Re: Your research (Alain de Cheveigne )

Subject: Re: Your research
From:    Alain de Cheveigne  <alain(at)LINGUIST.JUSSIEU.FR>
Date:    Mon, 21 Mar 1994 18:16:14 +0100

In a recent message to the list, Al Bregman (bregman(at)CCRMA.STANFORD.EDU) said: >I think that the problems you are having (rejection of ideas that the >reviewers find "debatable") are due to a widespread view that the job >of a reviewer is: >1. to force the authors to rewrite the article, >2. suppress speculation. I don't agree with Al's first point: >I think both are harmful to research. The first makes it require >twice the amount of time and energy to do research than is necessary, >for a doubtful gain. A better approach would be to either (a) reject >the article outright, or (b) ask for really minor revisions. Since >the same number of journal pages would be filled as there are now, >nobody would really suffer. Except the reader. If a paper only needs minor revisions, fine. My experience reading other peoples's drafts, or writing my own, tells me there's often a lot that's wrong and much to be gained in rewriting. The logic straigtens out, assumptions become clear, stuff that's not so useful gets pruned. Sure, it takes time and energy, but the result is easier to read. If a paper is to be read by a hundred people, it makes sense to spend 25 extra hours polishing it so that each of them doesn't spend 15 extra minutes wondering what the author meant. I spend more time reading than doing anything else. And much of it is wasted cursing at prose I have difficulty understanding! >I am just saying that the word "debatable" >should never serve as grounds for suppressing an important debate. To this I do agree! Alain.

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Electrical Engineering Dept., Columbia University