Page 11/08/2015 07:12:36

Sorry state of academic publication

“We receive many more good papers than we can publish and the Board must carefully weigh which papers merit external review. The expert who served as editor concluded that although this work is interesting, it does not have the broad appeal needed for XYZ and is better suited for a more specialized journal.” – I am eagerly waiting for that day when I will be emancipated. I will not need to be a subject and slave of some incompetent so called Editors of big name journals who are mere puppets of some academic gods (or dogs?).
I understand the concept of gods – in academia they were previously limited in the general field of natural science. They were eying on Nobel Prizes only. Unfortunately since the beginning of millennium they have gradually occupied the field of engineering (especially physical electronics) in the name of “multi-disciplinary” efforts (in reality buddy system). I don’t blame them. Everyone loves expansion, domination, invasion, occupation. But why did we (engineers) give up space for them? Well, just because of money. We started blaming industries as they don’t give us grants. Government agencies are not flowing money in the direction within the traditional scopes. But why they should? First, they are also mostly academic or such who also love to hear fairy tales (which gods can make me look good that I am using the tax payers’ money in the best possible way, who I like, who can lobby for me when I return to my original position or can help me embarking on a new position afterwards, etc.) rather than fact checking and secondly we (engineers) failed miserably to think out of the box. We have been happy making automobiles in the traditional way for years, we have been keeping electronics as they are, and such. Result: Google is the leading company for self-driven car! Where was GM and Toyota and Mercedes? Well, some will say – we are doers, not braggers. Well, sometimes when you are completely stripped off, you have to say a word or two to ensure you are not humiliated!
So what happened with the academic gods? They invaded engineering. They planted their off springs (students, post docs, research scientists) in many places. They launched “multi-disciplinary” journals to serve broad spectrum of “readers”. Right, you heard it right: “readers”. With the rise of era of brain circulation, countries like China, South Korea with economic boom feeling they also need to secure the high-tech based economic future by funneling tons of money first to the gods (to serve as their intellectual gods and then as their silent supporters – here their means talents of China or Korea) and then by establishing multi-billion dollar research institutes and universities where their talents can produce more talents (at the end they are all at the mercy of their traditional academic gods to publish and such). Now, China and Korea are sponsoring the larger “reader” community. Rather than bringing any new ideas on the plates, following sensation is what they are good at (or even if they bring the ideas, rarely it gets publicity like the traditional gods will get). And the other kind is initiatives in Gulf States fueled by petro-dollars to get some “progressive” face time in front of the rest of the “modern” world. Bottom line is slavery and colonialism have crippled the mentality so much that at the end of the day our imagination is handicapped and at the end of the day looking toward academic gods and their mouthpieces: big journals which are edited by themselves and if not then by their puppets!
Often, they publish a 3D schematic illusionary figure whose practical realization is fundamentally restricted. Well, gods have answers for all (except the solution keys): “We don’t know yet, but soon we will know.”
Gods and their puppets are in so much Venetian Honeymoon Boats that they only publish or let publish:
1.       Papers which will never threaten their existence and continuation as gods.
2.       Papers which are authored by their off-springs.
Solid engineering papers may not have the hype. Pragmatic community don’t want to say something which they don’t see is working. They are shy to claim victory trophy on a swimming competition held in the air. But this is killing them. The major challenge is gods are so powerful that they not only control the publication worlds, they also control our recruitment, promotion, award, recognition. Can you imagine their puppets take a submitted paper with competing concept or ideas which are challenging their (gods) very existence or authority and ask the gods should it even go for review? You press them, they will always say, “No, we only look for novel work”. We have seen “novel” works by Jan Hendrik Schön. Some folks brag, I have this and that paper in big journals. Well, they should also publish (as supporting info), receipts how many drinks/cocktails, and buttery smooching e-mails they have exchanged with the puppet editors. First you become reviewer, then you are asked to write some soft news and views and then your papers are going to fly and appear and then suddenly you become god. Another trick is to publish with the gods and then wait when current gods will slow down so you become the next god.
Sometimes gods fight with each other (well, they hate each other so much!). If one god publishes in XYZ, then other god will retaliate with immediate phone call based publication in PQR. If you are unknown and one god is reviewing, can hold the review, get his or her own paper published first and then you become the second one. Well, Newton started that with Leibnitz. Bottom line is we have always loved to worship. There are three types of people in the world, “Gods who have luck but may not have skills; worshippers who have no luck, nor skills; and rebels – who definitely have skills but may not have the luck, yet.”
Gods and their puppets – should I start writing a novel or contact Michael Moore so he makes a documentary on their debauchery?