Saturday, August 08, 2009

Maybe we're all the same

Every once in a while, a heated debate pops up in the CS theory blogosphere about whether or not our publication culture inhibits actual scientific progress. The concern is that we care too much about getting publications as an end in and of itself, and not about the progress of the field. In this last particular debate over at the complexity blog, some anonymous commenters compared the culture in the algorithmic game theory community unfavorably to that of the game theorists in the economics community.

But my guess is that computer scientists aren't so different than everyone else. In any case, it gives some perspective to see economists having the exact same debate about their own publication culture: here.

1 comment:

Mugizi said...

Well there was also an issue of conferences vs. journals which is somewhat orthogonal to the "publishing as an end in itself" issue.

The argument is that giving so much weight to conferences encourages a culture of not fully exploring things, proofs are not fully checked, reviewers comments are not incorporated and the implications are not fully thought out. It also means there is not much incentive to "properly" write stuff up so full detailed versions of some interesting results never become available.

At least that is the argument.