Infinite Combinatorial Topology

Back in 2005, as a master student, I attended a course by Boaz Tsaban, entitled “Infinite Combinatorial Topology”. A friend and I decided to produce lecture notes, but in a somewhat loose sense, that is: we sometimes omit material given in class, sometimes give alternative definitions or proofs, and sometimes include our own additional propositions. However, we were always consistent with the material given in class.

My personal highlight from that course is my alternative proof of the fact that Menger and  Hurewicz properties are different. I never submitted this proof for publication, and hence was both happy and surprised to find out that my proof was found valuable and cited in a work by Hernández-Gutiérrez and Szeptycki.

If you have any feedback on these lectures notes, please leave a comment with your input.

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8 Responses to Infinite Combinatorial Topology

  1. Ari Brodsky says:

    Why did they remove the citation from the second version of their paper?

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    • saf says:

      Beats me. I met Rodrigo Hernández-Gutiérrez in Mexico last September, and he mentioned reading this note when working on their paper. Maybe a referee asked them to take it out.

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  2. Assaf, your assumption is correct, the referee asked us to remove the citation to your paper. If I remember correctly, he said that it was not your result so we should not cite your notes. I do recall that I preferred your proof to the original one.

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    • saf says:

      Thanks, Rodrigo!
      IMHO, your comment “See also [19]” was harmless, yet, no harm was done by omitting it (the paper was never submitted for publication, and this is anyway not my field of research).

      Generally speaking, I do tend to include quite a lot of citations of a “see also” nature, simply to save the time of my readers who would otherwise have to redo the literature scan that I already did. Apparently, some anonymous referees forbids this, making life harder for everyone.

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      • I agree with you completely, but I also understand the point of some people disliking this, as it creates this feeling of “oh, these guys… they inflate their citations for no reason just to have more citations”.

        And that’s not a good look for a small circle of mathematicians. And probably some people inside this circle don’t like it either.

        (But I’ll reiterate and say that I generally agree with the whole approach to ample bibliography.)

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        • saf says:

          Citations are used by 3rd parties to:
          1. “measure” a researcher;
          2. “measure” a field of research;
          3. determine a theme of research (e.g., google scholar uses this in automatically offering you to read a paper you’d probably find interesting);
          4. etc’.

          But let us not forget that, foremost, citations are there for the author to:
          1. give credit;
          2. point out a noteworthy read.

          p.s.
          3rd parties who would analyze Shelah’s papers are likely to come to the ridiculous conclusion that he intentionally insert self-citations.

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          • As I said, I’m on the same side of this fence as you. And I agree with you on these points.

            But lest we also forget that part of academic dishonesty is citation inflation. And I hear this from people who are not academic and are slightly familiar with paper writing (“You know, it’s this I’ll cite you and you’ll cite me sort of thing, right?”).

            So even if this is not the case, there is a reason to be slightly more careful with these things.

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          • saf says:

            Asaf, we seem to agree. Let me just say that I prefer a citation of an unpublished inspiration over the alternative. Also, let us not forget that the cite-centric point of view is inherently lazy and has to do with the fact that it is a magnitude easier to count the number of citations of a paper than to actually read it.

               1 likes

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