- Current conventions in computer science mandate that each time I write a paper, I should state my result four times: once in the abstract, once in the introduction, once in the body, and once in the conclusion.
- The introduction section is, to a large extent, a waste of everybody's time. Nearly every paper about a given topic has the same introduction: "Topic X is important because A, B, C."
- Here's a simple formula that seems to work for (and is overwhelmingly used in) computer science papers:
Abstract: We solve problem Y.
Introduction: Problem X is so important, that if we solve it, the world will be a much better place. Y is an approximation (or subproblem) to problem X. We solve Y.
Body: Here's a convoluted explanation of how to solve Y.
Conclusion: We did Y. Doing X would be awesome.
- Once a paper is "published," it is set on stone and cannot really be changed, even if you find a much better way to convey the results or if you find that the data is better explained by a different hypothesis. The reason for this restriction is that, 30 years ago, papers were published using physical paper. Such a restriction makes no sense today.
- As an academic community, it sometimes feels that the final goal of doing research is publishing papers. The goal of doing research should be, well, doing research. I understand that communicating the results of our work is important, but surely there is a better method than one that was invented before computers were around.
- Given the number of people working in computer science and the fact that publishing papers is considered the goal of our work, there is an insane number of papers written every year, the vast majority of which contribute very little (or not at all) to our collective knowledge. This is basically spam. In fact, for many papers (including some of my own), the actual idea of the paper could be stated in one paragraph, but somehow people manage to write 10 pages of it.
Can a combination of a wiki, karma, and a voting method like reddit or digg substitute the current system of academic publication?