Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

The Dilworth problem paper rejected!!!

Expand Messages
  • jjdragon1974
    Dear Colleagues, As most of you probably know, one of the longest-standing and most famous open problems of lattice theory, the Dilworth s problem, was solved
    Message 1 of 23 , Feb 1, 2007
      Dear Colleagues,

      As most of you probably know, one of the longest-standing and most
      famous open problems of lattice theory, the Dilworth's problem, was
      solved last year by Fred Wehrung. I was shocked to learn last month
      that the paper in which he solves it was rejected by the Journal of
      the AMS.

      I contacted Fred to obtain some more information and he was kind
      enough to forward me his rejection email, which I give below (with
      Fred's permission and editor's name edited out):

      Dear Prof. Wehrung --

      I'm writing about the paper "A solution to Dilworth's congruence
      lattice problem" that you submitted to JAMS.

      All the referees agreed that your paper represented one of the most
      important developments in lattice theory in many years. On the basis
      of this, I brought to the paper to the full editorial board at our
      recent annual meeting.

      After some discussion, the board finally came to the conclusion that
      the paper was not a good match for JAMS. The feeling was that the
      problem that the paper solves did not have the sort of interaction
      with other branches of mathematics that is typical of JAMS papers.
      Therefore I must return the paper now so that you can make other
      arrangements for its publication.

      I'm sorry not to have better news to report, but as you may know JAMS
      publishes only 1000 pages a year, so we get many excellent submissions
      that we are unable to accept. I also apologize for the delay in the
      decision -- besides the fact that the main referee report took a long
      time to arrive, I also felt that it was important for the full
      editorial board to discuss this case.

      Sincerely,

      Now, a few FACTS:

      1. Fred's paper is only 14 pages long (concerning the '1000 pages')
      2. It solves an universal algebraic question about lattices using
      methods and ideas of set theory. It is quite possible the methods used
      in the paper will be used later for problems in model theory, or more
      generally logic, and perhaps other areas.
      3. From the JAMS website, Journal overview link: "This journal is
      devoted to research articles of the highest quality in all areas of
      pure and applied mathematics."

      This is a gross error by the JAMS editorial board. It is okay for a
      journal such as JAMS to prefer some areas over others, but if one has
      THE BEST paper in a whole area in many years submitted to a journal
      which publishes "articles of the highest quality in ALL areas", then
      it is reasonable to believe it will be published. Otherwise the
      editorial board gives an opinion of a whole area.

      I believe we as a community should react. Perhaps a joint letter to
      the AMS Notices, signed by the major experts in lattice theory and
      universal algebra and as many other researchers in the area(s) as
      desire to join in.

      What do you think?

      By the way, Fred resubmitted the paper to another journal, and there
      is no desire on his part to reverse the JAMS decision. This is about
      my desire to prevent future events of this sort.

      Petar Markovic
      pera@...
    • Bob Meyer
      Absolutely DISGUSTING! Bob
      Message 2 of 23 , Feb 1, 2007
        Re: [univalg] The Dilworth problem paper rejected!!! Absolutely DISGUSTING!

        Bob


        On 2/1/07 22:10, "jjdragon1974" <pera@...> wrote:


         
         

        Dear Colleagues,

        As most of you probably know, one of the longest-standing and most
        famous open problems of lattice theory, the Dilworth's problem, was
        solved last year by Fred Wehrung. I was shocked to learn last month
        that the paper in which he solves it was rejected by the Journal of
        the AMS.

        I contacted Fred to obtain some more information and he was kind
        enough to forward me his rejection email, which I give below (with
        Fred's permission and editor's name edited out):

        Dear Prof. Wehrung --

        I'm writing about the paper "A solution to Dilworth's congruence
        lattice problem" that you submitted to JAMS.

        All the referees agreed that your paper represented one of the most
        important developments in lattice theory in many years. On the basis
        of this, I brought to the paper to the full editorial board at our
        recent annual meeting.

        After some discussion, the board finally came to the conclusion that
        the paper was not a good match for JAMS. The feeling was that the
        problem that the paper solves did not have the sort of interaction
        with other branches of mathematics that is typical of JAMS papers.
        Therefore I must return the paper now so that you can make other
        arrangements for its publication.

        I'm sorry not to have better news to report, but as you may know JAMS
        publishes only 1000 pages a year, so we get many excellent submissions
        that we are unable to accept. I also apologize for the delay in the
        decision -- besides the fact that the main referee report took a long
        time to arrive, I also felt that it was important for the full
        editorial board to discuss this case.

        Sincerely,

        Now, a few FACTS:

        1. Fred's paper is only 14 pages long (concerning the '1000 pages')
        2. It solves an universal algebraic question about lattices using
        methods and ideas of set theory. It is quite possible the methods used
        in the paper will be used later for problems in model theory, or more
        generally logic, and perhaps other areas.
        3. From the JAMS website, Journal overview link: "This journal is
        devoted to research articles of the highest quality in all areas of
        pure and applied mathematics."

        This is a gross error by the JAMS editorial board. It is okay for a
        journal such as JAMS to prefer some areas over others, but if one has
        THE BEST paper in a whole area in many years submitted to a journal
        which publishes "articles of the highest quality in ALL areas", then
        it is reasonable to believe it will be published. Otherwise the
        editorial board gives an opinion of a whole area.

        I believe we as a community should react. Perhaps a joint letter to
        the AMS Notices, signed by the major experts in lattice theory and
        universal algebra and as many other researchers in the area(s) as
        desire to join in.

        What do you think?

        By the way, Fred resubmitted the paper to another journal, and there
        is no desire on his part to reverse the JAMS decision. This is about
        my desire to prevent future events of this sort.

        Petar Markovic
        pera@... <mailto:pera%40im.ns.ac.yu>

         
            

      • Melvin Henriksen
        This E-mail is inspired by what I read about the rejection by JAMS of the solution of a correct solution of a long outstanding problem of Dilworth. I find this
        Message 3 of 23 , Feb 1, 2007
          This E-mail is inspired by what I read about the
          rejection by JAMS of the solution of a correct
          solution of a long outstanding problem of Dilworth. I
          find this action reprehensible but nor surprising.
          Unless a large number a capable research
          mathematicians protest this kind of mathematical
          bigotry loudly and vigorously, it will continue.
          Reply to:
          Henriksen@....



          Topology Atlas Document # topc-10 | Production Editor:
          R. Flagg
          THERE ARE TOO MANY B.A.D. MATHEMATICIANS
          Melvin Henriksen

          Editorial from Volume 1, #3 of TopCom

          This article is reprinted from The Mathematical
          Intellingencer, volume 15 (1993) with the permission
          of its Editor-in-chief, Chandler Davis.

          Plain text (ASCII) file is available for download.

          I have always been slow to learn the ways of
          mathematicians and, for most of my life, reluctant to
          be critical of those with substantial reputations for
          doing research. In the mid-60's, my former colleague
          Holbrook MacNeille, who worked for the Atomic Energy
          Commission before becoming the first Executive
          Director of the American Mathematical Society,
          remarked often that whereas laboratory scientists were
          mutually supportive in evaluating research proposals,
          mathematicians were seldom loath to dump on each
          other. I attached little significance to what he said
          because at that time most worthwhile research in the
          United States was funded and there seemed to be enough
          money for all but the most greedy. Perhaps some
          nastiness existed, but not on a scale that was doing
          much harm.

          Federal support of research in mathematics done in
          universities is a post-Second-World-War phenomenon
          that was a spin-off of the contribution made by
          mathematicians and scientists to the allied victory.
          Research grants were made to individuals rather than
          institutions, to reduce fear of federal control of
          education. For, unlike today, in the immediate postwar
          years there was great concern about the unprecedented
          growth of the federal government. Americans' fear of
          big government was overcome by the cold war and the
          national mania to beat the Russians to the moon.

          The number of research grants to individuals grew
          rapidly. University administrations complained that
          the need to supply more laboratory and office space to
          visitors and/or replacements for regular faculty whose
          time was being released for research had indirect
          costs. Soon "overhead" charges were added to these
          grants. Initially small like the nose of a camel, with
          time they occupied more and more of the tent. Overhead
          charges from these grants became a significant part of
          university budgets, and staff were hired to help
          faculty hustle them up, and research that attracted
          support money was considered more worthwhile. Love of
          Mammon overcame, with little or no debate, any
          residual fear of control of research or education by
          the federal government or other granting agencies.
          Money flowed freely, and nobody seemed to notice that
          converting research scientists into fund-raisers
          amounted to creating a Frankenstein monster.

          The mathematical community greeted the new prosperity
          with enthusiasm. Page charges were introduced for
          publication in many journals to transfer some of the
          cost of publication to federal agencies. Those without
          grants had to beg their institutions to pay page
          charges or accept the status of mathematical welfare
          recipients. Existing graduate programs expanded and
          new ones were created with the help of federally
          financed fellowships. The number of doctorates awarded
          in the mathematical sciences in the United States and
          Canada increased from 300 in 1959-60 to over 1200 in
          1967-68 and was expected to double by 1975. (It
          actually peaked at a little over 1500.) So the effects
          of any back biting were made invisible by a federally
          financed pax mathematica. After a little over a decade
          of prosperity, the public's love affair with science
          and technology ended, perhaps because we had gotten to
          the moon first and, more likely, because the bill for
          the war in Vietnam came due.

          A Lost Generation of Mathematicians

          By 1970, the illusory bottomless pit of need for
          mathematicians had been filled as far as the taxpayer
          was concerned, and graduate schools were full of able
          students about to earn a Ph.D. and compete for the few
          existing jobs with those being laid off by academic
          institutions and industry because of budget cuts.
          Funding could not keep up with the increase in the
          supply of eager and able mathematicians trained to do
          research. Universities rued the days when they
          expanded in anticipation of continued federal funding,
          and dependence on "soft" money joined the list of sins
          not to be committed again by academic administrations.
          Tenure, once automatically granted to the capable and
          hard-working at all but the most elite institutions,
          became precious. Faced with a faculty more than half
          of which had tenure, often while in their thirties,
          with little hope of turnover, deans and presidents
          began to insist that only beginning PhD's be hired,
          and reduced the number of positions that could lead to
          tenure. In the first half of the 1970s, a goodly
          number of capable mathematicians left the profession
          for different if not greener pastures. When the dust
          had settled by the middle of the decade, most of the
          new PhD's had gotten jobs at undergraduate colleges
          they had never heard of before.

          Most of these young mathematicians, imbued with the
          ideals of their major professors and full of
          enthusiasm about the research area of their
          dissertation, wanted to continue to be active. Faced
          with heavy teaching loads, committee responsibilities,
          and little or no encouragement from their new senior
          colleagues (whose attitudes toward research had often
          been shaped by being denied tenure at a
          research-oriented department), most gave up in a year
          or two. The abrupt downturn in support kept their
          former major professors busy licking their wounds and
          wondering what to do about their own junior
          colleagues. As far as research opportunities were
          concerned, most of the Ph.D's trained in the 1960s
          were cut adrift. According to E. T. Bell, projective
          geometry was developed by Poncelet while in prison,
          and Ramanujan did great work in isolation, so it might
          have been possible for these young orphans to remain
          active in research. In fact, few of them did, and in
          spite of substantial expenditures on their training,
          most of them became a lost generation as far as
          research was concerned.

          Research grants in the United States were used to
          increase the salaries of individual faculty members by
          2/9 (as if all research activity occurred only in the
          summer months) and to bring in substantial overhead to
          the coffers of the university, rather than as a means
          of nurturing the mathematically young or encouraging
          research outside of a small number of centers.
          Competition for support intensified, and losing it
          amounted to a pay cut and a reduction in the budget of
          one's academic employer. At many "publish-or-perish"
          institutions, getting grants became a necessary
          condition for tenure or promotion. This raised the
          stakes in the game of competing for them, and those
          with funding were reluctant to share it with their
          brethren in the boondocks, where most of their recent
          Ph.D's had taken jobs. A certain amount of money was
          put aside to support young mathematicians with major
          research accomplishments, but little was done to help
          the bulk of the new Ph.D's to stay active in the face
          of poor working conditions and little stimulation. In
          sharp contrast, Canada developed a system whereby
          established senior mathematicians controlled the bulk
          of the research funds, but could not use them to
          supplement their own salaries. As a result, beginning
          Ph.D.s with research ambitions could count on two to
          three years of support, and the most able could get it
          for five years in the face of a job market even
          tighter than in the United States.

          In the United States, instead of trying to nurture and
          sustain our mathematical community, we seem to turn
          our backs as a small but influential group wreaks
          havoc. I call them B.A.D.: Bigoted And Destructive.
          They have always been with us; what has increased in
          recent years is their ability to be destructive. They
          are often very able at research and it is easy to
          believe that their proven expertise in one area
          qualifies them to pass judgment on every part of
          mathematics; just as we might expect someone who goes
          over Niagara Falls in a barrel and lives, to be able
          to bring peace to the Middle East. As members of the
          elite, they have no doubt that they know what is
          important, and all else is inconsequential or trivial.
          They usually write only for fellow experts and regard
          writing for a general mathematical audience as a waste
          of time. They often write referee's reports or reviews
          of research proposals that are nasty or condescending.
          Clear exposition, if it adds a few pages to a research
          paper, elicits often the contemptuous suggestion that
          the paper be sent to the American Mathematical
          Monthly. They often say that too many papers are
          published, and would not be caught dead giving a
          10-minute paper at a meeting of the A.M.S. While
          proclaiming their devotion to high standards, they
          feather their own nests by reducing the number of
          serious competitors for grants or space for
          publication in high-prestige journals. For in quite a
          few mathematics departments, tenure and promotion
          depend on publishing in the "right" journals.

