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American Math Journals Couldn't Care Less What They Publish Is Right or Wrong

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

Noting what I considered to be a blatant error in at least two paper by R L Lamphere,

"Solution of the direct problem of uniform circular motion in non-Euclidean geometry"

which appeared the American Mathematical Monthly 109 (2002) 650-655, and

"Solving the noneuclidean uniform circular motion problem by Newton's impact method"

published in Mathematical Magazine 83 (2010) 366-369, I sent the corrections off first to the latter journal.

The editors comments were

Dear Dr bernard lavenda,

Thank you for submitting a manuscript to Mathematics Magazine.

This manuscript would have to be written far more carefully before we could consider it for publication. The paper needs a clear introduction that carefully explains what is being accomplished, or in this case, what is being responded to. Make sure the problem at issue is expressed clearly, and make sure the bibliography contains all of the necessary information, including the volume and issue numbers of the relevant publications.


Jason Rosenhouse, PhD

Mathematics Magazine

Plainly written in black and white, is the editor's complete disinterest to see if a paper in his journal was correct or not!

Then I sent the paper off to the first of the two journals. That went a little bit further insofar as the Editor at least assigned a number to the paper. In my mind, I thought that she would at least send it out to referees, one being the author himself. Wrong! The answer I got back was:

Dear Dr lavenda, I am writing about your paper, "ON “SOLVING THE NONEUCLIDEAN UNIFORM CIRCULAR MOTION PROBLEM BY NEWTON’S IMPACT METHOD”," which you submitted to The American Mathematical Monthly. I have reviewed your paper and discussed it with members of the Editorial Board. After careful consideration of your paper and the mix of topics we hope to bring to the Monthly's readers, the Board has decided to reject your manuscript. Here is a summary of the remarks I received on your paper from the Board.

"The Board encourages the author to take the remarks received from Jason Rosenhouse to heart, because they are completely accurate. The citations of this manuscript are incomplete, lacking titles, issue and volume numbers. It is not the job of the reader (or reviewer) to correct them. In addition, although the manuscript claims to correct two errors in previously published papers, the writing does not make clear exactly what those errors are supposed to be, or what the corrected versions are meant to be. Further, if indeed everything claimed is correct, and there are two errors being set right, that does not mean that the result is interesting or worthy of publication. Every published article has errors, perhaps a comma in the wrong place. Even mathematical errors are only worth correcting some of the time -- very few people are reading papers from 20 years ago, to be misled by some minor flaw somewhere. If the error is serious, and worth publishing, then it should be published with other corrections, not as a new paper. The Monthly publishes such corrections as Editor's Endnotes. The author can send such material directly to the Editor, not through the Editorial Manager system. However, the author should be aware that the present manuscript, in its current form, would not meet the criteria for an endnote."

Unfortunately, therefore, we are unable to accept this manuscript for publication.

The decision to reject a manuscript is always difficult. The Monthly receives a large number of submissions each year, and we are able to publish only a small fraction of them. We regret that page limitations force us to turn away many fine papers. Thank you for submitting your paper to the Monthly. We wish you luck in finding an appropriate journal for the publication of your work. Yours sincerely, Della Dumbaugh, Ph.D. Editor The American Mathematical Monthly

Here it is plainly stated that

very few people are reading papers from 20 years ago, to be misled by some minor flaw somewhere.

Then what is the purpose of the journal. If an error was found (and there are many!) in Einstein's published works, who would be interested in reading about some "minor" flaw that was published 75 years ago? This clearly destroys the need and usefulness of scientific journals because all is forgotten and forgiven with the passage of time!

I would like to believe that this is NOT what scientific progress is all about. The criticism should have been sent out to reviewers to determine whether or not it was valid. Hardly the editors can hardly be considered as experts in the field when Della Dumbaugh wishes me

"luck in finding an appropriate journal for the publication of your work." This is nothing more can copy and paste. But paste what? well wishes that errors in her journal should be accepted and appear elsewhere.

These are not Editors of scientific journals but people placed there by the "establishment" which does not want to be rocked---no matter what the cost. Below is the (partial) criticism I sent to these people. Judge for yourself!

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