Story behind my Annals of Physics article

Story behind my article ``A recursive transfer-matrix solution for a dipole radiating inside and outside a stratified sphere", Annals of Physics (NY) 315, 352-418 (2005)

On March 3, 2004, I have submitted the manuscript providing a complete solution for the classical problem of a dipole radiating inside and outside a multicoated sphere for a publication in Phys. Rev. A (manuscript number AQ8914). Dipole can be located either outside or embedded anywhere within the multilayered sphere. Among many other quantities, both radiative and non-radiative decay rates were determined. In my view, this has been one of my most important contributions which may find various applications for inelastic light-scattering (fluorescence or Raman) spectroscopy, for characterizing single micrometer sized particles (chemical speciation) of both inorganic and organic compounds, aerosols and particulates, in LIDAR applications for remote sensing of both molecular and particulate constituents of atmosphere, for identification of biological particles in fluorescence-activated flow of cytomeres, to monitor specific cell functions, or in the cell identification and sorting systems, in the investigation thermal radiation from spherical microparticles, engineering of the radiative decay for biophysical and biomedical applications, imaging of buried saturated fluorescent molecules and imaging of surfaces in near-field optical microscopy, in the study of the effects of light absorption and amplification on the stimulated transition rates of the electric-dipole emission of atoms or molecules embedded in micro- or nano-structured spheres, stimulated Raman scattering, the interplay between lasing and stimulated Raman scattering, etc.

Nevertheless, on March 16, 2004, I have got reply from the editor of Phys. Rev. A stating that:
"... from our understanding of the paper's physics results, context, and motivation, we conclude that your paper does not have the importance and broad interest needed for publication in our journals. This judgment results in part from our reading of the abstract, introduction, and conclusions, which are crucial for our readership. In view of our assessment, we are not sending your manuscript out for review." (See Phys. Rev.'s full reply here.)
All that

Note that I would not have complained if my manuscript was refused by any of 7 referees I suggested. This has happened to me and it may well happen again. What I complain against here is refusing a manuscript without even sending the manuscript for a review.

In the meantime, the manuscript has been published in Annals of Physics (NY) 315(2), 352-418 (2005) (published online on 7 October 2004). For more than one year after its publication, the article belonged to the top 5 most downloaded articles and, till the end of 2006, it still belonged to the top 25 most downloaded articles of Annals of Physics.

Apparently, the editors of Physical Reviews are scared to publish a manuscript submitted by a private person without any official affiliation to an established research institute. I do not have any other explanation, since the difference in impact factors and in prestige between Annals of Physics and Physical Reviews is marginal. In fact, in order to exclude the possibility that the reason behind of ``not sending my manuscript for a review" was its length, I have made a second attempt to publish in Physical Reviews (yes, I was stupid enough). On 25th October 2004, I submitted to Phys. Rev. B my manuscript ``Spectroscopic properties of a two-level atom interacting with a complex spherical nanoshell" [quant-ph/0412094] (manuscript number BX9216). Surprize, surprize, the latter manuscript was again not sent out for a review. (In the meatime it has been published in Chem. Phys. 317(1), 1-15 (2005) on 9 August 2005.) There was, however, a difference. In contrast to a few days in the case of earlier submitted manuscript, in the second case it took the editors of Physical Reviews 6 weeks to reach their decision of not sending my manuscript for a review ...

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Alexander Moroz, October 12, 2007

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