If not a hoax, it's still an embarassment

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Greg Kuperberg

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Nov 1, 2002, 4:23:51 PM11/1/02
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It's interesting that the Bogdanovs distance themselves from the PDF
version of their paper in *Classical and Quantum Gravity*, on the grounds
that it supposedly has typos. For two reasons. First, I've never heard
of a published paper that has more typos in the PDF copy than in the
printed copy, only the other way around. Maybe the editors of CQG can
comment on this claim about their typesetting.

Second, CQG has also distanced itself from this paper, on entirely
different grounds. I am attaching its official repudiation below.
This the first time that I personally have seen a refereed journal
repudiate the decision to publish a paper. I've seen other papers that
I think should have been repudiated by the journal, but I've never seen
it actually happen.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Classical and Quantum Gravity and the paper "Topological theory of the
initial singularity of spacetime" by G Bogdanov and I Bogdanov, Class.
Quant. Grav. 18 4341-4372 (2001)

A number of our readers have contacted us regarding the above paper
and in response we have decided to issue the following statement.

Classical and Quantum Gravity endeavours to publish original research
of the highest calibre on gravitational physics. It is not possible for the
Editorial Board to consider every article submitted and so, in common
with many journals, we consult among a worldwide pool of over 1000
referees asking two independent experts to review each paper. Regrettably,
despite the best efforts, the refereeing process cannot be 100% effective.
Thus the paper "Topological theory of the initial singularity of spacetime"
by G Bogdanov and I Bogdanov, Classical and Quantum Gravity 18
4341-4372 (2001) made it through the review process even though, in
retrospect, it does not meet the standards expected of articles in this
journal.

The journal's Editorial Board became aware of this situation already in
April 2002. The paper was discussed extensively at the annual Editorial
Board meeting in September 2002, and there was general agreement that
it should not have been published. Since then several steps have been
taken to further improve the peer review process in order to improve the
quality assessment on articles submitted to the journal and reduce the
likelihood that this could happen again. However, there are at this time
no plans to withdraw the article. Rather, the journal publishes refereed
Comments and Replies by readers and authors as a means to comment
on and correct mistakes in published material.

We are also grateful to our readers, contributors and reviewers for their
vigilance and assistance both before and after publication.

Dr Andrew Wray
Senior Publisher
Classical and Quantum Gravity
Institute of Physics Publishing

Professor Hermann Nicolai
Honorary Editor
Classical and Quantum Gravity
Albert Einstein Institute

--
/\ Greg Kuperberg (UC Davis)
/ \
\ / Visit the Math ArXiv Front at http://front.math.ucdavis.edu/
\/ * All the math that's fit to e-print *

I/G.Bogdanoff

unread,
Nov 4, 2002, 2:18:59 PM11/4/02
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gr...@conifold.math.ucdavis.edu (Greg Kuperberg) wrote in message news:<apu93q$2a2$1...@conifold.math.ucdavis.edu>...

> It's interesting that the Bogdanovs distance themselves from the PDF
> version of their paper in *Classical and Quantum Gravity*, on the grounds
> that it supposedly has typos. For two reasons. First, I've never heard
> of a published paper that has more typos in the PDF copy than in the
> printed copy, only the other way around. Maybe the editors of CQG can
> comment on this claim about their typesetting.
>
> Second, CQG has also distanced itself from this paper, on entirely
> different grounds. I am attaching its official repudiation below.
> This the first time that I personally have seen a refereed journal
> repudiate the decision to publish a paper. I've seen other papers that
> I think should have been repudiated by the journal, but I've never seen
> it actually happen.
>
> %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
>
>Regarding this decision, we send you hereafter all the reports that
were induced by the submission of our paper in Classical and Quantum
Gravity.

As you will see, it took 7 month of exchanges and very hard work
before
the paper could be accepted in this high standards journal.

Subject:
CQG/119461/PAP
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001 10:45:22 +0000
From: "Imported For: Class. Quantum Grav. --By: IOPP.API"
<c...@iop.org>
To: <igor.b...@free.fr>



Ref: CQG/119461/PAP

15 February 2001

Dr I Bogdanov
Laboratoire Gevrey de Mathematique
Physique
Universite de Bourgogne
CNRS UPRES A 5029
5 avenue de Montespan
75016 Paris
FRANCE


Dear Dr Bogdanov

TITLE: Topological theory of the initial ...
AUTHORS: G Bogdanov et al

We have now received advice from our referees on this Paper, which is
under consideration for Classical and Quantum Gravity, and are
enclosing copies of the relevant report(s) recommending substantial
changes.


