Recent Events for MainPageDiary (Blog) Previous Next

2007-12-15 Publish Or Perish

Reading the latest viewpoint of David Lorge Parnas in the Communications of the ACM (November 2007/Vol. 50, No. 11), he is annoyed by the increasing number of publication in computer science with less scientific value. As the measurement in research is often mainly based by the number of papers published instead of the quality and real contribution in the publication. As an example PhD students often prefer to publish recurring paper on a same topic than having a single high-quality paper. This is mainly due to an evaluation done by only checking the number of papers than really digging into each paper made by the student. This is an old issue in scientific publication or in any single metric to measure research, productivity or innovation (as I already discussed in Innovation Metric and using a single metric like the patent system for measuring innovation).

I tend to agree with Mr. Parnas that counting papers just slows the rate of scientific progress. But the source of the issue is not only the "the Numbers Game" but it's the overall (closed) peer-reviewing process. As the reviewing is done in "island mode", there are not shared not only the paper but also the reviews of it. An open archive process permits to "pre-publish" in order to peer review publication in advance. I really like the idea to have a kind of continuous on a publication. That could open the doors of more exchange between people in the computer science area. For example , the open archive project is already providing a nice interface and permits to trace the submission history. That's maybe the beginning of something new. That could also improve the current situation in conference where people come to make a presentation only… and that's it. Without any exchange or discussion between the participants. I'm not negative just here to improve a little bit the current situation.