I know a PhD student who recently had his paper on applied cryptography rejected because one the reviewers claimed that it was "the solution was too simple and the notation used was more than necessary". It was accepted by the second reviewer. However, both the student's supervisors thought it was a very well-written paper worthy of being accepted at the journal it was submitted to.

I have always thought that especially in cryptography, schemes should be easy to understand and use, and their unbreakability should rely on a given primitive rather than the complexity of the scheme. It should be noted that the reviewer that rejected it admitted the scheme was sound, applicable to a current area of interest, solved a problem in the area, and advanced knowledge in the area as well.

So why is it that with cryptography, where it makes sense to make schemes easy to understand (but built correctly around a primitive that is hard to break) and at the same time described precisely enough to analyse accurately, that people want something more complicated instead?

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    $\begingroup$ "Too simple" could mean "this is interesting, but it's not really significant enough for us to publish;" to use a (presumably inaccurate) extreme, if the result were something anyone competent could think of in ten minutes if they actually cared to solve the problem, it wouldn't be publishable (although if the scheme itself is simple but took a lot of ingenuity to come up with, that's a different matter). Regardless, the expectations for publishing in a particular journal don't necessarily correspond to good features of a cryptographic scheme. $\endgroup$ – cpast May 3 '15 at 0:12
  • $\begingroup$ @cpast: Your comments serves nicely as an answer. $\endgroup$ – Reid May 3 '15 at 3:21
  • $\begingroup$ @cpast hmm, if that is indeed the case then it seems that there is a certain amount of subjectivity involved regarding what is interesting or not, and what is significant or not. And I guess that certain amount of subjectivity could be large or small. $\endgroup$ – petro444 May 3 '15 at 11:41
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think it's fair to generalize this particular case to the whole field of cryptography. This applies especially to your last sentence. $\endgroup$ – Aleph May 3 '15 at 12:40