h a l f b a k e r y
Not so much a thought experiment as a single neuron misfire.
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A header of this type could include but would not be
A standardized set of definitions for ill-
concepts; A disclaimer about gender-specific pronouns to
avoid yet another argument about sexism; A
philosophical background from which the document was
written; and a description of the rules of grammar used
This would relieve the world's
people of countless hours of arguments over irrelevant
A possible down side is that papers
would become much less lengthy, forcing reviewers to
get their heads out of their asses and look at actual
merit rather than document length.
|Neither this, nor any other idea, can induce bad
reviewers to get their heads out of their asses.
|You're right, though, that depriving reviewers of
trivia to complain about is dangerous, as it might
lead to substantive criticism.
|// the world's brightest people of countless hours of arguments over irrelevant petty details. //
|That, right there, is a reason why "worlds brightest"
and "worlds most successful" are not the same thing.
|[Voice] which discipline are you thinking of here?
I'm only familiar with one (molecular biology) and
your solutions have variable
//A standardized set of
definitions for ill- defined concepts// In general,
there aren't many ill-defined concepts bandied
about (IRS2 is IRS2; phosphorylation is
phosphorylation) except for statements like "a
useful prognostic marker", where "useful" is a bit
woolly. Non-standard abbreviations are generally
expanded on the first use or, in a few journals, in
a table of abbreviations; editors insist on this.
|//disclaimer about gender-specific pronouns //
Well, I suppose so in some disciplines. Biology
papers rarely use "he", "hers" etc except when
referring to a specific person who will usually be
either male or female.
|//standardized philosophical background from
which the document was written// If you mean
"authors should state if they have an axe to
grind", then forget it. Of course everyone has an
opinion (my data are more reliable than Smith's
data), but will claim to be objective. That's what
the data is there for, in theory, so you can check
their conclusions. If someone has commercial or
other clearly relevent interests, there's usually a
requirement to state them at the end of the
|// a description of the rules of grammar// If you
mean 'grammar' in the normal sense of the word,
this is reasonably standardised, and a decent
editor will check that it's up to scratch. For
example, he would correct elementary mistakes
such as putting a capital "A" directly after a
semicolon (especially if it were done twice in a
row, and used inconsistently).
|Like I said, I know that the world is very different
in other disciplines, but I'm not sure which axe
you're grinding here.
|Can you give an example of what you're trying to
prevent with this idea?
|In the meantime, my condolences on having your
paper rejected. I know it stings.