B – A fifth force farce

Krauss L M. A fifth force farce. Physics Today 2008;61(10):53-55

Reports how the author, after worrying that Physical Review Letters had published a paper (Physica; Review Letters 56, 3, 1986) based on reanalysis of data published nearly a century before by Eýtvýs, had himself submitted a spoof paper entitled “On evidence for a third foce in the two new sciences: a reanalysis of experiments by Galilei and Salviati” and how the editors had responded to him by sending six devastating referee reports which nevertheless all eventually recommended publication, which were “clearly done in-house but typed on different typewriters and [which] were a brilliant and self-effacing parody on PRL’s reputation for using its three requirements to make it difficult for reasonable papers to get published there and also on the common experience of getting referees’ reports that are inconsistent with each other but nevertheless come to the same conclusions”, and with a covering letter saying that the Editors “in their usual arbitrary and capricious manner, do not come to this conclusion”.

Posted for John Glen