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A poor but independent researcher from Pune, India, is in the middle of an embarrassment of the riches, of sorts --- [aka: what to do with my conference paper on my new approach to QM?]

Special note:

This is a long post; it covers a dilemma I'm facing right now; but there is no real ``masaalaa'' to it; so, if you aren't a researcher yourself, leave it alone.

Background:

I submitted a conference paper --- the first ever paper on my new theory of QM --- to the International Conference ICCTPP-2022 [^] which was held in collaboration with the Institute of Physics (IoP, UK). My paper was accepted (the acceptance rate was about 50%), and then, I made an oral presentation too, which was on 10th June 2022. The presentation slides are attached [].

Subsequent to this oral presentation, and following the IoP procedure, full-length papers had to be resubmitted at the IoP's online processing platform/portal. I re-submitted a pretty well revised manuscript.

Now, following peer-review, a few, relatively minor, modifications have been suggested. In particular, the feeeback asks me to improve the manuscript as per the IOP journal format, consisting of: Title, Introduction, Theoretical Aspects, Results and Discussion, Conclusion, References, Any Funding Details, etc. The peer-review feedback also says that after improving the present manuscript it can be accepted.

This was a happy piece of news for me, though also expected. I always have carried a deep sense of gratitude for all the work put in by reviewers, and this time round, it was especially pronounced. After all, I am an engineer, not a physicist, but the paper is in physics, in fact, on QM --- its foundations.

The revision is due before the next week-end.

As to me: In the light of the nature of this particular paper, I am not planning to revise it as extensively as the reviewers' suggestion says it should be. I might perhaps add just a small Conclusion section to the paper, and be done with it.

Please note, this paper of mine is not like a typical, short, conference paper reporting on some specific set of experimentation or a single set of simulation trials, or so. This paper aims to present a whole new theoretical approach, and that too, to QM. It can't be fit into that usual neat ``format'' (actually, the boilerplate) which has been suggested. Further, note, my ``conclusions'' are actually interspersed throughout the paper. (That's what happens when you write in a completely ab initio manner, when you propose a completely new theoretical approach.) Given the quality of working epistemology evident in today's physics, I am not willing to take the risk of supplying a fodder of misconceptions to the improper-reductionists in physics, by handing out to them what they want: a neat and long conclusions section on which they could latch with all their might and / or mindless-ness, and try to keep on engaging me in some never-ending ``discussions'' if not ``debates''.

To understand the preceding paragraph, you would need to have a look at my paper. For publishing this particular, personal, version on the 'net, I have added a copyright notice, and also made a few formatting changes (from that for the IoP), but the content otherwise remains exactly the same (including any minor lapses) as that in the version which was submitted to the IoP. Please find it here [^].

However, please understand, the revision (which is yet to be effected) is not so much of my problem. My problem is altogether different.

Context for my problem:

To understand my problem, please note the following:

Usually, at least in the core engineering fields, publishing a conference paper on some research findings, does not prevent you from publishing a proper journal paper covering the same findings (with some other findings), later on. Typically, there is a length restriction to conference papers, and so, conference papers are just 5--8 pages long. Further, conference papers (at least in fields like mechanics / simulations) are almost never indexed even in the Scopus database, let alone in the ISI Web of Science (previously owned by Thomson Reuters, now by Clarivate Anlytics). A rule of thumb in the engineering field, therefore, is this: You go ahead and publish some 2--4 conference papers, and then add some further material to hold them together, and publish it all in one, proper, journal paper.

However, the idea of the ``IoP Journal of Physics: Conference Series'' (``JPCS'' for short) is different.

JPCS is not ``just'' a conference publications avenue. The papers published in JPCS are indexed in Scopus, though not in ISI/Thomson Reuters/Clarivate Analytics. They also have no length limit, technicall speaking --- even if most JPCS papers are pretty short; they look like any other conference papers.

