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Research Illusion

From: Azamat <abdoul@cytanet.com.cy>
Date: Fri, 8 May 2009 20:19:45 +0300
Message-ID: <004201c9d001$2f45fb70$a104810a@homepc>
To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@ontolog.cim3.net>, "'SW-forum'" <semantic-web@w3.org>
Cc: <mjarrar@cs.ucy.ac.cy>
By chance, i encountered Mustafa Jarrar's blog site, 
http://mjarrar.blogspot.com/; http://www.jarrar.info/, making  ontology 
engineering, Linked-data, web 3.0, somewhere here on the island. Never heard 
of him, but it is a true mind full of true thoughts.
Here is a shockingly telling extract (for me at least as i left the Academy 
long time ago)::
[Communications of the ACM
Volume 50, Number 11 (2007), Pages 19-21

Viewpoint: Stop the numbers game
David Lorge Parnas

As a senior researcher, I am saddened to see funding agencies, department 
heads, deans, and promotion committees encouraging younger researchers to do 
shallow research. As a reader of what should be serious scientific journals, 
I am annoyed to see the computer science literature being polluted by more 
and more papers of less and less scientific value. As one who has often 
served as an editor or referee, I am offended by discussions that imply that 
the journal is there to serve the authors rather than the readers. Other 
readers of scientific journals should be similarly outraged and demand 

The cause of all of these manifestations is the widespread policy of 
measuring researchers by the number of papers they publish, rather than by 
the correctness, importance, real novelty, or relevance of their 
contributions. The widespread practice of counting publications without 
reading and judging them is fundamentally flawed for a number of reasons:

* It encourages superficial research. Those who publish many hastily 
written, shallow (and often incorrect) papers will rank higher than those 
who invest years of careful work studying important problems; that is, 
counting measures quantity rather than quality or value;
* It encourages overly large groups. Academics with large groups, who often 
spend little time with each student but put their name on all of their 
students' papers, will rank above those who work intensively with a few 
* It encourages repetition. Researchers who apply the "copy, paste, 
disguise" paradigm to publish the same ideas in many conferences and 
journals will score higher than those who write only when they have new 
ideas or results to report;
* It encourages small, insignificant studies. Those who publish "empirical 
studies" based on brief observations of three or four students will rank 
higher than those who conduct long-term, carefully controlled experiments; 
* It rewards publication of half-baked ideas. Researchers who describe 
languages and systems but do not actually build and use them will rank 
higher than those who implement and experiment.

Paper-count-based ranking schemes are often defended as "objective." They 
are also less time-consuming and less expensive than procedures that involve 
careful reading. Unfortunately, an objective measure of contribution is 
frequently contribution-independent....]

Another reason for building Common Ontology Standards: to establish a safe 
conceptual filtering of all sorts of research head games in critical 
knowledge fields and publicly-funded research projects.

Azamat Abdoullaev

Received on Friday, 8 May 2009 17:20:32 UTC

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