The Suppression of Dr. Rowlands' Quantum Physics Paper


Summary:

On December 8th, 2004, I sent a paper to the quant-phys section of the archive, having posted 9 previous papers to arXiv.org, in the phys, quant-phys, and computer science sections.  I wasn't told that the paper had been blocked.  I only found out by accident when I tried to access it a week later.

The managers of the site told me that the paper was deemed 'inappropriate' and 'of no interest' to users.  I demanded an explanation from arXiv 'Moderation'.  I have had no response and am still waiting.  I tried again a week ago.  They say only that the issue will be dealt with - no proper reply.

I find the whole thing baffling, as the paper was a purely mathematical approach to issues in quantum physics.  There was nothing 'New Age' or weird about it.  Some of the material has already appeared in refereed publications.  It didn't violate any known physical laws or principles.

However, it was novel and original in its approach, which, of course, is the whole reason for doing research in the first place.

The arXiv is not a journal with specific stated policies for inclusion.  It claims to represent the whole of physics, and it does not say anywhere that it will refuse to publish papers that fall outside the narrow interests of its moderators.  This covert censorship is even more insidious in the light of arXiv's pretended policy of being open.

Peter Rowlands

University of Liverpool
Liverpool, UK

January 20, 2005

 

1. Peter Rowlands uploads his paper "A defragmented Dirac equation" to ArXiv.org.  He receives the following normal automated responses from arXiv.

8 December 2004 from arXiv

Your user/password combination for this paper is

User-ID: quant-ph/0412066
Password: a4526

You will need this ID/password pair to do any of the following:

- to check the paper before it is announced
- to cross-list the paper
- to add publication information
- to replace the paper with a revised version

Keep this password safe -- all future replacements will require it.

Paper: quant-ph/0412066
From: Peter Rowlands <p.rowlands@liv.ac.uk>

Title: A defragmented Dirac equation
Authors: Peter Rowlands
Comments: 40 pages

*** SAVE THIS MESSAGE FOR FUTURE REFERENCE ***
(and forward to any collaborators for safekeeping)

 

8 December 2004 from arXiv

To verify abstract and pdf, use http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0412066
PaperId: quant-ph/0412066, PaperPassword: a4526 (access still password restricted)
Abstract will appear in mailing scheduled to begin at 20:00 Wednesday
US Eastern time (i.e., Thu 9 Dec 04 01:00:00 GMT).

Your title and abstract will appear in the next mailing exactly as below.
(Except possibly for the NUMBER which IS NOT OFFICIAL until the next mailing
of abstracts [20:00 US Eastern time (EDT/EST) Sun - Thu] -- it cannot be used
to cross-list to other archives [e.g., from cs to math or physics] until after
that time.) To correct any problems, you MUST replace NOW.
Replacements on the same day (until the 16:00 US Eastern time deadline Mon-Fri)
do not generate a revised date line, so do not hesitate to replace submission
until everything is perfect (including removal of any extraneous files).

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Abstract intended for posting:

Paper: quant-ph/0412066
From: Peter Rowlands <p.rowlands@liv.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 8 Dec 2004 16:33:34 GMT (384kb)

Title: A defragmented Dirac equation
Authors: Peter Rowlands
Comments: 40 pages
\\
It is possible to reconstruct a 'defragmented' Dirac equation in such a way
as to generate automatic second quantization, supersymmetry without extra
particles, finite energy of the free state without renormalization, propagators
without an infrared divergence, string theory without strings, explicit state
vectors for fermions, bosons and baryons, symmetry breaking between the weak,
strong and electric interactions, quark confinement and automatic baryonic
mass.  Even the Dirac equation itself becomes unnecessary as the entire
information required to determine phase and amplitude becomes compactified
within a single expression for the Dirac state.
\\

Contains:
proton.pdf: 392824 bytes (looks big)

Stored as: 0412066.pdf (384kb)

Warnings:

Author 1: Peter Rowlands


2.  Dr. Rowlands discovers that his paper did not post as expected and that his assigned paper number was given to another author.  Concerned that something went wrong with the procedure, he writes to arXiv.org.

 

 15 December 2004

Dear arXiv admin:

I submitted a paper to quant-ph on 8 December, which was accepted.  The title was 'A defragmented Dirac equation'.  The file was named proton.pdf.  I received the following reply:

<< To verify abstract and pdf, use http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0412066
<< PaperId: quant-ph/0412066, PaperPassword: a4526
<< (access still password restricted)
<< Abstract will appear in mailing scheduled to begin at 20:00 Wednesday
<< US Eastern time (i.e., Thu 9 Dec 04 01:00:00 GMT).