          Certainly, there are large differences in quality of
          mathematical research, and all of us agree that some
          problems are substantially more important and/or
          difficult than others. This does not justify
          condemning whole fields of mathematics out of
          ignorance. Defending a negative view on a subject
          about which one knows hardly anything is not easily
          done in public. Like their racial or religious
          counterparts, mathematical bigots deny that the
          workers in the fields they regard as inferior are
          worthy of any kind of recognition or of having their
          work read. Like Galileo's inquisitor, they see no need
          to look in the telescope.

          At the beginning of my career, when you submitted a
          paper to a journal, it was read carefully by a referee
          and you got a set of critical and detailed comments
          about it as well as a decision on whether it would be
          published. I did not always agree with referees or
          editors, but my colleagues and I almost always got the
          impression that our papers had been read with care, if
          not sympathy. For the last decade or more, papers seem
          to be read at best in a cursory way, especially when
          the report is negative. The author's results are said
          to be "well-known" without even a hint of a reference,
          or the paper is called padded or poorly organized
          without any constructive criticism. Writing to the
          editor to ask for more detail or correct erroneous
          comments is usually an exercise in futility. The
          attitude that part of the job of an editor and referee
          is to help authors to turn their papers into something
          worthy of publication while maintaining high standards
          seemed fairly common in my youth; it has gone the way
          of the dodo bird.

          I was shielded from mathematical bigotry until I got
          to Princeton as a temporary member of the Institute
          for Advanced Study in 1956. My office-mate and
          collaborator was a Princeton Ph.D. One of his former
          professors asked out of curiosity who I was. When he
          learned that my major professor at Wisconsin was R. H.
          Bruck (an outstanding expert in the theory of loops
          and nonassociative algebras, as well as the projective
          geometries that motivated them), he asked
          contemptuously, "What does he work on-moops?" Soon I
          learned that it was common practice at many
          institutions for the faculty to put down individuals
          and whole fields of mathematics in front of graduate
          students. Actually, my thesis had been written on the
          ring of entire functions and rings of continuous
          real-valued functions, which led me to work in general
          topology. I soon discovered that the latter is so low
          on the prestige totem pole that it seems unworthy of a
          name in elite circles; no modifying adjective to the
          word "topology" is used by algebraic topologists in
          describing their work.

          At first, these attitudes hurt, and like a victim of
          racial discrimination, I began to feel inferior;
          indeed, nobody at the elite institutions worked in my
          areas of interest. After a while, I learned to live
          with my original sin, and, in addition to doing
          research in algebra and general topology, I have
          published papers in number theory and numerical
          analysis, and directed projects in applied
          mathematics. Rationalizing ignorance of some kinds of
          mathematics on the grounds that they are "inferior"
          seems ludicrous. In my old age, I have come to wonder
          if perhaps some of the clothing I fail to see may
          exist only in the minds of those who are so free to
          condemn others. Mathematicians intolerant of areas
          remote from their own work can be very destructive.
          When mathematics began to be applied extensively in
          industry and industrial mathematicians tried to
          publish articles on new applications of mathematics,
          they often found their work judged only on the quality
          of the new mathematics they had produced; neither
          clever mathematical modeling nor the applications
          themselves weighed in for much. Surely, this kind of
          mathematical bigotry contributed to the founding of
          S.l.A.M. and the paucity of papers on applied research
          presented at meetings of the A.M.S. or published in
          its Journals.

          Pariah Fields of Mathematics

          The betes noires of the B.A.D. mathematicians vary
          with time. For many years, the parts of linear algebra
          having to do with extensive computations with matrices
          were reviled, whereas those that avoided computation
          brought forth kudos. The elegance of the latter makes
          functional analysis and the structure of finite
          dimensional algebras easier to understand, but hard
          computations are needed for numerical analysis as well
          for parts of the theory of differential equations. As
          electronic computers became increasingly accessible,
          the importance of numerical analysis could no longer
          be denied, and the mathematical bigots had to find
          other fields to pillory. They have little difficulty
          concluding that if they see no application of an area
          to what interests them, it should be pushed out of the
          "important" general journals. This is not as easily
          done with journals published by the A.M.S., but when
          it is, the mechanism used is to take control of the
          editorial board and/or the position of managing editor
          while making sure that no member is a specialist in an
          "inferior" field. Whereas the journal is still
          advertised as one that publishes articles in all areas
          of mathematics, anyone who submits a paper in certain
          areas is told that no member of the editorial board
          has the expertise to evaluate it, or that the paper is
          "unduly technical" and should be submitted to a
          specialized journal. Since these boards are almost
          always self-perpetuating, once a field is deemed unfit
          for the journal, it stays that way.

          I have heard many stories about this method for
          (allegedly) increasing the prestige of a general
          journal by stopping the publication of papers in
          "inferior" fields, and witnessed it at first hand
          twice. In the early 1970s, the new managing editor of
          the Duke Journal, unaware that I published papers in
          anything but algebra, bragged to me that he was
          quietly ceasing to publish papers in general topology.
          When I asked him if he sent such papers to a referee,
          he replied that if he did, the referee would be a
          general topologist and might recommend publication.
          Also, when James Dugundji died, so did general
          topology as far as the editors of the Pacific Journal
          are concerned. Two of my co-authors and I got a "your
          paper is unduly technical" letter in 1984, and after
          realizing the futility of asking that it be sent to a
          referee, sent it instead to the Transactions of the
          A.M.S., where it met the standards for publication.
          Many others had similar experiences. Attempts to get
          these editors to admit openly that the journal would
          not publish papers in general topology evoked evasive
          replies delivered with a technique that officials in
          Texas before the Voting Rights Act would have envied
          when they were asked why only blacks failed literacy
          tests used as a qualification for voting. Academics
          usually have great difficulty admitting, even to them
          selves, that they act in their own self-interest, so
          the mathematical bigots have little trouble in
          rationalizing their selfish or dishonest acts as the
          maintenance of high standards.

          (In the late 1960s, Robert Solovay pioneered the use
          of the techniques developed by Paul Cohen to establish
          the independence of the continuum hypothesis to show
          that many of the unsolved problems in general topology
          were undecidable. General topology has never been the
          same since, and strong connections with model theory
          and set theory have been firmly established. The
          undecidability of the existence of an incomplete norm
          on the ring of continuous functions on an infinite
          compact space established by Dales, Esterle, and
          Woodin served to cement more firmly the connections
          between general topology and functional analysis as
          well as ordered algebraic systems. So, seemingly, the
          efforts to push general topology out of journals
          occurs just when this field has increased vitality and
          connections with other parts of mathematics.)

          I have no objection to editors instructing referees of
          papers to apply high standards; as an associate editor
          of the American Mathematical Monthly, I did so often,
          as well as acting as a referee myself. I contend that
          rejecting papers unread by experts while giving
          reasons that are evasive euphemisms is bigotry pure
          and simple. It is clear also that the members of the
          editorial boards of journals that engage in such
          practices are in a position of conflict of interest as
          long as research grants, pro motions, and salary
          increases in so many academic institutions depend on
          being able to publish in "high prestige" journals.

          One of the destructive effects of excluding whole
          fields from journals has been a large growth in the
          number of specialized journals. Authors who publish in
          such journals tend to write only for specialists in
          their area, and, as a result, mathematics tends to be
          come a Tower of Babel. As we become more specialized,
          we tend to be reluctant to teach even advanced
          undergraduate courses outside of our specialty, and
          the intellectual incest passes to the next generation.
          Worse yet, publication of mathematical articles be
          comes difficult for all but a small elite. The
          prestige of a field changes with time, sometimes for
          good reason, but often as a result of power struggles
          which have an impact on granting agencies and the
          composition of editorial boards. This puts those not
          on the faculty of elite institutions in the position
          of playing against loaded dice. A small number of
          nasty referee's reports or evasive letters from
          editors are often enough to push "outsiders" out of
          research. Faculty who do no research tend not to keep
          up with change, and in the steady state, we can expect
          that most undergraduate institutions will be unable to
          send students to the better graduate schools. Students
          rarely choose a college with a view to preparing to do
          graduate work in mathematics, so this reduces our
          ability to attract talented young people into our
          profession. The impact of this waste is being delayed
          by the large influx of talented foreigners into the
          U.S. job market, but in the not-too distant future,
          the faculty that entered the profession in the Sputnik
          era will retire in large numbers.

          At this point, my crystal ball gets very cloudy. Even
          if my fears are exaggerated, the problems we face as
          mathematicians are formidable, and giving free reign
          to the B.A.D. mathematicians among us can only make
          things worse. It amounts to letting our young be eaten
          at a time when the birth rate is dropping. While the
          size of this destructive group is small and they do
          not gather together to conspire, we all bear a share
          of the guilt when we avert our eyes and let them
          operate with impunity out of fear that we may be
          regarded as defenders of mediocrity.

          Freeing ourselves of this kind of self-destructiveness
          will not be easy or pleasant. We must begin by
          demanding accountability from those editors and
          reviewers of proposals who condemn whole areas of
          mathematics while presenting no evidence in support of
          their actions. We can no longer close our eyes to the
          blatant conflict of interest that this presents and
          permit mathematicians who freeze out their competition
          to control key journals. We should no longer accept
          the self serving claims that only the journals in
          which this self appointed group of censors publish
          have really high standards. These problems will not go
          away unless we speak out and condemn the hypocrisy of
          B.A.D. mathematicians.

          Please send in your opinions to

          commentary@...

          This document was last modified on October 1, 1996.
          Copyright © 1995-1996 by Topology Atlas. All rights
          reserved.
          --- Bob Meyer <rkmeyer@...> wrote:

          > Absolutely DISGUSTING!
          >
          > Bob
          >
          >
          > On 2/1/07 22:10, "jjdragon1974" <pera@...>
          > wrote:
          >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > > Dear Colleagues,
          > >
          > > As most of you probably know, one of the
          > longest-standing and most
          > > famous open problems of lattice theory, the
          > Dilworth's problem, was
          > > solved last year by Fred Wehrung. I was shocked to
          > learn last month
          > > that the paper in which he solves it was rejected
          > by the Journal of
          > > the AMS.
          > >
          > > I contacted Fred to obtain some more information
          > and he was kind
          > > enough to forward me his rejection email, which I
          > give below (with
          > > Fred's permission and editor's name edited out):
          > >
          > > Dear Prof. Wehrung --
          > >
          > > I'm writing about the paper "A solution to
          > Dilworth's congruence
          > > lattice problem" that you submitted to JAMS.
          > >
          > > All the referees agreed that your paper
          > represented one of the most
          > > important developments in lattice theory in many
          > years. On the basis
          > > of this, I brought to the paper to the full
          > editorial board at our
          > > recent annual meeting.
          > >
          > > After some discussion, the board finally came to
          > the conclusion that
          > > the paper was not a good match for JAMS. The
          > feeling was that the
          > > problem that the paper solves did not have the
          > sort of interaction
          > > with other branches of mathematics that is typical
          > of JAMS papers.
          > > Therefore I must return the paper now so that you
          > can make other
          > > arrangements for its publication.
          > >
          > > I'm sorry not to have better news to report, but
          > as you may know JAMS
          > > publishes only 1000 pages a year, so we get many
          > excellent submissions
          > > that we are unable to accept. I also apologize for
          > the delay in the
          > > decision -- besides the fact that the main referee
          > report took a long
          > > time to arrive, I also felt that it was important
          > for the full
          > > editorial board to discuss this case.
          > >
          > > Sincerely,
          > >
          > > Now, a few FACTS:
          > >
          > > 1. Fred's paper is only 14 pages long (concerning
          > the '1000 pages')
          > > 2. It solves an universal algebraic question about
          > lattices using
          > > methods and ideas of set theory. It is quite
          > possible the methods used
          > > in the paper will be used later for problems in
          > model theory, or more
          > > generally logic, and perhaps other areas.
          > > 3. From the JAMS website, Journal overview link:
          > "This journal is
          > > devoted to research articles of the highest
          > quality in all areas of
          > > pure and applied mathematics."
          > >
          > > This is a gross error by the JAMS editorial board.
          > It is okay for a
          > > journal such as JAMS to prefer some areas over
          > others, but if one has
          > > THE BEST paper in a whole area in many years
          > submitted to a journal
          > > which publishes "articles of the highest quality
          > in ALL areas", then
          > > it is reasonable to believe it will be published.
          > Otherwise the
          > > editorial board gives an opinion of a whole area.
          > >
          > > I believe we as a community should react. Perhaps
          > a joint letter to
          > > the AMS Notices, signed by the major experts in
          > lattice theory and
          > > universal algebra and as many other researchers in
          > the area(s) as
          > > desire to join in.
          > >
          > > What do you think?
          > >
          > > By the way, Fred resubmitted the paper to another
          > journal, and there
          > > is no desire on his part to reverse the JAMS
          > decision. This is about
          > > my desire to prevent future events of this sort.
          > >
          > > Petar Markovic
          > > pera@... <mailto:pera%40im.ns.ac.yu>
          > >
          > >
          > >
          >
          >
          >




          ____________________________________________________________________________________
          Now that's room service! Choose from over 150,000 hotels
          in 45,000 destinations on Yahoo! Travel to find your fit.
          http://farechase.yahoo.com/promo-generic-14795097
        • Pröhle Péter
          ... This kind of reasoning can result, that JAMS will be trapped into the ALREADY existing and ALREADY widely popular areas of pure and applied mathematics.
          Message 4 of 23 , Feb 2, 2007
            > > After some discussion, the board finally came to the conclusion that
            > > the paper was not a good match for JAMS. The feeling was that the
            > > problem that the paper solves did not have the sort of interaction
            > > with other branches of mathematics that is typical of JAMS papers.
            > > Therefore I must return the paper now so that you can make other
            > > arrangements for its publication.

