Saturday, March 07, 2015

Now THAT is support

Should mention I do have heroes in the modern mathematical community, which I guess is in a very understandably selfish way, as I'm a mathematical author, and know of one organization which has preserved my work, along with that of lots of other mathematical authors online and that is the European Mathematical Information Service.

And no, they were NOT doing it for me personally as a favor, but it's just something that they do: preserve mathematical papers.

And it's so fascinating that for me my own story revealed things I never cared to know before.

So here is a link to the preserved archives of the mathematical journal that published my paper:

EMIS Archives--Southwest Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics

And here is a link to the table of contents of the edition which had my paper, which the chief editor changed after the fact to "Withdrawn", I did NOT withdraw it, so here is what came later:

EMIS Archive--SWJPAM Issue 2, December 2013 Table of Contents

And you can get the actual paper regardless, as EMIS preserved it, and I'm going to include a link, but should add it is to Postscript format so don't just assume you can download and read directly. If you click the link it will download:

So the chief editor's actions were rather worthless. And it's also kind of a sad situation. I HAD informed the editorial staff I was NOT a mathematician from the outset. And had been in contact with them for nine months prior to publication. And I think they had some sense of the importance of the paper. You can see in the Table of Contents it was published as the second paper of that edition. But maybe were shocked when the mathematical community did not react as expected.

It should have been a historical triumph.

I'm still considered to be a published mathematical author, as I am. You can't unpublish, as that's logically impossible. What you can do is issue a retraction or a refutation. And neither of those things were done.

So what does it matter? Well it was a formally peer reviewed and published paper, where I have since made things simpler in explaining what it was discussing, so that now you can just consider:

P(x) = (g1(x) + 1)(g2(x) + 2)

is blocked if P(x) is a primitive quadratic irreducible over Q, and g1(0) = g2(0) = 0, but g1(x) does not equal 0 for all x.

I used cubics in the original paper but realized quadratics would work just as well and were simpler to explore.

But the point is that it IS an established result--by the rules.

To me the people at the European Mathematical Information Service are great in that they have rules and they follow them.

They are heroes to me. And I was so glad to find out they existed. Of course I found out for some rather stunning reasons, but regardless it's so much better to learn our world has support in ways you don't even realize--until you need it.

Those other mathematical authors are probably grateful as well. You can see the journal had a bit of history, and consider all those other papers that were preserved.

For me, of course I really lost nothing. Stories like mine can quite simply change the world, but you do worry about others who can be collateral damage. So I'm very glad their research did not simply get lost in the futile effort to hold down mine.

James Harris
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