First Referee's Report

According to the cover page of the manuscript sent to this referee,
this paper was received electronically. I believe there are several
typographical errors that may have be due to the transmission or
software problems (e.g., possibly some extra h's). Thus, if this
paper is accepted, then the authors and editors may wish to be extra
careful in going over the printed proof copy.

Page 7 line 4: There is an extra "h" after the sentence at the end
of the first paragraph.This may be a transmission or software error.

Page 9 line 3: There is an extra "h" after the sentence
which ends with "a topological invariant."

Page 12 line 7: "filed" (after the word quantum) should be "field".

Page 12 line 10: "symmetric" (after Euclidean) should be
"signature".

Page 20 line at bottom: There is an extra "h" after the last sentence
on the page.

Pages 22-24 (References): The references on the manuscript sent to
this referee are not quite in the usual style of the journal. Also,
they are not even given in a consistent style. In particular, some
multiple authored articles have a comma between the authors names
(see for example reference #5) and some multiple authored papers do
not have a comma between the authors names (see for example reference
#7). For unknown reasons the references #11, #12 and #14 have
parens around the letter of the first name of the author.


Second Referee's Report

QUALITY ASSESSMENT: Q2, Sound, original and of interest.

RECOMMENDATION: R4: Revise substantially, along the lines indicated;
with these revisions I expect the paper to be suitable for
publication.

The author's make the interesting observation that, in the limit of
infinite temperature, a field theory is reduced to a topological
field theory which may be a suitable description of the initial phase
of the universe. I recommend the following points be clarified in the
paper before publication:

(1) Through out the paper, \beta = 0 is stated and it would be much
clearer if \beta -> 0 is considered which better describes the limit
of infinite temperature.

(2) On page 4 (and other pages e.g. page 6) \beta -> \dot which
should presumable be replaced by \beta -> \infty? There is also a
reference missing on page 4.

(3) Much of the details in section 2, regarding the metric
independence of the partition function, are standard details which
could be omitted. Also, the form of the energy - momentum tensor
T_{\alpha\beta}, given on page 8, is true for a specific type of field
theory. The authors' provide no information of the nature of field
theories being considered in the paper. For example, are they
supersymmetric etc.?

(4) The authors' point out the H=0 (or L, which is typical for
topological field theories) can, more or less, be viewed as the same
as \beta H =0 for \beta =0 (in the limit of infinite temperature).

This crucial and interesting observation needs to be supplemented
with more detailed analysis since it is crucial for their ideas to
work. It would be very helpful and more convincing if the authors'
could provide further support. For example, can contact be made with
general covariance or topology on taking the \beta->0 limit of some
established standard results?

(5) I can almost accept that in the limit of infinite temperature,
contact can be made with a topological phase of some field theory
(the type of field theory needs to be elaborated on however). The
crucial question, however, is how does the initial topological phase
break down to a universe we see today. I would be of great interest
if the authors' could at least worry about this issue.

(6) The scale of metric mentioned in proposition 2.2 is not easy to
understand.

(7) In some places, the grammar used needs to be re-worded. Also, the
various "black dots" which appear throughout the paper are confusing
and need clarifying.


If the author's can successfully rectify the above, I will recommend
the paper for publication.

Subject: CQG/119461/PAP
Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2001 14:52:13 +0100
From: "Imported For: Class. Quantum Grav. --By: IOPP.API"
<c...@iop.org>
To: <igor.b...@free.fr>


COMMENT : On the basis of this very detailed set of questions /
corrections and requests of modifications 5 month of work was
necessary
to meet all the requests of the referees. We sent the revised version
mid June and received the second report on July 23 as follows :

Ref: CQG/119461/PAP

23 July 2001


Dr I Bogdanov
Laboratoire Gevrey de Mathematique
Physique
Universite de Bourgogne
CNRS UPRES A 5029
5 avenue de Montespan
75016 Paris
FRANCE


Dear Dr Bogdanov

TITLE: Topological theory of the initial ...
AUTHORS: G Bogdanov et al

We have now received advice from our referees on this Paper, which is
under consideration for Classical and Quantum Gravity, and are
enclosing copies of the relevant report(s).
--


Second Referee's Second Report

The revised manuscript is much better but still requires some
re-working on the grammar, which I will not make an issue of.