But my paper is 18 pages long, even in the IoP format. (In the default LaTeX article class format, it becomes about 22 pages long.) Even going by the contents, you can see that although it was presented at a conference, and if published in JPCS, it will be, technically, a conference paper, it already has all the characteristics of a journal paper. In fact, it has more material content than for just a single journal paper.

My problem:

If, right now, I go ahead with the publication of my attached paper into JPCS, and later on, if I wish to convert the same material (plus some more extra material though not much more) into a journal paper proper, then, the question is: Would I run into those ``prior publication'' issues?

In particular, suppose that later this year or early next year, I submit a paper on this same theory to Nature (or Nature Communications), or Science, or PRL, would they say ``Sorry, JPCS has already published most (75+ percent) of your material, and so, it has already lost the novelty value. So, we can't recommend acceptance in our journal''? Would they say that? That is at the heart of my problem.

Other relevant aspects:

The way the science publication industry works, I can always post papers at my blog, even at arXiv (or at any other avenue which does not take away my copyright), without bothering about the ``prior publication'' issues. The whole idea is this: At the time of submitting a paper to a journal (say to Nature or Science), I should have all the rights with me --- in particular, the rights to publish / distribute my paper. However, if I right away publish the attached paper in IoP's JPCS, then what happens is this: I do keep the copyright, but I also relinquish the distribution rights to IoP. This consideration is apart from the ``no prior publication'' or ``novelty'' clauses that the other journals proper might come up with. If such issues do come up, where would that leave me?

I don't have any institutional affiliation. No one is going to even stand up for me, let alone fight for me, in a systematic/institutionalized manner. As far as this research is concerned, I have been, and am, entirely on my own --- funding-wise, legal-help-wise, as also in every other respect. ... Unfortunately, my PhD guide too has passed away (too early, at his age of 52, back in 2012). Since then, I haven't had any mentor either, let alone collaborations. All my research since then has been, purely, a one-man show.

As to my experiences with researchers/physicists community: Last year, not even Indian physicists bothered to reply my email requests for an informal feedback on my ideas (most of which now appear in the attached paper), let alone professors/researchers from abroad (e.g., those from USA, Germany, etc.).

In short: As things stand, right now, I have to rely purely on my own self --- even in deciding this matter.

In a way, I do have some standing in the engineering field --- I have a PhD in engg., and work experience in industries and academia. But all of that has been only in engineering. I don't have any formal training, experience, or any standing in physics as such --- not even friends (i.e. those who reply in situations like requests for feed-backs, or the current one).

It is possible that Professor Ian Stewart, for example, might have published some Scopus-indexed conference paper, and then, he might have published an ``improved'' version of the same in an ISI-indexed journal too. Fair enough; he has had a standing reputation in the field in which he was publishing. But can such examples be of any relevance to my present case? Who the hell, in comparison, is going to care for this unknown *engineer* from a third-world country who says he has solved the Measurement Problem --- namely me?

One last point. While I do care for priority (actually, for proper credit), and also for proper publications, I am not employed in any research institution / academia. So, citation metrics don't matter to me. Not too much, anyway. To be specific: My progression in my career doesn't depend on citations to my paper(s).

My request to you:

If you are still with me, and should you still care: Please consider my problem, and let me know which course of action you advise:

(A) Publish!: Go ahead, and submit a revision to JPCS, and have it published there ASAP, because a later publication in a reputed journal won't get adversely affected because of it. That's the norm in science, especially in physics, and so, all this is a non-problem, really speaking.   

OR

(B) Withdraw!: Withdraw the paper while there still is time. With the ``publication'' of the paper at my blog (supported by the third-party evidence of the talk which I did deliver at the ICCTPP conference), the priority issue has well been taken care of. So, now, I should withdraw from the JPCS process right away, take my own time, write a proper journal paper and submit it to the journal at that time. If at all I want, I can always submit the attached paper to arXiv.

You need to come back soon, preferably within 2--3 days. Thanks in advance, if you do.

Best,
--Ajit

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