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How do you submit and protect your physics research

  1. Jul 10, 2009 #1
    I've spent ages working out physics based equations and believe they are currently developed to the point at which they are ready for publishing and review. At this point I am both a bit lost and afraid. Lost in that I don't know where to submit to as I do not have ivy league institution backed physicist credentials which I believe that most publications require you to have just to look at your submission. I am afraid, cause I feel that all my work could easily by stolen by others, and slapped their name upon, or in the case of someone taking interest, burried for years upon years before being published. I do not like the idea of giving any publisher copyright control over my own work. I hate the idea that should I ever write a book that I could have no right to use my own article, words, research, etc.

    Where do I start, or go from here?
     
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  3. Jul 10, 2009 #2

    diazona

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    No way. But it is true that people will be much more likely to take your work seriously (assuming that it deserves to be taken seriously) if you either have a PhD in physics or are working with someone with a PhD in physics. Which brings up the question: what sort of education in physics do you have?

    For what it's worth, if you do submit your work to a reputable scientific journal, you probably don't have to worry about anyone stealing the idea. Any journal that did that regularly would not last very long. Also, if you post it in a public location (like the arXiv preprint server, which is typical for physics papers), it will be clear what you did and when you submitted it, so anybody else would have a hard time copying your work and claiming it was their own. The situation you might have to be concerned about is sharing the work with one person, or a small group, who could - in principle - then take it and publish it under their own names. But I'm pretty confident that the vast majority (99.9%+) of physics professors wouldn't do that. Most people are basically ethical like that.

    Basically, I would start by trying to find someone trustworthy (i.e. a professor or researcher) who is educated in the area you've done your work on, who can look over it and tell you whether you've got something good. (Disclaimer: I've never published anything myself, so I don't really know exactly how the process works)
     
  4. Jul 10, 2009 #3

    Pengwuino

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    Keeping your idea private is the best way for your work to be stolen. You'll have 0 proof it was yours if someone does get a hold of it. There is pretty much no justifiable reason to be concerned about publishing your work. Your work is published regardless of your education (all that matters is the work) for the most part. You can publish even without a degree, let alone some ivy league bruhaha. Any decent professor should be able to help you in publishing your paper.

    I think the most important thing though is... what is your education? A lot of people seem ot be secret mad scientist physicists who believe they have some great physical theory but don't want to tell anyone because they're scared that their idea will be stolen. Whenever I see that, I'd put real money down that they don't actually know what they're talking about and are going to be sorely sorely disappointed when their papers get rejected. Do you have an abstract for your paper? Abstracts are useless alone so by posting an abstract, people can sometimes tell you if you're doing something silly or not with no threat of your intellectual property being stolen. Also, have you taken a look at journals like Science or Nature or a reputable journal focused on what you're looking into?
     
  5. Jul 10, 2009 #4

    Mapes

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    There are several issues here that it would help to decouple.

    First, your comment about needing Ivy League credentials shows that you're not looking at the literature. Physics papers are published from academic, government, and commercial sources around the world. While authors from prestigious institutions often do get the benefit of the doubt, papers are generally judged on the merits of their arguments, relevance, and originality.

    Second, it's extremely unlikely that your work will be stolen. If you're worried about it, you can always post a draft at arXiv, as diazona mentions.

    Third, if you don't want to go through thorough peer review (which can take months or years) or to allow others copyright access to publish your work, why are you asking about publishing? I'm really mystified here. If you're interested in retaining permission to republish your work in another format, select a journal that gives you this option (e.g., New Journal of Physics).

    Before submitting anywhere, I recommend doing a thorough literature review to look for prior work and to place your own work in context. One mark of a crank is ignorance of the existing literature.
     
  6. Jul 10, 2009 #5

    turin

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    I suggest trying to find a professor who can submit for you.

    Regarding copyright, there are journals that allow the author(s) full permission to reproduce any part of their publications in various academic settings (although they may put restrictions on commercial use). You just need to go to the particular journal's website and read their rules regarding copyright. "Which journal?", you might ask. Well, that goes back to my first suggestion: get with a professor who can not only help you with their superior influence, but who can also choose the most appropriate journal. One thing to keep in mind: some (most?) journals have a rule that you are not allowed to submit to any other journal.

    Regarding the arXiv, I don't think that they let just anyone submit. I think you must either be on some kind of preferred status, or else get sponsored from someone with preferred status. I'm not sure, though. I have submitted some papers to arXiv through my prof, but never on my own.
     
  7. Jul 10, 2009 #6

    cristo

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    Yes, you need to have a sponsor if you want to submit to the arxiv if you haven't already submitted a paper, unless you have a .edu (or equivalent, depending on country) email address.
     
