Vetting of Conference Proceedings Papers: Too much of a good thing?



Fifteen years ago, when I first became involved in space physics research and started to attend conferences, the refereeing of proceedings papers was rarely regarded as a serious business. The relaxed attitudes then prevailing doubtless allowed fringe material to be published which might better not have been inflicted upon the community, but a few pages of such a nature at least provided some light relief in an otherwise solid diet of scientific progress. On the positive side, the freedom given to authors to express their views in a more unbuttoned manner than would be appropriate in a formal journal paper encouraged interesting, individual, and thought-provoking contributions. The writing of conference papers could be a pleasurable and hassle-free experience.