            This kind of reasoning can result, that JAMS will be trapped into the
            ALREADY existing and ALREADY widely popular areas of pure and applied
            mathematics.

            But the ever-revolving leading edge of the scientific research has nothing
            to do with such a conservative way of argumentation and decision.

            Hence the editorial board of JAMS gave an opinion about their JAMS.

            > > What do you think?

            We have to protest.

            Because not only the JAMS is trapped by democratic(*) popularity, but
            also the way of distributing the money for supporting the research.

            (*) = democracy is looking for majority in number, instead of looking for
            scientific truth based on scientific proofs.

            Best wishes,
            Peter.
          • srinivas
            dear colleagues, i do agree with the openion of peter markovic. this has to be condemned by the universal algebra community. hope JAMS will not do such things
            Message 5 of 23 , Feb 2, 2007
              dear colleagues,
              i do agree with the openion of peter markovic. this has to be
              condemned by the universal algebra community. hope JAMS will not do
              such things in future.

              with regards
              srinivas
            • Brian Davey
              Dear All, I am also outraged by the actions of JAMS. At the moment we are discussing this among ourselves, which is a good thing, of course. But in order to
              Message 6 of 23 , Feb 2, 2007
                Dear All,
                 
                I am also outraged by the actions of JAMS.
                 
                At the moment we are discussing this among ourselves, which is a good thing, of course. But in order to have some effect, our feelings need to be communicated to JAMS.
                 
                How should we coordinate a response from our community to JAMS?
                 
                Brian Davey

                ____________________________________________
                Dr Brian A. Davey
                Executive Editor
                Algebra Universalis
                Department of Mathematics
                La Trobe University
                Victoria 3086
                Australia
                Phone: +61 3 9479 2599 (Office) +61 3 9479 2600 (Sec.)
                FAX: +61 3 9479 2466
                Email: AU@...
                www.latrobe.edu.au/mathstats/maths/department/algebra-research-group
                ____________________________________________

              • Pröhle Péter
                ... Only as a first step. If it failed, then we have to proceed to a broader context in interpretation and to a wider community as the target of our message.
                Message 7 of 23 , Feb 2, 2007
                  > ... ... ... But in order to have some effect, our feelings need to be
                  > communicated to JAMS.

                  Only as a first step. If it failed, then we have to proceed to a broader
                  context in interpretation and to a wider community as the target of our
                  message.

                  > How should we coordinate a response from our community to JAMS?

                  A non-coherent stream of individual messages would be inproductive. A
                  unique joint declarations should be formulated and issued.

                  Perhaps a native English speaker should coordinate the formulation.
                • henriksen.rm
                  We are academics, so we should start with a committee whose job will be to compose a letter condemning this kind of academic censorship in general and mention
                  Message 8 of 23 , Feb 2, 2007
                    We are academics, so we should start with a committee whose job will
                    be to compose a letter condemning this kind of academic censorship in
                    general and mention this paper as a particularly bad example. Once it
                    is approved, it should be sent with a large number of signatures both
                    to editorial board of JAMS, and the Notices of the AMS.
                    Perhaps the executive editors of AU might propose the membership of
                    this committee.
                    Melvin Hentiksen



                    In univalg@yahoogroups.com, "Brian Davey" <B.Davey@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Dear All,
                    >
                    > I am also outraged by the actions of JAMS.
                    >
                    > At the moment we are discussing this among ourselves, which is a good
                    > thing, of course. But in order to have some effect, our feelings need to
                    > be communicated to JAMS.
                    >
                    > How should we coordinate a response from our community to JAMS?
                    >
                    > Brian Davey
                    >
                    > ____________________________________________
                    > Dr Brian A. Davey
                    > Executive Editor
                    > Algebra Universalis
                    > Department of Mathematics
                    > La Trobe University
                    > Victoria 3086
                    > Australia
                    > Phone: +61 3 9479 2599 (Office) +61 3 9479 2600 (Sec.)
                    > FAX: +61 3 9479 2466
                    > Email: AU@...
                    > www.latrobe.edu.au/mathstats/maths/department/algebra-research-group
                    > <http://www.latrobe.edu.au/mathstats/maths/department/algebra-research-g
                    > roup/index.html> <http://www.latrobe.edu.au/www/mathstats/staff/davey/>
                    >
                    > ____________________________________________
                    >
                  • jjdragon1974
                    Dear Colleagues, I completely support the idea of a committee. George Gratzer, Bob Quackenbush, Brian Davey and the other executives at AU should decide on its
                    Message 9 of 23 , Feb 3, 2007
                      Dear Colleagues,

                      I completely support the idea of a committee. George Gratzer, Bob
                      Quackenbush, Brian Davey and the other executives at AU should decide
                      on its members, but I also think that people from the other
                      'neglected' areas should be informed and included, if they choose to
                      join in.

                      As another example (and in support of Professor Henriksen's claims in
                      his first post on this topic), when discussing this case with a
                      colleague from my Department, a set theorist and topologist, he
                      mentioned that the journal called 'Topology' accepts only papers in
                      algebraic topology. If a paper in general (point-set) topology which
                      is using set-theoretic techniques is submitted to this journal, it is
                      almost automatically rejected regardless of the quality of the result.
                      A quick Mathscinet search confirmed his claims dramatically (out of
                      1911 papers ever published in this journal, only 43 have MSC primary
                      or secondary 54 - General topology, and the last time one was
                      published was back in 2001.). Having said that, 'Topology' is an
                      Elsevier-owned journal, not an AMS journal, and the journal statement
                      does not mention general topology among the areas which it publishes.

                      I am also aware of a major error of the kind which happened to
                      Wehrung's paper a few years ago involving a major paper in universal
                      algebra and another journal with similar 'top rating' on the citation
                      index list, but have to contact the author(s) first for permission
                      before I post any details of this case.

                      Petar Markovic
                      pera@...


                      --- In univalg@yahoogroups.com, "henriksen.rm" <henriksen@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > We are academics, so we should start with a committee whose job will
                      > be to compose a letter condemning this kind of academic censorship in
                      > general and mention this paper as a particularly bad example. Once it
                      > is approved, it should be sent with a large number of signatures both
                      > to editorial board of JAMS, and the Notices of the AMS.
                      > Perhaps the executive editors of AU might propose the membership of
                      > this committee.
                      > Melvin Hentiksen
                      >
                    • Vaughan Pratt
                      Thanks to all for answering my question regarding the importance of this problem---I knew how old it was, but age alone isn t necessarily a determiner of
                      Message 10 of 23 , Feb 3, 2007
                        Thanks to all for answering my question regarding the importance of this
                        problem---I knew how old it was, but age alone isn't necessarily a
                        determiner of importance. (Note that I get the daily digest rather than
                        the real-time feed so this reply may be a bit out of date already.) My
                        initial reaction had been one of outrage of the form "how could any
                        journal reject any correct solution to a 65-year-old problem in an
                        established area of mathematics," and I drafted a suitably indignant
                        letter drawing an analogy with the leader of a socialist opposition
                        party (the solved problem being the leader, socialism being to communism
                        as lattice theory might be perceived by some conservative mathematicians
                        to foundations, and the opposition being that the problem was settled
                        with a refutation rather than a proof, if we grant theoremhood the role
                        of government in the politics of proof and refutation). But then trying
                        to see things from the board's standpoint, it occurred to me that maybe
                        the board had some justifiable perception that the higher the cardinal
                        the lower the result in the foundations basement, which taken in
                        combination with the overwhelming body of theorems generated annually
                        might have inclined them to the view that the audience for this theorem
                        may be too narrow. So I set that draft aside and instead polled the
                        list for more perspective on the importance of the problem than I felt I
                        could muster based on my very limited experience with how lattice
                        theorists view the problem.

                        In view of the responses, in combination with the importance of lattice
                        theory itself (without attempting to pass judgment on the relevance of
                        the Dilworth problem itself outside lattice theory), it would surely not
                        be in the interests of lattice theory to accept this implied judgment of
                        non-lattice theorists that lattice theory is not of interest to other
                        mathematicians. Melvin Henriksen's proposal of what would essentially
                        be an open letter to the JAMS editorial board seems exactly the right
                        response. A suitable representation of the area needs to protest that
                        in rejecting the solution to one of the most prominent open problems of
                        a field, JAMS is rendering a vote of no confidence in the relevance of
                        that field as a whole. While I'm still not 100% clear whether as an
                        enthusiastic user of lattice theory in many real-world contexts I'll
                        ever find a use for this particular result myself, I'd be calling the
                        kettle black if that bothered me given the unlikely applicability of my
                        own decade-old problem of whether every T_1 comonoid is discrete
                        (http://boole.stanford.edu/pub/comonoid.pdf, true for countable
                        comonoids but open for uncountable).

                        So here's one candidate for a start on the kind of letter Melvin
                        proposes. It addresses:

                        (i) the importance of the result within lattice theory (pararaphs 1-3);

                        (ii) circumstances of the paper (par. 4) and its rejection (par. 5) as
                        they appear to us;

                        (iii) the importance of lattice theory to other fields, including but by
                        no means restricted to mathematics (par. 6);

                        (iv) the incompatibility of the board's explanation with the way
                        mathematics is conducted (par. 7);

                        (v) the complaint proper (par. 8); and

                        (vi) proposed remedies (par. 9).

                        In short, "Whereas (i)-(iv), we protest (v), and propose remedies (vi)."


                        -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                        To the Journal of the American Mathematical Society:

                        Dear Editorial Board,

                        To a greater degree than often appreciated, the open problems of an area
                        serve to shape it as much as do its definitions and established
                        theorems. One such problem that has helped shape both lattice theory
                        (MSC category 06) and the careers of those who have worked on it is
                        Dilworth's problem.

                        By way of background Birkhoff and Frink showed in 1948 that the
                        congruence lattice Con A of any algebra A is an algebraic lattice, and
                        in 1963 Graetzer and Schmidt showed the converse, that every algebraic
                        lattice arises as Con A for some algebra A. Bracketing this converse
                        pair is the older 1942 theorem of Funayama and Nakayama, that when A as
                        above is a lattice L the lattice Con L is distributive, along with its
                        converse proposition DP, that every distributive algebraic lattice
                        arises as Con L for some lattice L. This second pair brackets the first
                        to the extent that, as of 1963, the theoremhood of DP in the infinite
                        case remained open as the Dilworth Problem, the finite case (where
                        "algebraic" is redundant) having been shown in the 1940's by Dilworth.
                        This situation persisted for the next 42 years. The mere fact of the
                        bracketing is itself noteworthy.

                        Viewed in this light, it is easy to appreciate the role of the Dilworth
                        Problem in defining lattice theory as an area that, in Piet Hein's
                        words, "proves its worth by hitting back," and moreover with problems
                        that are not merely hard but central to their field. It is therefore
                        unsurprising that the Dilworth Problem has featured prominently in
                        essentially every list of major open problems of lattice theory
                        throughout the past half century.

                        In 2005 Fred Wehrung extended the theoremhood of DP from the finite case
                        up to the power of the continuum, but was able to refute the general
                        case with a much larger distributive lattice with the help of
                        Kuratowki's Free Set Theorem. The perfect symmetry of the bracketing
                        therefore obtains up to continuum sized lattices but not for all
                        lattices, thereby settling DP in the negative.

                        JAMS as the flagship journal of the flagship society of mathematics
                        seemed an ideal vehicle for the dissemination of this landmark result,
                        particularly in light of the mission statement on your masthead, "This
                        journal is devoted to research articles of the *highest* quality in
                        *all* areas of pure and applied mathematics" (italics ours).
                        Incomprehensibly to us, JAMS has rejected this paper on the sole ground
                        of lack of "interaction with other areas of mathematics," whilst however
                        acknowledging that it is a paper of the highest quality in the area of
                        lattice theory.

                        We are unable to interpret this very strong commendation of the paper in
                        combination with its rejection in any light other than as a dismissal of
                        lattice theory itself as a legitimate area of mathematics. We feel that
                        this dismissal is both unfair and counterproductive. Certainly lattice
                        theory is a relative newcomer by comparison with analysis and geometry,
                        yet for the past century it has served mathematics, philosophy, physics,
                        computer science, and other areas remarkably well for such a young
                        subject. Brutally dismissing an entire area in this way is detrimental
                        to the health of both the area and its customers.

