The rejection letter included only a report from an unnamed member of the JPA's
Editorial Board, not a normal referee's report. Internal evidence suggested that
he probably hadn't read the longer "Comment" (which I shall call "Proof Gap") with any care.
The report didn't
dispute anything in "Proof Gap", and didn't give any substantive
reason for the rejection. The only "reason" given was that rejection was the
"most satisfactory" course for JPA.
On November 4, I sent JPA a lengthy letter
pointing out several important issues
which the Board member's report had ignored. The letter also requested the referees'
A week passed without a reply from JPA. On November 11, I sent them a brief note
stating that I could not guess whether they intended to ignore the issues raised by the letter,
but whatever the case, I would appreciate just the receipt of the referees' reports. If there
were anything wrong with the "Comment", I wanted to know. I thought that after waiting
almost a year for their decision, at least they should give me a reason more substantial than
that rejection was the "most satisfactory" course for them.
After almost two weeks had passed without a reply to that, I assumed that they would
never reply. I was filled with regret for wasting so much time and effort on "Proof Gap",
in the naive belief that it would be seriously considered.
I was surprised, almost shocked, to find today (November 23) in my inbox a message
from JPA. It admitted that there had been no referees' reports. They had sent "Proof Gap"
to a referee or referees who promised to deliver a report, but never did.
They said that they would discuss the issues raised by my November 4 letter and get back to me.
I don't have any expectation that they will change their rejection decision, and I don't
particularly care because I am thoroughly disgusted by the whole matter.
However, I do appreciate the integrity of their admission that there were no referees' reports.
I had expected that to avoid admitting that, they would ignore all future inquiries. Perhaps
my expectations had been colored by Dressel and Jordan's systematic ignoring of requests
to clarify their published claims, and by the apparent acceptance of this "stonewall" tactic by
both Physical Review Letters and JPA.
The Board member's report gave the impression that Dressel and Jordan had promised
to submit an erratum to DJ, an erratum which "will have to acknowledge that this correction
was prompted by Dr Parrott's criticism by quoting the arXiv version [of "Proof Gap"] " .
That would go a long way toward preventing readers of DJ from being misled. It shows
that JPA has at least some recognition of its professional obligation to correct errors
in what it publishes.
However, I won't be holding my breath for the appearance of the erratum. That is the
sort of thing that could be easily deferred until "forgotten". For all their good intentions,
I doubt that JPA will keep on the heels of Dressel and Jordan. I'll believe it when I see it.