[Cosmo-torun] Re: AA/2004/2055

Boud Roukema boud w astro.uni.torun.pl
Pon, 4 Paź 2004, 13:19:02 CEST

hi Andrzej, everyone,

On Mon, 4 Oct 2004, Andrzej Marecki wrote:

> > >  We are sorry that we cannot consider your paper for publication in
> > > A&A, since it is based on the HealPix software, that has been
>                ^^^^^^^^^^^
> >
> > The second half of the above statement is false. Our paper contains
> > algebra regarding a pixelisation system which is independent of any
> > software implementation.  It is not based on the HealPix software.
>                             ^^^^^^!!!^^^^^^
> [...]
> My (AMr's) 0.03 PLN.

A highly valuable 0.03 PLN :).

> A&A, following Gorski et al., argue that you merely "disassembled" the
> HEALPix code and expressed it in algebraic form. _Nothing_ more than that.
> If this was true, they would be right: such a practice would be, IMHO, a
> plagiarism. In that case the fact that...

In terms of publishing in a scientific journal, yes, i agree entirely,
if the "if" were true which i can understand is A&A's worry.

> > The algebraic solution to this pixel-coordinate system has not been published
> > in any astronomical journal.
> ... and so you made a "translation" from the programming language(s) used in
> HEALPix to the algebraic formalism just to show how HEALPix works, does not
> help much.

Equation (7), equations (24)-(34), and all the words which explain why
equations have certain values, are not the sort of thing normally included
in a computer program - unless it is very well documented.

All the same, playing devil's advocate, i accept that the devil may feel
this way.

> Therefore you should try to convince A&A that your approach presented in
> your article is different. Or to be more precise: that, say, 80% of the
> intellectual content of AA/2004/2055 is common to that in HEALPix software
> but the remaining 20% is completely genuine.


My hope is (was?) to show to A&A exactly what is in the content of the
article: it comes directly from Gorski et al 1999a/b, it is independent of
whatever may or may not be in the code.

> Proving this, although may be difficult, is doable. To this end you should
> _insist_ that an independent referee analyses and compares the code and
> your algebra and judges to what extent your algebra is genuine. But....

Something like this seems reasonable to me: surely A&A should be willing
to ask an independent referee to look at this.

> Finding a referee that would be willing to wade through the HEALPix code to
> find out if, indeed, your algebra and the HEALPix code present different
> approaches would be extremely difficult, IMHO. So, what you have to do is
> to help A&A and the (would be) referee. To this end you might send them a
> detailed list of differences between the code and your algebra.

Ouch :(. i'd prefer *not* to look at the HEALPix code.

> > But again, it should be made clear: if you read our submitted paper, you will
> > see that it is independent of any software. Please read it.
> Sorry, Boud, but the point is they won't see it unless _you_ PROVE it. Your
> statement "it is independent of any software" is a typical "because I say
> so" statement and as such will hardly convince anyone, I'm afraid.

I'm right! I'm right! I'm right! I'm right! Do you believe me now?

OK, i see your point.

Since what we need are independent referees, here's an idea: add to
the comment on astro-ph something like:

"Seeking independent referees to compare content of paper with content
of non-free software package HEALPix. Please post your independent
analysis on this publicly archived mailing list:

But i'm not sure there's a lot of point: aanda would probably not
be convinced by people who spontaneously post opinions. And not many
people are motivated to be serious referees anyway since we get
"brownie points" for published articles, not for how many articles we

My feeling now is that i should give a clear reply to A&A, but much, much
shorter and showing that i understand their concern. If they are unwilling
to send to a referee, following my response, so be it.

Let's see...


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