” 1. Read a paper that has a mistake in it.
2. Write and submit a Comment, politely correcting the mistake…
3. Enjoy your Comment in print along with the author’s equally polite Reply, basking in the joy of having participated in the glorious scientific process and of the new friends you’ve made – the authors whose research you’ve greatly assisted.”
This was circulated anonymously by e-mail among a group of my colleagues.
I asked, and got tracked back to the author who, I am informed, would like to see it out there and with his name on it.
It is, I am assured, a true story. Some of you should be able to figure out the topic and journal and hence the counterparties…
It is too long to post in its entirety:
How to Publish a Comment (pdf)
PS: How to Publish a Scientific Comment Addendum (pdf) – Rick wrote an addendum discussing the issue and making some recommendations
“1. Read a paper in the most prestigious journal in your field that “proves” that your entire life’s work is wrong.”
2. Realize that the paper is completely wong, its conclusions based entirely on several misconceptions. It also claims that an approach you showed to be fundamentally impossible is preferrably to one that you pioneered in its place and that actually works. And among other errors, it also includes a serious miscalculation – a number wrong by a factor of about 1000 – a fact that’s obvious from a a glance at the paper’s main figure.
23. Receive a response from the journal, stating that your Comment is 1.07 pages long. Unfortunately, Comments can be no more than 1.00 pages long, so your Comment cannot be considered until it is shortened to less than 1.00 pages long.
38. Wait three months, during which time, receive condolences from numerous colleagues regarding the fraudulence of your life’s work and how sorry they are about it having been debunked…”
There are 123 steps.
But be sure to read the Addendum.
After all, I wouldn’t want to discourage you from submitting a Comment.