Physical Review Editors

Here is a final paragraph I wrote (CTC = closed timelike curve):

Finally, we would not be honest if we did not end this paper with the caveat that this work is at best a creature of eager speculation. Without a theory of quantum gravity, we cannot know whether CTCs can exist let alone whether they can be generated within the confines of the such a theory. Practical considerations are humorous at best. The surprising answer that quantum computation in the presence of CTCs is a powerful new model of quantum computation gives us reason, however, to pause and ponder the implications.

and the Physical Review editors replied with:

The wording of the last paragraph of your paper does not conform to the presentation of Physical Review A. We prefer literal descriptions and suggest the following: End the first sentence with “… at best based on eager speculation.” Remove the penultimate sentence entirely.

Is it any wonder that science is full of dull writing and that the public’s perception of science is that of a bunch of boring egomaniacs jargonizing endlessly about trivialities?

7 Replies to “Physical Review Editors”

  1. I have to say I agree with the editors about the “creature of eager speculation” bit. I personally don’t like that phrasing (it sounds awkward to me), and I think it’s best to avoid fanciful language in papers meant to be accessible to readers with a shaky grasp of English.
    On the other hand, removing the penultimate sentence is just silly. I can think of no justification except that it’s insufficiently dignified and pompous.

  2. The Physical Review’s editorial policies in this vein enrage me — there’s no other word for it. I won’t say much here, as I’m inclined to rant at length. (Poor form in someone else’s comments; I should save it for my blog 🙂
    I will say this: I reckon the Physical Review could turn Stephen Pinker’s prose into a fair simulacrum of Noam Chomsky’s. Appalling.
    As David Mermin has documented at length elsewhere, the PR simply removes anything that could be construed as less than boring, no matter how much it contributes to the paper or aids communication. Your comment is a good example. Bah.

  3. Dear Friend, I think that you are not write to try to ue this kind of language in a journal like physical review, if you are really good at writting .. You should try to write to two publications, instead:: One with your scientific findinds and send it to NATURE or PR and another one more disgestable and send it to New scientist or any magazine like…
    I give this challange.. are you good enough to take it…
    Igor from Ukraine

  4. Sorry It is Igor here..
    In my previos message.. I meant to write::
    Dear Friend, I think that you are wrong to try to use this kind of language in a journal….

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