In the last week or so there has been some discussion on the internet about a paper (initially authored by Hill and Tabachnikov) that was initially accepted for publication in the Mathematical Intelligencer, but with the editor-in-chief of that journal later deciding against publication; the paper, in significantly revised form (and now authored solely by Hill), was then quickly accepted by one of the editors in the New York Journal of Mathematics, but then was removed from publication after objections from several members on the editorial board of NYJM that the paper had not been properly refereed or was within the scope of the journal; see this statement by Benson Farb, who at the time was on that board, for more details. Some further discussion of this incident may be found on Tim Gowers’ blog; the most recent version of the paper, as well as a number of prior revisions, are still available on the arXiv here.

For whatever reason, some of the discussion online has focused on the role of Amie Wilkinson, a mathematician from the University of Chicago (and who, incidentally, was a recent speaker here at UCLA in our Distinguished Lecture Series), who wrote an email to the editor-in-chief of the Intelligencer raising some concerns about the content of the paper and suggesting that it be published alongside commentary from other experts in the field. (This, by the way, is not uncommon practice when dealing with a potentially provocative publication in one field by authors coming from a different field; for instance, when Emmanuel Candès and I published a paper in the Annals of Statistics introducing what we called the “Dantzig selector”, the Annals solicited a number of articles discussing the selector from prominent statisticians, and then invited us to submit a rejoinder.) It seems that the editors of the Intelligencer decided instead to reject the paper. The paper then had a complicated interaction with NYJM, but, as stated by Wilkinson in her recent statement on this matter as well as by Farb, this was done without any involvement from Wilkinson. (It is true that Farb happens to also be Wilkinson’s husband, but I see no reason to doubt their statements on this matter.)

I have not interacted much with the Intelligencer, but I have published a few papers with NYJM over the years; it is an early example of a quality “diamond open access” mathematics journal. It seems that this incident may have uncovered some issues with their editorial procedure for reviewing and accepting papers, but I am hopeful that they can be addressed to avoid this sort of event occurring again.

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1 October, 2018 at 9:29 am

erasmuseI’ve written a long essay on the Hill affair, with lots of links and footnotes. Corrections welcomed. See

http://rasmusen.dreamhosters.com/b/2018/10/the-ted-hill-male-variability-paper-that-the-math-journals-suppressed

–Eric Rasmusen, economist, Indiana University

1 October, 2018 at 10:47 am

Alexander SHENCorrection: “Nobody disputes that Hill’s model is mathematically correct” – technically speaking, this may be true, but “Hill’s model” is not really a model, he does not specify the assumptions about evolution, just an observation about distribution (correct, but trivial) and a lot of talk

1 October, 2018 at 12:46 pm

Elizabeth BatoryDear Professor Shen,

Forgive me for being confused, but having read your comment I just took the liberty of looking at Professor Hill’s paper on arxiv.org, and he does actually appear to define a mathematical model, complete with mathematical assumptions. Now, of course, I understand that for a mathematician of your caliber this may all appear trivial, but for me (and many people I talked to), there is a well-defined model in the paper, and an analysis thereof.

1 October, 2018 at 11:30 pm

Alexander SHENNot really. He speaks about selecting animals selecting animals of the opposite sex above some threshold, but does not specify the assumptions about what and how the selection parameter can be inherited. Several readers try later to reconstruct some model behind his talk – and suggested to consider that there is a gene that is responsible for the variance in the selection parameter (but no genes are responsible for the average of that parameter), but these assumptions (or some other assumptions that Hill had in mind) should be written explicitly before one can speak about a “model”. (Another option is that gene is in the chromosomes related to sex.) That said, I should add for clarity that IMHO the biological differences between sexes and their influence should be considered without any political bias, and the discussion above (from both sides) does not always satisfy this requirement, to say the least. (And, of course, that “unpublishing” a paper for whatever reason is completely unacceptable, much worse that a publication of a nonsense paper later retracted, or recommending a bad paper for political reasons, though both latter things are also regrettable)

