What is the need for an independent preprint publishing
area? Is arXiv.org not good enough? Unfortunately it is not,
and scientists from particlez.org have experienced soft
censorship by misclassification, full blacklisting, and denial
of access with anonymous unpleasant e-mail messages from the
arXiv moderators. Several cases of this kind of behavior are documented by archivefreedom.org,
and the list of suppressed scientists
even includes Nobel Laureates.
One of the blacklisted Nobel Laureates is
Brian D. Josephson, who describes his remarkable
personal perspective on arXiv covert censorship. In more general terms, he discusses "Pathological
Disbelief" (abstract, full talk) in a lecture at the Kuratorium für
die Tagungen der Nobelpreisträger in Lindau in 2004.
He addresses the problem of excessive skepticism with respect
to plausible novel scientific ideas, and his talk mirrors
Science", the famous 1953 lecture by Chemistry Laureate
Irving Langmuir, dealing with the opposite issue. See also Josephson's letter to Nature of February 2005.
Efforts by the science establishment to
preserve current paradigms and belief systems by discouraging
and censoring the dissident and unorthodox view is by no means
restricted to arXiv.org. Recently a large particle physics laboratory
has suppressed an electronic publishing area that used to
be open to relevant contributions worldwide. Moreover, another
internal electronic publishing area formerly open under the
conditions that: "The content of the document is the
responsibility of the submitter. The submitted papers will
be checked for relevance" is now monitored for "unconventional
work" .. "and any document deemed to be inappropriate
is removed". Is scientific progress possible without
Similar cases of exclusion and systematic
censorship have happened in the past and continue today in
many scientific domains.
Thomas S. Kuhn has offered an explanation of why and how scientific
communities resist change in his book "The
Structure of Scientific Revolutions". Luckily today
the web and the search engines help circumventing the censorship
to some extent.