Friday, June 05, 2009

Reviews that Hurt

Mathematical Reviews is a journal that attempts to provide a brief review of every legitimate paper published in the mathematical literature. Reviews are intended to summarize the content of the paper and put it into context, but sometimes the opinion of the reviewer shows through.

Here is one that I stumbled on today: "In the paper under review, ... performs elementary manipulations to produce several equations. The first few of these formulas involve Pr(n,k), the number of partitions of n into k relatively prime parts, while the last few involve R(n,k), the number of decompositions of n into k relatively prime parts. These formulas do not provide insight into the behavior of Pr(n,k) and R(n,k) so much as they demonstrate what sort of formulas result from certain elementary manipulations."

Ouch, that one's gotta hurt.

I have to admit, I wrote a review like that once, too. Here's an excerpt: "Their main result, Lemma 2.1, is equivalent to the statement that multiplication of 2 × 2 matrices is associative."

1 comment:

fudo said...

ooh, that one had to hurt too! By the way, I guess you already know that it is easy to search by review texts in the MR database... ;-)