The Arxiv is an online repository of scientific papers in physics, astronomy, maths, cosmology, computer science, and a few other topics, where papers due to be published on scientific journals are submitted by the authors, and become quickly accessible for free to anybody before the peer-review process ran by the journals is over and they get printed there.
While the Arxiv is totally access-free, not everything can be published there: the existence of people with funny ideas on what a scientific paper is or what it should or should not contain makes some pre-filtering on the archived material a good idea, although potentially a filtering is a dangerous thing in wrong hands.
Marni Dee Sheppeard is a theoretical physicist, currently doing research on Category Theory at Oxford University; she also owns a beautiful blog (see below) where you can find over 200 easy lessons on the topic of her studies. She is a friend of mine.
Now, Marni has had some trouble getting her papers through the filters of the Arxiv. It appears that the Arxiv is censoring a few scientists, or at least making it harder for them to submit papers there. Among them apparently is Marni, as well as Carl Brannen, a brilliant guy who does independent research on theoretical physics. Other examples (such as Tony Smith) have been denounced in the past. The impression is that the filter acts on names, and not just on content. This would be really disturbing, and I would love to find out whether it is the case.
Last week I visited Marni in Oxford and we chatted about the issue. I suggested an experiment: finding a respectable physicist with a history of several successful subscriptions, and getting him or her to submit a paper entirely written by Marni or Carl, whose content closely matches that of one of the previously banned papers they submitted with no success.
The idea is to test whether the article goes through without effort -which proves that the Arxiv is effectively blacklisting some individuals for no good reason- or whether it gets blocked regardless of the name on top of it. In this latter case, we would then have to discuss what in the paper is not worth publication according to the Arxiv admins, but we would have one less thing about which to complain. I think this is valuable information for many scientists, so I would really like to see this experiment carried out.
So, if in the past you have submitted at least a few papers in hep-th or hep-ph -the archives of theoretical physics and phenomenology, respectively-, you qualify for the experiment. Please write privately that you are available to Marni (her email address is in the comments thread of her post on the matter): even walls have ears, and the internet does not even have walls.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Inheritable Bacterium Controls Aedes Mosquitoes' Ability To Transmit Zika
- What Lies Beneath West Antarctica?
- Humans Have Faster Metabolism Than Closely Related Primates, Enabling Larger Brains
- Use Of Personal Care Products During Pregnancy Linked To Adverse Effects In Newborns
- Unified Mathematical Field Theory Talk
- Star With Different Internal Driving Force Than The Sun
- Exodus 2100: Due To Climate Change
- "Hello MathGeek:Thank you for stating your starting position so clearly:This is NOT my goal. I also..."
- "I agree with Robert Walker he looks to me a experienced guy we should be aware of these kinda stuffs..."
- "Just adding another link. Spinning Brains..."
- "Okay, yes I hadn't thought about clear walled aquariums. That's a good example :). Maybe its easier..."
- " I tried to form a number system with Z6 and I got the same thing as with Z4 ! I too am unclear..."
- Detailed digital human models could hold key to future clinical research
- Extreme ICU: 5 percent of patients account for 33 percent of intensive care and need special focus
- Walking and cycling are good for health even in cities with higher levels of air pollution
- Heavy body shape across lifespan associated with highest mortality
- The NHS is far safer inside the European Union, argues public health expert