Seeking a collaborator (for f%^& sake…): the continuing saga of the Cerf-Adami paper

As anyone who has read my blog for awhile or who runs into me at conferences knows, I have been working on a paper related to the Cerf-Adami inequalities for two and a half years now. The paper has gone through several drafts and been changed so dramatically from the first that its basic ideas appear in four separate papers on the arXiv here, here, here, and most recently here (which is usually not kosher, but read on…).

After bitching about the trouble I’d been having with this all the way back in April, and again in May, I was generously offered extensive help from Terry Rudolph, though he admitted he wasn’t an expert on entropies. Nonetheless, with his editing acumen and his taskmaster mentality having been applied to the paper for nearly six months (May through October) I was convinced I’d have more success. And, of course, I was wrong.

Now, to review, the following people have, at one time or another in the past few years, spent countless hours scouring this paper and offering very detailed suggestions: Terry, Ken Wharton, Barry Sanders, and Frank Schroeck. These guys aren’t lightweights and, as I did in the acknowledgments section of the paper, I thank them heartily.

But, no one, to this point, has been willing to spend the time to actually collaborate on this, i.e. serve as a co-author. Every effort I have made to obtain a co-author (hell, even to get someone to read it, with the exceptions listed above) has met with the all-too-typical, “I’d love to, and I think the idea is very interesting, but I’m just so busy.”

Even the final verdict of the PRA Editorial Board was an “I’m sorry, but…” sort of thing. The final sentence in the Editor’s report was “I am sure that from the idea as such, once this additional time is invested, one could make a splendid paper, an assessment that apparently our colleague Barry Sanders also shares.” Since the Editor signed his name I thought perhaps he might be willing to share authorship and help me finish this. See the last line of my previous paragraph for the response.

While one might assume that it is the topic that people are unsure about, I have had the same sort of trouble with my now year-and-a-half long excursion into the world of quantum communication on closed time-like curves (see my Christmas Day post). I have also received lukewarm to tepid responses regarding assistance on some work I’ve started on open quantum systems (an off-shoot of my CTC work), even from the person who suggested I start working on it in the first place!

What the f&^% do I need to do to get a goddamn collaborator? Oh, I’m sure I’ll now get a string of e-mail from crackpots offering assistance. But, it seems to me (now that PRA and probably JPA as well are out of the picture) there aren’t too many decent journals left out there. Why do I want to see it in a decent journal? Well, take these words from Terry on this very blog: “I’ve sent Barry the link to this page. Frankly I am surprised you didn’t get it published despite those things I said above. I’m also surprised Barry didn’t suggest the change of focus etc that I mentioned above. I’m pretty sure he’ll agree that it will make it much easier to read and to publish.”

(*&^@%*&^$_!(*^_(*^#^@^%*$#% What the FU&%!!!!

Update: Could it be my personality maybe? I mean, I’m a little weird and eccentric, yeah, but we’re physicists and mathematicians for crissakes! We’re all weird! Apparently I am just not the right kind of weird (especially in this day and age when being weird is now cool).

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4 Responses to “Seeking a collaborator (for f%^& sake…): the continuing saga of the Cerf-Adami paper”

  1. Aw, quantummoxie. I’d collaborate with you if I knew what the f&^% you were talking about 😉

  2. I suspect part of the problem is that a lot of people will be unwilling to put their name on a paper where they didn’t do any of the original research (and, your case aside, I think that is a very good thing).

    By the way, have you tried NJP? It has a very decent impact factor now and the reviewing is always very fast.

  3. quantummoxie Says:

    Well, I guess I was figuring someone would be willing to co-author in exchange for actually doing some original research to shore this up since I keep getting rejections.

    I have tried PRA, JPA, NJP (wouldn’t even send it out for review), EJP (ditto that), Nature (ditto again, though it was a very early draft), and maybe a few others (I’ll have to check my Inbox again).

    The thing that is frustrating is that I have unambiguously proven that you can get the CA inequalities without using conditional entropies and conditional entropies were stated in CA’s original paper is being necessary for a violation of said inequalities. It seems to me this is a pretty strong result. In addition, I’ve done it without Markov chains and I thought I pretty clearly showed that Markov chains were inherent in CA’s original derivation. The problem seems to be complicated by the fact that it has gone through so many drafts that the earlier ones are muddling everyone’s views of the last one which I think is succinct and unambiguous.

    I wish someone had been willing to collaborate early on in this process, but getting more than a quick read out of most people is like pulling teeth. I’m just tired of working in a vacuum when I know all these smart folks in the field.

  4. I’m afraid I can’t offer any comfort. I know very little about the subject matter.

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