onsdag 15 augusti 2012

AIAA Rejects New Theory of Flight

Our article New Theory of Flight submitted to AIAA Journal has been rejected with the following letter:


Dear Dr. Hoffman:

I am sorry for not responding sooner to your email.  I have been out of
town for the past several weeks.

I write you in regards to manuscript # 2012-03-J051947 entitled "New
Theory of Flight" which you submitted to the AIAA Journal.

In view of the criticisms of the reviewer(s) found at the bottom of this
letter, your manuscript has been declined for publication in the AIAA

Please carefully read the attached reviews.  Your paper is unusual in that
it challenges our existing understanding of aerodynamics.  I believe the
reviewers have treated your paper fairly and have given thoughtful,
well-reasoned critiques of your paper.  They have not been simply
dismissive in their response.  I hope you will follow their suggestions
for further reading so that you may better understand the basis of their

Thank you for considering the AIAA Journal for the publication of your
research.  I hope the outcome of this specific submission will not
discourage you from the submission of future manuscripts.


Greg Blaisdell

Prof. Gregory Blaisdell
Associate Editor, AIAA Journal

Here are the two referee reports for inspection: AIAAreview1 and AIAAreview2.

The reports offer interesting reading as evidence of the state-of-the-art represented by AIAA.

My analysis of the reports and the rejection letter will follow shortly....

Is AIAA open to a discussion or is the discussion closed with the above letter and reviews?

Note that Blaisdell acknowledges that our paper is unusual in that it challenges our existing understanding of aerodynamics. The question is if it is possible to challenge the existing understanding or if it is simply dictated by AIAA?

14 kommentarer:

  1. Hi Claes. Referring back to my comment when you submitted this article, may I suggest a slightly less "revolutional" approach could be worth trying? I don't see why you _need_ to dismiss all the old theory. Why not instead try to submit _a new model of flight_, allowing the possibility that there may be other relevant models (theories) as well. Then, a reviewer could not really use the argument they did this time (focusing on if you in fact know the classical theory well enough).

  2. Science is about what is true and what is not true. In order to motivate a new theory there must be something with the old which is wrong.

  3. I wouldn't formulate it like that since truth is such a complicated notion philosophically. And in fact, I don't even see science in that way. Rather I see it as the enterprise of providing better and better explanations of phenomena that are of interest to us. In fact, I reckon that the truly great theories are then one that remains interesting also after having been proven wrong. In any case, also from a more pragmatic than philosophical point of view I think you would have an easer time changing the general ideas about flight by being less focused on of hte old one is wrong or not. Since, even in your own writings (at least between the lines) it is rather about in _what sense_ the old one may be wrong. That line of reasoning will risk ending up in (as they say in physics) being "turtles all the way down" and it WILL take the focus from your current theory as clearly demonstrated by the reviews. I don't think it's a waste of time since it will force also you to become more more precise in your critique (As demonstrated by you're later posts here). But the risk is that other people (reviewers etc) will l grow tired of it. Therefor, and again, by offering your model as an _alternative_ explanation (perhaps even explicitly give some arguments why it many not necessarily conflict with the classical theory (3d model instead of 2d, boundary vs slip condition etc) you will have a much greater chance of getting it accepted. Then it will be a later question of letting the community find out which model that is the better one. But maybe that is not your style...

  4. It is easy to have suggestions about how to make a high jump better. It is more difficult to do it.

  5. Well, if your answer refers to that it would be difficult to re-write the article in the other "style" I suggested, then I do not agree. Or more exactly put: it would require a bit of a "negotiating mind" but not a whole lot of work (at least not compared to the work required to keep up the quarreling with the reviewers, editors etc). In fact, I can stick out my neck and say that even I, with a very, very limited knowledge about the theories involved, could restructure the article in line with what I'm suggesting. Of course, there is no guarantee that such an article would get accepted but it would do three things.
    1. Let people accept it without loosing their face about their own adherence to the old theory (the psychological aspect)
    2. Take away the possibility for reviewers to more or less only base their discussion on details in the old theory (the technical aspect)
    3. Force reviewers and other people to consider the relevance of the assumptions in your theory (the applicational aspect)

  6. If you know how to "force reviewers and other people to consider the relevance..." then I suggest that you force Art Rizzi and Ulf Ringertz to express themselves about our New Theory of Flight. That would be very helpful for the scientific discussion.

  7. Can you give an example of the type of rephrasing you are speaking about?

    1. Yes. I'm very, very busy the next few days but I'll come back with some indications.

  8. I can not force them (it is not strange if they want to stay out of it).
    Force, as I used it above, has to do with the power of the system, the scientific review system in this case. You are yourself discussing power games. The point I'm trying to make is that by being more strategic (ie play the game) you will direct the power of the review system towards the central issues of _your contribution_*. 1 and 2 above will "force them" towards 3.

    (*Assuming that you think _your contribution_ in this case is about the theory of flight rather than some sort of sociological archeology concerning what may be wrong with the system. )

  9. Understanding what is wrong with old is part of understanding what is correct with the new.
    No, a leading expert authority cannot stay out of the debate if he/she wants stay as authority.

  10. Yes, it is something wrong with the system if new ideas cannot be discussed in an open scientific debate.

  11. You constantly say things like "AIAA rejects" or "dictated by AIAA" or other similar statements. Please go to the AIAA web page and find for me anywhere a statement of belief or policy about aerodynamic theory. You won't find it, because AIAA didn't reject your theory, so please stop saying that. You submitted your article to the AIAA Journal, and it was reviewed and responded to in great detail as would happen in any peer-reviewed journal. Your theory was not even rejected, only your presentation of your theory. People have articles rejected by journal every minute of every day. I think the reviewers and editor actually gave you a level of respect and response that was admirable. Maybe you should just get over the rejection and take the comments to heart and improve the presentation of your ideas.

  12. The article will in updated form be published in J of Mathematical Fluid Mechanics.

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