Fork me on GitHub
Math for the people, by the people.

User login

Publish and perish?

Primary tabs

Publish and perish?


From AMS Math in the Media:

With the symbol "not in" as its logo, Rejecta Mathematica is an online home for mathematical work which has been previously rejected by peer-reviewed journals, but which may still be interesting to the mathematical community. Reasons for rejection run the gamut and include: "negative" results, known results, or difficult to understand exposition. Even top scientists receive rejections for papers that are later published in highly respected journals.
Having one of their own submissions rejected, the young editors of this newly minted journal contend that even flawed papers can be quite valuable. Seeing as the articles are available for free, declaring "Caveat emptor" ("buyer beware") under the journal title may be the founders way of taking a jab at the myriad of online journals that require payment to view their supposedly superior articles. But just because it is free does not mean any disgruntled mathematician can publish. Submissions are chosen based on content and an "open letter" giving the story of the authors attempts to publish and the reasons given for rejection.
--- Brie Finegold

Editorial boards of the major journals are often self-serving, or worse, out-dated, not reading the latest contents of submitted papers covering topics on the edges of their personal specialties.

For example, the British Museum and its staff and editorial boards publish and work with unsophisticated BBC interviewers to high-light their personal views such as this Feb. 2010 program on the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus (RMP) per:

The personal interests of this "editorial board" stressed an outdated view pushing the 1920s classical view that only Greek geometry was abstract, and taught to Greeks by Egyptians. The RMP, was connected to five other Egyptian texts and was only reviewed for Greek geometry fragments. Since little of value was found in the RMP and five other Egyptian texts, the remaining abstract arithmetic, algebra and arithmetic progression information that connects to over 1,000 Egyptian, Greek, Arab and medieval texts like Fibonacci's Liber Abaci, the abstract non-geometry mathematics used for 3,600 years was thrown out like the 'baby in the bath water'.

Let the ancient texts speak for themselves, edited by non-self serving interdisciplinary groups ... a policy that slowly moving into the 'publish or perish' journal community ...

The BBC RMP program should have introduced the Egyptian Mathematical Leather Roll, the RMP's sibling document, as discussed by:

Henry Rhind obtained both documents around 1858, and upon his untimely death, the RMP and the EMLR were deeded to the British Museum in 1864.

The British Museum was slow to analyze or publish both documents. It took a German to pirate a version of the RMP and publish it in Germany in 1879.

The EMLR was not unrolled until 1927, and read as a simpleton document rather than reporting its actual number theory contents, a scribal student's introduction to learning 2/n table arithmetic methods.

Publish or perish often limits scholars to Euro-centric metaphors, such as this month's BBC reporting of a love for Greek geometry and offering zero respect or ancient Egyptian number theory. The EMLR offered the first known form of the 'fundamental theorem of arithmetic', solving an Old Kingdom infinite series round-off problem by generally creating the first known finite arithmetic.

When will the BBC and the British journal community wake up?

A BBC ancient history and archaeology message board cited an incomplete Feb 2010 BBC discussion of the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus. The BBC broadcast omitted Henry Rhind and the British Museum EMLR document by over-stressing a search for ancient foundations of Greek geometry per:

This month's BBC review of the RMP was myopic, taking a small slice of a large loaf, suggesting that a whole loaf of information had been digested.

The fairly translate the RMP its sibling British Museum EMLR loaf of bread:

must be digested first. The Wikipedia EMLR summary cites a half-dozen critical slices that must be parsed before the RMP 2/n table can be rigorously and fairly placed on a plate for dining per:

"The Egyptian Mathematical Leather Roll (also referred to as EMLR) was a 10" x 17" leather roll purchased by Alexander Henry Rhind in 1858. It was sent to the British Museum in 1864, along with the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus but the former was not chemically softened and unrolled until 1927 (Scott, Hall 1927).

The writing consists of Middle Kingdom hieratic characters written right to left. There are 26 rational numbers listed. Each rational number is followed by its equivalent Egyptian fraction series. There were ten Eye of Horus numbers: 1/2, 1/4 (twice), 1/8 (thrice), 1/16 (twice), 1/32, 1/64 converted to Egyptian fractions. There were seven other even rational numbers converted to Egyptian fractions: 1/6 (twice–but wrong once), 1/10, 1/12, 1/14, 1/20 and 1/30. Finally, there were nine odd rational numbers converted to Egyptian fractions: 2/3, 1/3 (twice), 1/5, 1/7, 1/9, 1/11, 1/13 and 1/15, training patterns for scribal students to learn the RMP 2/n table method.