                        Mathematics has always paid its dues by being "unreasonably effective"
                        as Eugene Wigner put it, despite, or perhaps because of, having often
                        been unreasonably detached from the demands of immediate interaction
                        with other areas. This spirit of unfettered pursuit of mathematical
                        knowledge in the expectation of possible future payoffs is clearly
                        reflected in your mission statement cited above, which gives no hint of
                        any requirement of applicability or interaction, let alone of the
                        applicable criteria for such. What we find incomprehensible is that so
                        important a contribution to lattice theory would be rejected solely on a
                        ground that seems so at odds with the whole mathematical enterprise.
                        The only explanation that makes sense to us here is again our conclusion
                        above, based there on the more direct evidence of the referees' reports,
                        that JAMS has a low opinion of lattice theory as a mathematical area.

                        The field of lattice theory as represented below hereby protests this
                        explicit violation of the protocols followed by mathematics for
                        millennia. We also protest the implicit dismissal of the significance
                        of lattice theory.

                        When the unwritten rules and standards by which a journal operates serve
                        to act directly against not just its stated primary mission but the very
                        raison d'etre of mathematics, we submit that it is time for the journal
                        either to make those rules and standards public by incorporation into
                        its mission statement, or to eliminate them, or to inject fresh blood
                        into its board to enable it to better keep up with the changing
                        boundaries of the mathematical arena.

                        <signatory list>
                        -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                        I don't know if I got the right tone of scholarly outrage without
                        descending into histrionics, so some tweaking may be in order there. I
                        fretted over whether it was fair to read into the board's decision that
                        they held lattice theory in low esteem, but their admission that the
                        paper is of the highest quality *in lattice theory* pretty much does
                        them in in that regard in view of their masthead mission statement that
                        they want the highest quality papers in all areas of pure and applied
                        mathematics.

                        I pegged "past century" for the age of lattice theory to Peirce and
                        Dedekind (closer to 5/4 centuries for them), but one could arguably peg
                        it to the early Boolean algebraists for 1.5 centuries (but see my
                        slightly anti-lattice Wikipedia article at
                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boolean_algebras_canonically_defined, which
                        incidentally deploys the "homologue" concept I polled this list about a
                        few months ago) or to Birkhoff for 70 years. I settled for one century
                        as a conveniently round compromise.

                        This being a class action so to speak, it is also appropriate to
                        properly identify the injured class. Is lattice theory qua MSC category
                        06 the right class, or should it be broadened to a larger population of
                        algebraists?

                        One thing I'm unclear about is Dilworth's role in formulating this
                        problem. Just as Birkhoff had only dealt with the finite case of the
                        Stone duality of distributive lattices and ordered Stone spaces in the
                        1930's, missing the topological connection Stone spotted and Priestley
                        clarified, so did Dilworth only treat the finite case of identifying the
                        distributive lattices with the congruence lattices of lattices, missing
                        the need for algebraic lattices in the infinite case (which ironically
                        can also be analyzed in terms of Stone topology, see Johnstone's *Stone
                        spaces*). Is the problem named for Dilworth because he solved at least
                        the finite case, or did he actually ask for its infinite extension? And
                        if the latter, given that it was not known (or at least not published)
                        until 1948 that Con A was algebraic for A any algebra, was it at least
                        known in 1942 that Con L was algebraic? If not, it would seem incorrect
                        to say that Dilworth posed the general problem because how would he have
                        known to formulate it as "Does every distributive algebraic lattice
                        arise as Con L for some lattice L?"

                        Vaughan Pratt
                      • henriksen.rm
                        We should be grateful to Vaughan Pratt for formulating a letter. It is a good start, but I hope the final version will be more transparent and brief. Also, I
                        Message 11 of 23 , Feb 3, 2007
                          We should be grateful to Vaughan Pratt for formulating a letter. It is
                          a good start, but I hope the final version will be more transparent
                          and brief. Also, I hope the final version will mention that if the
                          JAMS boars can refuse to publish an article regarded as of high
                          quality to most experts in universal algebra or lattice theory, they
                          can do this in many other areas of mathematics as well.
                          Melvin Henriksen



                          -- In univalg@yahoogroups.com, Vaughan Pratt <pratt@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Thanks to all for answering my question regarding the importance of
                          this
                          > problem---I knew how old it was, but age alone isn't necessarily a
                          > determiner of importance. (Note that I get the daily digest rather
                          than
                          > the real-time feed so this reply may be a bit out of date already.) My
                          > initial reaction had been one of outrage of the form "how could any
                          > journal reject any correct solution to a 65-year-old problem in an
                          > established area of mathematics," and I drafted a suitably indignant
                          > letter drawing an analogy with the leader of a socialist opposition
                          > party (the solved problem being the leader, socialism being to
                          communism
                          > as lattice theory might be perceived by some conservative
                          mathematicians
                          > to foundations, and the opposition being that the problem was settled
                          > with a refutation rather than a proof, if we grant theoremhood the role
                          > of government in the politics of proof and refutation). But then
                          trying
                          > to see things from the board's standpoint, it occurred to me that maybe
                          > the board had some justifiable perception that the higher the cardinal
                          > the lower the result in the foundations basement, which taken in
                          > combination with the overwhelming body of theorems generated annually
                          > might have inclined them to the view that the audience for this theorem
                          > may be too narrow. So I set that draft aside and instead polled the
                          > list for more perspective on the importance of the problem than I
                          felt I
                          > could muster based on my very limited experience with how lattice
                          > theorists view the problem.
                          >
                          > In view of the responses, in combination with the importance of lattice
                          > theory itself (without attempting to pass judgment on the relevance of
                          > the Dilworth problem itself outside lattice theory), it would surely
                          not
                          > be in the interests of lattice theory to accept this implied
                          judgment of
                          > non-lattice theorists that lattice theory is not of interest to other
                          > mathematicians. Melvin Henriksen's proposal of what would essentially
                          > be an open letter to the JAMS editorial board seems exactly the right
                          > response. A suitable representation of the area needs to protest that
                          > in rejecting the solution to one of the most prominent open problems of
                          > a field, JAMS is rendering a vote of no confidence in the relevance of
                          > that field as a whole. While I'm still not 100% clear whether as an
                          > enthusiastic user of lattice theory in many real-world contexts I'll
                          > ever find a use for this particular result myself, I'd be calling the
                          > kettle black if that bothered me given the unlikely applicability of my
                          > own decade-old problem of whether every T_1 comonoid is discrete
                          > (http://boole.stanford.edu/pub/comonoid.pdf, true for countable
                          > comonoids but open for uncountable).
                          >
                          > So here's one candidate for a start on the kind of letter Melvin
                          > proposes. It addresses:
                          >
                          > (i) the importance of the result within lattice theory (pararaphs 1-3);
                          >
                          > (ii) circumstances of the paper (par. 4) and its rejection (par. 5) as
                          > they appear to us;
                          >
                          > (iii) the importance of lattice theory to other fields, including
                          but by
                          > no means restricted to mathematics (par. 6);
                          >
                          > (iv) the incompatibility of the board's explanation with the way
                          > mathematics is conducted (par. 7);
                          >
                          > (v) the complaint proper (par. 8); and
                          >
                          > (vi) proposed remedies (par. 9).
                          >
                          > In short, "Whereas (i)-(iv), we protest (v), and propose remedies (vi)."
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          >
                          >
                          > To the Journal of the American Mathematical Society:
                          >
                          > Dear Editorial Board,
                          >
                          > To a greater degree than often appreciated, the open problems of an
                          area
                          > serve to shape it as much as do its definitions and established
                          > theorems. One such problem that has helped shape both lattice theory
                          > (MSC category 06) and the careers of those who have worked on it is
                          > Dilworth's problem.
                          >
                          > By way of background Birkhoff and Frink showed in 1948 that the
                          > congruence lattice Con A of any algebra A is an algebraic lattice, and
                          > in 1963 Graetzer and Schmidt showed the converse, that every algebraic
                          > lattice arises as Con A for some algebra A. Bracketing this converse
                          > pair is the older 1942 theorem of Funayama and Nakayama, that when A as
                          > above is a lattice L the lattice Con L is distributive, along with its
                          > converse proposition DP, that every distributive algebraic lattice
                          > arises as Con L for some lattice L. This second pair brackets the
                          first
                          > to the extent that, as of 1963, the theoremhood of DP in the infinite
                          > case remained open as the Dilworth Problem, the finite case (where
                          > "algebraic" is redundant) having been shown in the 1940's by Dilworth.
                          > This situation persisted for the next 42 years. The mere fact of the
                          > bracketing is itself noteworthy.
                          >
                          > Viewed in this light, it is easy to appreciate the role of the Dilworth
                          > Problem in defining lattice theory as an area that, in Piet Hein's
                          > words, "proves its worth by hitting back," and moreover with problems
                          > that are not merely hard but central to their field. It is therefore
                          > unsurprising that the Dilworth Problem has featured prominently in
                          > essentially every list of major open problems of lattice theory
                          > throughout the past half century.
                          >
                          > In 2005 Fred Wehrung extended the theoremhood of DP from the finite
                          case
                          > up to the power of the continuum, but was able to refute the general
                          > case with a much larger distributive lattice with the help of
                          > Kuratowki's Free Set Theorem. The perfect symmetry of the bracketing
                          > therefore obtains up to continuum sized lattices but not for all
                          > lattices, thereby settling DP in the negative.
                          >
                          > JAMS as the flagship journal of the flagship society of mathematics
                          > seemed an ideal vehicle for the dissemination of this landmark result,
                          > particularly in light of the mission statement on your masthead, "This
                          > journal is devoted to research articles of the *highest* quality in
                          > *all* areas of pure and applied mathematics" (italics ours).
                          > Incomprehensibly to us, JAMS has rejected this paper on the sole ground
                          > of lack of "interaction with other areas of mathematics," whilst
                          however
                          > acknowledging that it is a paper of the highest quality in the area of
                          > lattice theory.
                          >
                          > We are unable to interpret this very strong commendation of the
                          paper in
                          > combination with its rejection in any light other than as a
                          dismissal of
                          > lattice theory itself as a legitimate area of mathematics. We feel
                          that
                          > this dismissal is both unfair and counterproductive. Certainly lattice
                          > theory is a relative newcomer by comparison with analysis and geometry,
                          > yet for the past century it has served mathematics, philosophy,
                          physics,
                          > computer science, and other areas remarkably well for such a young
                          > subject. Brutally dismissing an entire area in this way is detrimental
                          > to the health of both the area and its customers.
                          >
                          > Mathematics has always paid its dues by being "unreasonably effective"
                          > as Eugene Wigner put it, despite, or perhaps because of, having often
                          > been unreasonably detached from the demands of immediate interaction
                          > with other areas. This spirit of unfettered pursuit of mathematical
                          > knowledge in the expectation of possible future payoffs is clearly
                          > reflected in your mission statement cited above, which gives no hint of
                          > any requirement of applicability or interaction, let alone of the
                          > applicable criteria for such. What we find incomprehensible is that so
                          > important a contribution to lattice theory would be rejected solely
                          on a
                          > ground that seems so at odds with the whole mathematical enterprise.
                          > The only explanation that makes sense to us here is again our
                          conclusion
                          > above, based there on the more direct evidence of the referees'
                          reports,
                          > that JAMS has a low opinion of lattice theory as a mathematical area.
                          >
                          > The field of lattice theory as represented below hereby protests this
                          > explicit violation of the protocols followed by mathematics for
                          > millennia. We also protest the implicit dismissal of the significance
                          > of lattice theory.
                          >
                          > When the unwritten rules and standards by which a journal operates
                          serve
                          > to act directly against not just its stated primary mission but the
                          very
                          > raison d'etre of mathematics, we submit that it is time for the journal
                          > either to make those rules and standards public by incorporation into
                          > its mission statement, or to eliminate them, or to inject fresh blood
                          > into its board to enable it to better keep up with the changing
                          > boundaries of the mathematical arena.
                          >
                          > <signatory list>
                          >
                          -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          >
                          >
                          > I don't know if I got the right tone of scholarly outrage without
                          > descending into histrionics, so some tweaking may be in order there. I
                          > fretted over whether it was fair to read into the board's decision that
                          > they held lattice theory in low esteem, but their admission that the
                          > paper is of the highest quality *in lattice theory* pretty much does
                          > them in in that regard in view of their masthead mission statement that
                          > they want the highest quality papers in all areas of pure and applied
                          > mathematics.
                          >
                          > I pegged "past century" for the age of lattice theory to Peirce and
                          > Dedekind (closer to 5/4 centuries for them), but one could arguably peg
                          > it to the early Boolean algebraists for 1.5 centuries (but see my
                          > slightly anti-lattice Wikipedia article at
                          > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boolean_algebras_canonically_defined,
                          which
                          > incidentally deploys the "homologue" concept I polled this list about a
                          > few months ago) or to Birkhoff for 70 years. I settled for one century
                          > as a conveniently round compromise.
                          >
                          > This being a class action so to speak, it is also appropriate to
                          > properly identify the injured class. Is lattice theory qua MSC
                          category
                          > 06 the right class, or should it be broadened to a larger population of
                          > algebraists?
                          >
                          > One thing I'm unclear about is Dilworth's role in formulating this
                          > problem. Just as Birkhoff had only dealt with the finite case of the
                          > Stone duality of distributive lattices and ordered Stone spaces in the
                          > 1930's, missing the topological connection Stone spotted and Priestley
                          > clarified, so did Dilworth only treat the finite case of identifying
                          the
                          > distributive lattices with the congruence lattices of lattices, missing
                          > the need for algebraic lattices in the infinite case (which ironically
                          > can also be analyzed in terms of Stone topology, see Johnstone's *Stone
                          > spaces*). Is the problem named for Dilworth because he solved at least
                          > the finite case, or did he actually ask for its infinite extension?
                          And
                          > if the latter, given that it was not known (or at least not published)
                          > until 1948 that Con A was algebraic for A any algebra, was it at least
                          > known in 1942 that Con L was algebraic? If not, it would seem
                          incorrect
                          > to say that Dilworth posed the general problem because how would he
                          have
                          > known to formulate it as "Does every distributive algebraic lattice
                          > arise as Con L for some lattice L?"
                          >
                          > Vaughan Pratt
                          >
                        • George Gratzer
                          Excellent letter and comments. Some additional observations. I find the second paragraph of Vaughan s letter giving the background very interesting.
                          Message 12 of 23 , Feb 4, 2007
                            Excellent letter and comments.