<< Your title and abstract will appear in the next mailing exactly as below.
<< (Except possibly for the NUMBER which IS NOT OFFICIAL until the next
<< mailing of abstracts [20:00 US Eastern time (EDT/EST) Sun - Thu] -- it
<< cannot be used to cross-list to other archives [e.g., from cs to math or
<< physics] until after that time.)

The paper in arXiv under this number is a different one.  I am unable to find the paper I submitted.

Peter Rowlands


3.  He is notified that his paper was determined to be "inappropriate."

15 December 2004

Dear Peter,

Your submission has been removed upon a notice from our moderators,
who determined it inappropriate for the quant-ph archive.  We
apologize that you were not notified sooner.

Do NOT under any circumstances resubmit to the original arXiv before
first explaining the reason to moderation@arxiv.org AND receiving
a positive response.

Please direct all questions and concerns regarding moderation to the
moderation@arXiv.org address.

 

4.  He is shocked by their response.


 15 December 2004

To: arXiv admin

Dear arXiv admin.

I do not understand your reply.  I am a registered user with several previous submissions.  I am not aware that I have to seek any endorsement.  What does it mean 'inappropriate' mean?  Quality?  Wrong subject area?

Peter Rowlands

 

15 December 2004

"Inappropriate" in this sense means that the moderators of the particular subject area thought that the article would not be of interest to readers of that subject.

 

5.  Rowlands writes back demanding an explanation:

 16 December 2004

To: arXiv admin

Dear arXiv-moderation,

As a registered submitter to quant-ph, I wonder whether you would do me the courtesy of explaining to me why you removed my paper 'A defragmented Dirac equation' (8 December) from quant-ph without having the courtesy to inform me at the time.  While there may be a vetting procedure for new submitters, there is nothing on the arXiv site to say that the papers submitted by registered users will be subjected to such arbitrary and seemingly surreptitious censorship.  If this is the policy of arXiv, then one would expect an open declaration of it, not an attempt to present the site as a relatively open coverage of the full range of interests of physicists as a whole.   

If arXiv has become just another 'journal', with a restricted range of interests, then one would expect policy statements from the different areas regarding submissions, and a proper refereeing process to take place over a period of time, not a covert blocking of papers which a single individual or a few individuals (however eminent) deem, on a relatively brief examination, to be 'inappropriate' or 'not of interest'.  

As a registered user of the site, I am unable to see how a mathematical paper on quantum physics could be 'inappropriate' to a quantum physics site and 'of no interest' to its users.  Also, while the paper in question may have been innovative in some of its ideas (as any good paper should be), it was certainly not in contradiction with any currently-accepted physics, and some of the material has already appeared in refereed journals.  My own experience is that papers of this kind, using relatively unfamiliar mathematical techniques, require considerable study (and sometimes discussion with the author) before their full meaning becomes apparent.  However, interest generated by presenting such material at conferences or seminars is always very high.  

Without a proper explanation of the procedures for dealing with individual submissions, and a more open explanation of the current policy of the site, it will be impossible for users to know whether a future submission will meet with this response.  As a registered user of the site, I feel I am owed a genuine explanation of your actions, which goes beyond the 'we deemed it inappropriate' or 'not of interest' variety.

Yours sincerely
Peter Rowlands

Their automated response:

16 December 2004

Your moderation query has been received and will be given due consideration.
Pending moderation queries are reviewed weekly.
Further action is neither necessary nor helpful to speed up the process.
(In particular, e-mail to any other addresses about moderation issues
will be left unattended.)

Responses are unavoidably slow during this period (winter 2004) due to
an ongoing reevaluation of moderation policies.
Thank you for your patience.

 

6.  Three weeks pass and he receives no reply from arXiv admin:

 6 January 2005

Dear arXiv-moderation,

I put in a query on 16 December, concerning a submission of 8 December, to which I received the automatic acknowledgement with promise of a reply, but no actual reply as yet.  Could you give me some indication of how long it will be before I can expect such a reply?

Yours sincerely
Peter Rowlands

 

Their automatic response:

6 January

Your moderation query has been received and will be given due consideration.
Pending moderation queries are reviewed weekly.
Further action is neither necessary nor helpful to speed up the process.
(In particular, e-mail to any other addresses about moderation issues
will be left unattended.)

Responses are unavoidably slow during this period (winter 2004) due to
an ongoing reevaluation of moderation policies.
Thank you for your patience.

 

 To this date, January 25, 2005, Dr. Rowlands has received no reply from arXiv.org explaining their censorship of his paper.