In a few places, however, the authors need to make it clear what they
are referring to, for example on page 33, the line after equation
(77)
states: "Then, as showed in (2.1), ....". Are the
authors referring to example (2.1)? I will assume such issues will be
rectified.

Regarding content, the authors have addressed my original questions

(1) Through out the paper, \beta = 0 is stated and it would be much
clearer if \beta -> 0 is considered which better describes the limit
of infinite temperature.

(2) On page 4 (and other pages e.g. page 6) \beta -> \dot which
should presumable be replaced by \beta -> \infty? There is also a
reference missing on page 4.

(3) Much of the details in section 2, regarding the metric
independence of the partition function, are standard details which
could be omitted. Also, the form of the energy - momentum tensor
T_{\alpha\beta}, given on page 8, is true for a specific type of field
theory. The authors' provide no information of the nature of field
theories being considered in the paper. For example, are they
supersymmetric etc.?

(4) The authors' point out the H=0 (or L, which is typical for
topological field theories) can, more or less, be viewed as the same
as \beta H =0 for \beta =0 (in the limit of infinite temperature).

This crucial and interesting observation needs to be supplemented
with more detailed analysis since it is crucial for their ideas to
work. It would be very helpful and more convincing if the authors'
could provide further support. For example, can contact be made with
general covariance or topology on taking the \beta->0 limit of some
established standard results?

(5) I can almost accept that in the limit of infinite temperature,
contact can be made with a topological phase of some field theory
(the type of field theory needs to be elaborated on however). The
crucial question, however, is how does the initial topological phase
break down to a universe we see today. I would be of great interest
if the authors' could at least worry about this issue.

(6) The scale of metric mentioned in proposition 2.2 is not easy to
understand.

(7) In some places, the grammar used needs to be re-worded. Also, the
various "black dots" which appear throughout the paper are confusing
and need clarifying.

and I feel that by doing so (authors) have needed to include a lot
more detail
than they originally intended, but I feel the paper may be made more
accessible if the following was considered:

Section 5 is very important and interesting but I feel it can be
simplified. Is it possible to provide a specific example or toy-model
of the ideas here? Then, perhaps, an outline of the detailed results
could be given? The authors point out that there are further details
in ref. 2, and I feel that many of the details of section 5 could be
left their, but this may not be possible?

COMMENT : We worked again during a whole month before sending the new
substantially revised version to CQG (Aug 15). Then we received the
accetance of the paper on Aug 24 :


Subject: CQG/119461/PAP
Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2001 15:19:56 +0100
From: "Imported For: Class. Quantum Grav. --By: IOPP.API"
<c...@iop.org>
To: <igor.b...@free.fr>


Ref: CQG/119461/PAP

24 August 2001


Dr I Bogdanov
Laboratoire Gevrey de Mathematique
Physique
Universite de Bourgogne
CNRS UPRES A 5029
5 avenue de Montespan
75016 Paris
FRANCE


Dear Dr Bogdanov

TITLE: Topological theory of the initial ...
AUTHORS: G Bogdanov et al

We are pleased to inform you that we have accepted your article for
publication in Classical and Quantum Gravity as a Paper.

COMMENT : It took 7 month of very detailed work before we could
address
all the questions raised in the various reports and get a version of
the paper that could satisfy the referee.

After having read the referee's report, everyone who is familiar with
topological field theory would immediately realize that the referee
understood perfectly well the paper. His question raised in point 4
demontrates that not only the referee obviously knows the principles
of
topological field theory but also understood the idea presented in the
paper : " The authors' point out the H=0 (or L, which is typical for
topological field theories) can, more or less, be viewed as the same
as
\beta H =0 for \beta =0 (in the limit of infinite temperature)."

IN CONCLUSION : It seems totally unfair to pretend :

1) that the referee did not read the paper
2) that the referee did not understand its content
3) that the referee was not demanding profound corrections and
modifications
for the paper to meet the standards of the journal.


Thank you for your attention,

Best regards,

Igor BOGDANOFF Grichka BOGDANOFF

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