Internal reviewers November 4, 2006Posted by dorigo in news, personal, physics, science.
The publication process of a physics analysis in CDF has always been a very complex and lengthy business.
You present your progress at physics meetings regularly, document your work in internal notes, and then have to go to a “full status report” where you discuss the whole thing in detail. After that is done, you can ask for a “preblessing”, where you do the same but have documented in advance in detail every important aspect of your work in another internal note.
At the preblessing, people can (and usually will) present you with a host of nasty questions and will ask for countless checks. Before you can go for a “blessing” talk you need to address the questions in a web page created for the purpose. Then you finally go for blessing of the results you want to make public, and yet other objections may be raised.
And that is not even the beginning: once you’ve blessed a result, if you want to write an article on a scientific paper, you will need internal referees (called “godparents”) that will scrutinize the analysis in yet more detail. After maybe six to ten months, you will then be allowed to release a paper draft to the collaboration, which will be then able to request all sorts of modifications, corrections, checks. Even the last grad student is allowed to bug you for as long as he sees fit (very democratic, I must say).
Once you answer all criticism you put together a second draft, the godparents agree to release it, and hell breaks loose once again on you. Then, finally, you give a paper seminar, and send the paper out for publication… Where a new review process starts anew.
All this is well known and I have discussed it here in the past. I think it is way too long and cautious a process, and it does not help the advancement of science, only defends the “reputation” of those in the collaboration who think they have one to save.
Anyway… This process has recently become a bit more complex – but apparently with the aim of expedite the blessing – by introducing yet another player in th game: the “internal reviewers”, who are not really godparents. They enter the fray before the status report, and suggest a course of action, review in detail everything, allegedly to make sure the blessing process goes smoothly, but maybe making things even harder for those who carry on the analysis…
We will see how it goes this time, with the Z->bb signal now almost ready to be blessed for the winter conferences: today, a fresh new “internal review” committee has been appointed to bring us to bless our result, and they are ready to jump at us… I hope they will help us rather than hindering our progress!