  8. Jul 10, 2009 #7

    diazona

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    Really? Because from what I've read on the site, it seems like you need to have a sponsor and a .edu email address to submit a paper, if you haven't already submitted one.
     
  9. Jul 10, 2009 #8

    jtbell

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    An important part of any research is a literature search to find out what other people have done on your topic. You don't want to waste time re-inventing the wheel, and why should a journal publish something that has been done already?

    Having done this, you should be familiar with which journals publish papers on your topic, and be able to make a decent guess as to which one might be likely to publish your paper, based on the significance of the papers that they've already published in comparison to your own.
     
  10. Jul 10, 2009 #9

    cristo

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    Here's a snippet from the help at arxiv.org

    For the most part, an .edu address will suffice.
     
  11. Jul 11, 2009 #10
    I'm considering emailing the work to Cambridge since I believe Stephen Hawking would take great interest in it and I already have all of the physicist's email addresses. My work is very simple, with huge ramifications in the right hands. I am not sure if physics journals will accept the work, though it points out, ties together, and corrects a lot of mathematical problems experienced in physics. I've been upset with the physics journals for a long time, as they wouldn't even look at my solution to Bell's Inequality, so I doubt they will seriously look at anything else unless my credentials are outragiously Ivy and or instutionally sponsored. When I have submitted in the past, I have recieved rejection letters stating that my work wasn't even looked at.
     
  12. Jul 11, 2009 #11
    If you're so worried about people stealing your work why would you send it unpublished through the mail? :\
     
  13. Jul 11, 2009 #12

    Pengwuino

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    So professional journals have rejected your paper without even looking at it? Why don't you give an abstract or summary to the members of this forum? Many of them are highly qualified and even published. I'm sure they would be willing to give you a helping hand. It's pretty amazing if they rejected it purely by your "credentials". People have gotten published while still in high school.
     
  14. Jul 11, 2009 #13

    Born2bwire

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    Heh, Feynman got published while he was still working on his undergraduate and Schwinger, if Wikipedia is to be believed, had papers rejected in the 90's or so despite being a Nobel laureate. You don't need to be famous or have a degree to be published and being famous does not automatically let you get published.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2009
  15. Jul 11, 2009 #14

    Vanadium 50

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    I am certain that Stephen Hawking gets a great deal of email from crackpots and cranks purporting the same things. I highly recommend you seeking another option, lest your research be swept in the dustbin with all of theirs.

    I would like to echo that you should be a regular reader of the journal you intend to submit to.
     
  16. Jul 11, 2009 #15
    I think most important is having some proof for being the originator of the concept, in case
    of a lawsuit regarding originatorship. In an earlier aquainted thread, I suggested hosting your material free ( more or less disguised or cryptisized) as a picture at an image host (like
    ImageShack, Flickr.com, ...) where the pictures are also automatically dated. Maybe not waterproof, but could be sufficiently convincing in a possible lawsuit.

    If you have something at Nobel Prize level or an important innovation, I guess you cannot be
    too careful. Besides from some kind of proof for originatorship (as hinted above), I think
    some generous (not jelously minded) professor or other kind of "dignity" who obviously welcomes your personal success in actual case, should be engaged. If you are not a distinguished professor yourself. As others here also suggest.

    But the most important is some kind of factual proof of your originatorship - i.e a dated description of your concept, where neither dating nor content could have been changed afterwards. Then at least your originilaty is secured. :cool:
     
  17. Jul 11, 2009 #16

    eri

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    The most common causes for this (automatic rejection) are sending your work to an inappropriate journal and sending your work in the wrong format. Both of these will get you an automatic rejection, although I would have thought they would make it clear why they were rejecting you. Are you familiar with the journals in your field? Have you correctly cited previous work? Is your manuscript in the correct format - usually LaTeX?

    Are you in academia at all, even as an undergrad? Peer review before submission is often invaluable for anyone writing an article. Sending your paper off to major scientists whom you've never met won't get you anywhere. Try contacting someone at a local university for help reviewing your paper. Don't just send everyone there a copy, email someone in the right field personally.
     
  18. Jul 13, 2009 #17

    turin

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    I would not send it to Hawking. You should acquaint yourself with an academic as personally as possible. The traditional way to do this is to enroll in university and work with an advisor. Good academics are extraordinarily busy with a pile of papers to write already on their desk; the last thing that they are thinking is, "Gee, I wish I had something to write about."

    Your past rejection sounds like a technicality (wrong format or wrong journal).
     
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