected by these reviewers. Still, I hope for a better outcome.

Reviewers Assigned

5 October 2018

With a date-stamp of 5 October, the reported status of my probability paper has become Reviewers Assigned, which indicates that some person or persons have been asked by the editor to review the paper. If he, she, or they decline, then I will later see a change in the time-stamp but the same reported status. If he, she, or they accept, then the status will become Under Review.

The change in status from Editor Assigned was relatively swift; an editor might more typically take a month before deciding whether to send a paper to reviewers or instead to issue a desk rejection, which rejection is the fate of the majority of papers sent to academic journals (setting aside the various vanity journals).

I will hope that the task of reviewing is quickly accepted by competent reviewers, and certainly that it is not again undertaken by reviewers who will look only inside the box of conventional theory in attempting to understand a paper that primary considers matters outside of that box.

The Latest Submission

24 September 2018

I made two minor tweaks to my paper on probability, to meet the requirements of a specific journal, and then submitted it to that journal. One of those tweaks was to insert a formal citation of a work that I had consulted. (It already appeared in the references, but was not cited in the text because I think that a citation might cause a slight confusion. But better that confusion than to leave the author unacknowledged in the references.) The other tweak was just to ensure that my identity was not suggested by the text.

So, again, most papers are swiftly rejected by editors before being sent to reviewers, and most papers that are reviewed are unconditionally rejected by those reviewers after some weeks.

The Latest Rejection and the Latest Draft

20 September 2018

About five days after I was informed that the reviews had been completed for my paper on probability, I received notice from the editor that the paper had been rejected, along with copies of the review. I don't know what caused that delay.

The reviewers were plainly over their heads. One reviewer objected that I'd not shown whether numeric probabilities could be assigned. Real numbers are completely ordered; in the case of any two different numbers, one is always bigger than the other. So, if real numbers can be assigned to a preördering, then the preördering must be complete. And I had repeatedly made it plain that I was discussing preörderings that were not assumed to be complete. The other reviewer objected that I'd not cited recent literature, but I'd found no recent work on probability as an incomplete preördering, and the literature that he or she suggested didn't include such work. More generally, the two reviewers simply didn't understand what I was trying to do, though I'd stated it clearly; it was outside of a box in which they remainded.

Unsurprisingly, I was hugely disheartened that three academic philosophers — the two reviewers and the editor who accepted incompetent reviews — were so cognitively impaired.

I set to revising the article to explicitly state some obvious things that they'd not seen, and to state more bluntly or repetitively things that I'd said but that had been ignored.

After I was done with that, a friend was kind enough to make a very careful reading of the manuscript. He found a technical error in the exposition that was easily fixed, and the omission of a word. He made a large number of suggestions concerning style, and I made changes in response to nearly all of them. And he expressed concern that the paper may not find reviewers who understand it.

I now need to find another journal to which to submit it.

I had one journal in mind, but looking at the guidelines for authors has made me wary. The editor wants only unblinded copies (that it to say copies in which the author's name is presented), and requires authors to suggest five specific individuals as reviewers; these practices undermine objectivity in peer-review. He deëphasizes technical matters; my paper is very technical. And he wants a copy both of the paper in PDF and of the original file; to specify the file format in that manner makes him seem actively foolish. He should specify the acceptable formats; he would be likely to think that I were being deliberately difficult — rather that conscientious — if I sent a file in the format native to LyX.

Reviews Completed

22 August 2018

On 22 August, the reported status of my probability paper became Reviews Completed. Unless there were multiple reviewers and a split decision (and perhaps even if there were), the next reported status will be Editor Has [a] Decision.

Again: The vast majority of reviews of papers submitted to academic journals advocate rejection, and the vast majority of the remainder advocate changes before the work is accepted.

I have another journal selected for submission in the case in which my paper is rejected, but I would probably make changes in the face of whatever rejecting reviews were to have written.

Sowing Pseudo-Scientific Seeds of Racism

2 August 2018

I have previously expressed great concern about journalists confusing the categorization of a people as H. sapiens with their being human. Bodies Keep Shrinking on this Island, and Scientists Aren't Sure Why, a story in the New York Times, offers yet another illustration of this confusion. Within it, Carl Zimmer writes:

The researchers found that a very small percentage of the villagers' DNA came from Neanderthals or Denisovans. A tiny portion could not be matched to humans, Neanderthals or Denisovans.

But these enigmatic pieces weren’t dramatically different from human DNA, as you’d expect if they had come from Homo floresiensis. Dr. Tucci concluded that the Rampasasa villagers have no Homo floresiensis ancestry.

Note that, once again, Neanderthals and Denisovans are distinguished by a journalist from humans, as are now those of H. floresiensis. No reason is given for classifying any of these people as not human; the journalist has simply inferred that they are not because they have been classified as of a different species; what that classification actually means is utterly unconsidered.

Further, in the article, modern populations are noted to have differing occurrences of presence of DNA from the supposedly inhuman populations — not dramatically inhuman, but supposedly inhuman none-the-less.

Let me make it very plain: Mr Zimmer and the New York Times are offering pseudo-science with racist implications. He probably doesn't intend those implications, but is simply thoughtless. However, his thoughtlessness and that of his editors are inexcusable. And, if he had any conversations with the scientists who conducted these studies, then I'd like to know why the Hell they failed to impress upon him that the taxonomy did not separate people into humans and non-humans. These scientists did not have the prerogative of unscientifically presuming that Mr Zimmer had more intelligence than has been actually demonstrated by the typical journalist.

Under Review

20 July 2018

Although the time-stamp on the reported status of my probability paper remains 12 July (as per the most recent up-date of my previous entry on the status of this paper), that status has been changed to Under Review.

It is possible that the reviewer or reviewers will withdraw.

Again, the great majority of reviews result in rejection of a paper. Revisions are required of the great majority that are not rejected.

That Was Quick

18 June 2018

This after-noon, I discovered that the time-stamp for the reported status of my probability paper had been changed to 17 June, though that status remains Reviewers Assigned. I infer that reviewers had been replaced after about two days.

I do not intend to continue posting an entry here when that time-stamp is changed without a change otherwise in the status.

Up-Date (2018:06/27):

The time-stamp has been changed to 27 June.

Up-Date (2018:07/01):

The time-stamp has been changed to 1 July.

Up-Date (2018:07/10):

The time-stamp has been changed to 10 July.

Up-Date (2018:07/12):

The time-stamp has been changed to 12 July.

Reviewers Assigned Yet Again

15 June 2018

The virtual ink of my previous entry had scarcely dried when the time-stamp for the reported status for my probability paper of Reviewers Assigned was changed from 10 June to 15 June. So the reviewers of 10 June withdrew, and a new set were selected.

(As I wasn't really attending to the time-stamp before 14 June, it may be that it changed once or twice between 30 May and 10 June.)