                            Some additional observations.

                            I find the second paragraph of Vaughan's letter giving the background 
                            very interesting.

                            Observations.

                             1. Actually, there was a third and forth "bracketing". Birkhoff in 1945 
                            raised the question whether every complete lattice is 
                            isomorphic to the congruence lattice of an infinitary algebra (he raised the 
                            question for finitary algebras in 1948). This was not answered until 
                            1979 by Lampe and myself (Appendix 7 in the second edition
                            of my UA book).

                            R. Wille in the early 80-s raised the stronger question, whether
                            a complete lattice is isomorphic to the complete congruence lattice of 
                            a complete lattice. I answered his question in the affirmative in 1989. 
                            A long series of papers followed up this result.

                            2. It is not clear to me why Fred choose the title he did. He published
                            maybe 10 to 20 papers on the subject. He called this problem 
                            Congruence Lattice Problem, CLP for short. With Tuma he wrote
                            an excellent survey article on the problem (AU 2002). I liked CLP,
                            so in my book on the finite case, I used CLP.

                            The first time I heard "Dilworth' Problem" was in the title of Fred's
                            (rejected) paper. 

                            Since Dilworth published nothing on the subject, it is hard to tell
                            whether in 1942 he was familiar with what we call today "algebraic
                            lattices" (which term, as used today, I introduced in my UA book in 1968).

                            Birkhoff-Frink is 1948. It was not until 1959 that at an Oberwolfach meeting
                            we first discussed that the multi-page proof of Birkhoff-Frink can be done
                            in 4-5 lines, if you properly understand "compactly generated complete lattices".
                            Dilworth could have come up with this concept early in the forties, 
                            but should we not base such discussions on published evidence?
                            Dilworth's first print contribution was his 1973 book with Crawley, which contains
                            the finite case (reproducing my proof with Schmidt, propery attributed), 
                            and CLP is raise (no attribution). CLP was first raised in print in 1962, 
                            Problem 1 in my paper with Schmidt on the finite case.

                            And now two personal notes. 

                            1. I was brought up in Hungary in a small mathematical community. 
                            We knew everybody in person. We classified the mathematicians as
                            good or bad, not as topologists or algebraists or analysts or whatever.
                            Same with results and papers. Good or bad. It is very alien to me that your paper 
                            be judged by quality but other considerations. (Which could also be
                            political, racial,...)

                            2. Robert Lazarsfeld asked me to referee Fred's paper. He wrote:

                            Maybe I could add a few words to put the matter into perspective. 
                            JAMS is facing a lurking backlog, and in any event we only publish 
                            1000 pages a year. So we are forced to impose even higher standards 
                            than usual. In order for this paper to have a realistic chance to win the 
                            approval of the editorial board, one would have to be able to argue that 
                            it is one of the most significant achievements in universal algebra / logic /
                            lattice theory in some time, and that it ranks 
                            with the best recent achievements in mathematics.

                            Does it seem to you that this is the case? If it does not seem to be so,
                            it would be best for me to return the paper to the author without further delay.

                            With the help of Bob Quackenbush, I wrote a long and detailed report. I think
                            we demonstrated the history, the quality, and the importance of Fred's paper.
                            If this group would like to see it, I will be happy to post it.

                            Rob spit me in the face when the paper was rejected and he did not
                            even bother to inform me.

                            GG 


                            On Feb 3, 2007, at 11:27 PM, Vaughan Pratt wrote:

                            Thanks to all for answering my question regarding the importance of this
                            problem---I knew how old it was, but age alone isn't necessarily a
                            determiner of importance. (Note that I get the daily digest rather than
                            the real-time feed so this reply may be a bit out of date already.) My
                            initial reaction had been one of outrage of the form "how could any
                            journal reject any correct solution to a 65-year-old problem in an
                            established area of mathematics," and I drafted a suitably indignant
                            letter drawing an analogy with the leader of a socialist opposition
                            party (the solved problem being the leader, socialism being to communism
                            as lattice theory might be perceived by some conservative mathematicians
                            to foundations, and the opposition being that the problem was settled
                            with a refutation rather than a proof, if we grant theoremhood the role
                            of government in the politics of proof and refutation). But then trying
                            to see things from the board's standpoint, it occurred to me that maybe
                            the board had some justifiable perception that the higher the cardinal
                            the lower the result in the foundations basement, which taken in
                            combination with the overwhelming body of theorems generated annually
                            might have inclined them to the view that the audience for this theorem
                            may be too narrow. So I set that draft aside and instead polled the
                            list for more perspective on the importance of the problem than I felt I
                            could muster based on my very limited experience with how lattice
                            theorists view the problem.

                            In view of the responses, in combination with the importance of lattice
                            theory itself (without attempting to pass judgment on the relevance of
                            the Dilworth problem itself outside lattice theory), it would surely not
                            be in the interests of lattice theory to accept this implied judgment of
                            non-lattice theorists that lattice theory is not of interest to other
                            mathematicians. Melvin Henriksen's proposal of what would essentially
                            be an open letter to the JAMS editorial board seems exactly the right
                            response. A suitable representation of the area needs to protest that
                            in rejecting the solution to one of the most prominent open problems of
                            a field, JAMS is rendering a vote of no confidence in the relevance of
                            that field as a whole. While I'm still not 100% clear whether as an
                            enthusiastic user of lattice theory in many real-world contexts I'll
                            ever find a use for this particular result myself, I'd be calling the
                            kettle black if that bothered me given the unlikely applicability of my
                            own decade-old problem of whether every T_1 comonoid is discrete
                            (http://boole.stanford.edu/pub/comonoid.pdf, true for countable
                            comonoids but open for uncountable).

                            So here's one candidate for a start on the kind of letter Melvin
                            proposes. It addresses:

                            (i) the importance of the result within lattice theory (pararaphs 1-3);

                            (ii) circumstances of the paper (par. 4) and its rejection (par. 5) as
                            they appear to us;

                            (iii) the importance of lattice theory to other fields, including but by
                            no means restricted to mathematics (par. 6);

                            (iv) the incompatibility of the board's explanation with the way
                            mathematics is conducted (par. 7);

                            (v) the complaint proper (par. 8); and

                            (vi) proposed remedies (par. 9).

                            In short, "Whereas (i)-(iv), we protest (v), and propose remedies (vi)."

                            ----------------------------------------------------------

                            To the Journal of the American Mathematical Society:

                            Dear Editorial Board,

                            To a greater degree than often appreciated, the open problems of an area
                            serve to shape it as much as do its definitions and established
                            theorems. One such problem that has helped shape both lattice theory
                            (MSC category 06) and the careers of those who have worked on it is
                            Dilworth's problem.

                            By way of background Birkhoff and Frink showed in 1948 that the
                            congruence lattice Con A of any algebra A is an algebraic lattice, and
                            in 1963 Graetzer and Schmidt showed the converse, that every algebraic
                            lattice arises as Con A for some algebra A. Bracketing this converse
                            pair is the older 1942 theorem of Funayama and Nakayama, that when A as
                            above is a lattice L the lattice Con L is distributive, along with its
                            converse proposition DP, that every distributive algebraic lattice
                            arises as Con L for some lattice L. This second pair brackets the first
                            to the extent that, as of 1963, the theoremhood of DP in the infinite
                            case remained open as the Dilworth Problem, the finite case (where
                            "algebraic" is redundant) having been shown in the 1940's by Dilworth.
                            This situation persisted for the next 42 years. The mere fact of the
                            bracketing is itself noteworthy.

                            Viewed in this light, it is easy to appreciate the role of the Dilworth
                            Problem in defining lattice theory as an area that, in Piet Hein's
                            words, "proves its worth by hitting back," and moreover with problems
                            that are not merely hard but central to their field. It is therefore
                            unsurprising that the Dilworth Problem has featured prominently in
                            essentially every list of major open problems of lattice theory
                            throughout the past half century.

                            In 2005 Fred Wehrung extended the theoremhood of DP from the finite case
                            up to the power of the continuum, but was able to refute the general
                            case with a much larger distributive lattice with the help of
                            Kuratowki's Free Set Theorem. The perfect symmetry of the bracketing
                            therefore obtains up to continuum sized lattices but not for all
                            lattices, thereby settling DP in the negative.

                            JAMS as the flagship journal of the flagship society of mathematics
                            seemed an ideal vehicle for the dissemination of this landmark result,
                            particularly in light of the mission statement on your masthead, "This
                            journal is devoted to research articles of the *highest* quality in
                            *all* areas of pure and applied mathematics" (italics ours).
                            Incomprehensibly to us, JAMS has rejected this paper on the sole ground
                            of lack of "interaction with other areas of mathematics," whilst however
                            acknowledging that it is a paper of the highest quality in the area of
                            lattice theory.

                            We are unable to interpret this very strong commendation of the paper in
                            combination with its rejection in any light other than as a dismissal of
                            lattice theory itself as a legitimate area of mathematics. We feel that
                            this dismissal is both unfair and counterproductive. Certainly lattice
                            theory is a relative newcomer by comparison with analysis and geometry,
                            yet for the past century it has served mathematics, philosophy, physics,
                            computer science, and other areas remarkably well for such a young
                            subject. Brutally dismissing an entire area in this way is detrimental
                            to the health of both the area and its customers.

                            Mathematics has always paid its dues by being "unreasonably effective"
                            as Eugene Wigner put it, despite, or perhaps because of, having often
                            been unreasonably detached from the demands of immediate interaction
                            with other areas. This spirit of unfettered pursuit of mathematical
                            knowledge in the expectation of possible future payoffs is clearly
                            reflected in your mission statement cited above, which gives no hint of
                            any requirement of applicability or interaction, let alone of the
                            applicable criteria for such. What we find incomprehensible is that so
                            important a contribution to lattice theory would be rejected solely on a
                            ground that seems so at odds with the whole mathematical enterprise.
                            The only explanation that makes sense to us here is again our conclusion
                            above, based there on the more direct evidence of the referees' reports,
                            that JAMS has a low opinion of lattice theory as a mathematical area.

                            The field of lattice theory as represented below hereby protests this
                            explicit violation of the protocols followed by mathematics for
                            millennia. We also protest the implicit dismissal of the significance
                            of lattice theory.

                            When the unwritten rules and standards by which a journal operates serve
                            to act directly against not just its stated primary mission but the very
                            raison d'etre of mathematics, we submit that it is time for the journal
                            either to make those rules and standards public by incorporation into
                            its mission statement, or to eliminate them, or to inject fresh blood
                            into its board to enable it to better keep up with the changing
                            boundaries of the mathematical arena.

                            <signatory list>
                            ----------------------------------------------------------

                            I don't know if I got the right tone of scholarly outrage without
                            descending into histrionics, so some tweaking may be in order there. I
                            fretted over whether it was fair to read into the board's decision that
                            they held lattice theory in low esteem, but their admission that the
                            paper is of the highest quality *in lattice theory* pretty much does
                            them in in that regard in view of their masthead mission statement that
                            they want the highest quality papers in all areas of pure and applied
                            mathematics.

                            I pegged "past century" for the age of lattice theory to Peirce and
                            Dedekind (closer to 5/4 centuries for them), but one could arguably peg
                            it to the early Boolean algebraists for 1.5 centuries (but see my
                            slightly anti-lattice Wikipedia article at
                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boolean_algebras_canonically_defined, which
                            incidentally deploys the "homologue" concept I polled this list about a
                            few months ago) or to Birkhoff for 70 years. I settled for one century
                            as a conveniently round compromise.

                            This being a class action so to speak, it is also appropriate to
                            properly identify the injured class. Is lattice theory qua MSC category
                            06 the right class, or should it be broadened to a larger population of
                            algebraists?

                            One thing I'm unclear about is Dilworth's role in formulating this
                            problem. Just as Birkhoff had only dealt with the finite case of the
                            Stone duality of distributive lattices and ordered Stone spaces in the
                            1930's, missing the topological connection Stone spotted and Priestley
                            clarified, so did Dilworth only treat the finite case of identifying the
                            distributive lattices with the congruence lattices of lattices, missing
                            the need for algebraic lattices in the infinite case (which ironically
                            can also be analyzed in terms of Stone topology, see Johnstone's *Stone
                            spaces*). Is the problem named for Dilworth because he solved at least
                            the finite case, or did he actually ask for its infinite extension? And
                            if the latter, given that it was not known (or at least not published)
                            until 1948 that Con A was algebraic for A any algebra, was it at least
                            known in 1942 that Con L was algebraic? If not, it would seem incorrect
                            to say that Dilworth posed the general problem because how would he have
                            known to formulate it as "Does every distributive algebraic lattice
                            arise as Con L for some lattice L?"

