Dishonesty in academia: the deafening silence of the Royal Society Open Science Journal on an accepted paper that failed the peer review process


More than two years ago, on February 26th 2018, I was contacted by the Royal Society Open Science Journal to referee a submitted manuscript. Two prior referees had accepted the paper and two had rejected it, and I was the tiebreaker. The manuscript, Quantum Correlations are Weaved by the Spinors of the Euclidean Primitives by Joy Christian, basically claims that Bell’s theorem is incorrect. If true, this would be a game changer in the foundation of quantum mechanics. Bell’s theorem shows that it is impossible to construct a local realistic model of the theory.

Bell’s result is an impossibility proof; it attracts such passion as the impossibility of perpetual motion machines that were so popular some 100 years ago. A manuscript claiming the invention of a working perpetual motion device, proof that Earth is flat (yes, there is such a thing as an annual conference of Flat-Earth-ers), or that the sun circles Earth would be rejected by any respectable journal right away.

So, what if someone managed to “disprove” Bell’s theorem and, better yet, to publish that “discovery”? This would create lots of debates and excitement – certainly, notoriety and free publicity for the journal who published your claim. In other words, good business.