Friday, September 22, 2006

Grid : a glorified ssh ???

The more i work with the so called grid technologies : Soap , Web services , Globus , the more i realised that there is nothing new. A big network to share resources, and in the end what does it means : facilitating access to resources not really managing them. Its more like packaging PKI + SSH + XML .
Scientific still code there application the same way they use to do it. Maybe when we start to add a layer of virtualization of resources thing might start to really look like a grid. But until this happen it just a bigger ssh with a buzz word .

Monday, August 28, 2006

Peer review

As i was mentioning in the previous post , the actual academic system is flawed. Peer review system in conference or journal is often tedious, long and time wasting. On top of the it often happen that paper get accepted because people from the committee know the submitter and "discretely" push it into the conference . Also sometimes the opposite happens , science is like war and if somebody doesn't like you , no matter how innovative or interesting is your paper it will be rejected by that person.
On top of the the actual reviewer rarely do the review by himself. Its most of the time delegated to a postgraduate that doesn't really care and do a quick read and drop of few line of comment. OK , not all the time , but its fairly common.
So we end up having a explosive mix:
  • People with uber ego and the turf war that comes with it.
  • The necessity to publish no matter what so you can be recognised and be promoted.
  • The quality of the review is limited because such task is often tedious , time consuming and not really rewarding ( unless its for a prestigious journal). And its also due to the amount of paper that want to be published
So, Apparently the journal Nature started to see that there is some problem in the current way of handling review of paper and proposed a new form of peer reviewing (Wired article ). The review process use a wiki like system that anybody can contribute to. Yes anybody can review an article add comment etc ... which is great and also fast track the review system ( that is awfully slow ).

But there is still one thing that i don't get , why should scientific need to have they work published in journals/conference to be recognized? Look at what happens with the Poincaré story, the mathematician published its discovery on the net , no journal , conference or other crap. People review it , study it ( and even publish tons of paper based on it argg...) . I think that conferences and journals , rather than being a medium for the dispersion of scientific knowledge , have become a business ( the average registration cost is around 500 euro ) . So when does this nonsense will stop and people will just publish on the net and let people review decide by themselves if its good or not.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Scientific publications , self advertisement and academic decay

I decided to post my publications on my blogs for a couple of reasons :
its hard to find information you need in research, even with tools like citeseer or google scholar . So allowing them to be easily accessible and most of all find able is not easy. And also its always good for the ego to see its publication refereed somewhere.

But when i think about it , the actual academic system is kind of perverted : teacher / professors , researchers get funded, or get a pay / position raised based on their amount of publication. YES amount , not quality , that leads to a enormous amount of paper with different title layout and a few paragraph changed published for the sake of publishing. Which leads inevitably to bury interesting paper in a mountain of cloned paper.

Why not creating an online repository , maybe using some idea from wikipedia where people submit their paper online , anybody can review it and give its opinion. With a notation system , that conference will use to accept paper ( i was thinking of a digg like system ) . But such a system is not that easy to implement , we need to avoid fraud , rating manipulation etc..
But it will at least deter the dupe and other rehashing of information over and over .

So what do we need for such a system :
  • A wikepedia style of creating topic , sub topic and general description
  • A rating system for paper
  • A comment system for paper
  • A way to enable conference to use the system to review submitted paper and publish them
  • An efficient search function
  • A multilingual support
  • An obligation to provide tools and protocols that can be used to verify the claim ( how many publication claim something and when you ask for a piece of their code they reply that the research is secret or other *^£!^&* excuse ) as well as dataset used.
  • A benchmark library and data sample for experiments
So far tthat's all, i will try to complete the list and come up with a decent description of the overall later.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

First post

Humm first post .. It's kind of reassuring that you can have the first post on your own blog .So , what i am going to talk in this blog? Like any other blog: my life ... OK ok .. don't go away just jocking .

I will probably shout random ideas , use it has a platform for self advertisement and ego boosting ( me and my ego agree) .
So , until the muse will visit me i think that's all for the moment.