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The Dilworth problem paper rejected!!!
 Dear Colleagues,
As most of you probably know, one of the longeststanding 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@... 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 longeststanding 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>
 This Email 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 # topc10  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 Editorinchief, 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 mid60'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 postSecondWorldWar phenomenon
that was a spinoff 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 fundraisers
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 195960 to over 1200 in
196768 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
hardworking 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
researchoriented 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 "publishorperish"
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
10minute 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 highprestige 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 "wellknown" 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 officemate 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 onmoops?" 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
realvalued 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 selfperpetuating, 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 coauthors 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 selfinterest, 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 nottoo 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 selfdestructiveness
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 © 19951996 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
> longeststanding 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/promogeneric14795097 > > After some discussion, the board finally came to the conclusion that
This kind of reasoning can result, that JAMS will be trapped into the
> > 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.
ALREADY existing and ALREADY widely popular areas of pure and applied
mathematics.
But the everrevolving 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. 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  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/algebraresearchgroup
____________________________________________ > ... ... ... But in order to have some effect, our feelings need to be
Only as a first step. If it failed, then we have to proceed to a broader
> communicated to JAMS.
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 noncoherent 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. 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/algebraresearchgroup
> <http://www.latrobe.edu.au/mathstats/maths/department/algebraresearchg
> roup/index.html> <http://www.latrobe.edu.au/www/mathstats/staff/davey/>
>
> ____________________________________________
>  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 (pointset) topology which
is using settheoretic 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
Elsevierowned 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
>  Thanks to all for answering my question regarding the importance of this
problemI 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 realtime 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 65yearold 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
nonlattice 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 realworld 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 decadeold 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 13);
(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 antilattice 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  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:>
this
> Thanks to all for answering my question regarding the importance of
> problemI knew how old it was, but age alone isn't necessarily a
than
> determiner of importance. (Note that I get the daily digest rather
> the realtime feed so this reply may be a bit out of date already.) My
communism
> initial reaction had been one of outrage of the form "how could any
> journal reject any correct solution to a 65yearold 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
> as lattice theory might be perceived by some conservative
mathematicians
> to foundations, and the opposition being that the problem was settled
trying
> with a refutation rather than a proof, if we grant theoremhood the role
> of government in the politics of proof and refutation). But then
> to see things from the board's standpoint, it occurred to me that maybe
felt I
> 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
> could muster based on my very limited experience with how lattice
not
> 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
> be in the interests of lattice theory to accept this implied
judgment of
> nonlattice theorists that lattice theory is not of interest to other
but by
> 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 realworld 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 decadeold 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 13);
>
> (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
> 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)."
>
>
>
>
area
>
> To the Journal of the American Mathematical Society:
>
> Dear Editorial Board,
>
> To a greater degree than often appreciated, the open problems of an
> serve to shape it as much as do its definitions and established
first
> 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
> to the extent that, as of 1963, the theoremhood of DP in the infinite
case
> 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
> up to the power of the continuum, but was able to refute the general
however
> 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
> acknowledging that it is a paper of the highest quality in the area of
paper in
> lattice theory.
>
> We are unable to interpret this very strong commendation of the
> 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
physics,
> theory is a relative newcomer by comparison with analysis and geometry,
> yet for the past century it has served mathematics, philosophy,
> computer science, and other areas remarkably well for such a young
on a
> 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
> ground that seems so at odds with the whole mathematical enterprise.
conclusion
> The only explanation that makes sense to us here is again our
> 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.
serve
>
> 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
> 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>
>
>
which
>
> 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 antilattice Wikipedia article at
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boolean_algebras_canonically_defined,
> incidentally deploys the "homologue" concept I polled this list about a
category
> 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
> 06 the right class, or should it be broadened to a larger population of
the
> 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
> distributive lattices with the congruence lattices of lattices, missing
And
> 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?
