Archive for the ‘public’ Category

The Latest Submission

Monday, 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

Thursday, 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 see, 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

Wednesday, 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

Thursday, 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

Friday, 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

Monday, 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

Friday, 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.)

Reviewers Assigned Redux

Thursday, 14 June 2018

I noticed to-day that, while the reported status of my paper on probability remains Reviewers Assigned, the date for the status has been changed from 30 May to 10 June. As the reported status of this paper at this journal has proved unreliable, and as I found the reports of another journal with another paper to be unreliable, I hesitate to make any inferences. None-the-less, I'd guess that one of two things happened, either that the paper really idled again for about eleven days with no reviewers actually assigned until 10 June, or that reviewers were indeed assigned but withdrew and that new reviewers were assigned on 10 June. In either case, I presume that reviewers are now assigned who were not assigned on 30 May.

Reviewers Assigned

Friday, 1 June 2018

On 30 May (by a European clock), the status of my probability paper became Reviewers Assigned.

I did not check the status from the time that I submitted the revised version until the after-noon of 1 Jun. As I had said, I was not sanguine about the editors regarding my revisions as sufficient; I thought it most probable that I would quickly receive notice by e.mail that my paper were rejected.

The next possible status would be Under Review.

A majority of papers sent to reviewers are unconditionally rejected. For most of the remainder, acceptance is conditioned upon revisions.


Thursday, 31 May 2018

On 17 May, I received communication from one of the editors of the journal to which, on 20 February, I had sent my paper on qualitative probability. He apologized for the delay, explaining that it were caused by a set of individually small mistakes. He said that, weeks earlier, the editors had reached a decision to request that I revise and resubmit the paper before it were sent to reviewers. They recognized that the set of axiomata had philosophical significance, but felt that the abstract would not attract their readers and that there were not enough philosophical discussion in the exposition of the paper.

I wasn't sure whether I could rewrite the paper sufficiently to get their acceptance without unbearably compromising the mission of the paper. I spent the better part of two days pondering the matter, then saw a plan of revision that I would be willing to effect and that they might find satisfactory.

The major share of the revision was to the introductory section. I pulled content from elsewhere in the paper and put it in that section, so that readers would know more of whither the paper would go. I added material that I think to be over-explanation, but from the reading of which some readers would probably benefit. Additionally, I made what were plainly major improvements to the paragraph on intervals as such. I made various other changes through-out the article.

I do not know that the editors will find these changes sufficient. I think that a major issue is that I see discussion of the formal structure of reason as philosophy, whereäs plainly some academic philosophers do not. In a revision cover-letter, I noted that the axiomata were explicitly justified in the paper as conforming to principles that hold in formal systems across all major interpretations of probability, with the exception of one principle whose justification were labored, and that were I to explain how each interpretation would justify each principle used as an axiom, then the work would mushroom to the size of a book, and its principal contributions would be swamped.

I resubmitted the article. It was quickly returned with a request that it not be submitted in PDF but in LAΤΕΧ mark-up or as a Microsoft Word .DOC. (That demand was probably an artefact of how all revisions are handled, rather than indicating that the revision were considered to be sufficient for the article to be sent to reviewers.) I had composed and entered the article using LyX, a WYSIWYM editor that uses LAΤΕΧ programs for final rendering (and converting the document to Word format would be a dreadful process because of the formulæ). But I had to modify things so that the publisher's own programs could successfully process my files. I spent a considerable amount of time figuring-out what modifications to make. At one point, I bobbled the process, but was rescued by the JEO assistant effecting a reset so that I could begin anew. I completed the resubmission at 03:50 on 30 May.

I am not sanguine about my revisions being considered sufficient. I have one more philosophy journal in-mind, after which I must consider submitting to a journal of a different sort.

If rejection does not come swiftly, then within a very few days I will return to work on my next paper, which is to combine the logic of preference and the logic of plausibility, each allowing incomplete preörderings, into a general theory of decision making.