The British Museum examiners found no introduction or description to how or why the equivalent unit fraction series were computed (Gillings 1981: 456-457). Equivalent unit fraction series are associated with fractions 1/3, 1/4, 1/8 and 1/16. There was a trivial error associated with the final 1/15 unit fraction series. The 1/15 series was listed as equal to 1/6. Another serious error was associated with 1/13, an issue that the 1927 examiners did not attempt to resolve.

The British Museum Quarterly (1927) naively reported the chemical analysis to be more interesting than the document's additive contents. One minimalist reported that the Horus-Eye binary fraction system was superior to the Egyptian fraction notation.

One review includes the Middle Kingdom Egyptian fraction conversions of binary fractions corrected an Eye of Horus numeration error. The Old Kingdom Horus-Eye arithmetic was rounded-off to 6-term binary fraction series, throwing away 1/64 units in an infinite series numeration system. Horus-Eye fractions are related to modern decimal algorithms, with both systems rounding off, (Ore 1944: 331-325). Note that the Horus-Eye definition of one (1): 1 = 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + 1/16 + 1/32 + 1/64 + … dropped off the last term 1/64th, (Gillings 1972: 210). Modern decimals' round-off rules are closely related the Old Kingdom's round-off methodologies. The Middle Kingdom correction converted rational numbers to optimized finite series that generally eliminated the traditional Eye of Horus round-off errors.

Preceding the RMP 2/n table by 200 years the EMLR used red auxiliary numbers scaled by least common multiples (LCMs) scaled 26 1/p and 1/pq unit fractions to non-optimal Egyptian fraction series using a red auxiliary method that Ahmes described in RMP 36. The EMLR LCM scaled 1/p and 1/pq by Egyptian multiplication and division methods that allowed additive red auxiliary numerators to define final unit fraction answers. In total 22 unique unit fractions were converted by eight multiples (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, and 25), written as 2/2, 3/3, 4/4, 5/5, 6/6, 10/10 and 25/25, Egyptian fractions represented a solution to the Eye of Horus round-off problem by converting any rational number to an exact unit fraction series by selecting LCMs. The RMP 2/n table converted 51 rational numbers by selecting 14 optimized LCMs.

Summary: Middle Kingdom Egyptian arithmetic was written in non-optimal and optimal unit fraction series in a finite numeration. The Middle Kingdom finite system corrected Old Kingdom infinite series round-off errors. The Old Kingdom Eye of Horus numeration system had rounded-off a 1/64 unit. Early 1900s researchers minimized the EMLR's significance. The EMLR, the Kahun Papyrus (KP) 2/n table, Rhind Mathematical Papyrus, and the RMP 2/n table demonstrated that LCMs scaled rational numbers to solvable levels by red auxiliary numbers. The EMLR and 2/n tables used the same LCM method, the EMLR in a non-optimal manner, and in 2/n tables, and in other mathematical texts, in optimized ways. The EMLR used 8 non-optimal LCMs that introduced student scribes to higher uses of Egyptian fraction mathematics reported in all other Egyptian fraction mathematical texts."

To understand each EMLR slice, from LCMs, scaled rational numbers, RMP 36 and optimized red auxiliary numbers, to beginning scribal student's 26 non-optimized EMLR answers, a meta position are required to be taken.

The BBC and British Museum consultants attempted to read the RMP inside-out, following linguistic practices, rather than taking mathematician outside-in meta points of view that go beyond ancient problem being decoded, to include the ancient number theory that structured all ancient Egyptian fraction documents.

Best Regards,

Milo Gardner
adding military cryptanaytics as a necessary meta aspect to decode ancient Egyptian texts.

I would hope the contributors still have to be professional mathematicians who have been able to publish other work in math journals. Otherwise an amateur or diletante such as myself would be very hesitant to use it, even if it is absolutely free.

Subscribe to Comments for "Publish and perish?"