Lots of future Nobel Laureates had their groundbreaking work rejected by scientific journals. Juan Miguel Campanario, a Physics Professor in Madrid, writes an article about it called “Rejecting Nobel class articles and resisting Nobel class discoveries.” But he can’t get it published.
Hmmmm. Do I smell a future Nobel Laureate?
The abstract, for your benefit:
I review and discuss instances in which 27 future Nobel Laureates encountered resistance on part of scientific community towards their discoveries and instances in which 36 future Nobel Laureates encountered resistance on part of scientific journal editors or referees to manuscripts that dealt with discoveries that on later date would assure them the Nobel Prize. Although in some occasions the rejection of Nobel class papers could be justified, here I show that the danger that scientific journals disregard or delay important discoveries is real and it can be disastrous.
Although I don’t agree with the complete, decontextualized hindsight logic of the claims, it’s still interesting to look back and see the ways of peer review.
Note too that this guy’s actually talking about two things: first is the issue of resisting new discoveries; second is the matter of rejecting papers outright that later turn out to be quite novel and on the mark.
My good, dear co-blogger Dave will find this one especially interesting:
Michael Smith received the half of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry “for his fundamental contributions to the establishment of oligonucleiotide-based, site-directed mutageneis and its development of protein studies”. Here, again, a paper reporting the work for which the Nobel Prize was awarded was rejected when first submitted for publication. Eventually, the article ended up on pages of another journal and not surprisingly, its appearance attracted well-deserved scientific attention. Prof. Smith interpreted the rejection as a cause of “a subjective judgment by the editor of a journal to which many more manuscripts are submitted than could be published.”
(Campanario notes that his own work was referenced in a Nature editorial about peer rejection.)
And thanks to The Morning News guys for the link.