2 October, 2018 at 8:03 am

AnonymousStep 1T. Hill rewrites the whole theory of Evolution mathematically (that’s the standard you are demanding) creates a mathematical model that explains how genes are inherited (this would be Nobel worthy btw)Step 2After having revolutionised the study of Evolution, Biology, and Genetics with his new mathematical model. T. Hill publishes all of it on theMathematical Intelligencer. HillStep 3We all see howWomen for Mathematicsand Wilkinson’s family embraces the scientific process.1 October, 2018 at 2:04 pm

Elizabeth BatoryMany commenters here would doubtlessly be edified by Professor Anandkumar’s take on this discussion (posted with visibility set to “Public” on Facebook): https://imgur.com/deX0Sxg It is interesting that she is calling for the censorship of opinions at variance with hers (though, presumably, not for the censorship of her comments describing those who disagree with her as misogynistic pigs).

1 October, 2018 at 4:12 pm

A follow-up to Hill’s paper or – is free speech dead in the West? – Deep thoughts on all subjects[…] three weeks after Ted Hill’s Quillette.com article, and much discussion in the various blogs (Tao’s, Gowers’ and others) an even bigger fight has broken out. Alessandro Strumia, a theoretical […]

2 October, 2018 at 8:25 am

AnonymousWhy is CERN doing a conference about Equality in Physics in the first place? Do they really have that much money to spare?

I am speechless. How far will this go? Does anyone remembers the Matt Taylor incident? NASA engineer that had to cry-apologised for wearing his favourite shirt

2 October, 2018 at 8:58 am

AnonymousOn his presentation Alessandro Strumia mentions Matt Taylor. He also mentions James Damore and the paper of T. Hill et ****

2 October, 2018 at 12:31 am

AnonymousAnother issue is the strange behavior of the NYJM of replacing the article by another article (of the same length) without(!) any prior notification to the author (Hill) of the original paper, and probably also to the author of the “replacing” paper – which is unethical for the authors of both papers and the potential readers. It seems that the journal still have to publish an apology to both authors and its readers about this unethical behavior!

2 October, 2018 at 1:41 pm

On the recently removed paper from the New York Journal of Mathematics — What’s new – efeufuomaventure[…] via On the recently removed paper from the New York Journal of Mathematics — What’s new […]

16 October, 2018 at 12:31 pm

God's Peace Plans/ WarningI am having difficulty getting my mathematical findings out, as well. Please review my site which proves, in repetition, that the Cosmos and it’s contents are positioned in a basic mathematical pattern based on a 360 degree compass. The story starts at Easter Island, which is 90 degrees south of the Dine’/Navajo Tribe center holy mountain…

16 October, 2018 at 12:41 pm

Maurice de GossonInteresting comment. It goes straight to the point. Do you also realize that that the extinction of dinosaurs is due to fluctuations of Planck’s constant due to the expansion of the Universe?

17 October, 2018 at 1:40 pm

God's Peace Plans/ WarningNo, please explain. Is there a similarity between that and God’s Mathematical Revelation ? Where, on a Mercator Projection map, The Giza Plateau and Pyramids are 22.5 degrees from Easter Island (called “Navel of the world). Also, on that line, is Holy Cross Of Rivers Of Macchu Picchu, And, then onto the Dead/Salt Sea ( whose shores are in a geometric pattern that point to the northern-most tip of the old wall of Jerusalem- this 4 degree line then wraps around the globe, passing-over Hawaii Big Island, and the southern-most point of the Euro-Asian landmass, and then to the Great Arrow valleys of Mount Everest) evidence keeps on going,and going. All landmarks and holy mountains and sites are connected in the same basic mathematical angles. The geological map of Earth also lines-up with the stars ( which are also arranged in the same mathematical pattern, that tells a story. Go to my website, see all the amazing things that are impossible to make-up or forge.

29 November, 2018 at 1:09 am

CarinaHere is my recent email to Politico:

Click to access politico-email-29nov2018.pdf

following my repeated (and failed) attempts to reach out to Ted Hill and Quillette requesting corrections to the article, particularly with regard to the account of events at Penn State.

— Carina