Mathematics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people studying math at any level and professionals in related fields. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

As a student where should he first approach for review of his paper, even more so a first one, before submitting to peer reviewed journal? Teachers tend to be busy with school and personal work, soliciting or emailing a person out of the blue may not be the ideal etiquette, while students in one's class may not have the required background. What to do in this situation?

Do any websites exist (other than arXiv) that allows for a process that critique papers?

Thank you.

share|cite|improve this question
I think your mentor at the institute or any professor in your department must be most willing to see your work. – user21436 Mar 18 '12 at 2:20
@KannappanSampath I am only on my 3rd year and professors have tons of papers to grade/review. – Sniper Clown Mar 18 '12 at 2:22
If you have co-authors, certainly they should be able to make time for you. – TMM Mar 18 '12 at 2:23
Did you approach them? Please do not assume that professors won't look at your work because they have [---]. I am sure they will look at your work, and if they are busy, you may be asked to visit them at a suitable time. – user21436 Mar 18 '12 at 2:25
Also, more important that the paper, is the result. To make sure that the result is interesting, you might want to give a seminar in the respective department or research group at your university. If you do so, then you will definitely get feedback. But more better: you might poke some professor or grad student's interest. You can talk to them afterwards and ask for paper review. – user2468 Mar 18 '12 at 2:30
up vote 14 down vote accepted

There seems to be a disconnect here: If your result is anywhere near something that can be published in a journal, it will be infinitely more interesting for your professors to read than grading homework. It makes no sense to compare how busy they are with one, to how much time they'd have for the other. That's like thinking someone is so busy with washing dishes that they'd never have time to come eat a slice of your home-baked cake. Sure, the cake may or may not be horrible, but you're not going to judge that by how many dishes they wash.

So if you are enrolled as a student in a relevant program, the first and obvious people you should consult are your teachers. They will be excited and delighted if it turns out you have discovered something publishable, and if not, well, then it's part of their job to let you know in a gentle way.

As a practical matter, your first approach probably shouldn't be about the paper itself, but about the result. Instead of

Here is a paper I've written; would you please criticize it?

say something like

I seem to have discovered that derivations in intuitionistic propositional calculus have the same structure as certain objects in Church's 1936 characterization of computable functions, and this makes it much easier to discover formal proofs. Is that something that is already known?

Possible responses then include:

  • "That sounds interesting. If you write it up, I would like to look at it." -- the best you can hope for at this stage.
  • "Hmm, huh? Could you explain in more detail?" -- be prepared to attack the nearest whiteboard with a deeper explanation of the result.
  • "It's not clear to me if that would be true, but if it is, what could we do with it?" -- as above, but with motivation that your result is interesting.
  • "I don't actually know much about that area, but try talking to my colleague/grad student NN." -- now you have at least a referral.
  • "Yes, that's known as the Such-And-Such theorem. It's a very nice observation, congratulations on rediscovering it. Here, let me recommend some advanced texts where you can read more about this if it interests you." -- bit of a bummer, but now you at least have a professor who will think highly of you, from which all manner of good stuff will follow in the fullness of time.
  • "Yes; actually that's the main theorem in next semester's course. But since you're getting ahead of schedule, here is a riddle for you: what about classical propositional calculus?" -- okay, they can't all be winners.
  • "Huh? No, that can't be true. In fact, consider the following counterexample ..." -- oops.
share|cite|improve this answer
That explains it very well. Thanks! – Sniper Clown Mar 18 '12 at 18:52

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.