Friday, 9 April 2010

Deliberately contentious review.

Here are samples of three reviews of my paper. Words have been tweaked for the sake of anonymity, the messages have not.

Reviewer #1: "This paper is sound and is sufficiently illuminating to deserve publication."

Reviewer #2: This paper is not suitable for publication. I am not an expert on subject though, so I might have missed the point. Review by an expert may lead to a different opinion.

Reviewer #3: Nobody doubts that the lattice gives the correct nonperturbative description of QCD.

So, one referee loves it, another admits he hasn't a clue what's going on, but rejects it, and his opinion apparently counts for something, while a third almost ignores the actual content of the paper because he thinks all the difficulties of QCD can be avoided if you just shove it on a lattice. The review spans a side of A4 which tells me only one thing -- we should all be lattice theorists.

Does anyone else doubt that the lattice is the best thing ever? Because, I'm sure it gets all the topology right. Absoloutely spot on. I'm sure that taking the incredibly complicated configuration space of QCD, with all its topology, you know, that thing which makes it different from QED, and replacing it with a box of discrete points is utterly fine. Oh yes. And I'm sure that at short distances spacetime is entirely equivalent to a not very finely grained euclidean 4-torus. That sounds totally reasonable.

How are you supposed to fight reviews like this?

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