                            Vaughan Pratt


                          • Vaughan Pratt
                            The daily digest not being sufficiently real-time I visited the group just now. One key point I took away from George s message 361 is that the combined word
                            Message 13 of 23 , Feb 4, 2007
                              The daily digest not being sufficiently real-time I visited the group
                              just now. One key point I took away from
                              George's message 361 is that the combined word of Bob Quackenbush and
                              himself was not good enough for the board. I don't know if an
                              attachment in a message will work, but if not the report can be put up
                              on any available website---George, I'd be happy to host it on either
                              boole.stanford.edu or thue.stanford.edu if you don't have one closer to
                              you. Additional options if desired are antirobot annotation (in case
                              you don't want the report findable by search engines) and password
                              protection (even more limited readership), benefits not obtainable with
                              an attachment posted to this group if even possible.

                              Since that report presumably goes in the opposite direction from my
                              letter with regard to Melvin's concern about length, and in any event is
                              not formulated as a post-rejection protest, here for variety is an
                              abbreviated version of my candidate letter, at (close to) the other
                              extreme in length, replacing the background material with the say-so of
                              lattice theory as an area (presumably omitting the referees from the
                              signatories), removing the concluding aspersion on the board membership
                              (or should that stay?), but otherwise retaining the core points of my
                              long candidate.

                              ----------------------------------------------

                              Dear Editorial Board,

                              We are writing to protest your rejection of Fred Wehrung's resolution of
                              the Dilworth Problem, one of the foremost open problems of lattice
                              theory since the 1940s. The referees have judged the paper to be of the
                              highest quality, in full accord with your mission statement, "This
                              journal is devoted to research articles of the highest quality in all
                              areas of pure and applied mathematics." From the perspective of lattice
                              theory your rejection renders an injustice to the author, wastes the
                              referees' time, and slights our area.

                              We also protest your proferred rationale that the paper fails to
                              "interact with other branches of mathematics." Such a requirement runs
                              directly counter to the essence of pure mathematics as the unfettered
                              pursuit of mathematical knowledge in the expectation of possible future
                              payoffs.

                              When the unwritten rules and standards by which a journal operates are
                              inconsistent with its stated mission, we submit that the journal should
                              either state them publicly or renounce them.

                              <signatory list>


                              ----------------------------------------------

                              The ostensible problem with dropping the supporting background material
                              is that calibration is thereby lost on the exact quality of the result.
                              It is all very well for referees to declare a paper to be of "highest
                              quality," whatever that means, but the background material provides
                              valuable supporting reader-verifiable calibration. The faster way to
                              calibrate the reader is to have the area itself as represented by the
                              signers make its own declaration of importance as per the second half of
                              the first sentence. But if the signers end up carrying no more weight
                              than the referees, maybe the editors could benefit from the background
                              if only as a wider range of faces to confront. Can the background be
                              included without undermining the impact of conciseness?

                              I'd previously been concerned that "wastes the referees' time" might not
                              be fair given the constraints of the editing process, but George's
                              message argues strongly for retaining it.

                              George also raises the question of the proper name for the problem.
                              While "Dilworth Problem" is a catchy name, if it wasn't called that in
                              any of the lists of open problems perhaps the letter should not be using
                              so new a name.

                              Interesting about George's third and fourth bracketings. If we write
                              the four pairs of brackets as (), {}, [], and <> respectively, the
                              bracketing I observed is ({}), nice, George's third makes it ([{}]),
                              really nice, and his fourth ([{}]<>), still nice because although more
                              random it is still properly nested (it could just as well have turned
                              out to be say ([{}<]>) which is not nested across bracket types). What
                              are the odds?

                              I confess to not being a fan of Melvin's suggested "they can do this to
                              you too" line, as it drags both the reader and lattice theory down to
                              the respective lowest common denominators. It's too obvious a point,
                              and lattice theory has a certain primitive vitality and direct utility
                              to a wide range of areas lacking in some other areas of mathematics.

                              Lastly, does this result "rank with the best recent achievements in
                              mathematics?" Which papers in the last two volumes of JAMS would you
                              rank below Wehrung's, taking into account the impact of each on JAMS'
                              limit of 1000 pages annually? That the solution was positive up to the
                              cardinality of the continuum tends to weaken the objection that the
                              overall solution was a refutation, especially for those of us who don't
                              want to have to think about more than continuum many of anything, even
                              real functions---who in the real world needs more than countably many
                              discontinuities? Lazarsfeld's "lurking backlog" would appear to be
                              symptomatic of an increasingly competitive arena at the top. It would
                              be nice to know that JAMS rewards those earthshaking papers that are
                              also short with a better chance of acceptance. Perhaps this point could
                              also go in the letter if it doesn't compromise its length. I have
                              trouble believing that JAMS publishes 1000/15 ~ 67 papers each year that
                              rank in importance with the solution to a half-century old core problem
                              of an important area of mathematics.

                              Vaughan Pratt


                              > Posted by: "henriksen.rm" henriksen@...
                              > <mailto:henriksen@...?Subject=
                              > Re%3A%20There%20is%20a%20need%20to%20be%20brief>
                              > henriksen.rm <http://profiles.yahoo.com/henriksen.rm>
                              >
                              >
                              > Sat Feb 3, 2007 11:57 pm (PST)
                              >
                              > We should be grateful to Vaughan Pratt for formulating a letter. It is
                              > a good start, but I hope the final version will be more transparent
                              > and brief. Also, I hope the final version will mention that if the
                              > JAMS boars can refuse to publish an article regarded as of high
                              > quality to most experts in universal algebra or lattice theory, they
                              > can do this in many other areas of mathematics as well.
                              > Melvin Henriksen
                            • Friedrich Wehrung
                              Dear all, First, I would like to thank you all for the amount of reaction to this CLP happening, and especially Petar Markovic for having started this
                              Message 14 of 23 , Feb 4, 2007
                                Dear all,

                                First, I would like to thank you all for the amount of reaction to this CLP happening, and especially Petar Markovic for having started this discussion. As Petar recalled, I already submitted elsewhere (of course, still I strongly hope that this will help improving the situation of our topic with respect to the rest of the mathematical community---at least it seems to give us a chance. As I might still tend to get awfully subjective on the particular matter of CLP (on which I had been working for years) I will try not to say too much there, sticking to mere facts.

                                About George's implicit question below,

                                2. It is not clear to me why Fred choose the title he did. He published
                                maybe 10 to 20 papers on the subject. He called this problem 
                                Congruence Lattice Problem, CLP for short. With Tuma he wrote
                                an excellent survey article on the problem (AU 2002). I liked CLP,
                                so in my book on the finite case, I used CLP.

                                The first time I heard "Dilworth' Problem" was in the title of Fred's
                                (rejected) paper. 

                                Since Dilworth published nothing on the subject, it is hard to tell
                                whether in 1942 he was familiar with what we call today "algebraic
                                lattices" (which term, as used today, I introduced in my UA book in 1968).

                                First I had considered simply calling it "A solution to the congruence lattice problem". However, there are two "congruence lattice problems" in universal algebra, the other one being about representing finite lattices as congruence lattices of finite algebras. Informal discussions with many lattice theorists (but not Dilworth himself, whom I never met) led me to the conclusion that the origin of the CLP problem, also supported by traditional attribution, was to be found in Dilworth himself. This was also strongly supported by a few printed traces, among which "The Dilworth Theorems: Selected papers", Bogart, Freese, and Kung eds., Birkhauser, Boston - Basel - Berlin, 1990, in particular Chapter 8 (where CLP is called "Dilworth's conjecture"), and in particular on page 456---let me quote an excerpt written by Dilworth himself:

                                *****
                                "This immediately raises the question: "Is every algebraic distributive lattice isomorphic to a lattice of congruence relations of a suitable lattice?" I began a study of this question by looking into the case of a finite distributive lattice.

                                I had felt for some time that the conjecture was true. Thus when I began to work on the problem, I started with the simplest non-trivial example namely, the three-element chain. 

                                (...)

                                It is clear that this method also handles the case of a complete distributive lattice in which each element is a join of compact join-irreducible elements.
                                This work was never published since I had hoped to have time to do some definitive work on the general question."
                                *****


                                One more thing that was not said yet about my ill-fated submission: I received acknowledgment for it on January 26, 2006. The news of the rejection came on December 5, 2006. According to what I know about the earlier attempts at this problem, the refereeing must have been a highly non-trivial and time-consuming task

                                (cf. Karin's comment
                                At least they should tell it in advance that they do not accept papers
                                from this areas (though they should according to their own definition),
                                and spend both the author's and the referees' time.
                                )

                                as every detail needed to be checked carefully. I wrote this to Lazarsfeld, (1) asking him to send me the referees' reports, (2) implying that he could inform the referees in what extent their work had been taken into account. I got neither an answer nor the referees' reports, and now

                                (cf. George's comment,

                                Rob spit me in the face when the paper was rejected and he did not
                                even bother to inform me.
                                )

                                we know that the referees were not informed either (I don't know who are the others)! I'm tempted to write something really nasty there but I'll restrain (even in French it would be too rude)...

                                A few top-ranked journals, such as Compositio Math, announce in their "aims and scope" section that they would handle only mainstream topics. As discutable as this may seem, at least they state their choice publicly, cf. Vaughan Pratt's conclusion

                                When the unwritten rules and standards by which a journal operates are
                                inconsistent with its stated mission, we submit that the journal should
                                either state them publicly or renounce them.

                                The impression that I've been getting over the recent years is that all aspects of research are more and more subjected to "evaluation" of increasingly bureaucratical type. This can take the form of tons of crazy forms that we must fill and that nobody reads (I guess that this is not limited to France), but also the growing importance given to that (infamous) invention called the impact factor, which, in the absence of any other "objective" numerical measurement of quality of fundamental research, tends to become the main reference for quality of a journal. And this is a vicious circle, that I believe many mathematicians, even mainstream, feel, without knowing exactly what to do about it and actually losing the motivation to do so once their position (I'm not only talking about academic position) moves to the cozy side, thus illustrating Peter Prohle's words,

                                Hence the editorial board of JAMS gave an opinion about their JAMS.

                                So I support the idea of a joint letter to the JAMS editorial board, but also of a follow-up in, say, the Notices, because I know that this CLP incident is not isolated (not only JAMS is concerned), and this is the least we can do, after all, to disturb that coziness.

                                Best regards, Fred

                                --
                                Friedrich Wehrung
                                LMNO, CNRS UMR 6139
                                Universit\'e de Caen, Campus 2
                                D\'epartement de Math\'ematiques, BP 5186
                                14032 Caen cedex
                                FRANCE

                                e-mail: wehrung@...
                                alternate e-mail: fwehrung@...




                              • A. Mani
                                ... The job of the/a committee should also be to create better written standards for the management of journals. Journals should specifically spell out what
                                Message 15 of 23 , Feb 4, 2007
                                  On Saturday 03 Feb 2007 13:19, henriksen.rm wrote:
                                  > We are academics, so we should start with a committee whose job will
                                  > be to compose a letter condemning this kind of academic censorship in
                                  > general and mention this paper as a particularly bad example. Once it

                                  The job of the/a committee should also be to create better written standards
                                  for the management of journals. Journals should specifically spell out what
                                  they think is suitable in particular.
                                  *author X explicitly uses results from subj class a, b, c, ... and proves new
                                  fundamental results in k*, is different from
                                  *author X explicitly proves new fundamental results in a, b, c, .... and this
                                  will affect subj class a, b, ...w *
                                  A journal which cannot spell out such things clearly is just dumb.

                                  In this regard the review process of a new journal like the Australasian
                                  journal of Logic is relatively more progressive.
                                  http://www.philosophy.unimelb.edu.au/ajl/referees.html
                                  But the standards should go beyond that and aim at lessening the dependency
                                  burden arising at the editorial boards views and journal standards.

                                  All this is important in view of the developments in the foundations of
                                  mathematics, inconsistency adaptive logics and other branches.

                                  > is approved, it should be sent with a large number of signatures both
                                  > to editorial board of JAMS, and the Notices of the AMS.
                                  > Perhaps the executive editors of AU might propose the membership of
                                  > this committee.

                                  One thing is *suitable journal* for people in algebra and logic generally
                                  means or has come to mean particular journals in logic, AU, AL and a set of
                                  East European journals. I have myself used Prof Wehrung´ s (and Semenovaś)
                                  recent result on convex orders in my ´Super Rough Semantics´ (in Fundamenta
                                  Informaticae 2006) and in extensions thereof. I was wondering why he sent
                                  that Dilworth Problem paper to the jams in the first place, because people in
                                  algebra and logic should be able to feel the narrow mindedness of
                                  mathematicians who remain constrained to less universal branches.

