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Fears, beliefs and rejection reactions... Thinking for yourself ...
For Independent Research ... The problem of scientific publishing......
I have been pursuing independent research in Astrophysics for about ten years. In 2014, in a first paper, I propose to introduce a new force of expansion that would allow to explain the question of «flat rotation curves» without black matter (see my first paper).
I have quite a notable experience of scientific publications (TelecomParisTech engineer, I created there the «image» research laboratory, leading it for 15 years). So, I was greatly surprised by the huge rejection reactions provoked by my modest attempt in Astrophysics.
For example, this article was rejected by 9 journals before being accepted by a tenth. The query took 3 years. It had been reworked 17 times before it was published!
My approach is scientific. As such, I think that objective criticism is needed.
But I’m tired of false-motivated rejection reactions. It goes from primary rejection – not even an answer – to grossly incorrect statements, including more or less ironic and condescending critics.
“ Any idea outside the mainstream of current research must be justified in the greatest detail in relation to the old corpus of existing theory… it must respond to all the experiments made within the framework of the old corpus… it must be specified which experiments to be made in case of disagreement, etc. “
Answer: Isn’t that asking too much for an emerging idea? Will not such good intentions just kill all innovation and ultimately only accept ideas “in the mainstream of current research”?
In short: is the goal of publishers to publicize new ideas or to block them by all possible means?
“I feel that this paper is unlikely to be favorably reviewed by the referees.”
Answer: A scientific process is based on reason and not on feelings or chance. I asked to send the paper to a referre or to give the REASONS for reject. But received no answer back.
“Your work is too theoretical, too disconnected from observation data”
Answer: I am trying to publish to make this idea known to physicists who have access to experimental data and who have the means to test it. It is true that, as a totally independent researcher, I have no means of observation or even numerical simulation. In this paper, the possibility is considered, in an inhomogenic space, that the measurements of The Hubble "Constant" depend on the observation distance. This would give an answer for a major controversy today.
“Sorry, your force is going into the wrong direction”
Answer: This force is proportional to velocity. Think of a spiral motion. If the speed is directed inwards, this force will of course amplify the inward or implosive movement. However, if the speed goes outward, it will be an expansion force. So it can’t be accused of “going into the wrong direction”. This incorrect judgment results obviously from a too quick and superficial reading of the paper. When an additional mass (or equivalently, a centripetal force) is imagined to contribute to the lateral velocity, it is assumed that there is no accelerated expansion… Anyway, the effect of my force is mathematically demonstrated in my first paper.
“This is an ad hoc force” (*)
Answer: It is true that – until my 5th. paper – I did not present any other justification for this force except that, introducing it ends up with the observed velocity curve, with unchanged Newton’s force and without dark matter. In the paper presented here, It is shown that this force actually results from Einstein’s equation in General Relativity. This brings a deeper fundamental justification. Not only is it no longer a shortly justified additive, but it becomes an aspect of gravity itself! Unfortunately, the paper has already been rejected by three publishers, without even calling a reviewer.
"To publish, you must be affiliated with a University"
Answer: I wonder if Einstein could publish his first papers today.
(*)What could be more "ad’hoc" than this strange and exotic dark matter,
which is summoned at every opportunity, when its existence has not been proven
despite several decades of intense research!
After these pitiful experiences (see boxes), I finally decided to do without an editor. By placing this paper on my site and sending it myself to the concerned physicists, I’ll receive much faster and more effective answers to two important issues:
-Pass on the information to observers and experimenters as was said above.
-Receive all the critical reviews from competent physicists I will not fail to contact, being moved by a certain scientific honesty and personally committed to take their remarks into account.
I’m almost 78 years old. Time is limited. I prefer to devote my remaining forces to scientific research rather than searching for publishers.
I embarked, alone, on the difficult task of “thinking for oneself”. No mentor, no institution, no guide but my own critical thinking. It is a very difficult task. The solitary research fellow – if he is honest and courageous enough – cannot but internalize all the heard criticisms. He cannot override his own safeguards with his own thought. Thinking for yourself is a tough school. It takes courage to overcome the reactions of rejection mentioned above and also to face ones own demons, ones thinking mistakes, etc. I have been my own censor. This is worth a little consideration.
Dr. Y is a senior researcher. I have great respect for his work. He’s organizing a series of seminars I attend. His results are interesting, despite the fact that he self-glorifies too ostentatious and too frequently for my taste. Nevertheless, I believe he is open enough to welcome my input and give me his advice and guidance. I approach him at the end of his seminar.
- Hello sir, I would like you to know my publications. I proposed a new force, which could explain the question of flat rotation curves without dark matter…
Great is then my amazement at receiving his immediate response, of an incredible violence:
- Certainly not! Dark matter exists. It DOES EXIST! You must not seek in this way. Let the specialists work!
- But, sir, you have not read my papers…
-"I won’t read them!" I have the right to choose my readings, no?
I was so touched, I fell so far down that I didn’t know what to tell him. I sent out a vague “OK, it’s up to you…”
Here’s what I should have said:
- Sir, you are wrong. It is part of your obligations to keep you informed about everything concerning your field. Even if it does not a priori corresponds to your personal ideas.
I understand that one can be destabilized by novelty, especially if one believes to "know" and if this "knowledge" results from a long work and even more so when one sincerely thinks that it has been guaranteed by a scientific approach. We defend ourselves all the more when our beliefs have been strongly and durably supported. At least would it be reassuring if the protester was part of our circles! If he is a stranger, we feel entitled to tell him, "Who are you to question our certainties?"
But it is a pity that independent research is thus penalized.
As for the current organization of the scientific publication system, it is questionable whether it will last a long time, under the pressure of the new means provided by Internet. Of course, the current system - finding, if possible, experts who are both experts and independent - could appear as the best possible one. Under the condition that the editors spread the new ideas. However, being motivated by laudable but too often excessive scruples, they end up doing the exact opposite, only letting go what strengthens dominant ideas. Isn’t it then legitimate to consider changing the system?
Mr. X is an influent scientist. He is the head of a research laboratory. He writes articles, gives lectures, he is interviewed in the press. Most often, his contributions are syntheses presentation of the major trends today. Well. However, I observe some inclinations in him which disturb me greatly.
- He always fails to mention unconventional works, those which do not go in the flow of the dominant theory. Or, when he mentions them, it is without lingering, without ever considering their possible interest.
- For at least 15 years now, he has not raised the slightest doubt about dark matter. In his most recent publications, a slight suspicion of doubt begins to point. What a critical mind!
- He admits that the Big Bang theory runs into some difficulties here and there. But, faced with any explanatory challenge, its reaction is always the same: we will launch a satellite, we will make new observations, we will build a new experimental device. He’s not the only one who thinks that way. Hundreds of engineers think and live from this.
- He never says, “Let’s stop and think”. He does not seem to have been touched by the question of the dilemma of the experimenter: we – too often – see only through the prism of our preconceived ideas. Any measurement campaign is based on underlying theoretical concepts. The most attentive observer, makes his measurements by referring to a whole corpus of thought that risks directing him, in spite of himself, towards more or less predetermined results. Our thought gauges make us too often find what we are looking for, thus reinforcing our initial ideas. But isn’t the most interesting thing about research to find what we weren’t looking for? We are surprised by a real discovery, astonished, destabilized.