of Being Blacklisted from Posting to ArXiv.org
Why all this fuss about
Ginsparg's Suppression Policies
If a paper is submitted to
a refereed journal and is rejected due to a negative review,
the author still has the opportunity to submit to another journal.
If his work makes a significant contribution to a field
of science, eventually he will find a journal whose referees
will understand the value of his work and it will be published.
The referee process is confidential. So, when a paper
is rejected from one journal, it does not become common knowledge.
The author may submit his paper (hopefully in improved
form) to another journal without the referees of the next journal
knowing its previous review status.
The situation is quite different in the case
of the electronic preprint archive. If a scientist is rejected
from ArXiv.org, e.g., prohibited from having posting privileges,
the result will soon become apparent to the rest of the physics
community since his papers will not appear on the archive inventory.
Unlike professional journals, where there are many to choose
from, there is only one ArXiv.org and its extended mirror sites,
and it has positioned itself as the main repository for preprint
papers in physics, astrophysics, and mathematics. This
blacklisting has serious repercussions for the scientists who
are discriminated against.
Some of these tragic consequences are listed below:
The psychological pain
inflicted on the individual, pain that cannot be measured nor
weighed in dollars and cents.
Risk of being cheated of the proper
recognition for being the original thinker of an idea that may
gain recognition in the future. Others may claim the personal
glory of being the first to communicate the idea to the scientific
community by posting similar results in arXiv.org.
Ideas may be lost to Physics. (This
is pointed out in Prof. Brian Josephson's letter to Nature.)
The scientist is unable to make corrections
to papers that he previously had posted on the archive when he
had posting privileges.
In many cases, colleagues are unwilling
to refer to the person's work because it is not posted on arXiv.org.
In addition, should
the blacklisting of a scientist become known:
Professional death. In that
case, the reputation of the scientist could be tarnished. In
some cases blacklisting could cause him to be regarded as a crackpot
or outcast by the scientific community.
colleagues may be hesitant to refer to his work, even if it has
been published in refereed journals.
Loss of potential grants, job opportunities,
and resulting income.
Ostracism and ridicule from colleagues
and from the establishment. For example, one blacklistee
reports that some of his so-called former friends no longer wish
to talk to him, nor write or respond to him.
They may risk not being invited to
speak at conferences or at research institutions.