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“Coff. Fee!” “Bee. Eer!”

24 February, 2012

Update 30th April 2012: now resolved, not entirely to my satisfaction. Scroll down for details.

Here is the text of an email I sent on January 30 to the moderators of arXiv submissions. There is a typo – I meant to say “Borel FC”, rather than “Borel FCC”. (Readers may also note that I engage in some unsavoury credentialism; I can only say in my defence that I was trying to get their attention, and that I’m not proud of lapses into vainglory.)

Dear moderators

My submission arXiv:submit/0406606 was originally submitted in the
category FA and was moved, without consulting me, to the category OA.
I would like this to be reversed, for the following reasons.

As someone who has been a student and researcher in FA (specifically,
Banach algebras) for the last ten years, who has used the arXiv since
2006, and who has friends and colleagues who work in OA, I can
confidently assert that

– the article in question uses more of the techniques, and has more of
the flavour, of Banach algebras than operator algebras (no Borel FCC,
no Wold decomposition, no double commutant theorem, no Kaplansky
density, etc etc)

– the article will be of greater interest and relevance to those
working in FA (specifically, Banach algebras and amenability
questions) than to those working on OA or operator theory. This seems
relevant since people may have RSS feeds set up for one tag but not
the other

The fact that the examples live inside B(H), and in particular inside
certain Type I von Neumann algebras, is of course relevant, but is in
my view not sufficient to warrant changing *the category which I
chose* – otherwise, one might as well move every article on uniform
algebras, or with an operator on Hilbert space, to OA.

This is not the first time that I have had one of my submissions moved
from FA to OA, seemingly based on a rather superficial reading of
title and abstract, and while this is not a big deal in the wider
scheme of things, I am unhappy with the trend towards moderators
over-riding the preferences of *established* authors and arXiv users.

Yemon Choi

I sent this email on first seeing my submission moved from FA to OA, in the “pre-listings” phase. Since then it has been “on hold”, and no response has been forthcoming. (If you are curious/bored, there is a local copy of the preprint available via my webpage.)

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off for a pint of coffee.

Updates, 30th April 2012:

Having become rather peeved with the lack of response, I sent the following on 27th April:

Dear moderators,

The submission submit/0406606 has now been hold for over two months. I
would appreciate any clarification or updates on the moderators’
decisions or thoughts. Note that the preprint was submitted for
publication at the end of January 2012, so delays of this magnitude
are somewhat inconvenient should I wish to refer interested parties to
a copy.


And lo and behold, the “hold” was removed, and the preprint is now finally up at 1204.6343 — they’ve not acceded to my wish that the paper be placed in the FA category as I’d originally specified, but they have at least allowed FA as a cross-list. I still maintain that the small number of FA readers who might be interested in the paper far exceeds the minuscule number of OA readers who could be interested in it; but so it goes.

(The submission is dated 6th February, rather than the end of January, because after the hold was first placed, I discovered a revision to one of the lemmas that needed to be made, and so updated the existing copy then. Also, I’m aware that in the abstract I have mis-spelled “homogeneous” — I guess I’ll fix this in a later revision, once I’ve received the referee’s feedback on the article.)

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