                                  Best

                                  A. Mani
                                  Member, Cal. Math. Soc
                                  http://amani.topcities.com
                                • Melvin Henriksen
                                  In my opinion, Vaughan Pratt s new letter is brief and too the point. It would have been stronger if I had written it, and others might feel the opposite. It
                                  Message 16 of 23 , Feb 4, 2007
                                    In my opinion, Vaughan Pratt's new letter is brief and too the point.
                                    It would have been stronger if I had written it, and others might feel
                                    the opposite. It has the virtue, I hope, that a large number of research
                                    mathematician will sign it and consent to having it sent to the
                                    editorial board of JAMS as soon as possible.
                                    I think that in the spirit of what Fred Wehrung suggested, a copy of
                                    Pratt's letter should also be sent as a letter to the editor of the
                                    Notices preceded by a brief explanation of the event's that motivated
                                    sending the letter. This preface should be understandable to a broad
                                    mathematical audience.
                                    Melvin Henriksen

                                    Vaughan Pratt wrote:
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > The daily digest not being sufficiently real-time I visited the group
                                    > just now. One key point I took away from
                                    > George's message 361 is that the combined word of Bob Quackenbush and
                                    > himself was not good enough for the board. I don't know if an
                                    > attachment in a message will work, but if not the report can be put up
                                    > on any available website---George, I'd be happy to host it on either
                                    > boole.stanford.edu or thue.stanford.edu if you don't have one closer to
                                    > you. Additional options if desired are antirobot annotation (in case
                                    > you don't want the report findable by search engines) and password
                                    > protection (even more limited readership), benefits not obtainable with
                                    > an attachment posted to this group if even possible.
                                    >
                                    > Since that report presumably goes in the opposite direction from my
                                    > letter with regard to Melvin's concern about length, and in any event is
                                    > not formulated as a post-rejection protest, here for variety is an
                                    > abbreviated version of my candidate letter, at (close to) the other
                                    > extreme in length, replacing the background material with the say-so of
                                    > lattice theory as an area (presumably omitting the referees from the
                                    > signatories), removing the concluding aspersion on the board membership
                                    > (or should that stay?), but otherwise retaining the core points of my
                                    > long candidate.
                                    >
                                    > ----------------------------------------------
                                    >
                                    > Dear Editorial Board,
                                    >
                                    > We are writing to protest your rejection of Fred Wehrung's resolution of
                                    > the Dilworth Problem, one of the foremost open problems of lattice
                                    > theory since the 1940s. The referees have judged the paper to be of the
                                    > highest quality, in full accord with your mission statement, "This
                                    > journal is devoted to research articles of the highest quality in all
                                    > areas of pure and applied mathematics." From the perspective of lattice
                                    > theory your rejection renders an injustice to the author, wastes the
                                    > referees' time, and slights our area.
                                    >
                                    > We also protest your proferred rationale that the paper fails to
                                    > "interact with other branches of mathematics." Such a requirement runs
                                    > directly counter to the essence of pure mathematics as the unfettered
                                    > pursuit of mathematical knowledge in the expectation of possible future
                                    > payoffs.
                                    >
                                    > When the unwritten rules and standards by which a journal operates are
                                    > inconsistent with its stated mission, we submit that the journal should
                                    > either state them publicly or renounce them.
                                    >
                                    > <signatory list>
                                    >
                                    > ----------------------------------------------
                                    >
                                    > The ostensible problem with dropping the supporting background material
                                    > is that calibration is thereby lost on the exact quality of the result.
                                    > It is all very well for referees to declare a paper to be of "highest
                                    > quality," whatever that means, but the background material provides
                                    > valuable supporting reader-verifiable calibration. The faster way to
                                    > calibrate the reader is to have the area itself as represented by the
                                    > signers make its own declaration of importance as per the second half of
                                    > the first sentence. But if the signers end up carrying no more weight
                                    > than the referees, maybe the editors could benefit from the background
                                    > if only as a wider range of faces to confront. Can the background be
                                    > included without undermining the impact of conciseness?
                                    >
                                    > I'd previously been concerned that "wastes the referees' time" might not
                                    > be fair given the constraints of the editing process, but George's
                                    > message argues strongly for retaining it.
                                    >
                                    > George also raises the question of the proper name for the problem.
                                    > While "Dilworth Problem" is a catchy name, if it wasn't called that in
                                    > any of the lists of open problems perhaps the letter should not be using
                                    > so new a name.
                                    >
                                    > Interesting about George's third and fourth bracketings. If we write
                                    > the four pairs of brackets as (), {}, [], and <> respectively, the
                                    > bracketing I observed is ({}), nice, George's third makes it ([{}]),
                                    > really nice, and his fourth ([{}]<>), still nice because although more
                                    > random it is still properly nested (it could just as well have turned
                                    > out to be say ([{}<]>) which is not nested across bracket types). What
                                    > are the odds?
                                    >
                                    > I confess to not being a fan of Melvin's suggested "they can do this to
                                    > you too" line, as it drags both the reader and lattice theory down to
                                    > the respective lowest common denominators. It's too obvious a point,
                                    > and lattice theory has a certain primitive vitality and direct utility
                                    > to a wide range of areas lacking in some other areas of mathematics.
                                    >
                                    > Lastly, does this result "rank with the best recent achievements in
                                    > mathematics?" Which papers in the last two volumes of JAMS would you
                                    > rank below Wehrung's, taking into account the impact of each on JAMS'
                                    > limit of 1000 pages annually? That the solution was positive up to the
                                    > cardinality of the continuum tends to weaken the objection that the
                                    > overall solution was a refutation, especially for those of us who don't
                                    > want to have to think about more than continuum many of anything, even
                                    > real functions---who in the real world needs more than countably many
                                    > discontinuities? Lazarsfeld's "lurking backlog" would appear to be
                                    > symptomatic of an increasingly competitive arena at the top. It would
                                    > be nice to know that JAMS rewards those earthshaking papers that are
                                    > also short with a better chance of acceptance. Perhaps this point could
                                    > also go in the letter if it doesn't compromise its length. I have
                                    > trouble believing that JAMS publishes 1000/15 ~ 67 papers each year that
                                    > rank in importance with the solution to a half-century old core problem
                                    > of an important area of mathematics.
                                    >
                                    > Vaughan Pratt
                                    >
                                    > > Posted by: "henriksen.rm" henriksen@... <mailto:henriksen%40hmc.edu>
                                    > > <mailto:henriksen@... <mailto:henriksen%40hmc.edu>?Subject=
                                    > > Re%3A%20There%20is%20a%20need%20to%20be%20brief>
                                    > > henriksen.rm <http://profiles.yahoo.com/henriksen.rm
                                    > <http://profiles.yahoo.com/henriksen.rm>>
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > > Sat Feb 3, 2007 11:57 pm (PST)
                                    > >
                                    > > We should be grateful to Vaughan Pratt for formulating a letter. It is
                                    > > a good start, but I hope the final version will be more transparent
                                    > > and brief. Also, I hope the final version will mention that if the
                                    > > JAMS boars can refuse to publish an article regarded as of high
                                    > > quality to most experts in universal algebra or lattice theory, they
                                    > > can do this in many other areas of mathematics as well.
                                    > > Melvin Henriksen
                                    >
                                    >


                                    --
                                    Melvin Henriksen
                                    Harvey Mudd College
                                    Ph: 909 626 3676
                                  • Fred E.J. Linton
                                    Hi, Vaughan, with Mel and Yefim reading over your shoulder , When I compare your new shorter version to the original longer one, I find myself comparing the
                                    Message 17 of 23 , Feb 4, 2007
                                      Hi, Vaughan, with Mel and Yefim reading "over your shoulder",

                                      When I compare your new shorter version to the original longer one,
                                      I find myself comparing the strident outburst of a shrill shrew
                                      to the calm convincing fully reasoned argument of a clear thinker.

                                      Which will carry more weight? The short one just protests,
                                      loudly, without offering much other than signatories as evidence,
                                      and without making clear what is desired as response from the board.
                                      The longer, original version, makes a reasoned case that an
                                      injustice has occured, and makes plain what the board should do
                                      to right it, and explains why that's their best course of action.

                                      If you want something done, you must tell WHAT you want done,
                                      and why, and what the consequences of NOT doing it will be:
                                      that works for recalcitrant motor vehicle clerks, for sap-headed
                                      credit card company customer "service" representatives, and,
                                      I dare say, for members of the JAMS editorial board as well.

                                      The shrill protest approach, on the othe hand, I've seen applied
                                      at border crossings, at post offices, at visa-issuing agencies,
                                      in many other settings, and I've NEVER seen it work: the protester
                                      leaves all disgruntled, the protestee simply feels unfairly abused,
                                      and any onlookers are just puzzled why the protester didn't use
                                      better psychology than mere ranting to achieve the desired end.

                                      I hope you'll forgive me, both of you, for being quite this blunt
                                      and undiplomatic this once.

                                      It's not my usual style. But if you're going to communicate with
                                      the board (and with the readers of the Notices) about this matter,
                                      I'd rather see you do it in the most effective, least repellent, way.
                                      Certainly nothing repels like "shrill" -- and nothing compels
                                      as effectively as cogent, irrefutable, well-reasoned argument.

                                      That's why I far prefer the long draft over the short one.

                                      Wishing everyone the best of luck in this venture, I am,

                                      Ever yours,

                                      -- Fred

                                      ---

                                      ------ Original Message ------
                                      Received: Sun, 04 Feb 2007 04:09:51 PM EST
                                      From: Vaughan Pratt <pratt@...>
                                      To: univalg@yahoogroups.com
                                      Subject: [univalg] Re: There is a need to be brief

                                      > The daily digest not being sufficiently real-time I visited the group
                                      > just now. One key point I took away from
                                      > George's message 361 is that the combined word of Bob Quackenbush and
                                      > himself was not good enough for the board. I don't know if an
                                      > attachment in a message will work, but if not the report can be put up
                                      > on any available website---George, I'd be happy to host it on either
                                      > boole.stanford.edu or thue.stanford.edu if you don't have one closer to
                                      > you. Additional options if desired are antirobot annotation (in case
                                      > you don't want the report findable by search engines) and password
                                      > protection (even more limited readership), benefits not obtainable with
                                      > an attachment posted to this group if even possible.
                                      >
                                      > Since that report presumably goes in the opposite direction from my
                                      > letter with regard to Melvin's concern about length, and in any event is
                                      > not formulated as a post-rejection protest, here for variety is an
                                      > abbreviated version of my candidate letter, at (close to) the other
                                      > extreme in length, replacing the background material with the say-so of
                                      > lattice theory as an area (presumably omitting the referees from the
                                      > signatories), removing the concluding aspersion on the board membership
                                      > (or should that stay?), but otherwise retaining the core points of my
                                      > long candidate.
                                      >
                                      > ----------------------------------------------
                                      >
                                      > Dear Editorial Board,
                                      >
                                      > We are writing to protest your rejection of Fred Wehrung's resolution of
                                      > the Dilworth Problem, one of the foremost open problems of lattice
                                      > theory since the 1940s. The referees have judged the paper to be of the
                                      > highest quality, in full accord with your mission statement, "This
                                      > journal is devoted to research articles of the highest quality in all
                                      > areas of pure and applied mathematics." From the perspective of lattice
                                      > theory your rejection renders an injustice to the author, wastes the
                                      > referees' time, and slights our area.
                                      >
                                      > We also protest your proferred rationale that the paper fails to
                                      > "interact with other branches of mathematics." Such a requirement runs
                                      > directly counter to the essence of pure mathematics as the unfettered
                                      > pursuit of mathematical knowledge in the expectation of possible future
                                      > payoffs.
                                      >
                                      > When the unwritten rules and standards by which a journal operates are
                                      > inconsistent with its stated mission, we submit that the journal should
                                      > either state them publicly or renounce them.
                                      >
                                      > <signatory list>
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > ----------------------------------------------
                                      >
                                      > The ostensible problem with dropping the supporting background material
                                      > is that calibration is thereby lost on the exact quality of the result.
                                      > It is all very well for referees to declare a paper to be of "highest
                                      > quality," whatever that means, but the background material provides
                                      > valuable supporting reader-verifiable calibration. The faster way to
                                      > calibrate the reader is to have the area itself as represented by the
                                      > signers make its own declaration of importance as per the second half of
                                      > the first sentence. But if the signers end up carrying no more weight
                                      > than the referees, maybe the editors could benefit from the background
                                      > if only as a wider range of faces to confront. Can the background be
                                      > included without undermining the impact of conciseness?
                                      >
                                      > I'd previously been concerned that "wastes the referees' time" might not
                                      > be fair given the constraints of the editing process, but George's
                                      > message argues strongly for retaining it.
                                      >
                                      > George also raises the question of the proper name for the problem.
                                      > While "Dilworth Problem" is a catchy name, if it wasn't called that in
                                      > any of the lists of open problems perhaps the letter should not be using
                                      > so new a name.
                                      >
                                      > Interesting about George's third and fourth bracketings. If we write
                                      > the four pairs of brackets as (), {}, [], and <> respectively, the
                                      > bracketing I observed is ({}), nice, George's third makes it ([{}]),
                                      > really nice, and his fourth ([{}]<>), still nice because although more
                                      > random it is still properly nested (it could just as well have turned
                                      > out to be say ([{}<]>) which is not nested across bracket types). What
                                      > are the odds?
                                      >
                                      > I confess to not being a fan of Melvin's suggested "they can do this to
                                      > you too" line, as it drags both the reader and lattice theory down to
                                      > the respective lowest common denominators. It's too obvious a point,
                                      > and lattice theory has a certain primitive vitality and direct utility
                                      > to a wide range of areas lacking in some other areas of mathematics.
                                      >
                                      > Lastly, does this result "rank with the best recent achievements in
                                      > mathematics?" Which papers in the last two volumes of JAMS would you
                                      > rank below Wehrung's, taking into account the impact of each on JAMS'
                                      > limit of 1000 pages annually? That the solution was positive up to the
                                      > cardinality of the continuum tends to weaken the objection that the
                                      > overall solution was a refutation, especially for those of us who don't
                                      > want to have to think about more than continuum many of anything, even
                                      > real functions---who in the real world needs more than countably many
                                      > discontinuities? Lazarsfeld's "lurking backlog" would appear to be
                                      > symptomatic of an increasingly competitive arena at the top. It would
                                      > be nice to know that JAMS rewards those earthshaking papers that are
                                      > also short with a better chance of acceptance. Perhaps this point could
                                      > also go in the letter if it doesn't compromise its length. I have
                                      > trouble believing that JAMS publishes 1000/15 ~ 67 papers each year that
                                      > rank in importance with the solution to a half-century old core problem
                                      > of an important area of mathematics.
                                      >
                                      > Vaughan Pratt
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > > Posted by: "henriksen.rm" henriksen@...
                                      > > <mailto:henriksen@...?Subject=
                                      > > Re%3A%20There%20is%20a%20need%20to%20be%20brief>
                                      > > henriksen.rm <http://profiles.yahoo.com/henriksen.rm>
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > Sat Feb 3, 2007 11:57 pm (PST)
                                      > >
                                      > > We should be grateful to Vaughan Pratt for formulating a letter. It
                                      is
                                      > > a good start, but I hope the final version will be more transparent
                                      > > and brief. Also, I hope the final version will mention that if the
                                      > > JAMS boars can refuse to publish an article regarded as of high
                                      > > quality to most experts in universal algebra or lattice theory, they
                                      > > can do this in many other areas of mathematics as well.
                                      > > Melvin Henriksen
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                    • Ralph Freese
                                      While this is off the main direction of this discussion of publication policies, as students of Dilworth we wanted to clarify some of the history of this
                                      Message 18 of 23 , Feb 4, 2007
                                        While this is off the main direction of this discussion of publication
                                        policies, as students of Dilworth we wanted to clarify some of the history
                                        of this problem.

