Giving up -- reconsidered

[From Rick Marken (920921.1030)]

Thanks to everyone who posted encouraging words in response to my
"giving up" post.

Let me just say that I am not giving up the idea of publishing PCT
ideas. What I am giving up (maybe) is trying to publish these ideas
in the standards psychological journals. After thinking about this a
bit over the weekend, I realize that my main reason for "giving up" is
not the difficulty of getting PCT papers published in the standard
journal. Heck, it's hard (or, at least, should be hard) to publish
ANY paper in a journal. Journal space is precious and the job of the
editor is to make sure that only the most valuable work gets in. I sure
don't mind working my butt off trying to get a paper to meet the demands
of editors and reviewers (even when I don't agree with their critiques) --
in fact, I think it's kind of fun. And I have successfully published
a number of papers -- some in reasonably prestigious journals. And it
almost always took one to three years of rewrites, sometimes more studies,
etc. I don't get frustrated because of the difficulty of getting PCT
studies published.

The reason I am considering giving up on the publishing biz is because (as
I said in my letter to Estes) nobody pays attention to these articles anyway,
once they are published. And when the articles DO get some attention, it is
not very useful attention. For example, the person who reviewed my "Blind
men" paper was familiar with Powers' work --s/he must have read something
that Bill had published. But s/he had only a vague understanding of what Bill
was talking about. The reviewer had read Bill's article, nodded "uh huh"
and figured that s/he already knew what was going on.

There is a reason why PCT stuff is not going to get the attention or
consideration of readers of psych journals -- it's because PCT is not
about what the people who read these articles care about. PCT isn't
even a disturbance to these readers. These readers are not looking for
evidence that the foundations of their discipline are wrong; that they
are asking the wrong questions using the wrong methods. No indeed. These
readers want to know the state of the art in testing cognitive abilties,
how people determine the optimal interval between medical check-ups,
the effect of "meaning frequency" on processing of lexically ambiguous
words, predicting health from stress, etc (these topics are culled from
the latest issue of Psychological Science -- the journal that rejected
the "Blind men" paper). The readers of these journals are not
interested in hearing that these are misguided research questions
based on the wrong assumptions. So, even if I manage to get stuff published
in the standard psych lit it is only good for archival purposes anyway.

I do want to see PCT ideas promoted and disseminated; PCT work should
be made known to those who might be interested and shared with those who
ARE interested. In the old days the only way to do that was to publish in
the standard literature and hope that someone would pay attention -- sometimes
it works (apparently it did with Einstein) and sometimes it doesn't (Gregor
Mendal published his genetic work, I believe, and received about the same
reception as PCT does now). Nowadays we have computer networks (like this
one) that not only make the information available but allow QUICK replies
from those who oppose or question the ideas -- that's what makes this medium
really useful. The reader of a journal who disagrees with something in a paper
on PCT is most likely (I suspect) to just ignore it, But if s/he is in
contact with the author, and in a public arena, the differences can be
immediately clarified, refined and, hopefully, translated into testable

So, what I am giving up is trying to publish in the standard journals --
not because it's hard, but because it's useless. The network, I think,
is the way to go from now on -- not just CSGNet but other related networks
as well. Now that I think of it, I think I'll submit a revised version of
the "Blind men" paper to the "Psycholoquy" net. What the hey?

Hasta luego




Richard S. Marken USMail: 10459 Holman Ave
The Aerospace Corporation Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 336-6214 (day)
(310) 474-0313 (evening)