Re: Self-Archiving Refereed Research vs. Self-Publishing Unrefereed Research

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Tue, 4 Mar 2003 21:38:42 +0000

The case below is reminiscent of the Bogdanov affair, discussed in this
Forum in the following threads:

I would say there is no particular lesson to be learnt from such cases,
precisely because they are rare, and no one cares. Qualified experts
discount quackery; others know that they should not trust results until
they are peer-reviewed, except if they are from known experts, and even
that, only tentatively. The bottom line is that you cannot build on a
fraudulent or quackish or otherwise erroneous finding: It soon collapses
under its own weight. (In the Bogdanovs' case, since that made it
through peer review, it would still collapse at the next step -- if it
had enough substance to even inspire an attempt to build on it; but
apparently in that case it did not even have that.)


On Tue, 4 Mar 2003, Arthur P. Smith wrote:

> Is it right or wrong... Nobody seems sure.
> Has it been submitted to a peer-reviewed
> journal? It seems not to have been published in one. If citations of
> this paper appear later, will they provide any evidence of its
> correctness or otherwise? If the arguments are refuted as a proof, will
> there be any link or indication of this on How would a future
> "innocent" third party know what to do when coming upon a paper like
> this in the arXiv, if there is no follow-up (as there currently is none)?
> Normally, when a breakthrough of this magnitude (similar to the proof of
> Fermat's Last Theorem) occurs, there is considerable publicity. In this
> case there seems to have been almost none since last August, until now.
> Is that because the authors are unsure themselves? Because the authors
> are unknown? Because nobody reads what's on the arXiv if they don't know
> the authors? Or because no peer-reviewed publication has been involved yet?
> Incorrect articles certainly get published in peer-reviewed journals as
> well, although at least in mathematics peer review tends to be quite
> rigorous. But there seems to be some rather serious distinction being
> made in this case - what is it, and what lessons should we draw?
Received on Tue Mar 04 2003 - 21:38:42 GMT

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