                                        Dilworth was in London with the Air Force during WWII, not in Pasadena,
                                        and it certainly delayed several of his publications.

                                        As to the theorem, it was not the practice at that time to publish single
                                        results, but he communicated the result to his colleagues; and Birkhoff
                                        included the result as a (starred) exercise in the 1948 edition of his
                                        lattice theory book, attributing it to Dilworth.

                                        While it is true that the right formulation of the general problem didn't
                                        exist in the 40's, by the 50's Dilworth and others understood compactly
                                        generated lattices (the term that was used then) very well. Dilworth and
                                        Crawley's classic paper, Decomposition theory for lattices without chain
                                        conditions, Trans, AMS 60 (1960), shows the extent to which they
                                        understood algebraic lattices. The section entitled "Preliminaries"
                                        presents the basic theory, including upper continuity and the fact that
                                        every element has a decomposition into completely meet irreducible
                                        elements (the lattice theory formulation of Birkhoff's Theorem). The paper
                                        itself is about the existence and uniqueness of decompositions in
                                        algebraic lattices.

                                        Since Dilworth proved the finite version of this problem, and often
                                        emphasized the importance of the general version, it seems natural to
                                        call it Dilworth's problem.

                                        Finally, we would like to congratulate Fred on his truly marvelous result.

                                        Ralph Freese and J. B. Nation
                                      • Pröhle Péter
                                        ... Should!, otherwise the letter is too defensive. We have to show at least a small amount of self-confidence. Probably that sentence will have an echo. I do
                                        Message 19 of 23 , Feb 5, 2007
                                          > ... , removing the concluding aspersion on the board membership
                                          > (or should that stay?), ...

                                          Should!, otherwise the letter is too defensive.
                                          We have to show at least a small amount of self-confidence.
                                          Probably that sentence will have an echo.

                                          I do not think, that we will win right at this stage of the conflict,
                                          but omitting that sentence has the meaning, that we gave up the fighting
                                          in advance, and the letter is a public comment only.

                                          > There is a need to be brief.

                                          Yes, due to the communication bandwidth problem,
                                          the democracy is not "exact proof"-friendly.
                                        • Petar Markovic
                                          Dear Colleagues, I would like to add my $0.02 to the discussion on the content of the letters. I like better the longer version of Professor Pratt, for the
                                          Message 20 of 23 , Feb 5, 2007


                                            Dear Colleagues,

                                            I would like to add my $0.02 to the discussion on the content of the letters. I like better the longer version of Professor Pratt, for the same reason why Professor Linton prefers it, that is, that it has the tone of a precise explanation of what happened, and why it is not in the interest of mathematics as a whole to let it happen again.

                                            Having said that, there seems to be an opinion on the board that there should be two letters, one to the JAMS editorial board and the other to AMS Notices, or some such generally-accessible venue. If we decide on that, I would say that the letter to the JAMS editors should be shorter and more to the point (still longer than the short version of Professor Pratt's letter), as they 'discussed the case' already, and have some information of it. Perhaps if Professor Gratzer coordinated this letter, or reviewed it before it is sent, he could edit out the historical and mathematical argumentation which he already made the editors aware of, leaving in only the points which are new for the JAMS editors. The important new information such a letter could convey to the editors of JAMS is that there are numerous mathematicians who believe they were wrong, and just remind them why. I am not certain that this alone would accomplish anything, though.

                                            I think that the other letter, going to AMS Notices, should definitely be in the style of the longer Professor Pratt's letter, and maybe even much broader in scope than this one case.  I have in mind the comments by Professor Henriksen on similar status of many other areas, which are being demeaned by the 'best' journals in favor of some other areas. In order to provide some exact data for such an opinion, I have done a long-ish MathSciNet search, and made an Excel worksheet containing the data I've come up with. As I don't know how to attach this worksheet to a post, I'll put it up on my website, to be downloaded by all of you who find this kind of a statistical research interesting. My website is

                                            http://www.im.ns.ac.yu/personal/markovicp/default.html

                                            and I will link to the Excel worksheet in a few minutes. Personally, I would be surprised if a similar bias as the one my table suggests would not exist in other 'best' journals (with some difference in areas, perhaps). However, as was said on the board before, 'this is the flagship journal of the strongest mathematical society in the world', not a commercial enterprise. If anybody should be detached from any considerations other than whether a paper is 'good' or 'bad', they should be.

                                            Petar Markovic

                                            pera@...

                                          • Katsov, Yefim
                                            I think Fred Linton gave extremely good arguments for the longer version of the letter(s); and therefore as well as based on my life and Soviet experiences, I
                                            Message 21 of 23 , Feb 5, 2007
                                              I think Fred Linton gave extremely good arguments for the longer version of the letter(s); and therefore as well as based on my life and Soviet experiences, I second Fred Linton and Peter Markovic.
                                               
                                              Best regards,
                                               
                                              Yefim
                                              __________________________________________________________________
                                              Prof. Yefim Katsov
                                              Department of Mathematics & CS
                                              Hanover College
                                              Hanover, IN 47243-0890, USA
                                              telephones: office (812) 866-6119;
                                                               home (812) 866-4312;
                                                                fax   (812) 866-7229 
                                               


                                              From: univalg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:univalg@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Petar Markovic
                                              Sent: Monday, February 05, 2007 2:06 PM
                                              To: univalg@yahoogroups.com
                                              Subject: [univalg] Re: What to do about the rejection of the Dilworth problem paper


                                              Dear Colleagues,

                                              I would like to add my $0.02 to the discussion on the content of the letters. I like better the longer version of Professor Pratt, for the same reason why Professor Linton prefers it, that is, that it has the tone of a precise explanation of what happened, and why it is not in the interest of mathematics as a whole to let it happen again.

                                              Having said that, there seems to be an opinion on the board that there should be two letters, one to the JAMS editorial board and the other to AMS Notices, or some such generally-accessibl e venue. If we decide on that, I would say that the letter to the JAMS editors should be shorter and more to the point (still longer than the short version of Professor Pratt's letter), as they 'discussed the case' already, and have some information of it. Perhaps if Professor Gratzer coordinated this letter, or reviewed it before it is sent, he could edit out the historical and mathematical argumentation which he already made the editors aware of, leaving in only the points which are new for the JAMS editors. The important new information such a letter could convey to the editors of JAMS is that there are numerous mathematicians who believe they were wrong, and just remind them why. I am not certain that this alone would accomplish anything, though.

                                              I think that the other letter, going to AMS Notices, should definitely be in the style of the longer Professor Pratt's letter, and maybe even much broader in scope than this one case.  I have in mind the comments by Professor Henriksen on similar status of many other areas, which are being demeaned by the 'best' journals in favor of some other areas. In order to provide some exact data for such an opinion, I have done a long-ish MathSciNet search, and made an Excel worksheet containing the data I've come up with. As I don't know how to attach this worksheet to a post, I'll put it up on my website, to be downloaded by all of you who find this kind of a statistical research interesting. My website is

                                              http://www.im. ns.ac.yu/ personal/ markovicp/ default.html

                                              and I will link to the Excel worksheet in a few minutes. Personally, I would be surprised if a similar bias as the one my table suggests would not exist in other 'best' journals (with some difference in areas, perhaps). However, as was said on the board before, 'this is the flagship journal of the strongest mathematical society in the world', not a commercial enterprise. If anybody should be detached from any considerations other than whether a paper is 'good' or 'bad', they should be.

                                              Petar Markovic

                                              pera@.... yu

                                            • Petar Markovic
                                              Hi all, Sorry it took me so long to put the statistics by area on my webpage. You can see it now on http://www.im.ns.ac.yu/personal/markovicp/Areas.html The
                                              Message 22 of 23 , Feb 5, 2007
                                                Hi all,

                                                Sorry it took me so long to put the statistics by area on my webpage.
                                                You can see it now on

                                                http://www.im.ns.ac.yu/personal/markovicp/Areas.html

                                                The MathSciNet search gives an even more interesting result if you put
                                                in algebraic geometry or number theory (the two most frequent ones) as
                                                MSC primary/secondary. In JAMS there were 105 number theory-related
                                                papers and 143 algebraic geometry-related papers (25% of all JAMS papers).

                                                Petar Markovic
                                                pera@...
                                              • David Hobby
                                                Petar Markovic wrote: ... ... The above link seems not to work. I contacted Petar, who sent me the file as a .pdf, and told me that the IT folks at his school
                                                Message 23 of 23 , Feb 5, 2007
                                                  Petar Markovic wrote:
                                                  ...
                                                  > Sorry it took me so long to put the statistics by area on my webpage.
                                                  > You can see it now on
                                                  >
                                                  > http://www.im.ns.ac.yu/personal/markovicp/Areas.html
                                                  > <http://www.im.ns.ac.yu/personal/markovicp/Areas.html>
                                                  ...

                                                  The above link seems not to work. I contacted Petar,
                                                  who sent me the file as a .pdf, and told me that the IT
                                                  folks at his school would be working on the connection
                                                  problem. With luck, it will be up tomorrow.

                                                  (I'm game to forward the file offlist, but won't attach it.
                                                  If you don't want to wait, please contact me.)

                                                  Petar's statistics are interesting, and really should be looked
                                                  at in their entirety. But I'll give a brief summary. They do
                                                  seem to show a journal that publishes results in some fields much
                                                  more than others. I've trimmed many other areas from Petar's list,
                                                  and have messed up the formatting. Many of the ones I removed
                                                  are what might be called "small" areas, such as 08 below. The
                                                  data show 0.18% of all papers are in the area, with 0% published in
                                                  JAMS. A lot of other small areas get similar treatment.

                                                  > area area name % JAMS (primary) %
                                                  >
                                                  > 06 Order, lattices, ordered algebraic structures 6744 0.56 1 0.17
                                                  > 08 General algebraic systems 2203 0.18 0 0

                                                  Then there are areas where the ratio of JAMS publications to all
                                                  publications is much greater than one. As Petar points out,
                                                  Algebraic Geometry is one of the outstanding ones, with a ratio
                                                  of 15.63 to 1.39 percent. Here are some of the others:

                                                  > 11 Number theory 36343 3.04 65 11.28
                                                  > 14 Algebraic geometry 16603 1.39 90 15.63
                                                  > 17 Nonassociative rings and algebras 9965 0.83 25 4.34
                                                  > 22 Topological groups, Lie groups 6162 0.52 26 4.51
                                                  > 32 Several complex variables and analytic spaces 12192 1.02 35 6.08
                                                  > 57 Manifolds and cell complexes 11754 0.98 30 5.21

                                                  And there are "large" areas which get even worse treatment than
                                                  Lattice Theory:

                                                  > 62 Statistics 61064 5.11 0 0
                                                  > 65 Numerical analysis 58548 4.9 4 0.69

                                                  (At a guess, somebody considers them to be "insufficiently theoretical".
                                                  That's an argument I DON'T want to get into.)

                                                  My personal opinion is that it would be good to raise the issue in
                                                  Notices of the AMS. It's probably natural to have some areas under-
                                                  or over-represented in a general journal, but the situation seems to
                                                  have gotten out of hand.

                                                  ---David Hobby
                                                Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.