First, here is the paper at issue, “Beyond Gravitoelectromagnetism: Critical Speed in Gravitational Motion” by B. Mashhoon”, IJMPD, 14, no. 12, (2005) pp. 2025-2037.
Mashhoon's IJMPD Paper
Our reader submitted to Editor-in-Chief R.S. Tung for publication this admirably clear refutation of the Mashhoon paper. Passages identifying him have been removed, but he is an expert at a top American university.
Rebuttal to Mashhoon
Tung wrote back:
Dear Dr. ....,
Many thanks for sending your manuscript "Comment: "..... by B. Mashhoon" to the International Journal of Modern Physics D. Our editors have read your paper, we would like to recommend that you submit your work elsewhere. We do not feel that your paper is appropriate for the accelerated publication of this journal.
which our reader considered an effort to "sweep the garbage under the rug". He answered "Isn't the note I sent you addressing a paper printed in YOUR journal ?" He reminded Tung of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines (publicationethics.org) on correcting errors in the literature, and suggested three possible reviewers.
On May 13, our reader updated us:
It remains to be seen if IJMPD will publish my correction, the error in the originally published paper is evident. It is an acid test of their honesty. I will keep you posted as things unfold.
And on May 22:
They aren't going to publish it, its status is "With Editor", the code name for doing nothing and hoping that the embarrassment will go away. After a few months of "With Editor", they quietly take it off the website.
On July 15 the status of our reader's rebuttal changed to "Under Review", which was encouraging.
Around August 3 IJMPD's reviewer (not one of the three suggested by our reader) replied:
The author comments on a discussion of Newtonian approximation of Mashhoon [IJMPD 14 (2005) 2025-2037] on "critical speed" in gravitational motion. I find the discussion in Mashhoon's paper using linear approximation appropriate. This is not the situation to use the proper acceleration. This comment is incorrect, I recommend a rejection.
to which our reader responds
Actually, the error in the paper is that Mashoon doesn't know the difference between coordinate and proper acceleration and is basing his erroneous conclusions on using coordinate acceleration. IJMPD turns out to be a crackpot journal, publishes crackpot papers, uses incompetent referees and has a chief editor that desperately tries to sweep the dirt under the rug whenever confronted with rebuttals.
On August 10 our reader got this response from Editor-in-Chief R.S. Tung:
Dear prof.dr. ....,
Many thanks for sending your manuscript "Rebuttal to: "Beyond Gravitoelectromagnetism: Critical Speed in Gravitational Motion" by B. Mashhoon, ", IJMP D, 14,12,(2005) pp. 2025-2037" to the International Journal of Modern Physics D. Our editors and referee have read your rebuttal letter. We judge that the comment may not be of a sufficiently high standard to justify the full peer review.
All papers or comments accepted for publication in IJMPD journals must be novel, interesting and clearly written. The International Journal of Modern Physics D currently receives many more submissions than it can publish. Our editors will sometimes return a manuscript to the author(s) without review when they feel that it is unlikely to be accepted for publication. In this way, we seek to avoid delaying the author(s)' submission to another journal.
I hope that you will understand our decision not to consider your paper further.
International Journal of Modern Physics D
Our reader wrote
I had to remind Mr. Tung that this is the SECOND time he and his cohorts tried to sweep the criticism under the rug and that he continues to be in violation of the fair publishing rules. I am tempted to put my paper on the internet, for everyone to see their dishonesty.
and thus the history comes to be preserved in this blog post. Thanks to our reader for keeping us informed as events unfolded. If there are further developments I'll add them here.