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Dear Professor Schwede,

Вторник, 20 Октябрь, 00:10, posic.livejournal.com


It is not for me to tell other people what they should do, particularly given that I am not in their shoes and they are not in mine. As you can check on the MathSciNet and in the arXiv, I was publishing almost nothing for some 10 years, and then had had all the most important ideas of mine for some 15 preceding years written up and posted to the arXiv in a short time period. Only to discover them to be universally rejected by all the editorial boards of any fame and significance.

I do not have many papers, and each of them is dear to me. I also believe them to be important mathematical research. I received some 8 rejection letters in a row between 2012-14. The paper rejected by Documenta was also rejected by 3 other journals, both before and after Documenta, between 2011-2014, before being finally accepted several weeks ago.

What is important for me is not to participate in things which I do not understand and do not believe in. I take reviewing work to be a kind of almost-research activity, with the responsibility of the reviewer being to tell the editor what is written in the paper, perhaps sometimes also tell the author(s) themselves what is written in their paper, and to discover and correct the mistakes. Other people may take it as an opportunity for an exercise of power, for rewarding group loyalties and punishing independence, pushing other people's careers up and down, etc.

Other people may feel themselves to be interested in sustaining the peer reviewing system as it presently exists. I am not. I would say, it is up to the people who have faith in the system and do not want to see it in trouble, to make sure that it does not alienate important authors and desirable reviewers. Whoever these people associating themselves with the present system or believing in it might be, in my case they failed in their task. I cannot work for enterprises I do not believe in, and the peer review at Documenta Mathematica is one example of such an enterprise.

It is perhaps inevitable that any editorial board or review system would perform a quality limitation not only from below but also from above; that there, probably, always existed and will always exist papers that are, literally, too good to be published, or to be published in a particular journal. But this kind of behavior on the part of the editorial boards, as any kind of counterproductive behavior, has to come with a price to be paid for it if it is to be kept in check. My policy is designed to exert this price.

Its long-term effects will depend entirely on the establishment's ceasing or continuing to alienate deeply and originally thinking mathematicians who value their independence and their right to do research work on projects of their own choice, rather than the establishment's.

Best regards,
Leonid Positselski

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