Movin' on down the Line

7 August 2011

After the fiasco with Theory and Decision (see my entry of 28 March and that of 18 April), I submitted my paper on indecision to yet another journal on 23 April.

To my surprise, that journal gave my paper for review to someone whom I regard as having a markèd conflict-of-interest. I know to whom they gave it because the rejecting review that I received on 16 Jun was, also to my surprise, attributed rather than anonymous.

Some of the criticism was legitimate, but would best have been handled by directing me to revise-and-resubmit. Some of the important criticism was absurd.

For example, the reviewer declared

this is not how one writes proofs in general (except may be in logic)
Considering that the propositions are almost exclusively formal logic (there not being much arithmetic to the structure), it's rather to be expected that the proofs will look as proofs (in or out of quotation marks) do in logic.

And, in defending the attempt to distinguish indecision from indifference found in Indifference or Indecision? by Eliaz and Ok, the reviewer wrote that Mrs Watson (a hypothetical agent presented in that paper)

is indecisive whenever she deems multiple choices as choosable
But she also deems multiple choices as choosable when she is indifferent, and in both cases (according to Eliaz and Ok) makes her decision by flipping a coin.

(In fact, Eliaz and Ok claim something more interesting about what distinguishes indecision from indifference, but an observable distinction does not result from it.)

I stared for a bit, and then sent to the reviewer a simple request for permission to cite the review in future versions of the paper. (I offered no argument or evaluation; I just requested permission to cite.) The review is plainly not itself a publication; it seems closer to being a personal communication. And one is supposed to secure permission before citing personal communications.

I waited for some days, and got no reply. I concluded that none would be forth-coming. I therefore effected what changes I felt should be made given that I could not cite the review, both to make straight-forward improvements, and to preëmptively meet repetition of what I regarded as illegitimate criticisms.

Then I went over my big spread-sheet o' econ journals, and selected the next journal to which to submit the paper. As with previous submissions, I read the author guidelines, and did some further rewriting and reformatting to tailor a version specific to that journal. I made the new submission on 28 July. Its reported status when I checked this morning was the same as that when I completed the submission process, so I presume that no editor has accepted assignment to it.

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