> if the latter, given that it was not known (or at least not published)
incorrect
> 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
> 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
>  Excellent letter and comments.Some additional observations.I find the second paragraph of Vaughan's letter giving the backgroundvery interesting.Observations.1. Actually, there was a third and forth "bracketing". Birkhoff in 1945raised the question whether every complete lattice isisomorphic to the congruence lattice of an infinitary algebra (he raised thequestion for finitary algebras in 1948). This was not answered until1979 by Lampe and myself (Appendix 7 in the second editionof my UA book).R. Wille in the early 80s raised the stronger question, whethera complete lattice is isomorphic to the complete congruence lattice ofa 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 publishedmaybe 10 to 20 papers on the subject. He called this problemCongruence Lattice Problem, CLP for short. With Tuma he wrotean 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 tellwhether in 1942 he was familiar with what we call today "algebraiclattices" (which term, as used today, I introduced in my UA book in 1968).BirkhoffFrink is 1948. It was not until 1959 that at an Oberwolfach meetingwe first discussed that the multipage proof of BirkhoffFrink can be donein 45 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 containsthe 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 asgood 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 paperbe judged by quality but other considerations. (Which could also bepolitical, 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 publish1000 pages a year. So we are forced to impose even higher standardsthan usual. In order for this paper to have a realistic chance to win theapproval of the editorial board, one would have to be able to argue thatit is one of the most significant achievements in universal algebra / logic /lattice theory in some time, and that it rankswith 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 thinkwe 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 noteven bother to inform me.GGOn Feb 3, 2007, at 11:27 PM, Vaughan Pratt wrote:
Thanks to all for answering my question regarding the importance of this
problemI 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 realtime 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 65yearold 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
nonlattice 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 realworld 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 decadeold 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 13);
(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 antilattice 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  The daily digest not being sufficiently realtime 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 websiteGeorge, 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 postrejection 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 sayso 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 readerverifiable 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 functionswho 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 halfcentury 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  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 communityat 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 publishedmaybe 10 to 20 papers on the subject. He called this problemCongruence Lattice Problem, CLP for short. With Tuma he wrotean 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 tellwhether in 1942 he was familiar with what we call today "algebraiclattices" (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 456let 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 nontrivial example namely, the threeelement 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 joinirreducible 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 illfated 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 nontrivial and timeconsuming task(cf. Karin's commentAt least they should tell it in advance that they do not accept papersfrom 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,A few topranked 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
)Rob spit me in the face when the paper was rejected and he did noteven 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)...When the unwritten rules and standards by which a journal operates areinconsistent with its stated mission, we submit that the journal shouldeither 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 followup 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, FredFriedrich WehrungLMNO, CNRS UMR 6139Universit\'e de Caen, Campus 2D\'epartement de Math\'ematiques, BP 518614032 Caen cedexFRANCEemail: wehrung@...alternate email: fwehrung@...  On Saturday 03 Feb 2007 13:19, henriksen.rm wrote:
> We are academics, so we should start with a committee whose job will
The job of the/a committee should also be to create better written standards
> be to compose a letter condemning this kind of academic censorship in
> general and mention this paper as a particularly bad example. Once it
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
One thing is *suitable journal* for people in algebra and logic generally
> to editorial board of JAMS, and the Notices of the AMS.
> Perhaps the executive editors of AU might propose the membership of
> this committee.
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  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 realtime 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 websiteGeorge, 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 postrejection 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 sayso 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 readerverifiable 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 functionswho 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 halfcentury 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  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 sapheaded
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 visaissuing 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, wellreasoned 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 realtime I visited the group
is
> 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 websiteGeorge, 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 postrejection 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 sayso 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 readerverifiable 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 functionswho 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 halfcentury 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
> > 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
>
>
>
>  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 > ... , removing the concluding aspersion on the board membership
Should!, otherwise the letter is too defensive.
> (or should that stay?), ...
We have to show at least a small amount of selfconfidence.
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.
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 generallyaccessible 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 longish 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@...
 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 KatsovDepartment of Mathematics & CSHanover CollegeHanover, IN 472430890, USAtelephones: office (812) 8666119;home (812) 8664312;fax (812) 8667229
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 generallyaccessibl 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 longish 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
 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 theoryrelated
papers and 143 algebraic geometryrelated papers (25% of all JAMS papers).
Petar Markovic
pera@...  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) %
Then there are areas where the ratio of JAMS publications to all
>
> 06 Order, lattices, ordered algebraic structures 6744 0.56 1 0.17
> 08 General algebraic systems 2203 0.18 0 0
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
And there are "large" areas which get even worse treatment than
> 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
Lattice Theory:
> 62 Statistics 61064 5.11 0 0
(At a guess, somebody considers them to be "insufficiently theoretical".
> 65 Numerical analysis 58548 4.9 4 0.69
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 overrepresented in a general journal, but the situation seems to
have gotten out of hand.
David Hobby