The Myth of Academic Excellence?

Walter F.Wreszinski has written a short article called “The Myth of Academic Excellence and Scientific Curiosity” in the January 2013 edition of the News Bulletin of the International Association of Mathematical Physics [Wre]. It makes for some thought provoking reading…

The journals which we will call top A, of high “impact factor” (a rather controversial number analysed in detail in [Bin]), boast of high rejection indices, which reach 95 per cent, encouraging referees to recommend refusal in the almost totality of cases in order to justify this so important “measure of quality.” Thus, a major objective of these journals became the search for justifications to substantiate refusal, resulting in a one sided, and therefore unfair and unrealistic, view of the refereeing process.

Another interesting sentiment is quoted below.

We see that the main obstacle to the truth becoming known was the false concept of excellence associated to peer-review in top-A journals. A rejection to publish there leads to publication in a “non top A,” but this is equivalent to impart a label: the author did not succeed in publishing in top A, therefore the contribution is not first rate.

About Walter F.Wreszinski
Walter F.Wreszinski is a native of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and obtained his Ph.D. in 1973 at the Seminar für Theoretische Physik der ETH, Zürich, in the field of mathematical physics, having Prof. Dr. K. Hepp as thesis advisor. Since 1990 he has been full professor at the Departamento de Física Matemática, Instituto de Física, USP (University of São Paulo). His main research interests are mathematical statistical mechanics and quantum field theory.

[Bin] Mathias Binswanger, Sinnlose Wettbewerbe. Herder, 2010.

[Wre] Walter F.Wreszinski, The Myth of Academic Excellence and Scientic Curiosity, IAMP News Bulletin, January 2013 (pdf)


Note added 06/02/2013: Wreszinski’s article also appeared in the Brazilian Journal of Physics December 2012